‘‘We don’t want Newtown to go on the list with Columbine, Tucson and Virginia Tech and only have it associated with horrible acts,’’ said Lee Shull, who moderated a Newton United meeting just days after the shootings. ‘‘We want to turn this into something positive. What can we do?’’
A handful of people showed up to the group’s first meeting at the town library two days after the Dec. 14 shooting. The next night, 35 attended, most scrawling ideas and notes on white paper covering the tables. A few days later there was barely room to maneuver around the meeting room when two guests showed up: Sen. Richard Blumenthal and Sen.-elect Chris Murphy, Connecticut Democrats who told the group they planned to push for gun control legislation and needed their constituents to help them press the issue in Washington.
The group sees itself as a way to spark a local and national dialogue and action in the aftermath of a tragedy. It’s also a way to do something, anything, to cope with the sadness that has settled over Newtown.
Said resident John Neuhall: ‘‘Our hearts are broken wide open and we’re here out of grief and out of love for those families.’’
Associated Press Writers Pat Eaton-Robb and John Christoffersen contributed to this report.