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Newtown Mourns After Massacre

Aired December 18, 2012 - 04:00:00   ET


CARL AZUZ, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to CNN STUDENT NEWS on this Tuesday, December 18th and thank you for joining us. I`m Carl Azuz. Today`s show begins in Connecticut.

The community of Newtown, Connecticut is in mourning after a massacre at an elementary school. Our complete coverage of the story is in Monday`s show at As police expand their investigation into what led to the tragedy, people in Newtown are banding together and they are getting support from across the country. They are holding memorials and vigils for the victims. Mourners are saying prayers for the victims, their families and their community. The U.S. Postal Service has set up a place where people can mail their condolences and messages of support to Newtown. If you are interested in that, the address is "Message of Condolence", it`s P.O. Box 3700, Newtown, Connecticut, 06470.

When President Obama spoke at a high school there on Sunday night, he questioned whether Americans were doing enough to bring this kind of violence to an end.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Can we truly say as a nation that we are meeting our obligations? Can we honestly say that we are doing enough to keep our children, all of them safe from harm? Can we claim as a nation that we are altogether there, letting them know that they are loved and teaching them to love in return? Can we say that we are truly doing enough to give all the children of this country the chance they deserve to live out their lives in happiness and with purpose? I`ve been reflecting on this the last few days. And if we are honest with ourselves, the answer is no. We are not doing enough. And we all have to change.


AZUZ: All right, but how? There are a lot of people out there in the media, from leaders and journalists to musicians and actors sharing their theories on what led to this and how to prevent it. We`d like to hear from you, what are your ideas on how the nation can change to keep kids safer? Please, share your thoughts and only your first names on our blog at

Some of the people who live in Newtown are sharing their thoughts on this, they are trying to turn some of the attention that`s focused on them to the issues that they believe should be addressed to prevent this from happening somewhere else. CNN`s Kyung Lah reports on what some citizens of Newtown are saying.


KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You can hear their frustration.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At the point you buy body armor, shouldn`t the FBI be at your door?

LAH: These are questions asked before after Columbine and Virginia Tech and again, this year, in places like Aurora, Colorado and Clackamas, Oregon. This time, it`s this Newtown residents who knew the children and teachers killed at Sandy Hook.

CRAIG MITTLEMAN, NEWTOWN RESIDENT: We have the benefit and the misfortunate of being on the national stage right now. This is a real opportunity for us to make a statement.

LAH: They have no political power in this room, just grief. Grief channeled into a will to bring change.

LEE SHULL, NEWTOWN RESIDENT: I think we need to talk about what`s reasonable. I don`t think it`s reasonable for assault weapons in any way in our society except for the military or police.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mental illness, shove it underneath the rug. We can`t do that anymore.

MARY SIRECI, NEWTOWN RESIDENT: We do something now and leave here with some proactive things, some action.

LAH: What you are looking at is the birth of a grassroots effort from a town in pain. They have built a Facebook page calling themselves Newtown United. They admit they don`t know what they are doing, just that they have to do something.

BILL TOOMEY, NEWTOWN RESIDENT: If this is a trigger point, or a tipping point for us and our elected officials to actually start talking to each other in a way that`s respectful and results in real change that would be huge.

LAH: The goal of Newtown United to prevent another town from suffering what this one is enduring will not go unheated. Kyung Lah, CNN, Newtown, Connecticut.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: See if you can I.D. me. I used to be part of the Ottoman Empire, you`ll find me between the Black Sea and the Mediterranean Sea, my largest city is Istanbul, but my capital is Ankara.

I`m Turkey, and I bridge countries in Europe and the Middle East.


AZUZ: That bridge between East and West makes Turkey an important country in international issues. You see in this map how one of its border countries is Syria, well, some of the weapons fired in Syria` civil war have hit locations in Turkey. Turkey is a member of NATO, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. That makes it an ally of 27 other countries including the U.S. And Germany. So, those two nations are sending Patriot missiles to Turkey to help protect it from the violence in Syria. This is a file photo of a Patriot missile launcher, one thing these missiles can do is intercept and destroy other missiles, and that`s the idea here. If weapons used in Syria` civil war come close to Turkey, the Patriots could intercept them and help keep Turkish citizens safe.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s time for the "Shoutout." What is the biggest source of U.S. Government revenue? If you think you know it then shout it out. Is it taxes, interest on loans, land leasing or borrowing? You`ve got three seconds, go!

Taxes on citizens and businesses account for most of the government`s revenue. That`s your answer and that`s your "Shoutout."


AZUZ: That`s why the debate over taxes, who gets taxed and by how much is so important to the U.S. Government`s debate over the upcoming fiscal cliff. It`s a series of tax increases in government`s spending cuts that will automatically happen in January. A lot of experts agree it would be a bad thing for the U.S. Economy, and it can only be avoided if Congress and the president can agree on another way to address the nation`s massive debt. One way to do that is by reducing government spending, but that`s is easier said than done. Tom Foreman has an excellent illustration of "why".


TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: What you are looking at in this room, is everything the federal government spends money on, and that score board back there shows you the problem. Last year we spent $3.6 trillion on all this stuff, but we only took in $2.3 trillion in taxes or revenue. Now, Democrats tend to like to talk more in these talks about the revenue side of the equation. They say if we can find the way to gin up more taxes, lean on the rich harder, that`s how we can deal with this deficit. But Republicans while agreeing we may need more revenue want to talk a lot more about all this stuff, and whether or not they can cut some things down.

One of the first things you may notice is that not all spending is equal. You could have dramatic cuts in things like Homeland Security, the Energy Department and the Interior Department. If you cut those programs out entirely, yeah, you`d save $80 billion, but that`s only a small fraction of the deficit. That`s why the talk is largely about this back row, where the big ticket items reside, such as Social Security, health and human services, home to Medicare and Medicaid and defense. Each one of these accounts for more than $700 billion in spending, so yeah, if you could find a way to somehow chop about 25 percent out of each program here, you`d get real savings, about half trillion dollars. But doing that would be unbelievably tough, the simple truth is some of them are protected from cuts. Social Security is something that Democrats and Republicans alike have been very afraid to go after. The social programs are very much protected by Democrats and the Republicans are equally protective of Defense. That`s why these talks are so tough. The simple truth is, every program in this room has constituents who will fight tooth and nail to hold on to the funding.

What there is this, if no deal is struck and the fiscal cliff comes, than $600 billion in automatic tax increases and spending cuts will kick in, that could effect a lot of programs in this room and that will absolutely leave an awful lot of voters, Democratic and Republican unhappy.


AZUZ: Before we go today, it`s a Christmas mystery:


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We found it at 5 a.m, in the morning, and it glows, it lights up.


AZUZ: Yeah, it does. And it mysteriously showed up in someone`s front yard in a Missouri community. This 30-foot Santa came with instructions. Enjoy it or at least leave it up there for 24 hours, then schlep the statuesque Santa in a slay or maybe more realistically a pickup truck over to the house of someone else with children. Kids love it. Well, why shouldn`t they? It`s santastic! And not keeping the mystery alive would be positively deflating. We hope you enjoy the rest of your day and you`ll join us again tomorrow on CNN STUDENT NEWS.