110 W. New York Ave.
DeLand, FL 32720
Daniel’s loss is ‘incomprehensible’
By Pat Andrews
posted Jan 14, 2013 - 6:53:55am
The Sandy Hook tragedy has come home to West Volusia.
The horrific shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., took the lives of 20 schoolchildren and six adults Dec. 14 when a heavily armed gunman entered the school and began shooting.
Images of horrific scenes remain in the national consciousness, stirring debates on gun control and treatment of the mentally ill. The families continue to grieve.
The tentacles of grief extend into West Volusia through victim Daniel Barden. His uncle Carl Barden and a grandfather, Martin Giblin, live in the DeLand area.
To look at pictures of Daniel’s smiling, gap-toothed, freckled, 7-year-old face, surrounded by a mop of auburn hair, is to grieve for the beauty of the child who was, and for the man he will never become.
His obituary states, “Daniel was the light of his family’s life. Adored and admired by all, Daniel touched the lives of all who knew him with this warmth, inspiring spirit of kindness and generosity, outgoing and affectionate nature, and his imaginative play.”
Carl Barden talked to The Beacon by email, after he had a chance to gather his thoughts.
“Although it has been almost a month since the school shooting in Sandy Hook, to both Daniel’s immediate family and his large extended family it may as well have been yesterday,” Carl Barden wrote Jan. 8.
“Daniel was the very essence of a little boy,” Carl Barden said. “He was kind, happy, gregarious, thoughtful, enthusiastic, athletic and adored being in the company of family, cousins, friends and other children. He truly loved life. He was in every way, like all of the children in Sandy Hook, beautiful. His loss, along with all of the victims, is largely incomprehensible.”
Daniel’s parents, Mark and Jackie Barden of Connecticut, and Daniel’s older brother and sister, James and Natalie, are moving forward one day at a time, relying on each other in the close family, Uncle Carl said.
Helen Bennett, editor at the New Haven Register in Connecticut, the newspaper that provided local coverage of the tragedy, told The Beacon, “These were not just Newtown’s children, and not just Connecticut’s children. They were everyone’s children.”
The country claimed the victims as their own. Gifts, cards and memorials continue to pour into Newtown — so many that city officials don’t know how to handle them.
In Sandy Hook, word got out that Daniel had wanted to be a firefighter when he grew up, following in the footsteps of several family members. That led to firefighters from all over the Northeast converging on Sandy Hook Dec. 19, the day of Daniel’s funeral. The first responders organized an honor guard in a show of respect and to safeguard Daniel’s body. They lined the roadway for his motorcade and wiped tears from their faces in the cemetery after Daniel’s burial.
The impact of Daniel’s death, and the deaths of the other 25 victims, continues.
Daniel’s 10-year-old sister, Natalie, wants President Barack Obama to mount a gun-control movement, her father, Mark, said in a televised interview with reporter Katie Couric. So does older brother James, their father said.
The discussion continues across the country.
So do discussions about school safety. Volusia County has no deputies posted at elementary schools because of a lack of funding, while Orange County leaders responded to the shootings by putting officers in the elementary schools.
Meanwhile, the bereaved, like Daniel’s uncle and grandfather in West Volusia, deal with pain no political debate can heal.
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