Farewell letter from boy to best friend: 'I love you'

A boy’s heartbreaking letter to six-year-old Sandy Hook victim Jack Pinto has been shared thousands of times on the Internet.

“Jack, you are my best friend,” began the handwritten letter. “We had fun together. I will miss you. I will talk to you in my prayers. I love you Jack. Love, John.”

This letter was displayed, along with photographs of the two friends, at Jack’s funeral in Newtown on Monday. He was one of 20 schoolchildren gunned down by Adam Lanza last Friday, in one of the worst mass shootings in US history that also left seven adults dead.

In memoriam: A woman lights candles at a makeshift memorial near the grounds of Sandy Hook Elementary School. Pic/AFP

A journalist, Yamiche Alcindor, saw the letter at Jack’s funeral and tweeted it out from her account @Yamiche. The message went viral online, with thousands of people moved by its simple, emotional message.

Jack was a huge fan of the American football team the New York Giants. Their player Victor Cruz played Sunday’s game with the boy’s name written all over his cleats and gloves. Funerals for the victims have been taking place this week, as the town grieves for its losses.

Meanwhile, sales of bullet-proof backpacks have reportedly tripled in the US in the wake of the shooting. Amendment II, a Salt Lake City-based company that manufactures lightweight bullet-proof backpacks for children, including Disney-themed bags, said sales had gone through the roof since the Sandy Hook massacre.

“I can’t go into exact sales numbers, but basically we tripled our sales volume of backpacks that we typically do in a month — in one week,” said Amendment II president Derek Williams.

Speaking up
The National Rifle Association (NRA), the biggest pro-gun lobbying group in the US, has also broken its silence on the Newtown shooting, saying it was “prepared to offer meaningful contributions” to prevent future massacres.

It marked a sharp change in tone for the group. “The NRA is made up of four million moms and dads, sons and daughters — and we were shocked, saddened and heartbroken by the news of the horrific and senseless murders in Newtown,” the organisation said in a statement.

The NRA plans a news conference on Friday after staying silent out of respect for families in Newtown and as a matter of common decency, the statement said.

US President Barack Obama indicated he would support legislation restoring a ban on assault weapons and requiring background checks of buyers at gun shows as steps toward preventing more mass shootings. He would also consider backing restrictions on high-capacity ammunition magazines such as the one used by gunman Adam Lanza, White House press secretary Jay Carney said.  

Marine dad stands watch outside children’s school
A Nashville father is taking the safety of his children’s school into his own hands by standing watch outside the building in his camouflage Marines uniform. “I feel like this is something I had to do,” said Staff Sargeant Jordan Pritchard. Pritchard, who has two children at the school, is not armed, but believes the sight of a soldier would make a gunman think twice about attacking a school. 

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