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December 16th, 2012
08:28 PM ET

Clips from Friday: Danbury, Conn. mayor on the Sandy Hook principal; Others affected by shoootings call for stiffer gun control

On the heels of Friday's unthinkable tragedy in Newton, Conn., "Piers Morgan Tonight" aired a live edition of the program, dedicating the entire hour to providing perspective and adding context into a school shooting that resulted in 28 deaths.

With 20 children, ages 6 and 7, perishing inside Sandy Hook Elementary, Mark Boughton spoke about the brave principal who died trying to protect them:

"I had the honor of working in the same school system and very close proximity to Dawn [Hochsprung] who passed away today. She was a teacher in the Danbury public school system and then elevated up through the ranks and eventually ended up the principal here in Newtown," said the mayor of nearby Danbury, Conn. "A committed, hardworking, dedicated educator. Somebody who cared deeply about kids, and she put kids first in every facet and every way in which she executed her job and somebody who we just would all admire, and all while working with our children, as a professional."

Just a few months removed from other gun-related incidents – in Aurora, Colo. and at the Empire State Building in Manhattan – on Friday, Piers Morgan welcomed a pair of guests tasked with providing insight drawn from their own personal experiences:

"I think the president said we need a meaningful action now, and he said that in the past, and so I'll be waiting for that action," said Stephen Barton, who survived the July 20th movie theater shooting in Colorado. "It's a shame that 20 children have to be slain for us to even start talking about this, but I really think the American public is fed up with the lack of conversation on this issue."

Paul Ercolino, meanwhile, whose brother was killed in the August shooting at the Empire State Building, echoed Barton's stance, calling for stiffer firearm legislation:

"I think, in the wake of today, a referendum on guns is needed. I was talking the day my brother was murdered, as a father, as innocent children, I see the heartbreak. We have to go back to that. We have 20 families, 26 families that are devastated right now, while we're having this debate. That's something we have to focus on. But this debate is about gun control, it's about mental illness, it's a combination. It's got to be all groups that come together."

Watch the clips, and listen to the interviews, as Morgan and his guests used the "Piers Morgan Tonight" platform to address the devastating school shooting in Newtown, Conn., and the ways in which America can move forward.
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soundoff (38 Responses)
  1. CFool

    What’s the cause of this violence in America and this tragic shooting?!?
    FIRST: The news media, CNN included profits from the coverage. So they will run stories like this in a loop until the rating fall off. They also profit from the story about gun control, while they campaign to take our rights away.
    Second: The entertainment industry profits from making violence movies, the more shocking, the better for them. They have no responsibility if someone emulates the behaviors.
    It makes no more sense to outlaw guns than it dose to censor the all news and the Hollywood movies.
    Most of these ldiot killers wouldn’t think up such violence if it had not been suggested to them by the Medias, Obama type supporters.
    THIRD: It is you. You have morbid curiosity that should be replaced by positive thoughts. Don't go to the slasher movies. Also our moral fiber is being destroyed by thing like legalizing drugs and gay marriage. The liberals are destroying your moral compass. What actor said? "I got to kill all the white people" like it was funny just before this shooting? I forgot to mention that, in a society that has no value for LIFE, I mean that is pro abortion why should any life have value. Obama should be happy with the killings. It fits his MO

    December 16, 2012 at 9:36 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • louisjames

      Sounds like you are blaming society while advocating a return to an 1800's type society where we all will need to pack iron to keep safe. It seems you have no trouble with the 2nd Amendment, bit have a lot of trouble with the 1st Amendment. Freedoms and rights come with responsibility, the freedom of speech and the freedom to bears arms both. But you only seem to care about the media's responsibilities and not gun owner's.

      December 16, 2012 at 11:04 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  2. mary


    December 16, 2012 at 9:39 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Nana

    Find out how much support did your congressmen and senators receive from NRA lobbyist? The innocent victims of Sandy Hook school were not given a chance but you do. Call up your congressmen and senators and make you voice be heard.

    December 16, 2012 at 9:41 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Walter

    I dont understand why the video gaming industry as being the mainstream of violence? if u look back in the 80's when Heavy Metal music was being sued by bands like Ozzy and Judas Priest for the suicide based on the lyrics played but these 2 bands?

    December 16, 2012 at 9:45 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • louisjames

      It's slight of hand to get video games, movies, music controlled rather than guns. Don't fall for it!

