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Letters to the Editor

Letter: Look in mirror

December 27, 2012

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To the editor:

For several days now, I have been reading the ludicrous assertions that guns, inanimate objects, are responsible for all of the tragic deaths in the news recently. How ridiculous can we be? It is not the object, rather the person that is responsible.

There have been serial killers and mass murderers since the beginning of time, and there is little we as a society can do about it. Yet, all of a sudden, it’s only because of firearms that people are committing crimes! Generations of kids grew up with guns in the home with little abuse. So why is it happening now?

I submit it is because we have been failing our children for years. We have made life so fair and conflict-free for our kids that they do not know how to deal with adversity. Punishment for improper behavior has become politically incorrect. We teach our kids to blame someone or something else when things happen. Kids play video games involving mass mayhem and carnage and do so unsupervised. They are rewarded for completing each level of play that arguably may be desensitizing them to the value of human life.

We reluctantly identify people with mental issues. Doing so labels someone, and that is detrimental to one’s “delicate psyche.” We all want this madness and carnage to end. Blame never resolved a problem. If you want to know where to start making the changes necessary to stop it, look in your mirrors.

Comments

Number_1_Grandma 1 year, 11 months ago

So says the former officer who has used the gun to kill here in Lawrence!

So by your assertion, we should blame you and only you for killing Greg Sevier!

Kendall Simmons 1 year, 11 months ago

And you're still going on about a 20+ year old suicide-by-cop...why?

Abdu Omar 1 year, 11 months ago

I don't know the case either, but he is right about guns being the inanimate object. It takes a person with intent to kill to make that happen. We always blame the gun for the problem and if guns were banned, the criminals would still have them because the very essence of a criminal is one who does not follow the law. I own a gun, followed the law to get it-filling out papers and then having the salesman conduct a background check. Since I didn't have a record of being a felon, an alcoholic, mentally ill or a pedophile amoung other things, I passed. Most people I know that have guns have similarly gone through the same process. This is good. So let's require it in every state and minicipality and end this tireless debate. Get crazies away from guns and the rest of us can be secure.

KSManimal 1 year, 11 months ago

Funny how we won't let alcoholics buy guns, but they can buy a case of vodka no questions asked.....

RoeDapple 1 year, 11 months ago

And drive away from the liquor store in 4000lbs of death machine

Kendall Simmons 1 year, 11 months ago

Excuse me? "It takes a person with intent to kill to make that happen"???

Have you truly never heard of accidental shootings where someone dies? So much for "intent".

And are you truly not aware that 1 in 4 Americans suffers from a mental illness every single year??? Since you want to "get crazies away from guns", is it safe to assume that means you support being required to have a mental health checkup every year as part of a requirement to renew your gun permit every year?

notaubermime 1 year, 11 months ago

Yeah, Mr. Phillips! Let's go back to the days when the only people who discharged weapons into the crowd were the police (Kent State) and mass murder was ok in large sections of the country so long as the people being murdered were minorities!

Or, someone who used to work in law enforcement might actually look at the data and find that violent deaths are down over the last couple of generations. The older generation always seems to want to blame the youngest first regardless of the facts, then have the gall to claim that nobody else wants to accept responsibility. If you want to make this about responsibility, perhaps you should not start by trying to place blame on others. Not exactly the responsible thing to do.

formerfarmer 1 year, 11 months ago

If you're going to quote an incident in history, better go back and read the facts about who pulled the trigger . The Kent State shootings—also known as the May 4 massacre or the Kent State massacre—occurred at Kent State University in the U.S. city of Kent, Ohio, and involved the shooting of unarmed college students by the Ohio National Guard on Monday, May 4, 1970. The guardsmen fired 67 rounds over a period of 13 seconds, killing four students and wounding nine others, one of whom suffered permanent paralysis.*

  • en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kent_State_shootings

Kendall Simmons 1 year, 11 months ago

Picky, picky. You knew he (?) meant that it was the "good guys" discharging their weapons.

msezdsit 1 year, 11 months ago

"How ridiculous can we be? It is not the object, rather the person that is responsible."

How original. Ok Jim, you had to write a letter to the editor to repeat this tired old crap.

A tool is built to enhance its user and the more efficient the tool is the more efficient the user is. Had the person in Newtown had only a baseball bat there would have been far less carnage. Therefore, had all these people committing these horrific crimes had difficulties getting a gun and had to resort to using a baseball bat instead far more people would be alive today.

Hope this clears things up for you a little, Jim.

