A petition asking for "nothing but love" on Dec. 14, 2013 — signed by two parents of victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting — has gone viral on social media, with thousands of likes and hundreds of shares on Facebook.
"12/14 is not a day to be politicized or polarizing," write parents Mark Barden and Nicole Hockley. "It is a day for remembrance and reflection, a day of love ... December 14, 2013, exactly one year after the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School, is a day for parents to hug their children and people to embrace their families, not a day to talk about guns."
Advocacy group Sandy Hook Promise, formed in the aftermath of the shooting, posted the message on its website and Facebook page Saturday. The message quickly went viral, with 249 shares and nearly 2,000 likes as of 11:30 a.m. Sunday.
The letter calls out the organizers of "Guns Save Lives Day," a planned day of gun rights rallies across the country on the one-year anniversary of the shooting.
Organizers — including the Washington state-based Second Amendment Foundation, the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms and DefendGunRights.com — say they chose the date to counteract ""what certainly will be a day of activism and misinformation from the gun prohibition lobby."
"Our mission with Guns Save Lives Day is to assure them our groups are working day and night to thwart government gun-grabbers at every opportunity," said Alan Gottleib, who represents two of the three groups, in a statement Thursday. "We are going to show America that there is a good side to guns."
"I Will Not Curse the Darkness"
Others have started their own campaigns to ensure Dec. 14, 2013 is, as they say, "a day of love."
"On 12/14 I will light a candle on the first second of our anniversary to light the darkness; I will not curse the darkness," writes father Darren Wagner, a Sandy Hook father "who was lucky enough to have his sons come home on 12/14."
He posted his message on social advocacy site Causes.com, encouraging those who sign it to avoid "outside interests" who plan to use the day for political causes. To date, 157 people have "taken the pledge," with the number receiving a boost after it was shared on the popular Facebook page Adopt a Sandy Hook / Newtown Cop.
"I would like to see this day as a day of personal reflection and mindful speech and listening and respecting our town's time to come together and deal with it in our way," he writes.
First Selectman Pat Llodra said Friday she does not wish for the first anniversary of the shooting to be used for advocacy purposes by any political group.