WATCH: Newtown Parents Speak Out

Six minutes of devastating testimony from parents, educators, and first responders who confronted horror that day.

Two months after the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre, America is embroiled in a fierce debate about guns. But apart from a few shell-shocked comments in the media, most Americans have not heard directly from those whose voices may matter most—parents of the deceased children, and educators, first responders, and doctors who confronted the horror that day. On January 30 at Newtown High School, the devastated community testified for six hours before Connecticut leaders: A mother explaining what her surviving daughter endured. An EMT describing the damage inflicted by a Bushmaster AR-15 rifle. An ER doctor pleading to tell his patients about the health risks of guns. A father recalling “the longest two hours of my life.” Here we’ve assembled a short compilation of powerful moments from the hearing:

Video footage courtesy of Connecticut Network; see the full hearing here. Also visit our ongoing Letters to Newtown project, and read our full investigation into gun laws and mass shootings in America.

Testimonials, in order of appearance in the compilation:

  • Nicole and Ian Hockley, parents of Sandy Hook victim Dylan Hockley
  • David Wheeler, father of Sandy Hook victim Benjamin Wheeler
  • Peter Paradis, stepfather of Sandy Hook teacher’s aide and victim Rachel D’Avino
  • Neil Heslin, father of Sandy Hook victim Jesse Lewis
  • Scarlett Lewis, mother of Sandy Hook victim Jesse Lewis
  • Susan Ehrens, mother of Sandy Hook survivor Emma Ehrens
  • Dan O’Donnell, Sandy Hook parent
  • Laurie Veillette, volunteer EMT for Newtown Volunteer Ambulance Corps
  • Douglas Fuchs, police chief of Redding, Connecticut
  • Mary Ann Jacob, library clerk at Sandy Hook
  • Dr. William Begg, emergency room physician at Danbury Hospital and Newtown resident
  • Tom Swetts, teacher at Newtown High School
  • Darren Wagner, former police officer and father of a Newtown High School student

Research and additional production by Sydney Brownstone and Maggie Severns.


Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend