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Opinion

Opinion

Letter: Our responsibility

December 24, 2012

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To the editor:

On Dec. 14, 20 schoolchildren in Connecticut and six teachers became innocent victims slaughtered by an assault rifle. There are already lame excuses by the gun lobby and NRA as to why automatic “weapons of mass destruction” are essential to our American way of life.  Others will blame it on taking prayer out of our schools, thus rejecting God, so somehow our loving and kind, “Father in Heaven,” as payback, allows such carnage in Newtown along with 9/11, AIDS, and all other bad things imaginable. (Public Forum, Dec. 21)

Assault weapons are designed to kill people, not deer! Today, crazy people determined to slaughter children with assault rifles and 30-round magazines will continue to do so. Prayers in school will not prevent this! Until Congress finds the will power to ban assault weapons and killing clips, innocents will continue to needlessly die.

How many more children does it take until we stand up and solve these deadly, brutal, senseless tragedies? There is one Kansas governor, 535 members of our Congress, slightly over 4.3 million members of the NRA compared to over 300 million citizens of the United States! Who can make these changes? You do the math.  Look in the mirror!

If we don’t address this problem, it is our fault, and we all will be responsible next time. Sadly, next time it could easily happen in Lawrence.  Then, they would be your kids bleeding and dying in our public school classrooms; they would be mine.

Comments

Abdu Omar 1 year, 11 months ago

IF you listened to the CEO of the NRA, you would have heard him say that assult rifles and other arms are not for public use, they are military arms and should be used ONLY by the military. A BAN on them for public sale and use should be passed through our congress immediately. There was no discussion from his standpoint and he was very much encouraging for the congress to pass such legislation. Your points are well taken and already have been discussed by all, including the NRA.

Fred Mertz 1 year, 11 months ago

The LTE writer loses all credibility when they begin with a lie. The NRA has not said automatic weapons are essential to our way of life.

RoeDapple 1 year, 11 months ago

"killing clips"? How on earth do you people communicate when making up phrases like this on a daily basis?

Water 1 year, 11 months ago

Referring to it as a magazine would confuse more people. Many people have received their gun knowledge from Hollywood. While reading another article about the incident in Sandy Hook, I came across the term "plow shares". I've only heard this term used in the Biblical reference along with swords. Never knew what one was 'til Googling it last week.

Water 1 year, 11 months ago

Oh crud, the writer did use magazine earlier, sorry Curt. Ahhhhh "killing clips" was for dramatic effect.....

Fred Mertz 1 year, 11 months ago

Gun control is difficult to achieve and will not happen overnight. But one thing we can do is start changing our culture. Do not condone the glorification of violence by attending movies that promote killing and gun violence.

I've seen trailers for upcoming movies that have the hero shooting and killing. Why? Yes, they have the right to make such movies, but they send the wrong message and we should not support that message.

jafs 1 year, 11 months ago

Agreed - we stopped going to those sorts of movies a long time ago.

Fred Mertz 1 year, 11 months ago

I hadn't stopped because until recently I hadn't thought about it. As you know, I am pro-gun, but I am not pro-violence. I want a safe society and I've made other changes in my life to coincide with my beliefs and this is one that I need to make today.

jafs 1 year, 11 months ago

Interesting.

We became aware of the overstimulating and fight-or-flight inducing properties of those kinds of movies years ago, and had little interest in continuing to go to them as a result.

There's some interesting research that shows our bodies react to those movies as if they were real on some level.

Fred Mertz 1 year, 11 months ago

I don't doubt that our bodies do react to them. I've noticed, as I've starting thinking about it, that they have an effect on me.

And, I know from my youth, that movie and tv characters affected me. I remember stealing cigarettes from my mom and smoking them as I stalked an enemy tank (construction bulldozer) just like the GI Joes on Combat and other shows did.

Electronic simulators or even just mental visulalization train the body and mind so I think movies and video games can have the same effect.

