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Thursday, January 10, 2013

Aurora Mass Shooting Survivor With Ties To Newtown Becomes Activist

Stephen Barton, 22, was struck by 25 shotgun pellets in face, neck, arms and chest in July 2012, when a shooter opened fire inside a movie theater in Aurora, Colo.

He had been on a cross-country bicycle trip with a friend when they decided to go to a midnight showing of “The Dark Knight Rises.”

Barton survived the mass shooting and came back home to Southbury, Conn., just minutes away from Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., where a shooter killed 20 children and 6 adults last month.

Barton is now an anti-gun activist working as outreach and policy associate for Mayors Against Illegal Guns, a group co-chaired by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Here’s Barton in a September 2012 ad, calling on both presidential candidates to offer plans to prevent gun violence:


  • Stephen Barton, gun control activist and mass shooting survivor. He tweets @scubarton.

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  • Rdanca

    Aarrrgh! Getting tired of this “arm the good guys” argument.

    Pres. Reagan and Jim Brady were *surrounded* by well-armed, well-trained and alert Secret Service agents and DC police with their hands on their weapons AND REAGAN AND BRADY STILL GOT SHOT!

    Does anyone really believe that teachers or NRA members cpould do better? Really?

    • David

      Yes – we do. At the very least, we want a chance to try.

    • http://www.facebook.com/hung.wasson Hung Wasson

      You miss the point entirely. Deranged people will always find a way to harm others. We as citizens have the right and responsibility to try to stop or reduce such harm, if we are able. Waiting for the police to show up to deal with the situation never results in less harm. They are reactive – they have to learn that something terrible is taking place, they have to get there, they have to try to track down the perpetrator.

      I like law enforcement, and have worked in law enforcement. I respect what they do, but I also understand very well that in these incidents, the likelihood that they’ll be on scene to deal with it in a timely manner is very unlikely. A police officer is a civilian that has been granted legal rights to openly carry a gun, and some modicum of training, as well as the rights and responsibilities attended to holding the position of peace officer. Believe me, the training is not nearly as intensive or frequent as you may imagine.

      • Aquavit6270

        If training of police is not extensive then encouraging civilians who have had almost NO training to openly carry guns “in case” something bad happens and they want to be armed to “help” will likely create more casualities… so what is the answer?

    • Kirk

      Reagan and Brady’s shooting just shows what surprise can do. But they lived through their experience because there were prepared people all around them, and Hinckley went to prison for the same reason. I’d like to see more prepared people around me, not less. 

    • It

      Obama just signed a law giving himself protection by men with guns for the rest of his life payed for by tax payers. I believe the NRA is correct in saying our children deserve the same protection when they are at school.

    • Lfc2560

      I’d like to point out that the gun Reagan was shot by will be perfectly legal if an “Assault Weapons ” ban is enacted. It was a person who committed the crime the tool he used was irrelevant . Once again I want to point out that he school shooting with the highest body count to date was committed with pistols not “Assault Weapons”

    • Willcgehring

      Wow! First of all: I don’t care what you’re sick of!  I don’t need to have an “arguement”  to keep my rights, for  you or anyone else! Reagan (Kennedy, ect…) was to allowed to be shot. The answer to your question is yes. I believe anyone who operates a firearm could protect themselves or anothers person or property, and has a constitutional right and responsibility to do so, no matter what group you label or try to qualify them as.  

  • David

    Mr. Barton says that introducing more guns during an attack would not stop the killing or deter the killers. I believe he said introducing more guns would just “increase the violence.”

    Really? So why do the police carry guns? And why, when there is a shooting, do people call 911 and urgently call on the police to respond? Do they expect the police to leave their guns at the station?

    And why do these killers typically choose venues where it is unlikely that anybody will be shooting back at them?

    The fact is that evil is rampant in our culture and these suicidal murderers are on the increase. Removing guns from law abiding citizens is not going to decrease these massacres. But it might make them easier for the killers.

    Regular law abiding citizens need guns – and the same kinds of guns – as law enforcement. And they need them for the same reason – the protection of themselves and their families from “the bad guys with guns.”

    • Kirk

       While generally I agree with you, David, statistics (I know; lies, damn lies, and statistics) show that these events are about as common as they ever were, and that they are a tiny proportion of gun crime. What made this such a virulent argument now was the targeting of small children, who everyone but the sociopath and the psychopath feel very protective of. Some people just want to keep capable protectors close by, while others want to pretend the danger can be legislated away.

    • Lfc2560

       What I find most disturbing is that we are still trying to get rid of inanimate objects to curb a people problem.  Why aren’t we addressing the fact that nobody in that theater attacked that POS.  Not one person stood up and said “No”, I refuse to be a victim, I refuse to allow this coward to victimize me or my family or my fellow human beings.  I refuse to allow him to win.  Where are the sheepdogs of this world? 

      Instead we want to place the responsibility for our personal safety on someone else.  Just look at the recent history of these “Mass Shootings”.  The minute the shooter is challenged they have either given up or killed themselves.  They are cowards trying to prey on the weak.   That theater was filled with young able bodied adults as was Va Tech and yet they were allowed the complete freedom to continue with their agenda and killing. 

