WWL>Topics>>1-21 9:10am Tommy talks to the co-founder of Sandy Hook Promise

1-21 9:10am Tommy talks to the co-founder of Sandy Hook Promise

Jan 21, 2013|

Tommy talks to Tom Bittman, the co-founder of Sandy Hook Promise, about the organization and push to reduce gun violence

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Automatically Generated Transcript (may not be 100% accurate)

Thank you David we welcome and -- very special guest Tom Pittman who is the co-founder of the sandy hook. Promise he is. Lives in the sandy hook -- neighborhood he has lots -- -- instance connections rather to the victims -- bullet you tell him. I'll tell you rather about them. In a second good morning sir how worried -- morning thank you for taking the time this what what exactly is your connection to the victims and sandy hook in the first off our condolences from -- the deep south to. Do you in that entire area. To tell us what your connection is. Well I'm I'm in the city of neighborhood where. Basically all the all the kids were lost my kids went to any -- -- school my electron and the school. I was the -- -- there I mean we all live within this ten square mile area so we're very tight tightly knit community. So you know some of the victims you know the -- of the children that died I don't if you. And again I'm so sorry. 43 loss and and for the the the losses of the community. For those of us that. That see it as a story and we remembered you know that December day. And and how it is punched his rightness comic and especially those of us have children. Omelet but sometimes you know things happen in the news and and then we move on. I explain if you will it and give us a snapshot of the feeling. Newtown Connecticut today. Well we're we're -- in the families are grieving the town is still trying to figure out what the -- means. Everybody had a connection but we have a real police small town here about twenty. 7000 people in Newtown and sandy -- is really just a portion of that and the senate -- goes to apportion of that so everybody in the connection somebody. You think about all the kids in that school that work something like 40450. Students. I don't know how many staff that may be in the range of forty or fifty. People on staff there. There are traumatized. These kids the PA system was on the Kindle heard the gunfire. And they had all walk by that the bodies to count -- and in addition we've got families whose kids. Barely escaped. So what we're really focused on healing and and that's what's going on -- community right now. Is there a sense as there is with side and any family that that loses. A child to where you wake up some days and you almost think it's a dream and and you have to remind yourself that this really happened. Tom. Now -- is saying is is. Is there a sense sometimes and some days where. You you wake up and -- almost seems like a bad dream and you have to remind yourself that this really happened. Well I think I know that W four for my friend. And and I I talked to them -- hear -- say that but but I have to tell you somebody could. Who can lose somebody myself. I know my family feel that lead to it took a good. Week I think. Even after Christmas to get my my seventeen year old son to this little beautiful day he was having a really tough time. And my wife and I bullpen. -- -- -- is just it just -- one just I couldn't I couldn't work I couldn't function until it. Yes sometimes you just wake up and all his Q and but again I can't manage it like for the poor families we're dealing with security right now. So tell me about the sandy -- promise what it is that led you to. It's -- found this organization and what it is that you want. Well it it really started the day after. 1214. And we had memorial we're starting to form up in town and and we were starting to -- emergent talk to each other. And -- know you want downtown that which is very small little downtown area with a but the diner in things like that there was a Christmas trees down into the center. And I know my first the first in my -- involved in this as I was I was done with my wife we were crying and a friend of ours -- shall. Was there we started to talk and he was very animated he could get to do something we have to make something positive happen out of this. And no we spent a good happen there turned out that. They were number of people around the hurt talking. And. It kind of brought in from there we had her first meeting. On Sunday may be twenty by people by Wednesday or Thursday we -- a hundred people meeting at a very public meeting. On how we move forward and and it went from there. -- attacks that comes into nominates as my kids went to sandy hook after Katrina. Helena thank you for the wonderful community that took care of us still praying for my friends in the entire communities so. Talk about communities that are linked by by tragedies. As and it has sent along he is so you can that you had a meeting in the and you decided that something has to be done. Com did did you just start. Thinking of practical solutions Hulu where you come in from an emotional place that you try to separate logic and -- You know it actually really interesting I think we all started wanted to do something. Quickly and want to have a knee jerk reaction and -- in the first meaning there were a lot of but the ideas were all over the place from what we do not gone to this is -- -- well his school safety and so forth that. And we went through an evolution now it's only a month it's been really almost five weeks now we went through an evolution where we started saying we need to. We need to focus on something like as a major and take a position to decide you know that's not Politico. Eventually evolved to a point -- you know we need to do is we started national discussion. So instead of listening to people in Washington decide what to do about something like this and waiting for them to do something about this. We decided we need communities to do something about this. And we don't know what the electorate so we decided to do was to start discussions at least in three areas wanted to and I'm responsibility. And others