|Newtown Families Mark Somber Milestone|
|By JOSH HASKELL (@joshbhaskell) and DAVID MEYERS (@davidfmeyers )||Jun 14, 2013, 2:20 PM|
Although six months have passed since the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn., the father of slain first grade teacher Lauren Rousseau says life hasn't gotten any easier, it's just been more painful.
"I guess six months ago, I was a little numb to the situation," Gilles Rousseau told ABC News. "I guess it didn't register."
Rousseau said he almost turned his car around on the way to a six-month remembrance event at Edmund Town Hall in Newtown.
"I continued through it, and it makes me feel good, talking about Lauren, remembering her," he said. "I'm glad they're doing this."
Rousseau was joined by the sisters of slain teacher Victoria Soto, speaking to a crowd of residents who came to honor the 20 children and six adults gunned down on Dec. 14, 2012.
The Soto sisters held a 26-second moment of silence for the victims as a digital ticker behind them projected the number 6,003, representing the number of U.S. citizens killed by gun violence since the Sandy Hook shooting.
After the families spoke, the event transitioned to the reading of the names of those 6,003 people, a reading that would last 12 hours.
It was evident in Newtown Friday that the December shooting has come to represent much more than one town's tragedy.
Stephen Barton with Mayors Against Illegal Guns, is originally from Southbury, Conn., which neighbors Newtown, but became active in the gun control debate after he was shot in the movie theater shooting in Aurora, Colo., last summer.
"Newtown is different than even Aurora was. It's completely changed this conversation," said Barton.
Barton is one of the organizers of a bus tour leaving Newtown on the six-month milestone, traveling to 100 cities across the country calling for stricter gun laws.
"As we're speaking right now, people are getting murdered and killed with guns and those killings won't get any headlines. Those lives are just as important and we have to honor them," he said.
Barton believed the reason why Friday's remembrance event was just as much about fighting for gun laws as remembering the victims was because very little has been done on the federal level since the Newtown shooting.
Gilles Rousseau echoed that sentiment, but said he understood that things won't change simply because he's a grieving parent.
Rousseau and the Soto family traveled to Washington, D.C., on Thursday and met with President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden in the Oval Office.
"They warned us that that's not the way it works," said Rousseau. "It takes years before you make changes. Congress, Washington, moves very slowly."
But, he believed that even with stricter gun laws, the grieving process won't get any easier, especially with Father's Day on Sunday.