Monsters Under the Bed


A letter from Mark Barden (Daniel’s father)

When nightmares woke my son Daniel in the months before he was murdered at Sandy Hook Elementary – two years ago this Sunday – my wife Jackie and I knew what to do.

We hugged him, held him, and comforted him. We told him there were no monsters. We assured him he was safe.

The horrific shooting in Newtown on Dec. 14, 2012 has often been referred to as “a parent’s worst nightmare.”

And it’s the nightmare most parents don’t prepare for – because we convince ourselves

it could never happen to us.


Before that awful December day, I certainly wasn’t thinking about gun violence when it came to keeping Daniel and his siblings safe. Seat belts, cutting grapes in half, holding hands when crossing the street – that’s all I thought I needed to do to keep my children out of harm’s way.

Then, in one unthinkable moment, I was plunged into my worst nightmare – one we’re still living – and the cold, brutal reality that gun violence can happen anywhere.

It can happen in Newtown, and it can happen in your town.


So, as our tragic anniversary approaches, we’ve made a powerful video every parent and person with children in their lives needs to see. Please watch it, share with as many people as you can, and ask them to join you and Sandy Hook Promise in protecting all children from the very real threat of gun violence.

Watch Sandy Hook Promise’s “Monsters Under the Bed” video, and then share it with your friends and loved ones.  Help us continue to build our parent-and-community-powered movement for change.

If I could relive the months and years before Daniel’s senseless murder, I wouldn’t change how he saw the world. The sweetest, kindest, happiest kid you could ever meet, Daniel’s usual worries were whether the worms stranded on the driveway after a rain could return to their homes or whether his favorite stuffed animal Ninja Cat had eaten enough dinner.

The best way to protect our kids’ childhood innocence, including the worries and imaginary fears every kid has, is for us to CONFRONT THE REAL THREATS and MAKE THE NECESSARY CHANGES – however hard those changes might be – to keep them safe.

That’s the message we at Sandy Hook Promise hope our video will spread – with your help.

Every single second of that morning of Dec. 14, 2012 is forever etched in my mind: hearing Daniel’s flip-flop-clad feet padding after me and his brother James on that cold, December morning on our early trek to James’ bus, then cuddling as we watched the Christmas tree lights twinkle against the sunrise’s glow and holding hands as we strode together to Daniel’s bus for what would be his final ride.

On Sunday I will, once again, relive that morning, moment by moment – and while I know I’ll again feel sadness and heartbreak, they’ll be joined by hope. And that’s thanks to the support of friends like you, who’ve joined in our Promise to create a safer world for all our children.

Thank you for supporting Sandy Hook Promise during this difficult time – and all the time. We’re truly grateful.

For Daniel






5 Replies to “Monsters Under the Bed”

  1. If there are any takers, I’d love to see some serious deep sleuthing into the darkest corners of Newtown.

    All does not seem as it appears.

    1. Lulu, I’m from Newtown. I know what happened. Trust me when I tell you – there doesn’t need to be sleuthing. There needs to be compassion and change! What happened there was absolutely devastating and unspeakable, and should not have happened. It could have been prevented. I have seen the faces of those parents up close and personal. And all of us would love nothing more than for this to not be real! But it’s as real as it gets. And I will always stand with them to work towards a better, safer country! Our kids deserve that. That is the truth.

    1. Nick, I haven’t been back in awhile and I just want to thank you for your reply to my initial comment, above. I thought that was what sleuthing was, too.

  2. There are questions to be answered here:

    How do we help parents overcome denial when their child has mental illness?

    How can we provide better mental illness services, covered by insurance, for our citizens.

    How can we find a middle ground on the gun debate and ensure that people are background checked, registered and properly educated. Reconsider the types of guns & ammo that are legal. We need to start somewhere.

    Those are the questions. I recognize I am sensitive on this topic and I don’t suspect that will change. I want people to stop focusing on the hoax factor and focus on what matters.

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