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  1. #121
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    Wrestling With Details of Noah Pozner's Killing

    By Naomi Zeveloff

    Noah Pozner

    This post originally appeared on the web site of the Dart Society, an independent association of journalists who cover violence and tragedy.
    Nine days after her son, Noah, was killed in the Newtown schools shootings, I interviewed Veronique Pozner and other members of the family about their grieving process. The family had just finished observing the official Jewish mourning period.
    I spent over an hour with Veronique; she talked me through her experience on December 14 and the days that followed. Her story was filled with moving and harrowing details: her dream of wandering an abandoned building calling out for Noah, her meeting with President Obama at a vigil at the local high school and her decision to get a tattoo of angel wings and Noah’s name the day after his death. The details that stuck with me the most — and the details which I felt most conflicted about putting in print — were Veronique’s descriptions of the damage to her son’s body. He was shot 11 times; she told me that his jaw and his left hand were mostly gone.
    There were certain things Veronique wanted for Noah’s funeral. She felt that his body had suffered too many indignities already; she was adamant that he not be autopsied. She wanted him to be buried with a Jewish prayer shawl and with a clear stone with a white angel inside — an “angel stone” — in each of his hands. Veronique was only able to put the stone in his right hand because the left was “not altogether there,” she told me, crying for the first time in our interview. She asked the funeral director to put the other one in the left hand spot. “I made him promise and he did.”
    Veronique told me that Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy visited her in the funeral home, and she brought him to see Noah’s open casket. I asked her why it was important for her and for the governor to see Noah’s body. “I needed it to have a face for him,” she said. “If there is ever a piece of legislation that comes across his desk, I needed it to be real for him.”
    Veronique continued on in this vein for a few minutes. But I still felt that I didn’t understand why she, asa mother, chose to see Noah’s body, so I asked her again: Why, for her? “I owed it to him as his mother, the good, the bad, the ugly,” she said. “It is not up to me to say I am only going to look at you and deal with you when you are alive, that I am going to block out the reality of what you look like when you are dead. And as a little boy, you have to go in the ground. If I am going to shut my eyes to that I am not his mother. I had to bear it. I had to do it.” Several family members also chose to view Noah’s body.
    Then, unprompted by me, Veronique described what she saw: “We all saw how beautiful he was. He had thick, shiny hair, beautiful long eyelashes that rested on his cheeks. He looked like he was sleeping. But the reality of it was under the cloth he had covering his mouth there was no mouth left. His jaw was blown away. I just want people to know the ugliness of it so we don’t talk about it abstractly, like these little angels just went to heaven. No. They were butchered. They were brutalized. And that is what haunts me at night.”
    After I left Newtown, I couldn’t stop thinking about this part of my conversation with Veronique and I wondered whether or not I should put it in the story. On the one hand, she had made it clear that she wanted the public — or at least, public officials — to have a picture of the damage inflicted on the children’s bodies. But on the other hand, I worried about sharing what seemed to be the most personal, most painful details. Would I be unnecessarily exposing the family? Were these details gratuitously violent? Would I be shocking readers instead of informing them?
    I wrote the story, and included the details about the damage to Noah’s body just the way Veronique had described them, in the context of his funeral preparations, in the second half of the story:
    The family placed stuffed animals, a blanket and letters to Noah into the casket. Lastly, Veronique put a clear plastic rock with a white angel inside — an “angel stone” — in his right hand. She asked the funeral director to place an identical one in his left, which was badly mangled.
    Just before the ceremony, Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy came to the funeral home to pay his respects. Veronique took him by the arm and brought him to the casket. Noah’s famously long eyelashes — which she spoke about in her eulogy — rested lightly on his cheeks and a cloth covered the place where the lower half of his face had been. “I just needed it to be real for [the governor],” she says. “This was a live, warm, energetic little boy whose life was snuffed out in a fraction of a second because our schools are so defenseless.”
    Even though the Forward typically eschews quote verification, I offered it to Veronique, thinking she would want to know about this part of the story. I called her brother — my liaison to the family — the day before the story went to print and asked him if she’d like to speak with me about the article. Through him, Veronique declined.
    At this point, I felt that we could ethically print the description. But I wanted to double check with my editor, Jane Eisner. I wrote her an email that evening: “Do you think the detail about his jaw being blown away is too much?” She responded: “It’s important to show the true violence.”
    One problem remained: we hadn’t verified the fact that Gov. Malloy viewed Noah’s body. Since we were on a tight deadline, we removed that detail when we published the story online, and we added it back in after I had checked it with the Governor’s office.
    After the story went to print online, I was surprised that the dozens of people who Tweeted, commented and emailed about the story didn’t mention our inclusion of these horrific details. Then Salon.com published a brief write-up of the story, highlighting the sensitive portion: “in a harrowing description of Noah’s corpse laid to rest, some idea is given of the damage the assault weapon wrought on his young body.”
    On Salon’s Facebook page, one person wrote: “I didn’t need to read that. I would not have published it either.”
    But many others defended our choice:
    “People should read this, as hard as it is to do so, to see the damage these guns inflict – psychologically and physically”
    “If nothing else can bring you to tears, the phrase ‘a cloth covered his face where his lower jaw had been’ will.”
    “Not publishing allows people to gloss over the horrible details. Like banning photos of coffins coming back from the war. If people want to keep these guns available, the effects shouldn’t be hidden.”
    Though I have not spoken with Veronique since the story went to print, I have a feeling that she would agree with these comments. I now believe that she told me about what happened to Noah’s body so that I would use it in the story, and give the public a clear picture of the brutality of the Sandy Hook shooting.


