White House readies gun-control plan as more Sandy Hook victims laid to rest

Pall bearers carry the casket of Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting victim Victoria Soto out of the Lordship Community Church after her funeral ceremony in Stratford, Connecticut.

President Barack Obama assigned Vice President Joe Biden on Wednesday to find ways to curtail gun violence in America and try to avoid tragedies like the elementary school massacre in Connecticut, where the town buried one of its heroes on Wednesday.

With Newtown still in mourning from last Friday’s shooting, when a 20-year-old gunman shot dead 26 people at Sandy Hook Elementary School and then himself, Biden took the assignment to produce recommendations and report back to Obama in time for the president’s State of the Union address in late January.

Obama’s initiative addressed national outrage over the shootings in Connecticut, which have prompted longtime gun-rights supporters to reconsider their positions and a major private equity firm to put its gun-making business up for sale.

Funerals or wakes were held for four of Newtown’s children on Wednesday, as well as the school principal. Teacher Victoria Soto, who is credited with saving half her class of 6- and 7-year-olds by diverting the shooter and hiding the children in a closet, was also laid to rest.

“Vicki achieved in her 27 years what many of us will never achieve if we live to be a hundred,” the Reverend Meg Boxwell Williams told the funeral service. “Her last act was absolutely selfless, Christ-like, laying down her life for her children.”

Gunman Adam Lanza, 20, shot his mother at home and then killed 20 children and six adults at the school before shooting himself in the head, officials said.

Soto hid her students in a closet when she heard the shooting start early Friday morning, and when Lanza entered Soto’s classroom she tried to throw him off by telling him the students were at the other end of the school in an auditorium, the Hartford Courant reported, citing unnamed law-enforcement officials.

Lanza shot six of the children when they tried to run, and police later found the remaining seven students still hiding in the closet, the Courant said. Those children told law enforcement officials what had happened, the Courant reported.

The account provided Newtown with a positive story to cling to following the horrible events that left the nation stunned.

Soto’s death “mixed with the glad knowledge that her sacrifice saved so many children,” Williams said.

MOURNERS LINE THE STREETS

Some 30 police motorcycles from surrounding towns led the hearse carrying Soto’s body to the service in Stratford, Connecticut. About 200 mourners lined the streets outside the church, including a mother and daughter from Maryland who never met Soto but made the long drive because they were touched by her bravery in trying to protect the children in her class.

The family of the school’s slain principal, Dawn Hochsprung, invited mourners to visit a local funeral home on Wednesday. Her burial was due to be private at an undisclosed time.

Hundreds braved a bitter wind to pay their respects to the fallen principal, including Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.

After the service for Daniel Barden, 7, a bagpiper played “America the Beautiful,” as hundreds of police officers and firefighters, some from New York City and distant towns, stood in formation outside.

The little boy loved his family, riding waves at the beach, playing drums, foosball, reading and making s’mores around a bonfire at his grandfather’s house, said an obituary in the Newtown Bee newspaper.

Funerals were also held for for Charlotte Bacon and Caroline Previdi, both 6, and a wake for Chase Kowalski, 7.

The massacre prompted some Republican lawmakers to open the door to a national debate about gun control.

That may give an opening to Obama, who said he hoped the National Rifle Association gun lobby would reflect on the tragedy as it awaits Biden’s recommendations.

“The vast majority of responsible law-abiding gun owners would be some of the first to say that we should be able to keep an irresponsible, law-breaking few from buying a weapon of war,” Obama said.

Connecticut’s U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal and Senator-elect Chris Murphy met on Wednesday evening with a group of about 40 Newtown residents who are pushing for strengthened gun control and calling themselves Newtown United.

Blumenthal said, as he asks people in town if there is anything he can do, they tell him: “Yes. Do something about guns.”



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Mutant worms stay sober, even on alcohol

U.S. researchers have developed "mutant worms" that do not get drunk by alcohol, a breakthrough that could lead to new treatment for people trying to quit drinking

Local

K-9 nose helps capture $150K in cocaine at…

A furry, four-legged security agent helped authorities stop an illegal cocaine shipment from sneaking past JFK customs.

National

Minnesota man asked to leave Southwest flight after…

A man and his two sons were asked to leave a Southwest Airlines flight after the man sent a tweet complaining about being treated rudely by a gate agent.

National

Man sues hospital after surprise penis amputation

An Alabama man who went in to a hospital last month for a circumcision awoke after surgery to find his penis had been amputated, his lawyer said on Thursday.

Movies

Review: Brett Ratner's big 'Hercules' movie is small…

The latest "Hercules," starring Dwayne Johnson as the half-god beefcake of Greek myth, strips its hero and tale of most of its fantastical elements.

Arts

Scientists recreate world's smallest Monet copy

Scientists have reproduced a famous Impressionist painting using nano-printing, to create what has been described as the world's smallest work of art. Reworked at the…

Television

Jerry Seinfeld is ambidextrous, and other Reddit AMA…

See some of the weirder highlights of Jerry Seinfeld's recent Reddit AMA.

Going Out

Grab a pedestrian and start dancing at What…

As a New Yorker, I’ve mastered the art of focusing my gaze straight ahead. Though it occasionally piques my interest, the absurdities that play out…

U.S. Soccer

Orlando City takes shot at NYCFC over Frank…

Orlando City reminded the world how big a signing Brazilian star Kaka earlier this month with a photo of Kaka mobbed by fans juxtaposed against Lampard.

NBA

Jeremy Lin says 'Linsanity' is over as he…

Jeremy Lin lit up the NBA two years ago with his play for the Knicks but he has no desire to recreate "Linsanity" in his new career with the Lakers.

NFL

2014 NFL Fantasy Football Top 100 overall player…

2014 NFL Fantasy Football Top 100 overall player rankings

U.S. Soccer

NYCFC announce signing of Frank Lampard

The tease of a big signing Thursday by new MLS side NYCFC ended up being one rumored for weeks. England midfielder Frank Lampard agreed to…

Tech

Forget Wi-Fi: Li-Fi could be the future

Li-Fi technology – developed by Mexican company Sisoft – is wireless internet connectivity using specialized LED light.

Tech

Weather app Climendo might be the most accurate…

The wait for a truly accurate weather forecast could finally be over thanks to a nifty new app called Climendo.

Tech

Napkin Table puts focus off the phone and…

Michael Jan, a design student at Tunghai University in Taiwan, has invented a serviette-picnic blanket hybrid called the Napkin Table.

Style

Essie's new Color Boutique

Essie launches high-tech kiosks at major airports and malls across the country.