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How Newtown defined Chris Murphy's mission

When you walk into Sen. Chris Murphy's Senate office, one of the first things you might see is a large poster of chil...

Posted: Dec 14, 2017 8:18 PM
Updated: Dec 14, 2017 8:18 PM

When you walk into Sen. Chris Murphy's Senate office, one of the first things you might see is a large poster of children's TV host Mr. Rogers with a quote on it.

"When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, 'Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping,' " Rogers wrote.

Sen. Chris Murphy was with the families of those who died in the Sandy Hook shooting

The Connecticut Democrat has made it his priority to address gun violence in Congress

The quote was widely shared after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, five years ago, where 20 school children and six adults were killed. Below the poster on Murphy's wall is a plaque dedicated to the community of Newtown.

"I was just outside the room as we told the parents. There are a lot of days when I wish that I hadn't heard the things I heard or seen the things I saw that day. It was a feeling of helplessness that's hard to describe," Murphy said of the shooting. "These parents, they're my age, their kids are my kids' ages."

On the day of the shooting, December 14, 2012, Murphy waited with parents in a firehouse near the school. Waiting for news that could only be devastating.

Since that day, and with many of the families of the Newtown victims by his side, Murphy has made it his mission to end what he calls an "epidemic" of gun violence.

He told CNN it would feel like a "personal failure" if he doesn't make progress on the issue.

"It wasn't that I didn't have an emotional connection to the issues that I worked on prior to Sandy Hook, but this was different," Murphy told CNN. "This was a calling and a mission in a way that I had never felt before."

Murphy has pushed for legislative action after mass shootings since Newtown, and has increasingly attacked his colleagues for their inaction.

Murphy says he is embarrassed he didn't pay more attention to the issue of gun violence before the shooting, the kind that happens daily in American cities across the country.

"I should have been working on this issue before Sandy Hook because even then every single day 80 people were dying from guns," Murphy said.

The 2016 election saw Democrats moving to the left on guns, with presidential nominee Hillary Clinton devoting one night of the Democratic National Convention to victims and families of gun violence.

But even as the issue has given Murphy a platform, progress on his signature issue has been slow since that Friday morning five years ago.

After the 2016 Pulse nightclub shooting that killed 49 people, Murphy staged a nearly 15-hour filibuster to protest the lack of any serious debate on the Senate floor over possible gun control measures to consider after the tragedy.

"Like other great social change movements, it will be met with lots of failures before it meets grand success," Murphy said of his efforts. "We don't hear about the social change movements in which people gave up the first time that a bill failed, or an election didn't go their way."

Murphy says that even though his political career has been defined by a tragedy, his life is richer because of his experience with the families of Newtown.

"I'm lucky enough that I get to spend time almost every week with these families. I've been able to watch their grief but also their recovery," Murphy told CNN. "It just makes me realize that you have to do everything to live every day without expectations for what comes next."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 266598

Reported Deaths: 5852
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto17807191
Hinds16967332
Harrison14298204
Rankin11280221
Jackson10976190
Lee9088145
Madison8619169
Jones6782118
Forrest6236124
Lauderdale6128192
Lowndes5564120
Lafayette5229101
Lamar507465
Washington4951125
Bolivar4149109
Oktibbeha409482
Panola388281
Pontotoc378560
Warren3698103
Monroe3693110
Marshall358570
Union357764
Pearl River3508106
Neshoba3499154
Leflore3122109
Lincoln307688
Hancock296362
Sunflower293075
Tate281162
Alcorn273554
Pike271081
Itawamba270063
Scott260849
Yazoo257156
Prentiss254554
Coahoma251555
Copiah250749
Tippah250150
Simpson243872
Leake238467
Marion225973
Grenada224272
Covington222473
Adams215371
Wayne215034
Winston207771
George204839
Newton200046
Attala197464
Tishomingo195661
Chickasaw189644
Jasper182538
Holmes172268
Clay167537
Tallahatchie157535
Stone152925
Clarke148662
Calhoun141822
Smith130726
Yalobusha123835
Walthall115037
Greene114529
Noxubee114126
Montgomery112736
Lawrence107617
Carroll106922
Perry105331
Amite102426
Webster97424
Claiborne89725
Tunica89321
Jefferson Davis88930
Benton86523
Humphreys84824
Kemper81020
Quitman7149
Franklin70717
Choctaw63813
Wilkinson59925
Jefferson57121
Sharkey45717
Issaquena1606
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 443009

Reported Deaths: 6662
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson649101007
Mobile31746574
Madison28413217
Tuscaloosa21566275
Montgomery20088332
Shelby19452132
Baldwin17333189
Lee13261107
Morgan12678142
Etowah12141181
Calhoun11555206
Marshall10487123
Houston9031164
Limestone838181
Cullman8296124
Elmore8243110
Lauderdale7946107
DeKalb7900107
St. Clair7876130
Talladega6523112
Walker6050183
Jackson603245
Colbert558194
Blount548586
Autauga540762
Coffee466964
Dale412785
Franklin377550
Russell358415
Chilton346873
Covington340880
Escambia339244
Tallapoosa3163109
Dallas313696
Chambers305470
Clarke303336
Pike265231
Lawrence255855
Marion254661
Winston234742
Bibb222948
Geneva213047
Marengo210531
Pickens200431
Hale186144
Barbour183438
Fayette178829
Butler174860
Cherokee166031
Henry160025
Monroe152621
Randolph146636
Washington142727
Clay130746
Crenshaw124845
Macon122837
Cleburne122125
Lamar120622
Lowndes116836
Wilcox108322
Bullock104628
Perry100518
Conecuh98022
Sumter90627
Greene77923
Coosa64018
Choctaw52124
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