      December 16, 2012 at 10:36 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  5. WinniDogg

    More gun control will not bring an end to killing any more than Prohibition stopped drinking. Weak morality and lack of understanding of history especially among our youth are major contributory factors to the seemingly increase in lawlessness. To deny human nature, that we are a rather brutal species, compounds the problem. . We banned alcohol in the 1920's and spawned criminal organizations that still plague us. Humans have imbibed alcoholic beverages since time began. Drinking can't be stopped, but laws can keep it civil. Same goes for guns. Both kill a lot of folks, but we are battling human nature here. How many criminals will think twice if they might be facing a weapon instead of an unarmed citizen? Most of us would prefer not to have guns to defend ourselves and loved ones, but if it takes the threat that I might have a gun to deter a criminal, so be it. If you have a better suggestion I am all ears.

    December 16, 2012 at 9:45 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • louisjames

      Mandatory trigger locks, guns safes, locking up ammo. Closing the gun show background check loophole. Sensible gun control laws will help. They will not eliminate the problem but will mitigate it further. If you want to keep a loaded Glock in the nightstand with a trigger lock on, fine. But keeping a loaded AR-15 lying around is dangerous and irresponsible and unnecessary unless you expect to be attacked by 5 or more people at 200 yards out.

      December 16, 2012 at 10:34 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • David

      To equate gun control with the prohibition of alcohol is just about the most shallow view on this site. And to claim that gun control will not help to reduce these types of incidents flies in the face of reality. Check out what happened in Australia after these control were introduced. you yanks are a weird lot.

      December 17, 2012 at 5:39 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  6. theracedirector

    Despite being a Republican, I couldn't agree more with the President tonight. The problem isn't gun control or which side of that issue you stand on. The problem is US as a society and especially as parents. We are raising a generation of callous, self-aggrandizing, celebrity-driven children who have become immune to our culture of violence. The gift of choice for adolescents in the Leave it to Beaver generation was a skateboard. Today it is violent videogames like Black Ops where children compare their proficience based on who has the highest total "kills." We are Rome teetering on the brink of ethical collapse.

    December 16, 2012 at 9:46 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Lets get honest

      It's a tragedy when Bush lied to us about WMD and got away from being charged with War Crimes. Our children are learning our President and leaders lie to us and get away. Our society is full of hate and glorifies and forgives people like Bush what are our young learning ?
      How many faces and age of innocent victims of Iraq and Afganistan have we seen on CNN?

      December 16, 2012 at 10:00 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Brett

      Well said!

      December 16, 2012 at 10:11 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • louisjames

      The shooter does not appear to have been improperly parented, but suffering from mental instability.

      December 16, 2012 at 10:24 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • louisjames

      Also, you can't really claim the ethical high ground and be against sensible gun control measures.

      December 16, 2012 at 10:26 pm | Report abuse | Reply
      • theracedirector

        Nobody–including the vociferous Piers Morgan–has detailed what sensible gun control measures could have prevented this tragedy. It was perpetrated without an assault rifle with guns that were lawfully owned by the shooter's mother. In other words, the legally approved weapons were taken from family. Explain the gun control measures that would have prevented what happened.

        December 16, 2012 at 10:34 pm | Report abuse |
      • Hanna

        Our children are growing up learning that you can get away with what ever you do. You can find a lawyer to defend you who can find a shrink to label you insane. You can blame your parents, your grand parents, your teachers and you can get away. We are becoming a curse society, a selfish society a greedy society. We don't care of other people's children and values and innocent lives our guns have been killing all over the world. Just few weeks back how many children of Gaza were killed ? Little Zanib was 6 her brother Hamid was 2, there mother was 28 and this list goes on and on.

        December 16, 2012 at 10:43 pm | Report abuse |
      • Clint

        Sensible gun control is really just a code word for total gun control. All you want to do is get your foot in the door. then It will just be a matter of time. You don't really want honest debate you won't even listen to both sides. Total B.S.

        December 17, 2012 at 1:45 am | Report abuse |
      • louisjames

        I have no such intent, sorry try again! I've owned guns and plan to again very soon. I enjoy shooting and I'm a very good shot.

        December 17, 2012 at 3:31 am | Report abuse |
  7. Roger Kotter

    This has got to stop! If you and your cohorts in crime continue to embelish this tragedy we will have many more. The times you mention this last fellows name only entice others to get the overpowered guns out and do damage to some other folk. Stop this glorification of crime. Stop spending your time talking about it and move on to the important issue. Get rid of the guns. Encourage your other show hosts and announcers to stop the glorification. Get some policies going in washinton that help prevent this! Get rid of the many, many movies that glorify these types of actions. Please OH please stop the annoucing of this tradgedy.

