Whether they loved eating Totino’s pepperoni pizza rolls, collected high-end sneakers in all different colors, owned dozens of stuffed animals won from arcade claw cranes, or swung from curtains pretending to be Spider-Man, 20 American children each had a story to share.
Each life was unique–but they all ended too soon.
Twelve-year-old Taylor Cornett provided meals to cancer patients receiving chemotherapy in her hometown of Hazard, Ky.
Fearless Evan Colquitt, 17, bought a scooter with money he saved from his job at a landscaping company in Savannah, Ga., so he could travel back and forth to work.
Jamarcus Allen, 4, of Akron, Ohio, preferred eating fruit–especially oranges, strawberries, and grapes–to junk food.
The “family man,” Marty Kent, 17, of Modesto, Calif., once found $60 on the sidewalk and gave it to his nieces to split instead of initially taking a share for himself.
Aaliyah Boyer, 10, sang lyrics from Justin Bieber and Taylor Swift–whom she hoped to see in concert later this year–accompanied by her karaoke machine at home in Manheim, Pa.
In the wake of the Newtown shooting, msnbc began publishing profiles of some of the child victims of gun violence. The “Too Young to Die” series has 20 tributes now: vignettes that offer a glimpse into the lives of some of the American children killed by guns in the days and weeks since the Dec. 14, 2012, massacre at Sandy Hook.
On that winter day, a gunman killed 20 young children in Newtown. But each day, parents across the country deal with the loss of a child from gun violence.
Despite a massive public relations and political campaign by President Obama, Vice President Biden, and the families of Newtown victims, the Senate failed last week to reach a compromise on background checks for gun buyers. The vote failed 54-46, short of the required 60.
“It is a slap in the face of every family who has experienced gun violence, as well as every American who wants to live in a safer nation,” Dan Gross, president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, told msnbc.com. “These heart-breaking tragedies should provide reason for any decent human being to want to do everything that they can about this issue.”
The Senate did, however, vote down an amendment that would have given gun owners the right to carry concealed weapons across state lines. The decision was a victory for gun safety. Senators also defeated five other amendments that would ban assault weapons, increase funding for criminal prosecution, make gun trafficking a federal crime, expand veterans’ gun rights, and ban high-capacity magazines.
“I think this is just the beginning, and it is a very heartening beginning. There is a lot to take heart and inspiration from, but we still fell short and we should be outraged,” Gross said. “The key now is channeling that outrage to finish the job that we’ve started in the name of these victims and for the safety of all Americans.”