Chris Murphy took to the Senate floor on Thursday to speak about what the day means to people in Connecticut and about the challenge it presents to lawmakers.
He first talked about one of the first graders who was killed on 12-14, Daniel Barden. Murphy called him a really special kid. He's gotten to know Daniel's parents well over these last three years and in turn gotten to know Daniel really well. Murphy also said that because he has a 7-year old son at home he feels closer than ever before to the families like the Bardens who are still grieving.
Murphy says Daniel had a sense of uncanny empathy that now, as a father of a 7-year old, knows is frankly not normally visited upon children that age.
Daniel loved helping people in big and small ways. He was so naturally outward in his sympathy for others. That's shown in a story that his father likes to tell about the challenge of going to the supermarket with Daniel. When they would leave, Daniel always liked to hold the door open for his family, but then he wouldn't stop holding the door open because he wanted to hold it open for all of the other people also leaving the grocery store.
Murphy then talked about Daniel's mother and how she developed, as grief counselors would call it, defensive mechanism. She would sometimes pretend that Daniel was at a friend's house for a couple of hours to give herself the strength to do simple household chores like cooking dinner or answering emails.
Murphy says it's hard to describe for his colleagues the grief that still drowns Sandy Hook parents and the community at large. He noted that for many in the community, grief is now mixed with anger and bewilderment that Congress hasn't acted on gun safety legislation.