SnakeFist 1 year, 11 months ago

Great point. While its true that "guns don't kill people, people kill people", certain guns make it quick and easy to kill lots of people.

If, given the choice, you'd rather have a person with a knife than a person with a gun rampaging through a school, mall, or theater, then you can appreciate the problem with guns and the need for reasonable restrictions.

msezdsit 1 year, 11 months ago

Not quite so fast larry. I really can't comment on your first sentence because I truly can't comprehend it. However, I did get it that jimmy was taking a long way around to get to the "mental health issue" which, of course, is the NRA's claim and a safe one at that. However, that does nothing to dismiss the fact that the carnage a crazy with a baseball bat could cause compared to said crazy with an automatic (semi or not) weapon could cause. Thanks for the "little", you noticed that my diet is working.

KSManimal 1 year, 11 months ago

And cars. Google that guy in China who drove his car over school kids. Oh, but those kids lived...so it's ok, say the gun control folks. Come on, we all know that if a zero-fatality school shooting occurred, you would still call for gun control.

skinny 1 year, 11 months ago

It was a justifiable shoot. Any other Police Officer would have shoot Mr. Sevier just as I would have. We just have some liberal people on this board that don't understand you only have a split second to react when someone is running at you with a knife. I guess they just want you to let them stab you. Get real Number_1_Grandma!! You have no clue as to what you are talking about.

Well written article Mr. Phillips!

Leslie Swearingen 1 year, 11 months ago

And, I thank you for your willingness to take risks to protect the rest of us. You work in the real world, not one words are hurled, but weapons that can maim and kill. I know I do not have the knowledge and information to second guess a police officer and so, I will not.

jafs 1 year, 11 months ago

That's a bit dangerous, I think.

Police officers are just people, as imperfect as the rest of us, and certainly are capable of making mistakes.

Kendall Simmons 1 year, 11 months ago

Please don't pretend this is a conservative/liberal issue. Greg Sevier's death was suicide-by-cop. But I still remember several conservative friends of mine wondering why the police didn't just "shoot the knife out of his hand" because that's what they saw on TV.

purplesage 1 year, 11 months ago

A London newspaper posed the question, "What's wrong with the world?" G.K. Chesterton replied, "Dear Sirs: What's wrong with the world? I am. Sincerly, G. K. Chesterton." That said, I don't think we want a return to the days of Dodge City after the Civil War and we really don't need folks running around with weapons built for the military in battle situations. And that's because what is wrong with the world IS humanity and inevitably those types of deadly weapons, capable of killing so many so quickly, will fall into the hands of those who are mentally ill, criminally inclined, emotionally out of control and sinful of heart.

ringcycles 1 year, 11 months ago

As far as I can tell, no one is credibly blaming the 32,000 firearm deaths a year in the US, on only the guns themselves. The question is how do we do better at keeping guns out of the hands of criminals, the deranged, the disturbed, and unsupervised children. This is the question that "ballistophiles" (aka gun nuts) seem unwilling or incapable of answering.

RoeDapple 1 year, 11 months ago

Too many times the "answer" is to criminalize what 85 million law abiding citizens are doing legally. And the criminals keep on doin' what they do . . .

Leslie Swearingen 1 year, 11 months ago

It is hate that causes these deaths. There are many kinds of hate with different causes and different strengths. There are people who forget an insult within minutes and those who harbor the anger/humiliation until it ferments and bubbles over.

Kendall Simmons 1 year, 11 months ago

Nah. Sometimes? OK. But that's the best you're gonna get.

jack22 1 year, 11 months ago

Good point ringcycles. I agree, I think we do need to focus more on keeping guns out of the hands of criminals and mentally deranged individuals who might be prone to commit violent acts. Maybe we could have potential gun buyers pass a more comprehensive serious of tests similar to someone getting a job and drivers license. Besides the police background check we currently use, maybe potential buyers should have to pass a test to show that they are mentally fit, that they have a valid reason to buy the firearm, and that they have references from two or more people, like an employer, police officer, parent, lawyer, priest, etc., who can attest to their good character and that they believe the buyer would be a responsible gun owner. We should probably also make it a requirement that gun owners lock up all the guns that they have that are not in use so that no one but the gun owner would have access to the gun owner's arsenal. Obviously these step wouldn't stop all gun violence, but it might make it more difficult for unstable people to acquire them.

Kendall Simmons 1 year, 11 months ago

Considering that 1 in 4 Americans suffers from a mental illness each and every year, might i suggest that gun permits be requried to be RENEWED every year? And that mental health be one of the things that must be demonstrated every year?