in mental health and a third and school safety. It back and forth between parenting. In those areas we planned start community discussions first in Newtown but then brought it -- Throughout the nation. -- those discussions come up with. Groups to discuss deciding what makes sense for them and eventually will come up with the position that we will push forward. Do you think Tom Tom. Bad enough attention has been given to use solutions. And I'm talking about Washington now. And I am trying to do -- we talk about anything here. On on our program day whether it's. Economics whether it's a social issues I always try to factor out. The politics and just try to look at the problems. And the solutions. So do you think enough attention has been given to nine gun related issues as it relates to some of the things coming out of Washington at least see your satisfaction or non minority organizations satisfaction. Not not at all not -- believe that there will be legislative action it's going to be needed. And we have with the good discussions actually let's talk about guns first. In here have done I think the best most common -- answers about gun responsibility is not -- comfort people who don't like guns it's gonna come from. Responsible gun -- It takes place better. Any grass roots Indian communities than it does in in Washington to do need to start by being political. In the end with legislation perhaps but it doesn't. Are there in -- pact to not legislative. We believe that there are aspects of parenting in that. And there's something that we can do we platform -- -- we could spread. Some of our opinions about how -- -- can be different that might have avoided some of the this kind of problem. If for example. Well as for example we have two parent who lost children. Who really feel like what they want focus on -- not mental well or. Worked on horse school safety but they feel that the best thing for them to focus on this is -- what did they do what they think can be done it. Helps children. Develop and in a more secure in and effective way he what are they doing here until we can use that platform. Our platform as it related to spread that message. We're that your dad. And -- Lanza and the problems that were here were caused -- purity problems but we are pretty sure that. Good parenting does make a difference in in -- in the development of young children and we can talk about mental well. And where mental health legislation might help going forward but in the end we believe that mental health starts in the home. In no way do I mean to to mean tests version. Golf on any of the that the teachers the stance that sandy hook elementary. In any way but in terms of a problem solving approach and in the future knowing. Now would you didn't know then. Will would would enhance security at. Schools in the future. Be part of the equation. I think I think it does need to be looked I think we really have to question idea that we can have armed guards and all of our public places. All of them soccer field small picture sinners and I don't think that that the answer to have. Can't guns in every place but that doesn't mean and it doesn't -- in the nation having a security guard in. In highly populated schools might be a part of the solution absolutely and we did that so be it should be looked at. But I would also question how effective -- armed guard who has -- be against somebody comes in with an air fifteen. I always ask him more time along the lines of we've had people on talking about. A metal doors it would close automatically safe rooms in in schools that would be they could double as security areas but of course then you'd have to have. Some kind of weekly inspection the nature that the rooms and get full plotters so that you would actually be looked at the the kids in those kind of things are necessary but that would not necessarily be related to anybody being armed. Oh yeah absolutely so for example our school had a very good security system. Being the only -- people and that they could lead to the camera. They had a good lockdown process the one thing that. That hurt us was we had glass doors. And a large panel last -- to the doors and he just shot his way through that. So yes we talked about it would have been. Not helpful it there'd been -- doors there that have been hard again. But you could say well there's there's windows all -- in the school that somebody really -- debris again. Do we have to limit all the windows I think there are things that we can do we definitely look at. Is there any are there any plans for you guys to. It's it's it's good to develop some -- and maybe it sounds oxy moronic to say grassroots but organized where you you've put together a coalition of of schools or oiler organizations. Around the nation -- To get input from everybody and then present this to Washington so you have to be her -- Where the numbers is so great that the the people inside the beltway have to listen to yeah. Well you know we're learning as we go that we think it. We we do believe that the grassroots approach is going to build that you start with a community we heard plenty about the community and we'll join you will do our own community meetings. Can we go from community discussions with. With gun owners with mental health experts locally we have. And the state level that we expand in the nation level and then secondly we do and going to Washington saying saying this is what we believe needs to be done we. Absolutely will outreach with professionals in every field here. Domino people wondering sundin -- are you a gun owner or not. Well I'm not that I I'd probably count wanted to avoid chaotic. Happily shotgun. I remember like fondest memories is -- and sixteen on the range my son. Had a good -- -- to arrange all the time but father and owned guns my sister wrongs don't have a problem with guns. But I do think that the right term we need to focus on his gun responsibility. I can't -- it again and wanna focus on. You seem like a completely reasonable man to me I appreciate your time and hoping come back sometime and talk to us. Thank you very much and good luck on our New Orleans.