January 16, 2013

Newtown mom dreams about son, urges gun reform

John Christoffersen / The Associated Press

(Continued from page 1)

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Veronique Pozner's son Noah was a victim of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Conn. Her family has submitted a detailed proposal to a White House task force that proposes a range of reforms, including federal grants for public schools to undergo reviews to improve security and requiring gun owners to lock up their weapons in their homes if the guns could be accessed by mentally ill or dangerous people.

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Pozner also says it's not right that the law protects the release of any mental health information on the gunman. She says she plans to challenge that because it could shed light.

"Those are all answers that I feel that we're entitled to," she says.

The family also is suggesting a new law requiring people to notify police within 24 hours if they know about an imminent threat of harm or death made by a person who has access to guns or explosive devices.

"I've just been in deep admiration of her strength and her ability to try to do something positive and to try to make a difference out of what happened," says Pozner's brother, Alexis Haller. "She's an inspiration really for the whole family."

Pozner says she is not ready to go back to work yet. These days, she has a tattoo near her wrist with angel wings and her son's name, his birth date of Nov. 20, 2006, and the day he died, Dec. 14, 2012.

"He was just a very expressive little boy," Pozner says. "He was just a bundle of energy."

She thinks of her son's facial expressions, of him asking for a snack after school. Days before the massacre, he had come downstairs to see her shortly after being put to bed.

"I just wanted to give you one more hug," Noah said.

"Why is your pajama top off?" his mother asked.

"So I can feel your heart better," he replied.

Noah loved Star Wars and SpongeBob. He was especially close to his twin, who escaped the shooting unharmed along with 7-year-old sister Sophia.

Arielle continues to talk about Noah in the present tense. Among donations the family received was a stuffed animal they call Noah bear.

"Every time Arielle hugs it, she says it doesn't feel anything like her brother, but she does enjoy having it around," Pozner says.

Her children are filled with questions. Why did it happen? Where is the shooter now? Can he still hurt Noah and the other victims?

"I tell them, 'Just like some people can be very sick in their bodies, some people can be very sick in their souls, and they don't think the same way other people do and they can't feel other people's pain,'" Pozner says.

She assures them the gunman can't bother Noah and the other children anymore.

She took her children back to school in neighboring Monroe this week for the first time since the shooting. On the drive, Sophia asked her not to play music on the radio because it makes her cry.

Pozner says she was reassured to see police at the school and believes such a presence can act as a deterrent.

"I don't think it's an accident that he picked an elementary school," Pozner says, noting there were "no large members of the wrestling team to be able to tackle him down in the parking lot."

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