Friday, November 27 , 2015, 2:42 pm | Fair 61º

Santa Barbara Holds Candlelight Vigil for Victims, Survivors of Newtown Massacre

Along with sympathy and support, speakers outline local counseling services and emphasize school district's attention to safety measures

Monique Límon, president of the Santa Barbara Unified School District Board of Trustees, asserted Saturday that student safety is the district’s top priority. Límon spoke at a candlelight vigil held at De la Guerra Plaza to mourn Friday’s shooting victims at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn.
Monique Límon, president of the Santa Barbara Unified School District Board of Trustees, asserted Saturday that student safety is the district’s top priority. Límon spoke at a candlelight vigil held at De la Guerra Plaza to mourn Friday’s shooting victims at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn.  (Giana Magnoli / Noozhawk photo)

By Giana Magnoli, Noozhawk Staff Writer | @magnoli | updated logo |

As the nation mourns with Newtown, Conn., Santa Barbarans held a vigil outside City Hall on Saturday afternoon.

The 20 first-graders and six adults killed by a gunman at Sandy Hook Elementary School on Friday have been identified and more details about the massacre are emerging.

Adam Lanza, 20, apparently shot and killed his mother with her own guns at their home before going to the elementary school, where he opened fire on two classrooms of students and staff members, according to news reports. Lanza then killed himself.

“It’s a tragedy beyond all words,” said Toni Wellen, chairwoman of the local Coalition Against Gun Violence.

“We are tired of sympathy and prayers; we want action.”

Wellen led the group in a candlelight vigil and moment of silence before she read out the names of Friday’s victims, which were released by authorities earlier Saturday.

Many of the children were born in 2006, she said.

One of the best ways to heal is to be together, said Jina Carvalho, with the Santa Barbara Response Network and the Glendon Association.

Counselors are available locally free of charge for anyone who needs help or psychological first aid, said Carvalho, who added that the Glendon Association is also reaching out to local schools.

“I just want to tell you all that you’re not alone,” she said.

Adelante Charter School principal Juanita Hernandez, right, helps Glendon Association's Jina Carvalho light a candle at Saturday's vigil for school massacre victims in Newtown, Conn. Standing behind them to the left are Santa Barbara County District Attorney Joyce Dudley and her husband, John Dudley. (Giana Magnoli / Noozhawk photo)
Adelante Charter School principal Juanita Hernandez, right, helps Glendon Association’s Jina Carvalho light a candle at Saturday’s vigil for school massacre victims in Newtown, Conn. Standing behind them to the left is Santa Barbara County District Attorney Joyce Dudley and her husband, John Dudley. (Giana Magnoli / Noozhawk photo)

One woman, who just gave her name as Allie, said she grew up in Newtown and is flying home Sunday to be with her family. Wiping away tears, she thanked everyone for their support of her hometown.

Monique Límon, president of the Santa Barbara Unified School District Board of Trustees, said the safety of students is paramount for the district, and everything else comes second.

Everyone should remember the teachers who helped save so many children, she added.

Superintendent Dave Cash sent a letter to parents Friday reminding them of the district’s safety and emergency protocols.

“Certainly in this day and age we can never be absolutely protected against all circumstances, but we do train our staff and rely on our parents to helps us ensure we enforce our own procedures,” Cash wrote. “We also conduct safety drills and debriefings with local first responders regularly.”

Santa Barbara Mayor Helene Schneider said the community is standing in support of Newtown.

“The city of Santa Barbara is thinking of everyone there in Newtown,” she said.

With Santa Barbara’s flag at half-staff in the background, many at the vigil expressed their deep sorrow and even anger.

“We need to make sure that we demand change,” one woman said.

“We have to pledge that this is the last time we’re gathered like this,” said state Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara, who called for stricter gun-control laws.

Noozhawk staff writer Giana Magnoli can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

A solemn group gathered Saturday afternoon at Santa Barbara's De la Guerra Plaza for the candlelight vigil. (Giana Magnoli / Noozhawk photo)
A solemn group gathered Saturday afternoon at Santa Barbara’s De la Guerra Plaza for the candlelight vigil. (Giana Magnoli / Noozhawk photo)

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» on 12.16.12 @ 01:38 AM

Never let a tragedy go to waste ehh Hannah-Beth?  Regrettably you cannot outlaw mental illness, but by all means- lets blame the inanimate object for a horrific crime.

» on 12.16.12 @ 01:49 AM

Maybe Hannah-Beth Jackson and the Coalition Against Gun Violence should turn their attention to knives. Noozhawk has two knife attack stories on its home page, including a murder. Why single out only guns?

» on 12.16.12 @ 12:57 PM

just as bush used 911 to strip away out rights with the patriot act, Hannah Beth or some other group will use this to take away even more rights. Then we will truly be slave to our masters.

» on 12.16.12 @ 12:58 PM

I think the old arguments about guns not killing people don’t really hold much water. They never did.

