On Tuesday, CNN's Anderson Cooper grew visibly emotional while discussing the Uvalde, Texas mass shooting with Nicole Hockley, who lost her son Dylan in the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.
"The parallels, obviously, to Sandy Hook are clear," said Cooper. "For what parents are going through tonight, can you just talk a little bit about this time, when it was your child and you were waiting, what that process, that unspeakable process was like?"
"For me — and I am kind of re-experiencing it today, it's absolute shock and denial because no one would ever expect to send their child to school and have them murdered in their classroom," said Hockley. "We're becoming too immune to this as a country, but this is not the way it's supposed to be. So I know for myself, for several days, I was in absolute shock and, you know, for the several hours before being told that if my child wasn't with me, meant they weren't coming back until finding out later that evening that he had been identified according to his clothes and the photo I gave police, yes, it was Dylan who was one of the dead, so just the shock and trauma and sheer inability to have your brain accept that this is reality. So I would expect that that could be very much what some of the parents are experiencing right now, for those who have been told and those who are still waiting to find out, you can't even begin to imagine the horror that's going through their minds and hearts right now."
"And we are seeing photos of your beautiful son Dylan and it's — you have dedicated your life, you are working with schools and other organizations to teach the warning signs of people at risk of harming themselves or others," said Cooper. "What is the first thing you tell people you work with to look for?"
"I tell them to just be open to seeing any at-risk sign of someone who could be going into crisis, self-harm or harm to others and that can be anything from bullying and extreme isolation at one end to more overt threats of violence and means to act on that violence," said Hockley. "What I teach is, really, this gun violence we're experiencing on a daily basis in schools and in communities and grocery stores and movie theaters across the country, this is not an inevitable part of our life. There are actions we can take to prevent it if we have the courage and perseverance to lean in and take those as not just be apathetic and accept this is the way it is. People said after Sandy Hook, with 26 six-year-olds and seven-year-olds dying, that would be rock bottom, yet here we are again, almost ten years later, with another elementary school and the thousands of mass shootings that have happened in between."
"I don't know how much more our country can take, and why we keep going through that same cycle over and over again of thoughts and prayers and lack of action," she added.
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