      Newtown was a horrible tragedy and I do not expect school children to understand what to do in this type of situation.  That being said this wingnut could have had a .22 pistol and still made easy work of a classroom full of children.  I point out that unarmed adults did attempt to stop him, brave sheepdogs protecting their flock however they were unable to overcome his attack as he was armed.  I wonder what tool would have evened the playing field and gave these teachers a fighting chance.

      When are we going to stand up and take responsibility and say enough is enough. We refuse to allow the Sociopaths of the world victimize us.  We are going to fight back,  and we are going to allow the good citizens of this nation the tools they need to fight back, Instead we would rather blame an inanimate object that is no more dangerous sitting in a box than a hammer.   The only thing that makes it dangerous is a Wolf trying to use it, and the only thing that will stop it is a Sheepdog with one as well

    • MAfemalevoter

      Police carry guns because other people have guns.

      • http://www.facebook.com/gary.manis.5 Gary Manis

         Police carry guns because they have to deal with situations where they may be outnumbered and the law-breakers may be armed. When I say armed I mean armed with anything from a baseball bat or a knife to a vehicle or gun. Police officers carry guns primarily to protect themselves and other police officers.

        Law abiding citizens should be able to open-carry for much the same reasons. Protect yourself and your family.

        How about a weapon that is unobtrusive, cheap, easy to get, unlimited ammo, silent and can kill with a single shot? A baseball bat. The only limitation is range.

  • http://www.facebook.com/hung.wasson Hung Wasson

    I listened to your interview with Stephen Barton. I respect his position, but disagree that waiting for the police is the right choice. The police don’t have any magical ability to deal with a muderous rampage. They are brave men and women who have committed themselves to protecting the public. If they are smart, they will be wearing a ballistic vest – but their ability to actually stop a shooter is no greater than anyone else’s. If you realize that a “bad guy” is wearing body armor, then you have to try to shoot them in the groin or the head.

    • It

      I agree with everything in your comment except “I
      respect his position.” This man was given way too much latitude to talk as
      if he was an expert on the subject when it is obvious he is not. Being shot
      does not make someone an expert on psychotic behavior and gun rights any more
      than falling down makes someone a physicist.

      • MAfemalevoter

        As long as we continue to only look for facts that support the ideas we already hold in our head, we will never ever make any progress in this world.  This is a dialogue with many voices that will be continuing on today’s show, with mind you, someone who does not generally believe in guns is contemplating getting one and training to protect her students.

        • It

          I agree with you that dialogue and challenging your own views are critical for progress. The problem I had with Stephen’s interview was that it was based on emotion and anecdotal information. When emotions are in play intelligence is lowered. Good luck with your decision on getting a gun. I was just challenged with a similar decision. I have always had shot guns and rifles, but have never owned a pistol because I have always seen them as dangerous to have around. I purchased one last year and am signed up for my concealed carry license. It is nothing to take lightly.

          • MAfemalevoter

            Sorry, I am afraid I did not write my last response well.  When I spoke of someone who generally does not believe in guns contemplating getting one to protect her students, I was not speaking of myself.  I was speaking about the teacher that Robin Young referenced in the interview, saying she would be speaking with her in the future.  Sorry for the confusion.  I was just trying to make the point that Here and Now (I think) tries to give many sides to the story, not just one side.  

    • Aquavit6270

      IF you practice many hours each week to be that good of a shot – in a dark movie theatre, with the element of surprise, people screaming, bleeding, dying all around you. I don’t know about anyone else, but all those factors and many I have not even thought of, would make me unable to confidently and correctly shoot the shooter, thereby ending the violence.

  • Kirk

    I heard part of Stephen Barton’s interview. He stated that he would have been unable to effectively respond to the shooter had he been armed, because he was “outgunned.” I suspect this may be true, but not because of anything to do with firearms. His attitude now is that there was nothing he could do, and therefore, there WAS nothing he could do. As far as being outgunned goes, consider this; if you put two men in a room, one with a single shot musket and the other with a modern automatic weapon, the one to leave the altercation alive would be the one who shot first, all else being equal. The only inequality between Barton and the shooter was the element of surprise.

    He also stated the shooter was wearing “body armor,” when subsequent reports are that he was wearing load bearing equipment and not a ballistic vest.

  • MAfemalevoter

    Thank you for keeping the discussion going.  The absolute worst thing we can do is go on our numb merry way and not continue these discussions and not make some adjustments to our situation.   Here is a question, how many shooting survivors become gun control activists?  If I were to believe all the comments posted below, I would think that 99% of people would respond by getting a gun and arming themselves.  My guess is that most people who survive become advocates for better storage and in depth background checks.  
    I do not want to live in a world where people are so frightened of being shot by a firearm that they refuse to go out in the world and truly live.  I also don’t want my kids getting the message from their educators that the world is so very scary that we all need to arm ourselves.  This certainly does not promote an environment where taking risk is an adventure to be savored.  

  • clark phernetton

    People you need to turn you’re TV’s off and check facts for yourself.Start here,who is Nick Meli?Why is Robbie Parker laughing and smirking?Is it because his daughter,emilie,looked so cute in her red dress sitting on the presidents lap?I personally fear for my life,and the lives of my friends and family.My fear steams from the fact people cant think for themselves any more let alone remember history 

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