This is about gun control, not banning guns. The ease with which crazy people legally get hold of guns is truly insane. The gun lobbies have fought hard against waiting periods and background checks, and their efforts have rewarded us here, in Santa Barbara. Who has forgotten the attack that killed six people at the Goleta Postal Service facility a few years back? The story is repeated with chilling frequency.

If you can’t wait a few weeks for a gun, or you fear that your criminal or psychological record will disqualify you, then you shouldn’t have one. If you can’t secure your weapons so that somebody else can’t take them, then you are not taking the responsibility seriously.

Adam Lanza would not have been able to do what he did if he only had a knife. Or a car.

» on 12.16.12 @ 04:00 PM

Hmmmm id hardly call a weapon with the ability to fire hundreds of bullets in a matter of minute “inanimate”.......that is akin to the sort of “logic” that tried to distinguish a concept of “legitimate rape”.  Common sense, and the american people, rejected that thinking as they will reject the desperate attempts to equate unfettered access to automatic weapons with Second amendment rights…..why is it the nra types always omit the first four words of the 2nd Am.- “a well regulated militia”.......

» on 12.16.12 @ 05:01 PM

Well, in CA we do have waiting periods and background checks.  We have restrictions on the type of weapons, the quantity of ammunition that can be placed in any weapon, assault weapons, carrying loaded weapons outside your home/property,  securing weapons in vehicles, carrying concealed weapons, and more.  But, these don’t prevent criminals from using any weapons in illegal ways.  Following are the CA regulations:

Here are some interesting articles, along with facts that dispute the statements being floated by individuals and groups lobbying for more gun control:

Desensitization thru play and entertainment is another thing that could be addressed.  Does it come as a surprise that we have violence when there is so much being presented in TV, movies, music, comedy, the internet, gaming and more on a daily basis?  Constant visual ‘pretend’ violence cannot but have an effect on those with less that stable mental states.  Following is one reference from today’s media, but I suspect we will not see a lot of talking about this in the press/media as the groups publishing and benefiting from these games/shows are very close to the groups lobbying in favor of increased gun control.

Should we limit our first amendment rights and restrict all these types of ‘pretend’ violence?  How would we do it?  There is a lot of money that goes to non-profit corporations from the revenue generators of this ‘play’ violence.  These groups will not likely bite the hand that feeds them, but should they?

I haven’t talked with one person that isn’t sad over the tragedy this week.  However, that has not stopped many from directly or indirectly using the event to promote their gun control agenda.

From a practical point of view, what would one do to solve the problem?  Would we, in Santa Barbara, implement a Fahrenheit 451 for guns?  Door to door searches?  Random stops on the street?  Turning in friends and family?  Dogs sniffing at the doors, lockers, parking lots, on the sidewalks for the smell of gunpowder?  We have seen this type of oppression in the past, it has failed in most regimes which have tried to implement it.  Sometimes at great cost to the societies who just wanted to go along because they thought it would not affect them.

We can argue for or against the 2nd amendment.  However, we have a 2nd amendment, along with many other to protect ourselves, our rights and our nation.

Let’s try and keep the conversation above board and meaningful beyond the political pandering that we too often see today.

We’ve seen local, state and national politicians making many statements in favor of gun control.  However, most of these individuals, as attorneys, are well aware of the laws which we have, and their efficacy, but they are speaking to their tribes trying to gin up some momentum for more legislation, which will likely fail to change the outcome.

In an ideal world, it would be great to wind the clock back and eliminate weapons of all types, globally, but that is not going to happen.

Lastly, in Santa Barbara, as we’ve seen with drugs, where there is demand, panga boats will deliver the product.  Regardless of legislation.  There are panga boats of many types coming across all our borders.

» on 12.16.12 @ 06:05 PM

In general, this is not about “criminals” getting guns, it’s about the psychotic psychopath getting them. Criminals use guns to rob, sometimes to murder. They get them through criminal underworld connections that you and I would not know how to find.

The Goleta Postal massacre and almost every other mass killing is committed by a “non-criminal” who would not have any criminal or underworld connections to get illegal guns. They use legally obtained weapons every time.

As for the gun owners who carry: fine, as long as they submit to the wording of the second amendment, i.e., “well-regulated.”

That should mean screening, training, and yes, confiscation if the owner shows any sign of being mentally ill.

» on 12.16.12 @ 06:27 PM

Ca has some of, if not the, strictest gun laws in the country.

» on 12.16.12 @ 06:42 PM

“That should mean screening, training, and yes, confiscation if the owner shows any sign of being mentally ill.”

CA has this in place today via law.  This begs the question, why are the local/state politicians/attorneys making hay with this tragedy?