    Read more: Wrestling With Details of Noah Pozner's Killing
    I'm not scared of the US GOvernment taking over. Even if I was, an assault rifle in my hand would be nothing more than a pacifier to a baby used against our army.

    The fact that you ARE, and both you and your husband work not just for the government, but for our military, is not just creepy, but scary, Lillie.

    I have two sons, and I don't want their beautiful FACES blown away by some white, educated, and increasingly suburban killers. My boys are beautiful, and I really really want their faces kept intact, just like Noah's ought to have been. His face was BEAUTIFUL.

    Defend it. Defend why some child should be shot 11 times in.a.row.while.sitting.in.class.

    Use your amendment. Tell his Mom about your amendment. Tell her about peace, and your rights. I dare you.

  2. #122
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    It should scare you. History should scare you. The fact that our government is even talking about taking away one of the rights that was given to us SECOND. The second most important thing to our forefathers.

    The US Army doesn't have to obey unlawful orders, but that doesn't mean that people don't get confused and hyped up on stupid **** all the time. The ****s did what they did less than 100 years old.

    Tell the survivors of that they don't deserve to be able to defend themselves now. I dare you.

    I don't own a gun. But as a US citizen, I have the right to own it and if someone tries to take away that right, you will see a huge uprising mainly from our military members.

    I feel terrible for those families, but to use those kids as a reason to push a political agenda makes bile rise up in my throat. EVERY single time someone on either side tries to use those kids as a weapon against the other side, it makes me think less of them. The asshole needed to be locked up, his mom should have been more careful with her guns, and there should have been somebody there to fight back. You can't blame guns for killing people; people die from so many other weapons that I get pissed just thinking about the lack of logic people are spouting. I don't have to defend it. He does. I DIDN'T shoot those kids and neither did ANY LEGAL gun owner. Taking away guns from law-abiding citizens just makes us sitting ducks. Freaking logic instead of emotion. THAT is what laws should be based on. God forbid with our damn leadership now.
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  3. #123
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    Quote Originally Posted by wlillie View Post
    God forbid with our damn leadership now.
    Not sure what this means.

    But if you've read my posts I don't advocate taking away the right to own a gun. A nice small gun.

    I absolutely advocate the right to take away the right to own a weapon of mass destruction in ones

    home.