Fred Mertz 1 year, 11 months ago

Whether movies affect you in negative ways isn't really the point. The point is that by patronizing movies that are filled with gun play, murder, brutality and violence you are saying this is the culture we value.

beatrice 1 year, 11 months ago

Fred, one problem is that "our culture" is virtually the same culture found in countries everywhere. Young people around the world play the same video games, listen to the same music and watch the same movies. Why don't other nations have the same number of killings? I'm not saying that violent films and games are good for us (neither is tele-evangelism, for that matter), but how can we place the blame on a movie when the same movie is watched by everyone else in other nations without turning us all into crazed lunatics? As Michael Moore showed in Bowling for Columbine, before their attack the kids in Columbine went bowling. Should we blame bowling?

I know you are pro-gun, but recognize that the guns are truly the one constant in these attacks. We need to look at ways to best limit access to guns by those who want to do harm to others. More and practical limitations will be coming.

Fred Mertz 1 year, 11 months ago

bea, our culture is not the same culture found in countries everywhere. Show me a first world country that has the ghettos and slums that we have in the inner cities of our country? Maybe I am naive, but I don't think countries like Canada, Sweden, Norway, the Netherlands, Japan, and Switzerland have ghettos like Detroit, Chicago, DC, Baltimore and other large cities where illegal drug use and gang activity are the norm. I've not been to all these countries, but quite a few of them and they do have a different culture.

Show me one of these countries that have the 2nd amendment. They don't, our culture is different, it supports the freedom to own guns.

pills4profit 1 year, 11 months ago

You are naive. There are ghettos in every country listed above where guns and drugs are prevalent.

Also, what do ghettos and drugs have anything to do with the shooting in Connecticut? It happened in a white upper middle class/upper class neighborhood by a white middle (possibly higher socioeconomic class, unsure) kid who had no (reported) illegal substance ingested.

Come to think of it, I can't think of any "mass shooting" that has happened in a lower socioeconomic area where minorities are the majority...so I don't think I would start blaming our "ghetto/drug/gun" culture...I feel like this is one of the more overblown aspects of this debate.

I personally think the fact our society has babied kids so much (everyone gets a trophy, everyone gets an A, etc.) that when adversity happens in our nations children's lives, as a whole, they don't know to handle it. Unfortunately, some of the outliers on the bell curve have access to deadly weapons.

beatrice 1 year, 11 months ago

Newtown, Connecticut isn't a slum. Yes, there are slums in nations worldwide.

You have, however, landed on the true difference. We have guns out the wazoo because of the 2nd amendment while other nations do not. That is a difference of our society. The video games and movies, which you want to ban, are played and viewed in the other nations of the world. That culture is the same. We have the guns and we have the killings, they don't and they do not.

gl0ck0wn3r 1 year, 11 months ago

LTE lost me when he used the phrase weapons of mass destruction.

beatrice 1 year, 11 months ago

How many dead before you have a mass?

Liberty275 1 year, 11 months ago

I believe WMD refers to the weapons ability to indiscriminately affect a large area with a single event.

If you need numbers, I would say 5000 people on a busy New York day or 650 acres of corn and the farmer on the tractor. Had the nut with the anthrax not sealed his envelopes, he could have killed thousands by dropping a letter in the mail.

beatrice 1 year, 11 months ago

It was a direct question. Now I know some don't think 20 children is a mass.

FlintlockRifle 1 year, 11 months ago

Curt, Curt, you and several """PAPER KILLERS"" haven"t one iota what you are writting about , like Mary Ann way to much TV NEWS MEDIA in you letter writting. Also where can you get one of the"" AUTOMATIC WEAPONS,"" you wrote about, do you own a class three license, there buster??

FloridaSunshine 1 year, 11 months ago

I'm not at all ashamed for bashing the NRA...and I'm free to bash it 'til the cows come home. You talk about demonizing the NRA? It demonizes itself. Doesn't need a bit of help from anyone. Period.

beatrice 1 year, 11 months ago

I am a proud NRA basher.

Yes, they do good things with teaching gun safety, but they fall flat when they sell fear. They do that very well.

