NEWTOWN, Conn. - Just over three months after Adam Lanza killed Mark and Jackie Barden's 7-year-old son, Daniel, 19 other first-graders and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Mark Barden saw enough in the warrants unsealed Thursday to reinforce his primary mission.
"That this guy in less than five minutes was able to shoot off 154 rounds' is reason enough to ban high-capacity magazines, Barden said of Lanza, who in a few minutes on Dec. 14, 2012, unleashed one of history's worst school massacres.
If a gun owner can't hit what they need to with a 10-round clip, they probably shouldn't be shooting, Barden said.
"I cannot fathom a valid argument for the existence of 30-round magazines, and ... the evidence' contained in the warrants "certainly supports it,' said Barden, a professional musician — a guitar player — who lives in Sandy Hook.
For the most part, the information contained in the warrants, aside from some added detail, "was common knowledge,' said Barden.
Why talk? Barden said he does it to keep the issue in front of people so it eventually will result in change that will make what happened at Sandy Hook less likely to happen in the future.
He said he never gets tired of people telling him how sorry they are for what happened.
"What would really hurt would be if people forgot about it' and returned to their normal lives and let the issue — changes in society to make some future Dec. 14 less likely to occur — fade away, he said.
"If this doesn't do it, I don't know what will,' Barden said of the current moment and the opportunity that exists for change.
The image of 20 children and six adults gunned down by someone who shot his way into the safety of their school, painful as it is, "is an image that people need to think about,' he said.
And while changes in the law to better regulate guns are among the things Barden hopes for, they are not the only thing.
He also hopes to see changes in the way mentally ill people are treated and a removal of the stigma attached to seeking mental health treatment.
After reading the warrants, "I think there's ample evidence that this individual was deeply troubled and I think his mother could have made other choices in terms of how to spend time with her son,' Barden said.
But people suffering with mental illness shouldn't need to feel embarrassed about seeking treatment, he said.
"People are not ashamed to say, ' I'm seeking treatment so that my heart can be healthy,'' Barden said. "Why can't we say, ' I'm seeking treatment so that my head can be healthy?''
From the warrants and from everything else he knows, "I think that this kid was allowed to exist in such isolation,' Barden said.
In an odd way, that makes him think of his late son, Daniel, who was known even during the short time he spent in school for befriending the children who might otherwise have been alone or on the fringes, Barden said.
"When I think about the stories they tell about this kid's life — the shooter's life — and how reclusive and isolated he was ... it makes me think that my son, Daniel, who was killed by him ... if he noticed someone that was sitting alone, he made an effort to go over ... and comfort him and sit with him,' he said.
It makes him wonder whether, had Adam Lanza known someone who acted "in the spirit of what my little Daniel was known for doing,' things might have turned out differently.
"So I can't ignore this connection between this kid, who it seems was so isolated for so much of his life, and my son,' Barden said.
Barden's niece in Maryland has set up a Facebook page as a memorial to Daniel Barden, called "WWDD,' or "What Would Daniel Do.'
"It's nothing more than a simple platform to promote' Daniel's message of kindness, Mark Barden said.
The page, as of Thursday night had 18,258 "likes.'
"If we can influence a little positive message in our culture through that site, that would be great,' Barden said.
Call Mark Zaretsky at 203-789-5722.