Crazy_Larry 1 year, 11 months ago

More than half of firearms deaths in the USA are by suicide (56%).

SnakeFist 1 year, 11 months ago

The Second Amendment recognizes our right to keep and bear arms. "Arms" refers to weapons generally, not just guns. So I say any restriction on the private ownership of nuclear weapons is unconstitutional.

Importantly, nuclear weapons are just "inanimate objects" - nuclear weapons don't kill people, people kill people. Why should law abiding citizens not be allowed to own nuclear weapons just because a few crazies might misuse them? This is nothing but the government's desire to maintain weapon superiority over us freedom-loving Americans.

And, after all, if we ban private ownership of nuclear weapons then we'll have to ban plastic knives and rocks because they can be used to kill people too (and clearly that's not an apples-and-oranges comparison).

Liberty275 1 year, 11 months ago

"So I say any restriction on the private ownership of nuclear weapons is unconstitutional."

Lawrence Memorial has enough fissile material to construct a dirty bomb which could kill thousands.. You should call the police and report them.

beatrice 1 year, 11 months ago

Guns don't kill people -- they just make it a lot easier.

We need to make it illegal to own extended magazines and clips. You don't need them to protect your home and they help killers kill in mass. Tell your legislators it is time for this change across the nation.

Crazy_Larry 1 year, 11 months ago

Don't need them? Tell that to the Koreans who protected their property with 'assault weapons' during the LA Riots. "Your assumptions are just as wild as your confusion."

voevoda 1 year, 11 months ago

The 62-year-old man in Webster, NY, who killed his sister, set his neighborhood on fire, and ambushed firefighters, didn't grow up playing violent video games or having his ego catered to. It's not just a problem resulting from a "permissive" upbringing.

The real problem is this: it is too easy for persons who ought not ever to have access to weapons--criminals, terrorists, unstable individuals, children--to get hold of them. Those people aren't stealing weapons and ammunition from the army or the national guard or the police. Instead, they are getting them from private gun owners. Sometimes the guns belong to family members. Sometimes the guns haven't been kept secured, and they get stolen. Or lost, as at that movie theater last week. Sometimes the guns are sold privately, to avoid gun laws. And sometimes there aren't gun laws to enforce. So that's where the problem lies: irresponsible gun owners who let weapons slip into the hands of even more irresponsible people who use them to kill.

So here's the conundrum: how to separate the responsible gun owners--the majority--from the irresponsible ones? The NRA doesn't want even to consider keeping guns out of the hands of irresponsible people--it just wants lots of armed people to be around to shoot them down after they have begun killing. Too many gun advocates, including several posting here, just shrug their shoulders and claim that nothing can be done to stop people intent on murder--an attitude they don't take in relation to, say, bank fraud or medical malpractice. They are abdicating the responsibility they have under the Second Amendment to bear arms in the context of a "well regulated Militia" "for the security of a free State"--that is, keeping weapons out of the hands of people who aren't "well regulated" and endanger the security of their fellow citizens. So gun owners: if you don't want more government regulation, then it behooves you--every single one of you responsible gun owners--to get the guns out of the hands of irresponsible people who don't keep them secure and away from murderous ones.

voevoda 1 year, 11 months ago

I didn't say anything about "banning" weapons, Gandalf. I can't figure out why you so deliberately misconstrued what I actually did say. Maybe because you don't have any way to refute my real argument.

funkdog1 1 year, 11 months ago

First off, almost nothing in this LTE is true.

I am tired of people referencing "the good old days" when people "didn't abuse guns." That is patently false. How many arguments were settled with guns in the olden days that were barely investigated? How many suicides? How many women being abused "accidentally" shot their husbands and the community simply looked away? I remember reading an old newspaper article from the late 1800s where a man accidentally blew his bride's head off on their wedding day with a shotgun given as a present that he assumed wasn't loaded.

The fact of the matter is that when people are pissed off, a loaded weapon is an easy thing to grab and use irrationally. Nothing has changed except that the guns have become more dangerous, smaller, more lightweight, easier to load, easier to fire and easier to use without having to reload. This isn't that difficult to figure out.

jack22 1 year, 11 months ago

Agreed, people have used weapons to kill their enemies since the beginning of time. A gun duel used to be the noble way for two gentlemen to resolve an argument. Remember 1804 when our then vice president Aaron Burr killed Alexander Hamilton in a gun duel to settle an argument? Those were the good old days.

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