'Above the fray': Jan. 8th group avoiding politics following Newtown shooting

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'Above the fray': Jan. 8th group avoiding politics following Newtown shooting

CREATED Dec 18, 2012

Reporter: Maggie Vespa

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - It's like re-opening an old wound, that never really healed.

That's how survivors, as well as those who knew the victims, of Tucson's own tragic shooting say they felt friday, watching coverage of the Newtown, Connecticut massacre.
Now, as the country re-hashes those subsequent safety debates, members of the January 8th Memorial group say the solutions may be more elusive than ever.
For Ross Zimmerman, watching the Newtown shooting unfold was saddening but not shocking.
"How many mass shootings have occurred since the Tucson shooting?" he said.
Zimmerman remembers that day all too well. His son Gabe was one of six shot and killed on January 8th 2011.
He says the tragedy in Newtown only adds to a painfully long list.
"It's terrible to hear about innocent school children shot, slaughtered in a school.  That's awful, but that's no worse than the horrible things that happened in Aurora or at Columbine," he said.
"We don't want to send any more letters to a community that becomes part of our fraternity of communities harmed by senseless shootings," said board president Stephen Brigham.
Tuesday, as members of the 'January 8th Memorial Foundation' came together to ask for the public's help in planning a tribute, the politics of preventing these tragedies remained a puzzle.
"When anyone talks about gun control, it brings up a lot of legislative history, community history, personal passions about the second amendment," he said.  "We're trying not to get into that dialogue."
Brigham maintains, the group's focus remains on building a memorial.
He also admits if reasonable action was taken on gun control, mental health awarness, or other hot button topics, it would be hard to keep quiet.
"We need to stay somewhat neutral, but when you see the faces, the pictures of the kids shot, you can't stay neutral very long," he said.