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February 28, 2013

Newtown Families at Weapons Ban Hearing: Uncomplicated Emotions

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As photos from Senate hearings go, the intensity of the emotion at yesterday’s Senate Judiciary hearing on the Assault Weapons Ban┬áseemed equal to the scale of the event, being the second worst mass shooting in U.S. history. In different variations,the most widely published image showed Neil Heslin who’s six-year-old, Jesse, died at Sandy Hook.

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Tearful pictures of Jillian Soto, the sister of slain Sandy Hook first-grade teacher, Victoria Soto, also appeared widely.

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In searching out most or all of the hearing photos, however, as I will usually do, this spoke to me also. It features Newtown 7th grade teacher Valerie LeBlanc with Senator Blumenthal. Not having seen any video, I can’t tell you if she’s angry or not but what I’m seeing is a steely conviction, if not acrid ferocity.

A search of Newtown family members who have appeared publicly, or have been photographed at a myriad of hearings already, readily turns up a river of tears. (I feel worse for Mr. Heslin each time I see him with that studio portrait in the ornate frame.) What I’m curious about, however, is why we don’t see more photos of anger. Is it that the families aren’t expressing those feelings publicly? Or, is it that tears are easy for us to absorb, but vitriol, not really?

(photos: Alex Wong/Getty Images. caption 1: Neil Heslin, father of six-year-old Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting victim Jesse Lewis, holds a picture of him with Jesse as he testifies during a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee February 27, 2013 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. The committee held a hearing on “The Assault Weapons Ban of 2013.” caption 2: Family of Sandy Hook Elementary shooting victim first-grade teacher Victoria Soto, sister Jillian Soto (C) becomes emotional as she listens with sister Carlee Soto (2nd L) and brother Carlos M. Soto (L) during a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee February 27, 2013 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. caption 3: Newtown, Connecticut, 7th grade teacher Valerie LeBlanc speaks to the press as U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) (R) listens after a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee February 27, 2013 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC.)

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