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home : letters : letters May 25, 2016

12/31/2012 5:08:00 PM
Gun control issue: We need to think about the consequences

To the Editor:

It’s been said by the media that the victims of the Connecticut school shooting had “hopes and dreams” which are now destroyed. 

We all have hopes and dreams, but those hopes and dreams are not guaranteed. As a country we need to work to have opportunities continue to be there for all Americans, but good intentions are not enough. 

We in this country spend billions on health and human services but rarely take it seriously. We neglect those who are mentally unhealthy and send them on their way. We don’t equip families to deal with these kinds of problems without them going bankrupt. 

We check the boxes and cover our behinds and move on, claiming the rights of these individuals outweigh the safety of the innocent public. And I’m not blaming health and human service workers alone, but the laws that govern what they do.  

The mainstream media inflames and dramatizes its in-depth coverage of events like the Connecticut school shooting and shares a large part of the blame for reoccurrences by literally making the offender(s) martyrs, and believe it or not, even famous to some who have twisted thinking. They say “Let’s look at their pasts, their motivations and what they could have been thinking.” 

The media’s efforts to make sense of a senseless act go on and on until we become numb. How many of you remember the names of the shooters yet none of the victims (except the number of how many). People just mentally disturbed enough to see it differently see those monsters as heroes, while the rest of us, hungry for the dirty laundry, never seriously consider the victims. 

The only fact that runs true with these events is that it’s impossible to make sense of any of these senseless acts.

What really scares me is that many would condemn guns and blame them in whole or part for this or other tragedies. That would be like blaming magic markers for misspelled words. 

Many would have us do as other countries and simply take guns from the hands of law-abiding citizens. Check out how that’s worked for those other countries before writing that on your picket sign. Of course that may be a little difficult since you gave up your markers because the government banned them as they cause misspelled words. Those who ignore the rules will still have markers.

Instead of working to protect our children, by state law we prohibit those capable and willing to defend our kids, (like school administrators and staff) by banning them from carrying a concealed weapon on school property. Then we brag about our ‘safety measures’ making it possible for those twisted individuals to know that’s where they can go and be unchallenged. Many, including our president, demonize and demean those who believe in the right to defend themselves and others, with a bigotry I truly cannot understand.

We need to think, really think, before we create or support these laws and rules. And while you’re at it, think if it makes any real sense to tell yourself that it can’t happen right here in River City.

Dave Schatzley

Reader Comments

Posted: Thursday, January 10, 2013
Article comment by: Doug Strid


I think you need to reevaluate your thinking if not, at least the wording. It's not the severely autistic or down syndrome folks running around killing folks.

There is a difference between disabled and ill.

Posted: Tuesday, January 8, 2013
Article comment by: Rick Smith

Thats right, Doug. Put the seriously disabled in institutions..... not in the regular schools

have the pros take care of these people

Posted: Friday, January 4, 2013
Article comment by: Doug Strid

"stop the mainstreaming of the seriously disabled".

You're kidding me right? What a gem.

Posted: Friday, January 4, 2013
Article comment by: Tim Behselich

Lisa.....well done.

Posted: Thursday, January 3, 2013
Article comment by: Lisa MaKarrall

I have been around guns my entire live and come from a family of hunters. Deer season was a combination holiday and once a year giant family reunion for us. Anti-gun, I am not. However, no one needs an assault weapon with high capacity magazines to hunt or to protect themselves.
The U.S. gun murder rate is about 20 times the average for all other countries. A number of factors contribute to this statistic including mental health issues. In order to solve this problem however, the easy availability of assault weapons and high capacity magazines has to be part of the conversation.
We watch extremely violent movies and TV shows and our kids play increasingly graphic and bloody video games, but we separate ourselves because they aren't real.
I believe one of the biggest problems we have in this country is we sanitize reality. One of my earliest memories as a kid was watching the Vietnam War on the evening news. The news then showed the lines of body bags, the gaping wounds, the missing limbs and close ups of the pain and panic on the faces of the injured being carried on stretchers and being loaded onto helicopters. I remember feeling sad about the pain I saw and wondering about the outcome of those who were flown out of there. I also worried that my eighteen year old uncle Hugh, who was serving there, might be in one of those body bags.
Under the Bush administration, reporters weren’t even allowed to take pictures of the returning coffins of the fallen in Iraq and Afghanistan. The wars were sanitized and have remained so under Obama. Most of us go for weeks and months without giving the war a thought unless we have a family member or friend serving there. Out of sight, out of mind.
The ever increasing mass shootings in this country are the same. We only see the ambulances from a distance, never the faces, the wounds, the blood or gore up close. We say, “Isn’t that terrible” and then we move on. I’m really hoping after Sandy Hook, we are unable to move on without trying to fix this. Noah Pozner, one of the six year olds killed there, looks so much like my six year old nephew it shocked me when I first saw his smiling picture. He had the same beautiful eyes and extremely long eyelashes that my nephew has…eyelashes that would make any girl jealous. When I read about Noah’s funeral, his mother spoke about those eyelashes. They were still visible in his coffin, although the rest of his face was missing and the gaping hole was covered by a cloth.
Maybe the autopsy and crime scene photos of those twenty slaughtered babies should be sent to our lawmakers and to the hard core leaders of the NRA (recent polls of their members show the majority support greater restrictions on assault weapons). Maybe they should have to clean up the bloody aftermath and pick up the bodies like our first responders do. Maybe they should have to go stay with the grieving families and be forced to attend every one of the funerals. Would that make it real?
Dave, you say no one’s hopes and dreams are guaranteed. Do you consider going to first grade, a shopping mall, a movie theater, high school, college, or to your workplace without being mowed down a hope and dream? If that's the case, America has indeed become a very sad place. Since when does the hope and dreams of a six year old to grow up compare with the hopes and dream of a person to own these weapons of mass destruction?
And arming teachers? Wouldn't have helped much against the Aurora shooter who was in full body armor. And unless you want teachers carrying assault weapons, do you really think a handgun would be any match? Here’s an idea, lets outfit all our kids in body armor to attend school. Although since all twenty kids at Sandy Hook were shot in the head along with several body shots, they’d all have to wear bullet proof helmets too. We can’t afford to keep our schools OPEN in this state anymore, let alone pay for armed guards. And finally, a comment for all of the teacher bashers who wrote and continue to write such disgusting things about teachers, including past Lakeland Times editorials and opinions. I couldn't help thinking about all of you when this happened. Those teachers at Sandy Hook stood in front of bullets for our kids not for their “huge” salaries and benefit packages. I’m sure most teachers would. You should all be ashamed.

Posted: Thursday, January 3, 2013
Article comment by: Rick Smith

Great essay Dave....

How about this, lets enlist retired police officers for 3 to 5 years, properly screened for any disorders, pay them a straight hourly wage, no benefits (as they are already retired), they are subject to random drug and alcohol testing.

Each school will have backup officers for fill in...

Now then we also review how this country looks at and treats its mentally ill... stop the mainstreaming of the seriously disabled....

All things should be considered as well as the guns...



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