Sandy Hook Survivor: 'Your Prayers Honestly Don't Mean Anything'

Six survivors of the 2012 Sandy Hook shooting are seen in a segment on
Six survivors of the 2012 Sandy Hook shooting are seen in a segment on "Good Morning America." YouTube screenshot

Six Sandy Hook survivors, who were first graders in 2012 when a gunman killed 20 children and six adults at their school in Newtown, Connecticut, reflected on the attack during Tuesday’s episode of “Good Morning America” as they prepare to graduate from high school.

“We don’t want ‘I’m sorrys’ and ‘This is so terrible it happened to you,’” Henry Terifay said in a segment on the morning show.

“It’s past that. It’s happened too many times. Your prayers honestly don’t mean anything. It doesn’t help me. I’ve had to deal with this for 10 years. It’ll never get easier no matter how many times I talk about it, and honestly it’s just time for it to change. No more ‘sorrys.’”

Emma Ehrens described the gunman entering her classroom at Sandy Hook Elementary School and standing right next to her. She said she watched her friends “drop” before she and others began to run away.

“On the way, we saw bodies in the hallways and doors blown off the hinges,” Ehrens said. “We just ran and ran and ran out of the school.”

She said that when she sees other school shootings, like the 2022 attack in Uvalde, Texas, that killed 19 children and two teachers, she knows that the victims’ families need more than expressions of sympathy.

“They just want change,” Ehrens said. “This should never have happened to us; this should never have happened to them. I just think people in power, or people that have the power to make change, should do it instead of the 17-, 18-year-olds trying to do their work for them.”

Some of the survivors said they plan to advocate against gun violence in their future careers in therapy, law and politics.

Lilly Wasilnak said she worries about sending her kids to school one day.

“As unfortunate as it is, it’s going to happen to someone else and it’s going to keep happening to someone else until people like us have to make the change,” she said.

Terifay added, “I really thought Sandy Hook would shock people and wake everybody up, but it just keeps happening over and over and over again.”

Families of some Sandy Hook victims recently won nearly $1.5 billion in legal judgments against Infowars owner Alex Jones after the conspiracy theorist called the school shooting a hoax.

“Alex Jones’ apologies are worthless,” Neil Heslin, whose child Jesse Lewis died in the shooting at age 6, testified in 2022. “At this stage, any apology would not be sincere. It’s gone too late. ... I don’t know if Alex is even capable of a sincere apology.”