School shooting in Nashville brings back painful memories for Sandy Hook families

Published: Mar. 28, 2023 at 12:07 AM EDT|Updated: Mar. 28, 2023 at 6:43 AM EDT
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NEWTOWN, CT (WFSB) - A school shooting in Nashville brought back a lot of painful memories for families who lost loved ones in the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.

Among those who reacted to the Tennessee shooting were Scarlett Lewis, whose 6-year-old son Jesse died at the school in Newtown more than 10 years ago.

“They dropped their child off at school [Monday] morning with a bookbag, never in their lives expecting them to come home in a body bag,” Lewis said.

Lewis said she knows the pain of losing a child.

Nearly 11 years later, according to the gun violence archive, there have been 128 mass shootings in 2023, more shootings than the number of days so far in 2023.

Each incident may sparks a tough conversation at home.

Dr. Andrew Gerber, president of Silverhill Hospital in New Canaan, said it is important to center emotions before speaking to a child.

“Put your own oxygen mask on before putting your kid’s oxygen mask [on],” Gerber said. “You need to be able to control your own emotional reaction before you can do a responsible job in talking to your child.”

For Sandy Hook families, it’s a conversation that’s all too familiar.

“I’m never really surprised anymore,” said Sandy Hook survivor Jordan Gomes.

Gomes was in 4th grade when the shooting at Sandy Hook happened. She is now a member of the Jr. Newtown Action Alliance.

Gomes and Lewis both have ties to Sandy Hook, but they have different approaches to a solution.

For Gomes, she said her answer is policy, particularly with the assault weapons ban on a federal level.

“We need to stop beating around the bush and pretending the assault weapons ban in particular, which has been a controversial piece of legislation in the past, wouldn’t be extremely effective in curbing this issue,” Gomes said.

For Lewis, she said her answer lies in looking at the path of pain that leads to this violence.

“Go back to the root cause of the pain that escalates into the attack, we’re going to have to teach people how to manage that pain. You can turn pain into purpose, it doesn’t have to take you down and you don’t have to take others down with you,” Lewis said.

Lewis created her own Choose Love movement in honor of her son. The movement provides free character social and developmental programs for school children and their families.