    Roger Kotter

    December 16, 2012 at 9:48 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • vicky

      For the love of guns, 20 children spend the night in puddles of blood. Wake up America – we have blood in our hands and it needs to be announced; not covered up. It's a reminder that we have gone too far and need change.

      December 16, 2012 at 11:37 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  8. louisjames

    Dearest New York Times,

    In the majority of cases when a person with a concealed carry gun is confronted by a violent shooter, the person does one of two things: a. freezes in fear and does nothing, b. draws the weapon, fires without aiming properly, misses the target, hits innocent bystanders. Cops are not immune to this problem either, it happens routinely. It happened in NYC recently when all the cops on scene all fired and emptied their guns with almost no bullets hitting target, with bystanders injured as a result. It takes more than just buying a gun and keeping it on your person to defend yourself or others, you need training on how to shoot properly (which takes constant practice), it takes the balls/guts to shoot back, and it takes the steely nerve to be able to kill instantly without remorse. We should ask teachers to acquire these skills too? We can hardly get cops and soldiers to do this properly and without error. And it takes years of training to get even that far. Arming teachers is not a solution to school shootings either logically or logistically. Why do so many, the NRA included, think it is? They may have knowledge about guns and shooting, but clearly none about killing.

    Please ask the army if it thinks guns in the classroom is a good idea. Most of the time a soldier cannot even keep his gun loaded due to the high likelihood of an accidental discharge. Ask the army what it takes to turn an average person into a trained killer effective at defending a group of 15 people or more in close quarters against an attacker with an AR-15 or similar semi-auto rifle; you learn it extremely difficult to do even with people who aspire to do so. It's probably impossible to do with a person with no such aspiration.

    We can't even get a computer in every classroom, so we'll be able to a gun there? (An accurate, reliable, user-safe handgun costs more than a decent computer. And the cost of training to use the gun will not be insignificant, this while government cuts eduction spending left and right and fights teachers unions.)

    A gun in the home is rarely used to ward off an intruder and is more likely to be involved in an accidental shooting, the same will happen in the classroom.

    A friend pointed out that more people in the US died from guns in 2011 (just that one year) than all US soldiers killed in combat from 2001 until today.

    December 16, 2012 at 9:52 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jaker, Dublin

      Jes, this is how I understand it to be...

      The NRA & the other gun lobbyists are doing their damnedest to keep as many guns presently & even acquire more into the future, to put as many in circulation as they can.

      How is it at present with the right to bear arms, is that since 2005, more Americans roughly 8.775 US people a year, have been killed by guns, totalling 61.425, it's more than Iraq & Afghanistan wars combined? That's even before you add up all the victims of last year & this year. Now tell that isn't totally "Reprehensible"?

      December 16, 2012 at 10:02 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Jes

    There's some pro-gun people out there, that guy on your show that said that guns help people in some situations, what a joke. If there's no guns then there's no gun problem. This shouldn't take a brain surgeon to understand, take away the guns then there's no need to worry about people with mental problem getting their hands on guns. I think the political people that oppose getting rid of these guns or against tight restrictions on gun access won't do anything about it, unless something like this happens to their kids/grandkids. I doubt any changes will happen in this millenium.

    December 16, 2012 at 9:56 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Todd Hanna

    Guns without locks and ammunition stored separately is totally irresponsible. Access to guns is out of control. Although nobody can be certain, I would expect most would agree that many tragedies may be avoided with limited access and properly stored weapons. If I owned a gun, I can't imagine why I would not want to protect myself from misuse.

    December 16, 2012 at 10:00 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  11. freeenergyengineer

    Was the shooter's shrink forcing him to eat LSD like pills every day?

    December 16, 2012 at 10:02 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Jaker, Dublin

    People should look at all these names 100 times & then look at the ages 100 times & then ask yourselves one BIG question for the future...are those lives? or even one of those lives? a good trade-off for the right to bear arms?

    "Look at their "Ages"!

    PS. And then wonder? How many more lives you're going to sacrifice for that idiotic principle?

