The horrific shooting in a Texas elementary school Tuesday had some terribly familiar elements for the families that lost children in the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut in 2012. Dannel Malloy was the governor at the time. That shooting took the lives of 20 children and six adults.
WNYC’s Michael Hill interviewed Malloy Wednesday morning. The interview has been lightly edited for clarity.
Hill: Let me ask you straight off the top here: What came across your mind yesterday as you learned of these events in Texas?
Malloy: Eerie similarities … The initial reports were one or two people shot. I used to be a prosecutor in New York City, in Brooklyn, and generally that would mean it was a domestic — that somebody came to the school to kill, you know, one person. And that's exactly what I had heard that day in December of 2012. You know, the first report was one person and then another. Within 45 minutes, we began to understand the full context of the slaughter that had occurred in that school.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott released a statement last night mourning the shooting. What would you say to him?
Yeah, I'm not sure I would say anything to Governor Abbott. I have had conversations with people who've gone through the similar situation that we did, or like situations that we did in Newtown. I think that we, as a nation, are not doing enough to protect our children or our fellow citizens.
And there's more that could be done. Some of that's security, some of that is mental health. Some of that is common sense rules. You know, one of the things — this fellow shot his way into it. I know that we did a very extensive study of what had happened and gave directions, for example, that if you have a glass door, it has to be reinforced with metal. There are just so many issues that Texas is going to have to grapple with now around this issue. Our schools have to be secure.
But not just Texas right, governor?
No, not just Texas. You know, everyone thinks this is just never gonna happen [to them]. You know, the Sunday after the Friday shooting in Newtown, I did an interview with a TV station and I was asked a question ‘Well, what's going to happen?’ I said, ‘Well, it's going to happen in your town. You know, you're going to have a movie theater shot up or a live theater shot up, or a mall shot up, or a school shot up.' We're not doing enough to prevent these things from happening. We're not even making schools as safe as we could for very little money.
So it’s a tragedy and, in all likelihood, it was an avoidable tragedy.
Governor, why does there seem to be no will to address this, to prevent this from happening?
Well there's a will in a place like New York or California or Connecticut. And then there's a lack of will among a cross section of other parts of our country,
Dannel Malloy is the former governor of Connecticut and currently serves as the chancellor of the University of Maine system.