Reflections on guns and the shootings in Connecticut
Along with everyone else, I am sickened by Friday's senseless killings.
I would like to make a suggestion to our media. I know we have to report these stories, but I would like to make one change. Never, ever, report the murderer's name if they killed themselves.
There is no trial, so there is no story to follow here. These individuals derive some sick pleasure from knowing that they will be "famous" after their death.
If they did not kill themselves, report their name. Period. When the trial is over, report the outcome. Period. Do not give them any attention; they don't deserve one second of it. Instead, report stories about the poor victims.
Let's stop this madness.
This last week has certainly reinforced the notion that humankind is plagued by evil, and a week that will remain in my mind for the rest of my life. The violence and terror we live by in America escalates seemingly on an hourly basis. In the sanctuary of an elementary school, 20 children were murdered along with six faculty members on Friday.
On Wednesday [Dec. 12], the lead news story spoke of two persons shot and killed in a mall in Portland. Sadly, as these events
unfold and the families of those murdered grieve, there are those rushing to the soap boxes to scream about the need for tougher gun control regulations in our country rather than focusing on a lack of security in our schools and malls where our innocent children and general public are known to be on a daily basis.
Occurring last week too, Friday in fact, a school in China was also attacked. Twenty-two children in all were wounded by a 36-year-old man wielding a knife. Since China has long had a ban on privately owned firearms, this sort of attack is certainly more common — basically, the government has taken away one weapon so another is chosen. While these 22 children are lucky to be alive, there are many others who are not.
In March 2010, eight children were killed with a knife at an elementary school in Nanoing, China. In May 2010, seven kindergarten students and two adults were killed with a cleaver in a school in Hanzhong. And in August of the same year, three children and one teacher were killed in an elementary school in Zibo, Shandong.
If our lawmakers are planning to rush legislation down the throats of the American people based upon last week's occurrences, they must be prepared to explain what differences in a proposed law might have changed the outcome of these scenarios.
The reality is, there is no change. All guns responsible for last week's murders were stolen. The gunman in Portland stole his weapon from an acquaintance. The gunman in Connecticut killed his mother to steal her legally registered firearms.
All guns were legal, and none of those legal owners are responsible for the deaths of those poor innocent people. The responsibility lies solely with the maniacs who pull the trigger, aimed at the lives of the innocent. Unless some new legislation is based upon firearm assault with a stolen weapon, which I would gladly support, the conversation is simply reinventing an argument based upon current news.
Gun control concepts are well argued by both the left and the right. It is the substance of the argument that must be interpreted by the American people, and I believe in this case the timing of that argument as well. In Connecticut, 26 families are grieving. I, exercising my right to self-protection, am saddened as well to have to write this letter so soon after these tragedies, as we really need a moment to really understand what has transpired.
Of course, if I am in the minority of the gun control argument, then we had better start getting knife reform legislation rolling.
The worst of the human race exposed itself in Connecticut this afternoon [Dec. 14]. This tragedy goes to further my suspicions that we are up against the classic battle between good and evil.
Our hearts and prayers go out to the victims, both living and dead, and their families. To have to perish at such a young age and in such a violent way is almost beyond comprehension. Some will ask "How can a good and just God be so heartless and cruel." But maybe, just maybe, we all need to be reminded that we need to come together in a compassionate and purposeful way.
My heart, our hearts, bleed over this insane act. Let us learn from this. We, as a people, must strive to be as one. To be civil and compassionate. To let our spirituality come out and shine through. To be attuned to our neighbor as well as our communities. We must be as one with Him. Then and only then are we human.
This is the first of these crazy gun massacres that has actually made me cry.
Folks who are devoted to the Second Amendment's right to own and carry guns may forget that the amendment links ownership of guns to the need for "a well regulated militia" and was written at a time in our history when there was no standing army.
So, OK, let's arm and regulate the militia. That would be the National Guard – not every mentally damaged person wandering around loose nor the people who live in fear of the threat created by their own support for the easy availability of guns, who then react by getting guns to protect themselves.
Unfortunately, that gun purchase sometimes leads to the death of innocent people ...