    December 16, 2012 at 10:05 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Annmarie

    Piers, I think that your shows regarding intelligent gun reform is great...but tell us what to do? Tell us where to go to get it done? We just need someone to tell us how to make change....perhaps cohesively since this is where most of the power lies. Even if you use Brady Campaign as the vehicle. This is the problem right now. People who support lax gun regulations know to look to the NRA...where is the organization that we can go to for fight in what we believe in?

    December 16, 2012 at 10:07 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Jaker, Dublin

    The NRA have their right to bear arms; please tell me then what rights (even 1) have children in the USA got on their side to be protected from guns? Seems to me, not even 1. And that is totally shameful.

    There are three more points I'll put to make you rethink your idiotic Second Amendment, regarding guns.

    I. "There but for the grace of God, go I".
    2. "Suffer the little children to come unto me".
    3 "Children have the right to be "Children". (Stop cheating them of that utmost right.

    It's now time to stop hmming & hawing!

    December 16, 2012 at 10:11 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Wake up

      NRA keeps bringing the name of God no different to the Talabans bringing the name of Allah.
      Lets get real and wake up.

      December 16, 2012 at 10:27 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  15. freeenergyengineer

    Now it's going to be a mad dash to learn all about assault rifles before they get banned. I will be making 11th hour offers to buy some guns. I design Free Energy Devices so I have a valid reason to be armed to the teeth. The oil industry sponsored Men In Black want to kill me because I build Free Energy devices and they will lose a lot of money when Free Energy takes over the energy industry.

    December 16, 2012 at 10:15 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  16. freeenergyengineer

    In fact a requirement for those that I bestow a Free Energy Device on is that they be proficient in, and knowledgeably own guns. They have to be able to defend themselves for their own sake. A house with 200 Amp service can sell enough energy to the electric company that it will pay the mortgage.

    December 16, 2012 at 10:21 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  17. For your safty

    You have a choice to get involved.

    December 16, 2012 at 10:22 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  18. mark peschel

    so pssionate about gun controls,
    like those in Britain,
    please tell us
    how would they prevent
    tragedy like Sandy Hook.

    December 18, 2012 at 7:40 am | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Born in America

    Witnessing how our 2nd Amendment rights have been methodically and systematically eroded over the past half century; it's only a matter of time before this country morphs into a new 1930's Germany. History does repeat itself! Pip ,Pip; Cheerio!

    December 18, 2012 at 1:34 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Brendan Patrick

    Dear Piers;

    I don't like you,, put that aside....As a member of the NRA over the past 10 yrs., I've decide not to renew my membership and part ways from the organization. I own an AR-15 .223 with only a 10 round clip. The gun cost me $650.00 a while ago, but yesterday evening I took a power hack saw and cut it into 3 pieces rendering it useless. I did it because I now have so so much hate in my heart for the event that happened on Friday, the only thing I could take it out on was the gun.

    The 2and Amendment is extremely flawed. I always knew that if Robert E. Lee had AR-15's provide his troops, history would have chenged. Had Lincoln had an Apache Long Bow Helicopter armed to the teeth, the Civil War would have ended 3 years and 11 months earlier. Bottom line, the Founding Fathers knew nothing of the "100 round clip", Armor Piercing Rounds, let alone Jet Planes and Ford Mustangs.

    I will back the new legislation, because this sick act is so so random, that I am wondering whether to home school, to not let the kids go to the mall, waiting till the movie comes to DVD. We are NO LONGER SAFE outside our home. It's got to end. The "right to bare arms is CRAP", The Bush Master is not an "arms". I bought it to watch things
    blow to pieces when I shot it. It's a BAD HOME DEFENSE WEAPON, It's only cool for bragging rights, but now I am sad I owned one. I still don't like you but now I am backing your weapons ban on these things.

    Also, can you help buy asking the question that if there is a "known" mentally unstable child in a home where parents DO NOT SECURE their weapons from these known kids/adults who are mentally compromised, can we hold parents responsible for the damage their guns cause outside their home? That's got to be next on the list. We are done with this Piers and people are now breaking ranks because we have come to the end of our rope when we saw those little faces of those little kids.

    Brendan Patrick
    Northern California

    December 18, 2012 at 8:46 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  21. SteveG

    According to this, Britons are 5 times more likely to die from their healthcare system than Americans are to die by guns.

    December 29, 2012 at 1:28 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  22. margaretrosemaryrohr


    Have you already seen that coolest stuff ever? What do you think about it? Check it out

    See you around, Derrick Powers

    July 31, 2017 at 6:42 am | Report abuse | Reply

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