NEWTOWN, Conn.—As families of the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings travel to Hartford to join President Barack Obama at his speech on gun violence later on Monday—and fly with him back to Washington—many residents here said they did not want the gun-control spotlight shone on them.
More than a dozen people—outside the Newtown General Store, Starbucks and Panera Bread, and at Treadwell Memorial Park less than a mile up the hill from Sandy Hook Elementary—declined to be interviewed on the subject. Some said they wanted to keep their opinions to themselves. Others said they felt the media had exploited them enough and wanted to be left alone.
"I thought you all had left," one man said cheerily as he strolled along a walking path in Sandy Hook center on one of the first truly warm days of spring.
Outside Edmond Town Hall, a group of mothers sipped coffee as they watched their children play underneath a sign for a second-run showing of the movie "Argo." They politely declined to speak about guns.
Others were not so cordial. A woman who spotted a reporter's media badge on Church Hill Road as she drove by rolled down her window to inform him, "You should be ashamed."
Ian Eller, a writer and father of two Sandy Hook students who wrote a riveting account of talking to his children about the shooting in January, also declined to comment to Yahoo News on gun control.
"I appreciate your position as a journalist," Eller wrote in an email, "but I do not wish to wade into the gun debate at this time."
There were many signs that the town has returned to some normalcy. At Starbucks, for instance, a group of caffeinated teen girls texted away on iPhones instead of studying flash cards. A copy of Monday's Daily News—with Newtown gunman Adam Lanza on the cover—was left unread on a nearby table.