The mother and step-father of a Newtown shooting victim say the tragedy they endured was hijacked by President Obama, Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy (D-WFP), and the media in order to support the politics of gun control.
According to an interview by Bruno Matarazzo, Jr. in the Republican-American, reprinted in the Newstimes, Mary D’Avino, Peter Paradis, and their family have been avid hunters and target shooters. The murder of their daughter Rachel, a behavior analyst at Sandy Hook Elementary School, last December 14 has not changed their views about guns:
After months of silence, Hannah D’Avino and Peter Paradis said they feel compelled to speak publicly. They are not happy that Rachel D’Avino’s name and her memory are being used to push for more and tougher gun legislation.
Their tragedy, they say, has been hijacked for political gain, to further a message with which they disagree.
“We’re very frustrated mainly because the 26 families got lumped together. We’re 26 families made of individuals that all have different opinions,” said Hannah D’Avino, Rachel’s sister. “It’s like people are speaking for me and speaking for my sister. They don’t know her and they don’t know us.”
Paradis and D’Avino state that Rachel joined them in target shooting and was a good shot. Their family, they say, never experienced a firearm-related injury or death until Rachel was killed.
The family says they have been reluctant to speak publicly, primarily due to the treatment they received by members of the media. According to Matarazzo, “Days after Rachel’s death, they were inundated with requests for interviews. They were frustrated by repeated attempts by producers and reporters who hoped to land their angle of the Newtown story.”
Though Hannah D’Avino states her initial reaction after Rachel was killed was to blame guns, “As time went on, my values came back and I became more rational. Obviously, there was something wrong with (Adam Lanza) and something wrong in his house if [he] had access to that many firearms.”
Paradis, who describes himself as a political “independent,” said President Obama treated their family with compassion after the shooting.
“I have to say meeting the president was an honor,” he said. “He’s a very compassionate man, very genuine. I have to appreciate what he did. What I don’t appreciate is the politics. He used (the shooting) for his agenda. Our governor did the same thing. That’s totally wrong.”
Paradis and D’Avino say they are not opposed to some gun control, but believe that, instead of enacting new federal laws, existing ones should be enforced. In addition, they did not support Connecticut’s new gun laws, passed in April, that broadened the definition of “assault weapon,” and “banned hundreds of guns by declaring illegal any gun with more than one military-style feature, including a pistol grip, a fixed magazine of more than 10 rounds, or a collapsible stock.”
“The shooter in Newtown didn’t use an assault rifle, he used an assault-style rifle,” said Paradis. “It’s much different. He could have used a much larger caliber, the same semi-automatic stuff and he could have done a lot more damage. But hey, we all had political agendas, didn’t we?”
Paradis and D’Avino say more needs to be done about mental illness, which they believe is the real reason Rachel and others died. They told Matarazzo that they tried to discuss this with members of Sandy Hook Promise, the Newtown community group that formed within days of the shooting, but their concerns were dismissed. Matarazzo indicates that no one from Sandy Hook Promise returned his calls for comment.
Paradis said that he and his family did not ride on Air Force One with other families of Sandy Hook victims and the president, as they traveled to lobby for new gun legislation. His family spoke with Vice President Biden, but did not meet with him when he visited Connecticut to call for tougher gun restrictions.
“What am I going to do?” Paradis asked. “I’m going to say I’m not for gun control. I’m not fitting the president’s agenda.”
The final report on the shooting massacre has been delayed numerous times and is not due out now until “sometime in the fall,” according to Chief State’s Attorney Kevin Kane.
“There’s no timetable,” Kane said in a phone interview with Ctpost.com. in August. “It’s important for the families that it’s done accurately and right.”
“The governor wants it done right and correct,” Kane said.
But state House Minority Leader Lawrence Cafero (R) said he wished the state House and Senate leaders had been offered a briefing.
“The public has a right to know and I think they want to know,” Cafero said. “We have the background on the shooter, but if there’s something else going on, we need to know. At the very least we’re entitled to know why the investigation is going longer than originally expected. ”