The idea that any form of limitation on availability of guns or ammo is out of the question and wouldn't possibly help prevent future killings is just not accurate. Thinking only armed guards would make a difference is ignoring that there was apparently an armed guard at Columbine. In Tucson, there was a C&C holder at the site. Where did they get us? Could they help in other situations? Of course, but it isn't the only answer. For the NRA to be selling it like it is is unconscionable.

verity 1 year, 11 months ago

  1. All the good any person or organization does can never make up for the bad that they are doing at the same time.

  2. The insistence that a person needs to know the "correct" terms to be able to discuss guns is disingenuous. You know damn well what people are talking about.

verity 1 year, 11 months ago

I didn't know there was a protocol. I didn't think we were that kind of people.

Fred Mertz 1 year, 11 months ago

Not knowing the correct terms suggests an ignorance of the matter and so why should anyone take what an ignorant person says seriously?

If I was talking to you about health care insurance and constantly confused medicaid and medicare you'd be all over me and rightfully so. If I talked about abortion and constantly referred to the fetus as a baby someone surely would tell me how wrong I was. Or if I said late term abortions were those after 12 weeks I am sure I'd be called on it.

So yes, knowledge and understanding the proper terms are important to a discussion.l

beatrice 1 year, 11 months ago

So if you don't know that the club used to kill baby seals is called a hakapik and out of ignorance you just call it a "club," does that mean you can't speak out against clubbing baby seals?

Do I also need to know the exact medical terms to describe the damage to a human body when a bullet rips through it, otherwise I can't speak out against shooting school children?

I'm sure that if you look at it, there will be plenty of things in life you are opposed to and speak out against without knowing all of the insider terms. Get over the umbrage already, especially when you know exactly what somebody means. That doesn't mean you can't correct someone, but to dismiss what they had to say completely because an incorrect term was used is a cheap excuse to ignore other voices.

Fred Mertz 1 year, 11 months ago

bea, how do you know the LTE writer is ignorant and not just lying? I think he is lying since he attributed what he wrote to the NRA.

And yes, if you want to be taken seriously then you better know the language. You can speak out about violence without know specific terms, but when you offer up solutions or call for bans you should know what you're wanting to ban. For example, if people started saying baseball bats should be banned since they are being used to club seals would you say sure, ban baseball bats? Or would you say, whoa, the correct term i s hakapik?

If you're going to step out and start calling for a ban then you should be educated enough to know what you're wanting to ban. You don't need to know all the right terms to speak out against violence, but terms do matter.

And the truth is, when you're taking sides, pointing out the ignorance of the other side is something both sides do. Best to research a topic before looking ignorant.

Liberty275 1 year, 11 months ago

That's like calling a nude by Picasso a work of pornography. You would never make that mistake, but you are making an equal mistake when you call a sporting rifle by the words "assault weapon".

Fred Mertz 1 year, 11 months ago

Disarm the criminals then we can talk about disarming me.

Liberty275 1 year, 11 months ago

"automatic “weapons of mass destruction”"\

Wow. Do they all believe this?

I stop reading when the preface is so utterly wrong.

KSManimal 1 year, 11 months ago

Someone please tell Mr. Bennett that no automatic weapons were used in CT. Someone also please tell him that the legal definition of "assault rifle" - as per the now-defunct federal ban - was based on combinations of entirely cosmetic features that have nothing whatsoever to do with the functioning of the rifle. But yeah, we should probably ban everything that looks scary to people who know nothing about it. Oh, and someone should also mention that such "assault rifles" are already banned in CT. Wait....does that mean criminals don't follow the law? Gee, didn't see that coming.

Bottom line is this: legislating restrictions on constitutional rights should not be taken lightly. Even if YOU don't like guns.....next time the legislation might restrict some rights you do enjoy. Every legislative restriction sets a precedent for the next one, and the next, and the next.....

So go ahead and legislate away the meaning of the 2nd Amendment. Then don't be shocked when you see your right to free speech, religion, voting, equal protection of the laws, and more get legislated away....because YOU set the precedent for how much legislative restriction is ok.

If you think those things won't happen, you aren't paying attention: look at voter suppression efforts, union political speech suppression, folks out there saying people shouldn't be allowed to make videos critical of Islam....the list goes on.

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