As the one year anniversary of the Sandy Hook shootings draws near, Gov. Dannel Malloy is reflecting on that day and the lessons learned.
Governor Malloy Reflects on Sandy Hook Shootings
Jeff Saperstone sat down for a one-on-one interview with Gov. Dannel Malloy (Published Thursday, Dec. 12, 2013)
Malloy was thrust into the role of consoler-in-chief that tragic day and said he's been permanently impacted by the events of that day.
"There has not been a day this year that I haven't thought about Newtown and what transpired on Dec. 14," said Malloy said in an interview with NBC Connecticut. "What has continued to cause me great concern is how the families of the victims are doing, how the town itself is doing."
Malloy said it's hard for him to answer when asked how the tragedy has changed him personally.
"If you're talking about on the governmental side, there's nothing that quite compares to ultimately learning in the course of the day that you've lost 26 of your citizens," said Malloy.
Despite the difficulties of that day, Malloy said that the state has learned a lot.
"If there is anything to be learned out of this – and there are lots of things to be learned – but perhaps the most important thing is that guns and mental illness do not mix well," he said.
In the spring, the governor signed sweeping gun control reforms into law.
Since the release of the prosecutor's report on the shootings, Malloy said more can be done, especially when it comes to the issue of mental health.
"One of the things we know a lot about mental illness is that the earlier the intervention, the more intense that experience of intervention, the better the results are likely to be," said Malloy.
He said since Dec. 14, 2012, first responders around the state are even more prepared.
"We are learning lots every day and the technology is getting better and hopefully we will avoid some of these – and it did at UNH, by the way," Malloy said, referencing the campus-wide emergency and lockdown that was prompted by a student with a gun.
Newtown plans to mark the tragedy's one-year anniversary with silent reflection, and Malloy says the healing process will be ongoing.
"The loss of a child, spouse, a loved one, that's not necessarily something that you recover from," he said. "It's a strong and resilient community."
The governor is encouraging people to volunteer and commit acts of kindness in honor of the anniversary.