WATCH: Newtown Parents Speak Out

Six minutes of devastating testimony from parents, educators, and first responders who confronted horror that day.

Two months after the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre, America is embroiled in a fierce debate about guns. But apart from a few shell-shocked comments in the media, most Americans have not heard directly from those whose voices may matter most—parents of the deceased children, and educators, first responders, and doctors who confronted the horror that day. On January 30 at Newtown High School, the devastated community testified for six hours before Connecticut leaders: A mother explaining what her surviving daughter endured. An EMT describing the damage inflicted by a Bushmaster AR-15 rifle. An ER doctor pleading to tell his patients about the health risks of guns. A father recalling “the longest two hours of my life.” Here we’ve assembled a short compilation of powerful moments from the hearing:

Video footage courtesy of Connecticut Network; see the full hearing here. Also visit our ongoing Letters to Newtown project, and read our full investigation into gun laws and mass shootings in America.

Testimonials, in order of appearance in the compilation:

  • Nicole and Ian Hockley, parents of Sandy Hook victim Dylan Hockley
  • David Wheeler, father of Sandy Hook victim Benjamin Wheeler
  • Peter Paradis, stepfather of Sandy Hook teacher’s aide and victim Rachel D’Avino
  • Neil Heslin, father of Sandy Hook victim Jesse Lewis
  • Scarlett Lewis, mother of Sandy Hook victim Jesse Lewis
  • Susan Ehrens, mother of Sandy Hook survivor Emma Ehrens
  • Dan O’Donnell, Sandy Hook parent
  • Laurie Veillette, volunteer EMT for Newtown Volunteer Ambulance Corps
  • Douglas Fuchs, police chief of Redding, Connecticut
  • Mary Ann Jacob, library clerk at Sandy Hook
  • Dr. William Begg, emergency room physician at Danbury Hospital and Newtown resident
  • Tom Swetts, teacher at Newtown High School
  • Darren Wagner, former police officer and father of a Newtown High School student

Research and additional production by Sydney Brownstone and Maggie Severns.

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Thank you!

We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

The months and years ahead won't be easy. Far from it. But there's no one we'd rather face the big challenges with than you, our committed and passionate readers, and our team of fearless reporters who show up every day.

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