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LETTER | Reader disagrees with Jan. 11 editorial on guns
I disagree with your editorial (Jan. 11) supporting the National Rifle Association’s response to the Newtown tragedy which proposes that we turn our schools into armed encampments. What does it say to a child when the mentor leaning over her to help with a math problem has a gun at her side? How does a teacher communicate values of citizenship and cooperation while his armament suggests that the final arbiter of human interaction is violence?
You rightly noted: “We can’t predict…when or where a shooting will take place.” We must acknowledge therefore, that arming teachers will not “ensure” safety in our schools. Rather we must work towards a society that minimizes both the desire and the opportunity to wreak such havoc on our fellow citizens.
This is more complex than simply asserting that there are “bad guys” and “good guys.” Much gun violence occurs accidentally or when “good” people experience too much stress such as children accidentally killing themselves or others with a parent’s gun or soldiers “cracking” and using their military training to murder innocent civilians or their fellow soldiers. Any resolution not only needs to keep guns out of the hands of the “bad guys” but also to address the ease of accessibility of lethal weaponry which frequently causes harm at the hands of otherwise “good” people.
This task may well include challenging the entertainment industry to examine the impact that some of its products may have on desensitizing people—especially impressionable youth and those struggling with mental/emotional issues—to the true horror of killing and violence.
America stands as a grand experiment in the value of self-governance. Our Bill of Rights serves as a clarion call to the best in the human endeavor. Surely we can discover ways to safeguard the hard-won rights articulated in the 2nd Amendment while addressing the lethality of the armaments developed since our founders enshrined those rights in our constitution. It is difficult to understand the need for some of the types of guns and ammunition that are currently being marketed by the arms industry. We need more than platitudes such as, “When guns are outlawed…”
Are we not self-assured enough of our rights and trusting in the essential beneficence of our government to have an honest discussion about this?
Newtown reminds us that gun violence is a serious problem that requires a cooperative effort to resolve. I hope it will motivate us to undertake this task so that those lovely innocents will not have died in vain.