- AB 2129 (Stats. 2006, ch. 474) (Spitzer)
- (PC § 12076)
- SB 532 (Stats. 2006, ch. 180) (Torlakson)
- SB 585 (Stats. 2006, ch. 467) (Kehoe)
- (Penal Code § 12021(a).)
- SB 1538 (Stats. 2006, ch.668 ) (Scott)
- (Penal Code § 12021(c)(1))
- (Penal Code § 12021(g).)
- and more…

Read the following. It’s comprehensive and covers more than federal law:

If you want to read some of the meat of the law, start at page 19.

Again, given that all our politicians/attorneys know this law, why are they going to great depths to bring this to the fore at this time?  Will this become another Santa Barbara Blue Line?

What we might want to consider is to promote the rational use of firearms through repetitive training and practice at registered gun clubs.  Perhaps we want the vernacular at gun shows and shops to include “have you qualified lately?”  If we have gun owners that cannot afford to participate, perhaps we should subsidize it.

» on 12.17.12 @ 12:08 PM

When those responding to this story remove their knee from their prefrontal cortex, they may begin to realize that this horrible tragedy has absolutely nothing to do with gun control.

This evil, cowardly young man was determined to kill. That he used someone else’s weapons to do it renders the gun control issue moot. If he hadn’t used his mother’s guns it would have been some one else’s or perhaps a truck full of fertilizer and diesel fuel. If your left wing propaganda addled brain prevents you from seeing that small but significant fact, then I suggest that Toni Wellen, Hannah-Beth Jackson and those agreeing with them are in fact too far gone ideologically to assess any situation rationally and logically.

Lets all take a deep breath, allow the dead to be buried and the other psychotic weirdoes who use events like this as an excuse to copy cat, time to cool off and then use that prefrontal cortex, free of jerking knee, to assess why a 20 year old would commit such a heinous and cowardly act of evil, regardless of what ever tool he used to do it.

Keep in mind the worse act of mass murder committed in recent history was done with passenger jets, not assault rifles, pistols or any guns at all.

» on 12.17.12 @ 02:35 PM

OH, AN50, yours is, thankfully, a dying mindset…......the rest of the world, and much of this nation, are no longer content to say “oh yes, if he didn’t have   the automatic weapons and hi-powered ammunition belts he would have driven a truck through…bla bla bla”. no. the inability to discern reasonable access to firearms from unreasonable ability to acquire military-grade weaponry is no longer a valid argument

» on 12.17.12 @ 05:40 PM

SBLOGIC, for someone who use the word logic in their moniker you seem to be bereft of that ability. Read what I wrote again without the veil of ignorance and leftist jingoism. The murderer was set and intent on murder, what in the world are you idiots bringing up the method used for? Because its easier to blame a tool than look at the real reason. Millions of people own these type of guns yet you want to punish them for the sins of a very few psychos. Why is that? Where is the logic in that kind of thinking?

We don’t ban passenger jets because 19 fanatical jihadist Muslims murdered nearly 3000 people with 4 of them do we? We don’t ban rental trucks, ammonium nitrate fertilizer and diesel fuel because one sick whacko murdered 148 people trying to blow up a building do we?

Sick, evil, murderous people intent on killing will do so, no matter what stupid knee jerk restrictions you numb nuts put into place and they will do so easier because you don’t look at them and instead focus on what’s in their hand.

I get it, you don’t like guns, particularly those intended to kill people. Fine that is your burden to carry. But don’t hide the awful truth of this horrific tragedy because of your uncontrollable knee and its habit of using anything bad as an excuse to vacuum your weak mind.

» on 12.17.12 @ 07:38 PM

Does anyone really think for a minute that David Attias needed a firearm to kill? 

So making guns illegal will take them off the street?  We should make heroin and meth illegal too!!

Obviously this isn’t about saving children from being shot.  This is about gun control, and liberals never let a tragedy go to waste.

» on 12.18.12 @ 12:03 AM

Most people who want to ban assault weapons have no idea what they’re talking about. Assault weapons have been banned in the US since the 1930’s. They are actually referring to semi-automatic weapons, which describes almost every gun manufactured in the US.

The weapon used by the maniac in CT. was a semi-automatic which fires one bullet at a time, although each successive bullet is automatically reloaded. No assault weapon ban proposed by any politician I know of would ban all these weapons. The assault weapon ban in the 1990’s was mostly ineffective because of the arbitrariness of determining which weapons were outlawed. Unless you ban every gun in the US and you could magically make the 200 million guns in circulation disappear, an assault weapon ban is an exercise in futility.

People are looking for a magic bullet (sorry for the pun) to deter these crazed lunatics, but the problem is much more complicated and difficult to solve than engaging in magical thinking.

One other thing: even locked doors didn’t deter this guy. He shot out the window and entered the school this way. A person determined to cause mayhem is unfortunately not going to be easily deterred by laws that my make us feel good but for all intents and purposes are ineffectual.

For anyone who wants to become informed about the prior assault weapon ban in the US or is interested in understanding the issue before proposing silly solutions, should read this:

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