Connecticut’s state colleges and universities held a moment of silence on Thursday afternoon for the victims and families of the college killing in Oregon.
Students and faculty gathered at 2 p.m. on Thursday at the Three Rivers Community College in Norwich to reflect on the lives lose.
Community members also signed a condolence message in the lobby of the school.
Life is forever changed for the families of those victims, who share a grim connection to 26 families in Connecticut.
Nicole Hockley, mother of Dylan Hockley who was killed inside Sandy Hook Elementary School, was walking into a meeting in New York City last Thursday when the alert flashed on her phone, saying there was a shooting at a school in Oregon.
"I don't even think 10 words were out of my mouth before I just burst into tears, and I just couldn't talk anymore because I was right back on Dec. 14,” Hockley said. "It takes my breath away, in terms of how much detail comes back to me. Remembering, trying to find Dylan, finding Jake, and then everything that came afterward."
In the afterward, Hockley found the Sandy Hook Promise, which is her way of taking action to try to prevent the kind of violence that has touched her family.
"There’s always a lot of talk. There’s a lot of talk about policy, but there's not enough actions that everyday people in their homes and communities can do,” Hockley said.
Actions include anger management, conflict resolution, and coping skills.
But mostly, it is keeping an eye out for warning signs.
Hockley said in four out of five school shootings, and seven out of 10 suicides, the person told someone beforehand.
"There are always signs. There are always ways to intervene. There’s always things that can be done and we only talk about it after the fact, and that's very frustrating,” she said.
She added that she wants to see an early focus on mental wellness and appropriate access to firearms.
"I think it's the person behind the gun that we need to deal with, but they are also choosing that weapon for very specific reasons. So it's the person and the weapon. This isn't about one or the other it has to be taken together,” Hockley said.
It has been nearly three years since the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, and just one week for those families in Oregon.
"The sheer sadness that I feel for those families, knowing what they're going through, and knowing what's still to come for them,” Hockley said.
Her hope is through this work, some day they can stop another family from having to go through the same thing.
"We’re not at the tipping point yet, but I think we're going to get there soon,” she said.
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