    ETA:: history does scare me. The crusades terrify me. the terror done against the jews in the name of religion terrifies me. the murder of all babies under the age of 2 in the name of baby Jesus slays me. History does scare me.

    Noah having no jaw scares me more. I have a 6 year old son. Today scares me more.
    Last edited by Potter75; 01-05-2013 at 11:21 PM. Reason: Edit.
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  4. #124
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    Logic instead of emotion. They can't do what we need them to do, but they can get emotional bills passed and have time for everything else. Yuckers.


    Hmmm. Guess the fact that the ban didn't work before doesn't really hit home to people. And that any law passed wouldn't take the rifle out of someone hands if they had ill intent to use it.

    People should be pushing for violent mentally insane people to get locked away, not to have guns taken away from normal people.
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    Quote Originally Posted by wlillie View Post
    Logic instead of emotion. They can't do what we need them to do, but they can get emotional bills passed and have time for everything else. Yuckers.


    Hmmm. Guess the fact that the ban didn't work before doesn't really hit home to people. And that any law passed wouldn't take the rifle out of someone hands if they had ill intent to use it.

    People should be pushing for violent mentally insane people to get locked away, not to have guns taken away from normal people.
    It was logic that pushed Hitler. It was logic that pushed Herod. It was logic that pushed Pope Urban II. And unfortunately, if the "normal" people, like Nancy Lanza, and Gloria's husband, can't keep their own guns safe, than they (and all "normal people, by proxy!) don't deserve to keep them in their homes. If I could not keep a biting dog safe the SPCA would come take it from me in a hot second. A dog.that.bites. If I was a drunk driver who could not use my car safely I would be in jail. If a kid chokes on a toy, or dies by a drop side crib 3 times we ban it. And the fact that the assault rifle ban didn't work is the BEST REASON EVER TO SHOW THAT IT WASN'T NEARLY ENOUGH! So lets go farther. Lets find what works. Lets look at other countries.

    But people who can't keep their guns safe? Oops, we say. Darn criminals, we say.

    unfortunately the only victims are the innocent and we all throw our arms up as if there are no answers. Its ridiculous.

    And you worry that they are making emotional laws right now? Not a single law has been made about gun control in the wake of this tragedy. If you want to talk about emotional bills look at the "fiscal cliff" bills. Then say "yucky". Elsewise I don't know what you are talking about.
    Last edited by Potter75; 01-06-2013 at 12:14 AM.
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  6. #126
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    Quote Originally Posted by Potter75 View Post
    It was emotion that pushed Hitler. It was emotion that pushed Herod. It was emotion that pushed Pope Urban II. And unfortunately, if the "normal" people, like Nancy Lanza, and Gloria's husband, can't keep their own guns safe, than they (and all "normal people, by proxy!) don't deserve to keep them in their homes. If I could not keep a biting dog safe the SPCA would come take it from me in a hot second. A dog.that.bites. If I was a drunk driver who could not use my car safely I would be in jail. If a kid chokes on a toy, or dies by a drop side crib 3 times we ban it.

    But people who can't keep their guns safe? Oops, we say. Darn criminals, we say.

    unfortunately the only victims are the innocent and we all throw our arms up as if there are no answers. Its ridiculous.
    Goodness. We have a man who literally has 50 DUIs in my hometown; he finally served two years in jail after really hurting someone a couple of years ago. They took away his license after the second one. CRIMINALS don't care about the law.

    Our next door neighbor's dog has tried to bite my kid twice, bit my husband, and has bit the neighbor across the street AND tried to attack my friend that was house sitting this holiday. Been called on at least a dozen times by just us. I almost got bit this morning by the same dog. Ironic you chose that one. Next time the dog is in my yard, I'll be borrowing a gun.

