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ABC "This Week with George Stephanopoulos" - Transcript

Interview

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STEPHANOPOULOS: Let me turn now to Senator Richard Blumenthal, Democratic senator from the state of Connecticut, also Senator-elect Congressman Chris Murphy also here with us this morning.

Senator Blumenthal, you have also spent most of the last 48 hours right here.

BLUMENTHAL: I've spent a good part of the last two days here in this community. And I must, first of all, add my thanks to the governor for his strength and determination, but also to the community, which has really come together and demonstrated a kind of fiber and faith that is remarkable.

I've spent time in this community before and always been impressed by the real links and bonds between people. You know, the ambulance and fire department are largely volunteer, so that many of the heroic stories here are about volunteers coming forward and trying to deal with this searing, almost unbearable pain that so many feel knowing the families, knowing the victims. And, of course, as a parent myself, four children, I can really have some sense of what they are going through.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And, Congressman, this is -- this is in your district. You've been representatives for many years. And I've seen it just in the last couple of days, this is a community that is tightly tied together. Talking to Monsignor Weiss yesterday, he had baptized many of the children in that school.

MURPHY: You want to talk about the quintessential small New England town, it's Newtown. There's a labor Day parade that's the pride of this community that runs through Main Street every year, and every single school and community group plans the entire year to be part of that celebration of America.

It's a small town, a very tightly-knit town, a town that probably grieves a little bit deeper because of this incident, because everyone that was taken was within a few square miles of each other. It will be more difficult, but a town that can be rebuild, because its faith is so strong and because its ties to each other are so strong. There've been miracles that have happened every day since this tragedy hit, and it points the way towards the way that Newtown -- because of its close-knit nature -- can heal.

STEPHANOPOULOS: The schools here are going to be closed tomorrow. What is the step-by-step process going forward after that?

MURPHY: Well, I think that's going to be a consultation with the first selectwoman and the board of education. I think it's important for students and for faculty to be able to process this together, and so I think there is a need for this community to get back to some semblance of a schedule.

But each individual faculty member and each individual student and families are going to take their -- their own time. And so I think we are still 48 hours after this incident just trying to figure out how to think about it, never mind how to actually go by the step-by-step process of grieving and reconstructing this community. It's going to take a while.

STEPHANOPOULOS: How to think about it and how to talk about it, and, Senator, I know that you -- as we move on, want to begin a conversation in the Senate about how the country can come together to address this violence.

BLUMENTHAL: You know, I come to this issue with a background of almost 30 years in law enforcement, both criminal...

STEPHANOPOULOS: Attorney general.

BLUMENTHAL: ... and civil, as a United States attorney, the chief federal prosecutor, and 20 years as attorney general. And I'm hearing from the community, as well as my colleagues in law enforcement, we need to do something. And I'm hearing from my colleagues in the Senate around the country, some in states like Wisconsin and Colorado, where there have been similar horrific, horrible tragedies, maybe not involving children with this kind of uncomprehensible kind of circumstance, but we need to do something, at the very least, perhaps, about the high-capacity magazines that were used in this crime.

But, of course, the investigation here is continuing. And we'll learn more. And out of respect to the families and their grief, at this point, I'm not going to be more specific about that conversation, but certainly this horrible episode and incident and crime by this deranged person possessed by demons, as you have put it, will spur and transform, I think, the national conversation. And I intend to talk about it on the floor of the United States Senate perhaps as early as this week.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Congressman, do you think this can be a tipping point?

MURPHY: Well, I think the tipping point should have happened a long time ago, frankly. And as I think eager as people are going to be to find some simple solution from a policy standpoint, we have to acknowledge that there is no simple solution, that, yes, there needs to be a conversation about gun control, but also about the way we treat mental illness, also about the culture of violence in this country, which may have contributed to the way in which this very disturbed young man thought.

This is going to be a very complicated process of asking why, but we also have to admit that it's going to be a very complicated process figuring out what to do from here. We need to talk about it, though. The time for sort of saying that we can't talk about the policy implications of tragedies like this is over. And for us here in Connecticut, while we're going to grieve and make sure the families have everything they need, we're going to be on the floor of the Senate very soon talking about where we go from here.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And we are all grieving with you today. Thank you both.

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