Four years ago I wrote “Inside scoop of gripping photo from Newtown, CT, massacre from small-town newspaper” after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. Twenty-six people were killed by a gunman inside the school on Dec. 14, 2012.
My article began: “Being a lifelong journalist and a parent of a 10-year-old, I’m heartbroken by this photograph, taken by Shannon C. Hicks as the shooting massacre unfolded in Newtown, Mass., killing 20 elementary school children and six adults. It is circulating worldwide via AP. The image is burned into my memory.
“It tells this ‘unimaginable’ story better than anything else I’ve seen, read or heard. And it’s from an inspirational sounding community journalist (also a community volunteer firefighter, as it turns out), according to my research.” The rest of the post is HERE.
This morning, on the fourth anniversary of this tragedy, I received this heartwarming email on Facebook from Shannon Hicks (now Shannon Hicks Will), who is associate editor for the small-town newspaper, The Newtown Bee. Shannon’s note read:
“Good morning Jeff,
“On this fourth anniversary of 12/14, I am reaching out to say ‘thank you.’
“Your December 15, 2012 Sierra Foothills Report post was brought to my attention this morning. I don’t know if you and I even spoke before you put that together (the hours and days after the shootings are a complete blur in my memory).
“I must compliment you for getting everything you wrote correct, and for writing such a nice piece about me and the newspaper I have devoted my life to. The articles you found, and chose to highlight, really do show how encompassing the hats are that I wear here.
“I don’t know what prompted you to write ‘Inside scoop of gripping photo from Newtown, CT, massacre from small-town newspaper,’ but it’s a lovely piece. I can’t tell you how much it means to me. Finding it this morning is especially meaningful.
“Just wanted to reach out with a note, journalist-to-journalist, to tell you that your work was appreciated.
“Shannon (Hicks) Will”
I thanked Shannon via Facebook this morning and told her that what prompted my writeup was being the parent of a elementary school student at the time. The shooting was an emotional experience that we all felt. Since then, shootings like this have continued — along with a debate on gun control legislation.
A group formed by families who lost children in the Sandy Hook school shooting has started a new public service campaign designed to teach people to recognize the warning signs of someone who may be contemplating gun violence. The “Know the Signs” campaign from Sandy Hook Promise includes the launch on Friday of a new 2 ½-minute video public service announcement designed to show how easy it is to overlook at-risk behavior.