Sandy Hook tragedy: Is gun control the real issue?
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 inflamatory.
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
Sandy Hook: Mental health issues have been on the back burner too long
I am sure I am one of many who will write about the tragedy in Connecticut [Dec. 15 Gazette]. This horrible event was almost literally in my sisters’ backyard. She has young children and the “punch in the stomach” effect hit me hard also.
I have been a volunteer firefighter for over 30 years, public safety dispatcher for 18 years, and a child passenger safety seat technician for several years, have my own grown children, and work with children all the time. I cannot even begin to imagine the horrors people had to experience and are still experiencing.
I now hear people talking about gun control. More gun control does not control the actions of depraved individuals. I agree that no one but law enforcement and military need assault rifles or “clip” handguns, but that is as far as I go on that.
I believe what we do need is more mental health care, and also we need to get back to checking on our neighbors and friends, be more involved in events around us and be more aware and report suspicious activities.
From a law enforcement stand point, there should be specialized teams to respond to mental health calls and more laws putting this people in facilities longer. There are times when people with mental health issues get home before the officer that sent them there gets his paperwork done because laws do not allow them to be held.
This should be a wake-up call to all of us to be more friendly to each other, get to know others better and be aware of what is going on around us.
David W. Gallup
Sandy Hook: Gun lobby isn’t at fault, it’s society
Re Dec. 15 AP article, “Sheer terror”: It’s the gun lobby’s fault. If only assault rifles were banned. The government needs to do something.
It is always someone else’s fault and someone else that is guilty for not preventing massacres. But gun ownership has been allowed since the founding of the country. Tommy guns — the original assault rifle — have been with us since World War I. Why is it only in the last 15 years we are increasingly faced with mass shootings? What has changed?
I propose that it all started about 50 years ago. That is when we started to stop going to church. When churches decided to stop teaching basic morals in favor of feel good religion. It is when we started to purge our schools of teaching any form of self-respect or respect for other people and property.
When we stopped expecting people to be responsible for themselves or for their own actions. When we started to abandon any sense of civic responsibility. We are now reaping the logical result of how we have chosen to transform our society. [President Lyndon] Johnson’s “Great Society” has fallen flat on its face.
It is not the gun lobby’s fault. We are to blame. What are we going to do about it?