Preview: The Sandy Hook Promise

May 1, 2013

Francine and David Wheeler’s youngest son Ben was one of the 20 children killed in the December 14th attack at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. Their grief has led them to Sandy Hook Promise, a now-nationwide group founded by Newtown friends and neighbors to heal the hurt and find new ways to talk about and campaign against the scourge of gun violence in the United States. One of their allies is folksinger Peter Yarrow of Peter, Paul and Mary fame, who joined with the Wheelers and others in a February concert of harmony, resilience and solidarity.

On this week’s Moyers & Company, Francine Wheeler and Peter Yarrow discuss with Bill the power of music to create change, and their mission to protect children and adults from gun violence in communities across America. We also see excerpts from the concert, soon to appear on many public television stations. Later, the conversation continues as David Wheeler joins his wife to talk about what can be done and if the gun issue can be addressed in a way that includes diverse viewpoints and bypasses partisan brinkmanship.

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  • Yvonne Green

    Max Lucado said to best to the entire Sandy Hook Community “We will remember” — Max Lucado
    Of course it wouldn’t hurt to get prayer back in schools Crime rate was so much lower when we prayed in schools or at least make it an option for the students to meet more often at school

  • Étienne Proulx

    not nationwide , worldwide , I live in Canada and I sign up on , I’ll never forget and I’ll fight against guns too .

  • J

    How about legislation that repeals the gun manufacture immunity signed by George W. Bush!? Auto manufacturers are required to provide safety glass, safety belts, air bags given the 7th Amendment, trial by jury in civil cases…a vehicle is defective and unreasonably dangerous product without them…why do the gun manufacturers get to thwart the Constitution…embrace the 2nd, spit on the 7th. Simple concept…if guns without thumb print, palm print, or if shared weapon, registered chip inserted into gun to operate that can also be put on key chain, isn’t there (all economically viable and reasonable safety measure) jury can decide whether the gun is a dangerous and unreasonably dangerous product and the manufacturer, wholesaler, or retailer is liable for the foreseeable harm caused. Don’t need any further legislation, don’t need to take any weapons…that’s it…gun manufacturers should be pleased as the extra $100 dollars they can easily be pass on to the shooters.

    P.S. I am a gun owner, rifle range shooter, and gun enthusiast. No one’s taking my rifles…I just believe in reason…and yes…I am a resident of Newtown, CT

  • tisaparadox

    Looking forward to another thought-provoking, insightful Bill Moyers & Co. Thanks in advance.

  • bserius

    Drunk Driver kills,,,,,,, You blame drunk driver,
    Bomber kills ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,You blame Bomber
    Criminal shooter kills,,,,,,,YOU BLAME GUN

  • Clinton Freeman

    You are SO right!
    No one has to show ID to buy alcohol. We have to be protected from the government keeping registries on car ownership or forcing people to have a license to drive a car.
    Why on Earth do we have all of these useless laws against making bombs? We should just wait and punish the people who use them.

  • j. c. butlert

    Why are even having this debate? The 2 nd amendmant is suspect. All we are asking is that we do the best we can to put weapons into the hands of Resposible citizens. There is no need for magazine clips of more than 10 bullets. And the technology exists to make a weapon rendered unusable except by the Lawful Owner.
    jc butler

  • brook e

    Protecting the 2nd amendment is the exact place where everyone has the opportunity to come together. No one disputes the importance of the ability to protect yourself and your family. The 2nd amendment came to be as a matter of protection…long before anyone who had a hand in writing that amendment could have ever imagined gun technology that could release bullets at a rate faster than a heart beat. If you’re going to protect the 2nd amendment, then do it from the place that it was originally designed…to love and protect oneself and loved ones. There was a disconnect once automatic weapons were introduced, and even the stray bullets from hand guns. This is where we have murdered our citizens, children, and our humanity. At the very least, this country should be able to agree on this…

    Francine and David, your loss is beyond tragic. Sending you warmth, love, and strength during your movement…

  • brook e

    Driver, bomber, and gunman are all guilty of the same thing…murder. There is a difference…unless you want to ban certain cars, fireworks, and cooking pans…semi automatics seem like a reasonable discussion to make in an effort for a safe place for our children. Parents don’t send their children off to school worried about whether a car will drive through the school. They worry about whether their child will be shot. We have to begin somewhere…together

  • louie

    David Wheeler is so full of himself.
    Owning and possessing a weapon is a RIGHT, not a privilege, Dave. Get your facts in line before you spout off.

    Adam Lanza DID NOT use an AR-15 or any other Semi-Automatic rifle to kill your son,he used a Glock pistol, the same gun carried by 3/4 of the Country’s police forces.

    Stop the lies, then maybe somebody will listen to you. You are little more than a tool for the Fuhrer, Barrack Huessien Obama. Too bad you’re blinded by your own ego.

    80 million gun owners in this country.
    300 million weapons out there.
    YET violent crime is down, the highest reduction in more than 60 years! Except for Chicago and DC, where guns are banned.

    What have you to say about this, Dave?


  • Elizabeth Holmquist

    I just watched this episode on PBS. I was moved to tears by not only the loss of Francine and David, but also by their strength and their understanding of even those who oppose their movement. I would love to see someone like David Wheeler, with his empathy and pure logic, run for public office. I plan to encourage everyone I know, on both sides of the argument, to watch this episode. My thoughts, prayers and love are with Wheelers and all those families who have suffered as they have.

  • Kevin Orton

    I’ve known David and Francine Wheeler for many years…They are old and very dear friends…I cannot express my infinite gratitude to you Mr. Moyers, for giving them such an intelligent and generous forum in which to express themselves. I can only hope others out there were moved enough by their words and honesty to join them on the journey to meaningful change. Thank you.