Is it time to rewrite the Second Amendment?
The horrific shooting in Connecticut on Dec. 14 is indeed a wake-up call for an open dialogue on gun control.
Knowing that this topic is as volatile as many, the fact remains that we in this country have what I consider an open season on innocent citizens.
We need to get in contact with our legislators, both on the state and the federal level, and let them know where we stand on the useless slaughter of innocent people.
Re Dec. 15 AP article, "Sheer terror'": News coverage of this event shows hand-wringing reporters asking "why" and "how," and the answers are a classic case of "we have found the enemy and it is us."
We, the people, as well as our elected representatives, have rolled over for the bullies and the NRA [National Rifle Association] long enough. Just because we have the right to bear arms doesn't mean it's in our best interest to do so, when any nut case (you'll pardon if I'm not PC [politically correct]) with a grudge can obtain the weapon to spray a room full of five- and six-year-olds with bullets and take their sweet lives in a matter of seconds.
It's long since time to act, to get the automatic and assault weapons out of the hands of the citizenry. I hope we can find the courage at last to persevere in this cause.
I am sure you, as well as many newspapers around this area and all over the country, will be getting letters from people regarding this [Friday’s] unthinkable tragedy.
I, for one, have never been a pro-gun person. I have two sons and never bought either of them a toy gun. Guns scare me. Yes, without a doubt, something needs to be done to control guns being sold so easily in this country.
I know that if someone wants one badly enough, they can buy it illegally.
However, if stricter laws can be enforced, and less guns are out there, it may just prevent a tragedy like this from happening. Wouldn't it be worth it? is an understatement. Less guns being sold, less innocent people killed.
And, another issue, perhaps the biggest one, is that a logically thinking person does not commit a crime like this, or any other for that matter. Mental illness in this country needs to addressed. It has not been given the attention it should be getting. We need to open our eyes and start dealing with this disease. People do not want to seek help, and loved ones turn a blind eye to it because of the stigma that has persisted for years and years in this country.
People still are embarrassed to admit they, or a loved one, needs mental health treatment! To me, mental illness seems to be at the root of many crimes committed in this country. And until we choose to recognize it and put this illness on the list of diseases that we need to find better treatment for, we will continue to see these awful tragedies happen.
God help all of those families who lost a child or loved one. I cannot imagine the pain and heartbreak they are feeling. I will be praying for them, as so many of us around the country and world will be.
The political cartoon in the Gazette and other newspapers indicates that the NRA [National Rifle Association] is responsible for the carnage in Newtown, Conn., but is it really? Don't get me wrong, I am not a member of the NRA, nor do I believe that the Second Amendment permits free access to handguns. But is gun control the real issue?
I believe that Connecticut, like New York state, has some of the strictest gun control laws, requiring training, licensing and a prohibition against carrying any firearms into schools and other public institutions. So the criminal, here a crazed person, violates all of those laws in the senseless murder of others.
Some have suggested that if teachers had guns, the carnage could have been limited. That simply is unrealistic, and violates the prohibition against weapons in schools. Yes, a trained police officer in each school would may have a prophylactic effect. Trained police dogs in the schools would help, too. Are we willing to pay for such services? Do we want our children to enter armed camps or friendly schools? Magnanometers can simply be avoided since the lunatic who killed our children in Connecticut broke into the school and obviously would have avoided such a device.
With all due respect, we need to teach respect. We need to teach politeness. We need to teach that the rights of a person extend only as far as they do not impinge upon the rights of others. If we look at the New York City experience, when New York City stopped ticketing for minor offenses, major crime went up. When they returned to enforcement, all crimes were reduced.
Return to a polite society includes a return to professionalism of the press. It is the president, not just Obama. The governor, not just Cuomo. And sensationalizing like the economic "cliff" is not only inaccurate but also inflammatory.
And please, require children to interact, limit solitary gaming, texting and detached communications. Letter writing, cursive writing, and a basic understanding of personal responsibility with consequences may return us to a more social, concerned nation. And maybe with personal interaction, and respect for others, we may spot a wacko before he or she can do damage, or prevent it to begin with.
Bruce S. Trachtenberg