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Funerals begin for Newtown victims
Two children killed in the Newtown school massacre have been laid to rest as the town braces itself for 11 days of funerals.
In the cold, wet early afternoon, memorials were held for Jack Pinto and Noah Pozner, who were both six years old when they were shot dead in their school, Sandy Hook Elementary, on Friday morning.
Jack loved all sports but his favourite was football, and his favourite player the New York Giants’ wide receiver, Victor Cruz. Cruz called the Pintos on Sunday to offer his condolences and spoke to Jack’s brother, after taking to the field wearing cleats on which he had inscribed, “Jack Pinto, My Hero” and “R.I.P. Jack Pinto.”
Hundreds crammed into the old wooden building that houses Honan funeral home, which will hold a funeral each day for the next 11 days.
As mourners filed in the world’s media waited quietly on the far side of the road, in keeping with the family’s request for privacy.
In Fairfield, an hour’s drive away, family and friends gathered for the funeral of the youngest victim, Noah Pozner, who had turned six just a few weeks ago.
Hundreds of mourners, along with the Connecticut governor Dan Malloy, gathered in a funeral home on a street that supporters been lined with white balloons tied with white ribbons.
“Our hearts are with you Noah,” read a green sign pinned to a tree.
“The family appreciated it very much,” said Rabbi Yakou Barros, a visiting clergyman, reported the Washington Post. “You can see it in their faces.”
Noah was described by his uncle as gentle and curious, the sort of boy who loved to read and explore how things worked mechanically, the Associated Press reports.
Noah’s twin sister Arielle – who he called his best friend – hid with her classmates in a nearby room during Friday morning’s attack.
Outside the funeral home dozens of police officers gathered in the street as police dogs screened the bags and even the bouquets carried by mourners.
“To see such a small casket left me literally speechless,” said Lieutenant James Perez, of the Fairfield police.
Meanwhile, in Washington, DC, support for a ban on military-style rifles was voiced by a life member of the National Rifle Association, the West Virginian pro-gun Democratic Senator Joe Manchin.
“It's time to move beyond rhetoric. We need to sit down and have a common-sense discussion and move in a reasonable way," Senator Manchin told MSNBC’s Morning Joe program.
"[The Newtown shooting] has changed the dialogue. This has moved beyond dialogue. We need action."
He said he had grown up in a hunting culture and that he did not see the need for any hunter to carry an assault rifle or a high-volume magazine.
" I believe this is a time for all of us to sit down and move in a responsible manner. And I think [the NRA] will.
“I don't know anyone in the sporting or hunting arena that goes out with an assault rifle. I don't know anybody that needs 30 rounds in the clip to go hunting. I mean, these are things that need to be talked about.
“So I think opening up and seeing the massacre of so many innocent children, it's changed. It's changed America. We've never seen this happen,” he said.
Until now Senator Manchin has held an “A rating” from the NRA, which rates all Americans on their attitude to guns.
As is its standard practice in the wake of mass shootings, the NRA has remained silent.
As Newtown’s children buried their friends other students in the region went back to school on Monday morning, with armed police attending the schools.
Tension was palpable and in nearby Ridgefield schools were put into lockdown after a driver were reports of a man seen with a rifle at a nearby train station.
Authorities are looking for another location for the students of Sandy Hook elementary, and may not ever reopen the school. Nonetheless they want to keep the student body together.
With the Washington Post