    Last time I checked, cribs, dogs, toys, and cars are not a protected right. If the law can't protect you from criminals, then you should be able to protect yourself. Emotion does a HELL of a lot more harm than logic does. Making laws that take away rights from citizens based on emotion is just downright stupid. Especially if some of those who look to take away the 2nd amendment rights get a larger voice than they currently hold.

    The first victim in that incident was not innocent. She should not have allowed her mentally ill son access to her guns. Her mistake doesn't make him any less of the killer. It is not Gloria's husband or Nancy Lanza or any other "normal" persons fault when a criminal commits a crime. If we use that logic, then I should be calling the breeder of the dog instead of my neighbor if that dog gets to my kid before I get to him. He bred him, he should have made sure the new owners were going to be responsible pet owners. Whomever manufactures whatever liquor that alcoholic drinks should have to pay any bills that arise from his stupidity. Or the gas station owner that sold it to him.

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    Wow, you and Gloria make me so so glad that I don't live in the south/west Yeee`hawww! When you borrow a gun can you just shoot it at things with the same legal rights as the owner? So weird! Wild? It really is like the wild wild west/south down there!

    The first victim in that incident was not innocent. She should not have allowed her mentally ill son access to her guns. Her mistake doesn't make him any less of the killer. It is not Gloria's husband or Nancy Lanza or any other "normal" persons fault when a criminal commits a crime. If we use that logic, then I should be calling the breeder of the dog instead of my neighbor if that dog gets to my kid before I get to him. He bred him, he should have made sure the new owners were going to be responsible pet owners. Whomever manufactures whatever liquor that alcoholic drinks should have to pay any bills that arise from his stupidity. Or the gas station owner that sold it to him.
    Was not innocent? Mentally ill? Strong words. You seem to know a lot about them.

    Yet, I ask you. In your first sentence you say she is not innocent. In your second, which I bolded, you say it's not their fault.

    Which is it?

    Your Analogy does not work. If he had strangled him with his strangely strong hands, or killed him with his super sharp teeth, and you went after his "breeder" (aka person who mated his mother/father), yes. If he was underage and someone had sold him booze, and you went after person who got him drunk? sure. Elsewise? nonesense.

  8. #128
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    I didn't miss you as a debater. I don't know why you always feel the need to mock people.

    It is her fault. She knew her son was dangerous and not only didn't do anything to keep other people safe, but allowed him to take her guns per the media. That is NOT the same as someone breaking into her house and stealing something.
    Logic. NOT emotion. Try it.

    eta- two different stories for the analogy. They do work if you use logic instead of emotion.

    I wasn't paying attention to the names- I was thinking Nancy was someone else from a different story. I need sleep. She is not innocent but you can't blame her for what her son did. He did it.
    Last edited by wlillie; 01-06-2013 at 01:22 AM.

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    You must have missed me as your first post after vacation was quoting me! If you don't like debating me PLEASE don't!

    Sorry, if you talk about your town like its a crazy place and I respond in kind you take it as mocking. I just mean that that is scary. I'm honestly just scared that you and your kids have you live there. Truly.

    I don't know what she knew about about her son. She is dead. So are a ton of babies. I need sleep too, so do all of the mothers of the dead people killed recently from mass shootings.

    All I'm saying is that things are escalating. And that there has to be a solution. And the solution isn't mass armament (IMO). And I've given my opinion on my solution. And I'm way open to hearing to hearing other mother's solutions.

    My kids are out there. I don't keep them in a bubble. I don't carry nuke's with me to fight the gubmt. I love America. I don't want to succede. I don't link this to abortion. I don't predict civil war. I don't blame Obama. (didn't even vote for him). Feel pretty level headed. Feel like normal people, like ones I know are having great discourse around this issue. Feel like this is an ISSUE in our country. Don't know why on this board this is so weird and disjointed. Interested. Hope you get a good night of rest, and welcome back!
    Last edited by Potter75; 01-06-2013 at 09:03 AM.

  10. #130
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    Not really a vacation to be honest unfortunately.

    But a Quick question before I head off to my wine and book.

    Where are all these shootings happening?

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