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.

Confirmed Cases: 97049

Reported Deaths: 2921
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds7151160
DeSoto565061
Harrison388874
Jackson352770
Madison331489
Rankin331179
Lee276470
Forrest250976
Jones250479
Washington225977
Lafayette219840
Lauderdale2065125
Bolivar184966
Oktibbeha180252
Lamar172836
Lowndes158158
Neshoba1581104
Panola151031
Sunflower148046
Leflore141781
Warren140950
Pontotoc128216
Pike124251
Monroe123969
Copiah119333
Scott117627
Coahoma116329
Marshall111517
Lincoln111453
Holmes110059
Grenada109536
Yazoo106230
Simpson104846
Tate101138
Union99924
Leake96238
Adams94337
Wayne90821
Pearl River89653
Marion86935
Prentiss86517
Itawamba83521
Alcorn82711
Covington82723
George78313
Tallahatchie77621
Newton77324
Winston74219
Tishomingo69438
Chickasaw68524
Tippah67317
Attala67125
Clarke60346
Walthall60226
Clay59818
Hancock59022
Jasper57815
Noxubee55516
Smith53815
Calhoun52412
Tunica49915
Claiborne46516
Montgomery46520
Yalobusha43714
Lawrence43313
Perry42419
Greene38617
Quitman3805
Humphreys37815
Stone37612
Jefferson Davis34211
Webster33813
Amite33510
Carroll32112
Wilkinson30518
Kemper29015
Sharkey26613
Jefferson2439
Benton2293
Franklin1933
Choctaw1866
Issaquena1053
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 136549

Reported Deaths: 2378
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson19833350
Mobile13471292
Montgomery8865184
Tuscaloosa8744118
Madison797878
Shelby604349
Lee594560
Baldwin558850
Marshall396743
Calhoun354844
Etowah354045
Morgan332728
Houston293521
Elmore269148
DeKalb243521
St. Clair234036
Walker233084
Talladega217729
Limestone213520
Cullman191120
Dallas179326
Franklin179029
Autauga178525
Russell17653
Lauderdale174033
Colbert167526
Blount161815
Escambia161424
Chilton159330
Jackson158911
Covington140327
Dale139944
Coffee13656
Pike120510
Chambers117242
Tallapoosa116685
Clarke110416
Marion97129
Butler91439
Barbour8867
Winston74512
Marengo72620
Pickens66814
Randolph66013
Bibb65710
Lowndes65727
Hale64928
Geneva6384
Lawrence62823
Cherokee61413
Bullock60714
Clay5928
Monroe5908
Washington56113
Crenshaw54232
Perry5426
Conecuh53711
Wilcox53211
Henry5085
Macon48318
Fayette4678
Sumter43819
Cleburne3895
Lamar3772
Choctaw35112
Greene30315
Coosa1723
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