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Norwalk college’s community pledges to combat violence

Patricia Frasier writes, “May God keep you in his loving care,” Tuesday at Norwalk Community College during a vigil for Newtown shooting victims.

By Nancy Guenther Chapman

NORWALK, Conn. – The “diverse, gifted” students of Norwalk Community College were charged with a mission Tuesday night by the college’s president, a challenge they seem up for.

“We here have the collective strength, one not only to come together and mourn, and comfort one another, but also to work on a solution,” said David L. Levinson, Ph. D., to about 80 people gathered for a candlelight vigil in honor of Friday’s tragedy in Newtown. “We are a very diverse community, we are a very powerful community, we are a very gifted community. … Let’s resolve as we enter the holiday season that we as a community will work together, will look for solutions to gun violence, to work to make this a much more peaceful world.”

A Norwalk Community College student holds a candle Tuesday for victims of the Newtown shooting.

Provost Jean Pamela Edington echoed the sentiment. “We will compound the tragedy of Sandy Hook if we don’t seize this opportunity to change,” she said. “… We have a responsibility to take action to make our society less violent and to protect our children.”

Many Norwalk residents who are not students attended the vigil, taking the time to express their thoughts on a large canvas bound for Newtown. “I just want to give my condolences to the people in Newtown,” Sophia Brown said.

“Many, if not all of us, have been affected in some way,” student body President Ben Engel said. He advised those in attendance to reach out to others, particularly “children, especially those who living in or near Newtown, (who) are being forced to face a fierce reality and need our support the most.”

After the vigil, student body treasurer Manav Puri of Stamford discussed gun laws with a dean, who dared to hope that good might come from the tragedy. It’s more difficult to get a pet in America than it is to get a gun, the dean said. Japanese citizens have to take psychology tests and have a valid reason to want a gun to get a permit, they said.

“The gun laws in this country are definitely not strong enough,” Puri said. “…. In Canada you need references to own a gun. Meanwhile, in this country you have street gangs with automatic weapons.”

 

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