Your View: Readers debate gun control issue
Don’t arm teachers in my child’s classroom
A guest column:
BY PATRICK E. WHITE
An article in the Enterprise (“Gun advocates conflicted after massacre”) on Wednesday gives me great pause. Perry Allen is quoted as saying that “teachers should be armed,” that “criminals don’t abide by gun laws,” and that “with a semi-automatic, it’ll be easier to kill the person trying to kill your kids.” Let’s take these points one by one. By the way, I believe in and support the Second Amendment.
• Arm the teachers. I don’t want my children in a classroom with an armed teacher. It would create an unhealthy environment for the children. Too many children are injured and killed every year in “accidental” shootings. So, lock the gun up in the classroom, and then it becomes ineffective as a deterrent. In a situation where seconds count, the teacher would have to decide if he/she should try to protect the children or return fire in a close combat situation. I want a teacher whose first thought is protecting the children and that’s what the teachers and staff at Sandy Hook did first. They are the heroes! In an analysis of 61 mass murders over the last 30 years, not a single killing was stopped by a civilian using a gun. Also, civilian shooters are less likely to hit their targets than the police, so the result would be more chaos and deaths.
• Criminals don’t abide by gun laws. No they don’t, but criminals aren’t the ones committing the mass murders. Remember these people weren’t criminals until they shot the first person, and then they kept shooting. In about 79 percent of the mass murders committed in our country since 1982, the weapons were obtained legally and the majority were semi-automatic. At Sandy Hook, the perpetrator (not a criminal) killed his mother (now he’s a criminal) with one of her legally obtained weapons and then used them at the school.
• With a semi-automatic, it’ll be easier to kill the person trying to kill your kids. Oh boy, talk about chaos and deaths. If someone is trying to kill my kids, they are probably too close to my kids to shoot at them. Even if it meant my life, I would never shoot in the direction of one of my kids to hit someone else. There are other ways to protect our children than being as much a threat to their safety as the person trying to kill them. Kill to protect my children ... yes, but I would do it in a way that wouldn’t cause more chaos and deaths.
I say again, I believe in and support the Second Amendment, but the issue isn’t my right to bear arms, the issue is the type of arms I’m allowed to bear. Assault weapons serve no plausible purpose outside the arena of combat. If you really want to protect your children, stop the proliferation of assault weapons in our society, and strictly control the type of weapons available to us and where they must be kept.
Patrick E. White lives in Thomasville.
We must maintain our personal freedoms
President Obama says we must do something after the tragedy in Connecticut. Maybe, but not what he wants. He wants more restrictions on weapons. He needs to recognize that — except for some personal vendettas and family squabbles — major incidents happen in “gun free zones” like educational institutions, military bases, hospitals, government buildings, pubic malls and parks, and even airplanes. These places may be more appropriately known as “defenseless zones.”
Think how the last 10 years may have been if even a couple passengers on 9/11 had been carrying a weapon. One plane’s passengers even defended themselves without weapons, preventing even greater carnage than actually incurred. And our tragedies end relatively few lives. Consider Syria, Iran, Egypt, Venezuela, Greece, et. al. When the citizens try to react to limitations on their freedoms, they resist by throwing rocks and carrying signs written in English — for American TV. Those are their only hopes in their dire situations.
The need to protect our personal safety and our assets, as well as the need to protect our freedom, we need the freedom to maintain personal weapons. If civilian violence were related to the freedom to own weapons, Vermont would be the most violent state in the Union. If gun ownership precluded the peace and tranquility of a nation, Switzerland would be the model of violence and anarchy for the world to see, since they mandate that any home with an able-bodied male citizen is required to maintain a weapon.
New York City, Los Angeles and Chicago are known for the support of restrictions on gun ownership. Those cities are not known for their lack of violence. President Obama ought to be supporting gun ownership.
GERALD D. MILLER
Focus debate on personal responsibility
In March of 1990, Julio Gonzalez killed 87 people in a New York City nightclub without firing a shot. In April of 1995, Timothy McVeigh killed 168 people and seriously injured another 800 and never pulled a trigger. On Sept. 11, 2001, 19 men killed nearly 3,000 American citizens in an attack on several targets, and not a single one of the perpetrators possessed a gun.
There will always be a small number of people in the world who are intent on doing harm to others. Their motivations may differ — some may be angry, some may be evil and some may be insane. But none seem deterred by laws or bans.
Considering that the firearms industry is the most heavily regulated industry in the country, and that every firearm ships with a lock which, when employed, effectively renders the firearm inoperable by non-authorized persons, I suggest that the focus of any national debate regard personal responsibility.
The Bill of Rights assured Nancy Lanza that her right to keep and bear arms would not be infringed. It did not, however, relieve her of the responsibility that such freedom entails. She knew that her son had mental issues and yet made no reasonable attempt to secure her weapons nor render them inoperable to those other than herself. There are laws in place that hold accountable those who fail to assume the required responsibility. Perhaps we might start by insisting that they be enforced.
The attempt to make the Newtown, Conn., school massacre about firearms is nothing more than a detestable, shameless ploy to promote a political agenda at the expense of the victims. Any discussion or legislation that focuses on an implement rather than the actual cause and liability of the individual is an affront to intelligent persons.
TOM KIRKMAN III
Our nation grieves again in the wake of a terrible tragedy. What is your reaction to the shootings in Newtown, Conn.? Sound off about any aspect of this horrific incident. In 30 words or less (no name, address required), email us your thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org.