The two visitors from Northeastern have devoted their work to the crisis of gun violence in America. On Wednesday afternoon they stood atop a shallow hill overlooking a memorial to the 26 victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre. On this day 10 years ago, a 20-year-old man with a semi-automatic rifle killed 20 first-grade students and six educators at their school in this quaint town 80 miles from New York City.
“I was at the State Department and I saw Newtown come up on the news channel,” recalled Sarah Peck, a former U.S. diplomat who serves as director of UnitedOnGuns, a non-partisan initiative of the Public Health Advocacy Institute at Northeastern’s School of Law. “I have a brother who lives here. His wife is a teacher, his daughters were in the school system, and I’m seeing a mass shooting unfold on the TV at work.”
Ten years later, Peck made her way down the hill with James Alan Fox, a Northeastern criminology professor who has been studying mass shootings for four decades. They were making their first visits to the memorial, which opened last month.