Silence, ringing of bells to honor victims of Newtown school massacre

Candles are placed in front of the Munson-Lovetere funeral home before the wake of school principal Dawn Hochsprung, a victim in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.

Many Americans will remember the victims of the Newtown, Connecticut, school massacre with a moment of silence on Friday, just before a powerful U.S. gun rights lobbying group plunges into the national debate over gun control.

Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy called for residents of his state to observe the moment at 9:30 a.m. EST (1430 GMT) to mark a week since a 20-year-old gunman killed his mother and then stormed Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, where he shot to death 20 children and six adults before killing himself.

Malloy’s fellow governors in Maine, Illinois, Michigan and several other states called on residents to follow suit with a moment of silence and to ring bells to remember the dead. The National Cathedral in Washington plans to ring its bell 28 times as part of an interfaith memorial.

“We have the moral obligation to stand for and with the victims of gun violence and to work to end it,” said Reverend Gary Hall, dean of Washington National Cathedral, who called on Americans to pray “that we may have courage to act, so that the murderous violence done on Friday may never be repeated.”

The company that operates the Nasdaq stock exchange said its operations would observe a moment of silence at 9:30 a.m., although market will open trading at that time as usual.

The observances will be held not long before the National Rifle Association, the largest U.S. gun rights group and one with powerful ties to Washington politicians, begins a media campaign to become part of the gun control debate prompted by the stunning slaughter of 20 children, all 6 or 7 years old.

Laws restricting gun ownership are controversial in the United States, a nation with a strong culture of individual gun ownership. Hundreds of millions of weapons are in private hands.

About 11,100 Americans died in gun-related killings in 2011, not including suicides, according to preliminary data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The NRA remained quiet for four days after the Newtown slaughter, citing “common decency.” It released a short statement on Tuesday saying it was “prepared to offer meaningful contributions to help make sure this never happens again.”

The group scheduled a news conference for 10:45 a.m. (1545 GMT) on Friday in Washington. NRA chief executive Wayne LaPierre planned to appear on the NBC television talk show “Meet the Press” on Sunday.

Some U.S. lawmakers called for swift passage of an assault weapons ban.

Vice President Joe Biden convened a new White House task force on Thursday charged by President Barack Obama with finding ways to quell violence.

“We have to have a comprehensive way in which to respond to the mass murder of our children that we saw in Connecticut,” Biden told the group, which included Attorney General Eric Holder, Thomas Nee, president of the National Association of Police Organizations, and other officials.

The gunman, Adam Lanza, used a military-style assault rifle and police said he carried hundreds of bullets in high-capacity magazines, as well as two handguns. The weapons were legally purchased and registered to his mother, Nancy, his first victim.

By Thursday, funeral services had been held for more than half of the 27 people Lanza killed last week.

Newtown school officials said that Friday would be a shortened day for students heading into the Christmas break.

Reflecting a heightened state of alert at schools across the United States, a school district near Boise, Idaho, canceled planned assemblies at a number of its 50 schools after receiving a rash of threats that suggested “something bad” would happen on Friday, Meridian school spokesman Eric Exline said.

“The event last Friday in Connecticut has unnerved people in a lot of ways,” he said.

The New Milford school district, near Newtown, canceled Friday classes “on the advice of the New Milford Police Department” but did not offer any further explanation.

In Florida, a 13-year-old student was arrested on Thursday after he allegedly posted a Facebook message threatening to “bring a gun to school tomorrow and shoot everyone,” said the St. Lucie County Sheriff’s office on Florida’s east coast.

Police said the teen did not have any weapons and posed no threat to local schools. He was charged with making a written threat and is being held at a local Juvenile Detention Center.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Federal mediator joins Met Opera labor talks as…

Unions representing the orchestra and chorus of the Met Opera agreed to have a federal mediator join labor talks on Thursday as a threatened lockout loomed.

Local

Winning $7 million New York lottery ticket sold…

The only $7 million winning New York Lottery ticket for Monday's Cash4Life drawing was sold at a Queens 7-Eleven, officials said on Tuesday.

Local

Brooklyn man charged in roommate's stabbing death

A Brooklyn man accused of violently stabbing his roommate to death on Monday is in police custody and faces murder charges.

International

Dinosaurs could have survived asteroid strike

It turns out there is a good and a bad time for the planet to be hit by a meteor, and dinosaurs were just unlucky.…

Movies

Review: 'Guardians of the Galaxy' is a refreshingly…

Marvel is sitting so high on a cash mountain that it's now thrown $170 million at the relatively obscure and very silly title "Guardians of the Galaxy."

Movies

Review: 'Get on Up' is a war between…

James Brown finally gets his own boring biopic with "Get on Up," but the Godfather of Soul puts up a good fight against the usual cliches.

Movies

Review: 'Child of God' finds director James Franco…

James Franco's 11th directed feature is a noble but sloppy adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's "Child of God," about a feral mountain man (Scott Haze).

Movies

Review: Alex Gibney's Fela Kuti doc 'Finding Fela'…

Prolific documentarian Alex Gibney takes on Afrobeat god Fela Kuti in "Finding Fela," but fails to capture his unique essence.

MLB

Yankees land Stephen Drew, Martin Prado at trade…

Yankees land Stephen Drew, Martin Prado at trade deadline

College

Playing the Field: Valentine's Day coupling edition

  It’s Valentine’s Day, a day created by Hallmark to make couples spend loads and loads of money on candy, flowers and gourmet dinners. Or…

MLB

Angelo Cataldi: Ryan Howard deserves better from Phillies

Just last week, Ryan Howard endured the embarrassment of a benching that was inevitable, and yet still shocking.

NFL

Larry Donnell has inside track in Giants tight…

Little-known Larry Donnell of Grambling State currently has the inside track, as the second-year player has received the bulk of the first-team reps.

Career

What do you wear to a career fair?…

Getting that gig starts with presenting the most polished and memorable version of yourself, so refer to our expert fashion advice.

Style

Editors pick: Margiela's finger armor ring

These cool rings from Maison Martin Margiela are designed to overlap over the finger, covering each joint like armor.

Style

Givenchy champions diversity

Riccardo Tisci's uses a variety of ethnically diverse ladies for his spring campaign including Erykah Badu.

Wellbeing

Don't settle for the hotel fitness center with…

Travelers who want to skip the hotel fitness center in favor of local gyms that may offer better equipment, classes and amenities can turn to…