On December 14, 2012, Adam Lanza entered the gun free zone of Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. He opened fire on kids and teachers, killing 26 in all. One of those young victims was 6 year old James Mattioli, son of Mark Mattioli.
Like every other parent who lost their child that day, Mark’s grief seemed unbearable. Several months later, he still has a hard time talking about his son without welling up in tears as was evident Monday when he testified at a hearing in Hartford, Connecticut.
Unlike most of the other parents of victims, Mark said that there is no need for more gun laws as there are already enough of them on the books now. In his testimony, he said:
“I don’t care if you named it ‘James’ law,’ I don’t want (another law).”
“I think there’s much more promise for a solution in identifying, researching and creating solutions along the lines of mental health.”
Mark’s comment on mental health was prompted by the state’s medical examiner’s report that Lanza suffered from Asperger’s Syndrome. Asperger’s Syndrome is a form of autism that is often characterized by difficulties in social interaction, physical clumsiness, odd use of language and intense interest on one subject or topic.
On Tuesday, NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre released their 225 page report on school safety. In the report, they called for more trained armed personnel on school campuses throughout the country. The report also addresses the issue of mental health and stressed that a program needs to be developed to asses any pre-indicators of violence.
Former Rep Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas spearheaded the NRA study. He spoke at the announcement telling the audience that there needs to be a 40-60 hour training program for armed officers. He also called for state laws to allow appointed school personnel, who upon completion of the training program, to carry weapons on school grounds for the protection of students and teachers.
After Hutchinson spoke, Mark Mattioli got up to address the crowd and lend his support to the NRA report.
I know the Sandy Hook parents are still hurting and that sadly, many of them believe that stricter gun control laws are the answer. However, at least one of those parents understands that it’s not a gun issue; rather it’s a people issue. Mattioli understands that more needs to be done to help troubled people instead of destroying the Second Amendment. Now if only more people would understand.