Five weeks after the killings at Sandy Hook Elementary School, a remarkable story is emerging.
Veronique Pozner wanted Malloy to see what the bullets did to Noah, who was barely 6, the youngest Newtown victim.
In the casket, Noah's eyes were closed, his long lashes resting on his cheeks, Naomi Zeveloff reported in the Forward. The bottom half of his face was covered by a cloth.
" ... there was no mouth left," Veronique Pozner told the newspaper. "His jaw was blown away."
In Noah's right hand she placed a clear stone with a white angel inside. She wanted to place one in his left hand, too, but that hand was gone.
Noah was shot 11 times.
Zeveloff asked Pozner why she wanted to see the damage to Noah's body.
"I owed it to him as his mother -- the good, the bad, the ugly," Pozner said. "It is not up to me to say I am only going to look at you and deal with you when you are alive, that I am going to block out the reality of what you look like when you are dead. And as a little boy, you have to go in the ground. If I am going to shut my eyes to that I am not his mother. I had to bear it. I had to do it."
Zeveloff asked Pozner why she wanted Malloy to see the damage.
"I needed it to have a face for him," Pozner said. "If there is ever a piece of legislation that comes across his desk, I needed it to be real for him."
So at the Abraham L. Green & Son Funeral Home in Fairfield on Dec. 17, just before the start of Noah's service, Pozner took Malloy by the arm and led him to her son's open casket.
During a news conference later that day, the usually unemotional, no-nonsense Malloy wiped away tears, his voice breaking as he spoke briefly about conversations with the victims' families. A Malloy spokesman said Thursday that the governor does not want to discuss the conversations.
After Sandy Hook, where a deranged young man named Adam Lanza cut down 20 first-graders and six educators using a semi-automatic assault weapon and 30-round magazines, the battle over gun control is escalating in Washington and nearly every statehouse in the nation.
Pozner told the Forward she doesn't know how to stop school shootings, but if Lanza "had shown up at Sandy Hook with a knife or a less powerful weapon, he may have harmed some people, but it would not have been the mass carnage we saw."
She has never been an activist, said Pozner, a 45-year-old oncology nurse, but "this topic has wings for me. It has got to take flight."
More than half a century ago, another American mother decided the same thing. After her son, 14-year-old Emmett Till, was slain, Mamie Till left his casket open, too. During the funeral she allowed people to photograph the horrible damage to his body.
The photos would circulate the country, even the world, and helped launch the civil rights movement. Mamie Till's son was lynched.
A divorced Air Force file clerk, Mamie Till lived with Emmett in a middle-class black neighborhood in Chicago. In August 1955, while visiting relatives in Money, Miss., Emmett went into a little grocery store with his cousins to buy candy.
On a dare, Emmett, who was not used to the ways of the South, flirted with the white woman who ran the store, whistling at her and by differing accounts maybe touching her hand or waist.
The woman's husband found out, gathered some friends and in the middle of the night pulled Emmett from his uncle's house. The men beat Emmett, gouged out his eye, shot him in the head, tied the metal fan from a cotton gin to his neck with barbed wire and threw him into the Tallahatchie River.
After Emmett's body was found, Mamie Till said she wanted the world to see what hate had done to her only child. Over four days, tens of thousands of people viewed Emmett's body in a Chicago church, and many more saw the published photographs.
A month later, the two white men charged with the murder were acquitted, despite overwhelming evidence against them. An all-male, all-white jury deliberated for about an hour.
Later, the accused men, protected by double jeopardy laws, told Look magazine the story of how they killed Emmett Till.
So Mamie Till went around the country making speeches, drawing huge crowds. In black communities, outrage began to build, and civil rights leaders recognized it as a time to act.
Four months after Emmett Till was killed, Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat to a white passenger on a Montgomery city bus. When Parks was arrested for violating Alabama's segregation laws, a young minister named Martin Luther King Jr. called for a bus boycott, and the civil rights movement began.
Mamie Till, who died in 2003, made the world look at what racism wrought.
"People really didn't know that things this horrible could take place," she was quoted as saying. "The fact that it happened to a child, that makes all the difference in the world."
Pozner told the Forward something similar.
"I want people to know the ugliness of it so we don't talk about it abstractly, like these little angels just went to heaven," Pozner said. "No. They were butchered. They were brutalized."