(VIDEO) 'It's a Tragedy for All of America'

A candlelight vigil at the First Congregational Church of Southington Tuesday remembered the victims of the Colorado Batman shooting, but organizer Alex Vivian said his effort will not end there.

As the sun set over downtown Southington Tuesday night, a crowd of over 75 area residents lit their candles in memory of the 12 killed during a shooting at a movie theater in Aurora, Colo.

The participants stood silence outside the , a tribute to the many lives touched by the actions of a 24-year-old with semi-automatic weapons, as the only sounds in the air came from a few passing cars and a rendition of Sarah McLachlin’s “Will You Remember Me.”

It was the type of tribute that 22-year-old graduate Alex Vivian and Dawn Karlson, youth minister at the First Congregational Church, were hoping for as they hosted a Rally for Peace.

“Today, we are standing up and showing Colorado that they are not alone,” Vivian said. “This is not just a tragedy for them. It’s a tragedy for all of America.”

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The Tuesday evening rally, organized by Vivian as a way of fighting back against violence and honor those affected by the Colorado tragedy, was just the first step in what he hopes will be an ongoing push to make America a safe place again.

For those in attendance, many who are already involved in the community through organizations , the July 20 shooting may have occurred 1,800 miles away, but it was something that hit very close to home.

Southington residents Kyle Niles and Matt Shea each said they were heartbroken when they heard the news following the shooting and were impressed to see Vivian and his friends step up to organize the rally. They said it may seem like a small step, but it was an important way for residents in central Connecticut to show their support.

“It’s one of those stories that just touches everyone’s heart,” said Niles, who also supports Vivian’s quest to have semi-automatic weapons banned. “This could have happened anywhere in America.”

Paul Vivian, Alex’s father, said his son was in a showing of The Dark Knight Rises, when the shooting occurred. He said he hasn’t been able to stop thinking about how one of the victims could have been his own son.

In just two decades, Alex Vivian said tragic events like that which happened in Colorado, Columbine, Virginia Tech and Washington D.C. have made it clear that it’s time for residents to reach out and take a stand against laws that allow people to gain easy access to semi-automatic and automatic weapons. Now, he said, is the time for change.

Vivian also received support from Ellen Perkins-Simpson, a staff member at the Friendship Center in New Britain, who told stories of two Connecticut teenagers who were killed as a result of violence on the streets.

One felt he had nowhere to turn and became involved in gangs, dying in a violent shooting after trying to get out. The other had no gang affiliation at all, instead being shot and killed while walking through his neighborhood and getting caught in the crosshair of a gang war.

“I don’t want to live in a world where our children can no longer even go see a movie safely. The violence needs to stop,” Perkins-Simpson said.

Although the Rally for Peace is a first step, Vivian said he would make sure the effort doesn’t end here.

“I need to stress, this isn’t the end,” Vivian said. “It’s the beginning of a movement that won’t end until we force change.”

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Harold August 01, 2012 at 10:27 AM
Ban Violent Movies, games and get the family back to a unit without government telling parents how to raise your children. People kill people by any method they choose, be thankful it wasn't a car loaded with fertilizer and gas.
Robert Chambers August 01, 2012 at 12:08 PM
This is all well and good but how does having a vigil help stop it? Banning violent movies won't do it but how about this? How about getting people back to being responsible for themselves? How about parents getting involved with their children and teenagers? How about kids looking out for each other? I'm not saying all kids need to become snitches and psychotherapists but how about being a friend? Everyone always says "oh he was a loner, he kept to himself" after one of these events. Those are the at-risk kids and perhaps having a friend or two that cared about them might have made all the difference? The evidence is still out on what caused James Holmes to snap, it is starting to look like he was under the effects of some very strong anti-psychotic meds judging from news reports and the way he looks almost like a zombie. Another interesting wrinkle in this whole deal is that his dad, Robert Holmes is an economics analyst for FICO and was just about to testify on all the fraud going on concerning the LIBOR scandal (google it) - coincidence?
Chris August 01, 2012 at 12:49 PM
Easy access to automatic weapons? HA! I challenge him to legally buy an automatic weapon. Good luck with that. They have been HEAVILY regulated since 1934, further regulated in 1968. and no new ones have been allowed to be sold to civilians since 1986. By the way, that final ban was signed into law by that bleeding heart liberal, Ronald Reagan. As far as semi-automatic weapons go... first off, only a small percentage of crimes (1-2%) are commited with so-called "assault weapons". That's why the government allowed the ban to expire. It had no effect on the problem. Second, just the other day the CT Post printed a quote by the Chief of Police in Bridgeport where he stated the weapon of choice for criminals is the revolver, a firearm that has remained practically unchanged for the last 150 years, and usually only holds 5-6 bullets. So even banning all semiautomatic guns would do nothing. Just an FYI: Semi auto guns still only fire 1 bullet each time you pull the trigger. You know, like common hunting guns.
Jeffre Cain August 01, 2012 at 01:15 PM
Connecticut already has an ill-considered ban against "assault" weapons, but I can assure all and sundry that if someone is crazy enough to want to kill numbers of people, the ban won't stop them. We need to take responsibilty for our own and our children's protection and care; if having a self-defense firearm and being carefully trained in its proper uses saves the life of even one child, it will be well worth it.


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