LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Teachers aren’t supposed to be bullseyes
I am a private teacher. I’m at a school at least one day a week when I’m not fulfilling my obligations as a professional musician.
When I got my degree, it didn’t come with the stipulation or requirement that I be armed like a police officer in order to be a teacher, nor a human shield for my classroom. It didn’t require me to be tested and licensed to carry a gun. I’d hate to see teachers and students one day show up for school in Kevlar vests. Our government continues to strip education of needed funding for necessary materials for learning lifelong skills. Now they magically think there’s money for guns? Their trees must be loaded.
My certification consists of nearly 140 hours for teaching Music to children in grades K-12. I was required to observe other teachers as part of my training in order to learn how to handle a classroom, not gunslingers so I could learn how to handle a gun. Maybe I earned my degree in the 1970s, but we’re still teachers, not vigilantes, not armed guards. Teachers aren’t paid enough to turn them into bullseyes.
When the day comes that I or any teacher is required to be armed and dangerous in a classroom that was originally designed to be a safe environment for learning, is the day we might as well resort to telecommuting in order to be able to teach even more students without the risk of anyone getting shot. … LINDA LANDIS, PLEASANT HILL
What does the 2nd Amendment really do?
I read Llewellyn King's "I like guns…" editorial on Monday, and agree with his conclusions, controversial though they may be. I'd offer the following questions and hypotheses, however: What kind of background checks and/or age requirements exist with regard to buying a grenade launcher? Does the Second Amendment safeguard my right to own that launcher, mortars, flamethrowers, bazookas or worse? Because my guess is that if it comes down to my "need to protect my family and myself against the enemy or my own government" those weapons, plus possible aircraft strikes with who knows what kind of chemicals, etc., will be what I'm up against, and no arsenal of high-tech rifles is likely to help. MICHAEL GRIFFITH, OXFORD
Disagrees with the president’s plan
President Trump wants to arm teachers with guns? Many teachers are already taking money out of their own pockets for school supplies. Now they could be expected to buy a gun, ammo and pay for training classes while keeping one eye on the students with learning materials and one eye on the door for a person with an assault weapon? Or will this be more frivolous funding from the government?
Clearly, either way this means more profit for the gun manufacturers. We do not need more guns.
Let's not forget that while Donald Trump campaigned he said he could "stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot someone and not lose any votes." Shameful. CANDACE CUSTER, WEST MILTON
Liberals just keep getting this wrong
Mary Sanchez talks about members of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. A few words were never mentioned in her article: “Dads,” “Fathers” and “Husbands.” Therein lies a significant part of the problem and people like Sanchez absolutely refuse to discuss it.
Columnist Suzanne Venker says that many boys are broken because they are fatherless. She’s absolutely correct. Broken homes, or homes without a physically and emotionally present mother and father, are the cause of most of society’s ills. “Unstable homes produce unstable children,” writes Peter Hasson at The Federalist. He is absolutely correct. Seven of the 27 deadliest mass shootings in U.S. history were committed by young males since 2005. Only one of those was raised by his biological father throughout childhood. The adoptive father of the shooter in Lakewood, Florida died when the shooter was very young and his adoptive mother had a difficult time raising him. The circumstances of the shooter’s biological parents and need for an adoption haven’t been reported as far as I know.
Sure, let's talk about and enact legislative measures regarding gun control and certain types of guns that might help prevent or minimize the severity of gun violence; but liberals like Sanchez also need to get their heads out of the sand and look at the real underlying problem that is really driving these horrific shooting events. The biggest problem is not guns themselves or existing gun laws if they are enforced. The biggest problems are the mindsets and circumstances of the shooters themselves, including their mental health, irresponsible parents and parenting, broken and dysfunctional families and absent fathers in particular. Sadly, liberals like Sanchez don't want to admit that or even discuss it. JOE BRAFFORD, BEAVERCREEK
What do I tell my preschooler about this?
Last night my son told me very matter-of-factly that “Mommy and Daddy will always protect me.” Of course I agreed with him because how can I explain to a 3-year-old that there may be instances, in places where he should always be safe, where I cannot protect him.
He goes to preschool. While there hasn’t been an active shooter I’ve heard about in the news that has targeted a preschool, sadly, I feel like it’s only a matter of time. No parent should have to worry that their children might not come home from school yet here we are.
I am asking my representatives: Have they watched the cell phone video from the children who were fearing their lives in the most recent school shooting? Have they read their text messages? Have they listened to their voicemails. As a father, a grandfather, an uncle, how can they sit back and do nothing? Can they even imagine how those parents must feel? The dread, the worry, the feeling of total helplessness?
Things have to change. How many more innocent lives must be lost while our representatives line their pockets with blood money from the NRA? What is the going rate these days for the life of a child?
We need better universal gun laws. We need universal background checks and mental health screenings. For my sons. For my nieces. For my nephews. We need policy and change. AMANDA LEIBOVICH, MAINEVILLE
Young people’s attitudes may bring change
Why is it that a high school shooting in Florida that killed 17 teenagers seems to have stirred up the issue of gun legislation to a greater extent than the slaughter of 58 in Las Vegas did? I suspect that the millennial generation is not fascinated by and addicted to guns to the same extent that previous ones were. Perhaps just as the young are the Americans who are least attracted to Donald Trump, they will also be the ones least attracted to the notion that one needs a gun in order to be respected.
I suspect that the reason their elders cling to guns so religiously is not because they fear crime (which is actually remarkably low right now), but because they fear America’s movement towards being an inclusive and diverse country. They hate and fear the notion that white males might someday not be automatically at the top of the socio-economic pyramid, and they see their guns as the only protection they have against it. They don’t trust the federal government which has largely encouraged, or at least not opposed, the change.
But today’s teenagers don’t seem to care all that much about such a thing. Their generation isn’t as numerically dominated by whites as previous ones were and they are largely okay with racial diversity. So perhaps they will likewise take a more level-headed attitude towards whether having the country awash in guns is a good idea.
I suspect that while it will take a good while, as older citizens die off and younger ones reach voting age, that someday Americans in general will overwhelmingly demand that gun rights be seriously restricted, and any politician who wants to remain in office will give them what they want. RON RODENBURG, CENTERVILLE
Don’t make things harder on law-abiding citizens
The recent shooting in Florida was indeed a tragedy. It should not have happened. If someone could wave a magic wand and make “all” firearms disappear I would support it. That can’t happen, but making firearms harder for law abiding citizens is not the way.
The only thing accomplished would be making it easier for criminals to rob and pillage with no resistance from citizens. There is already a law banning firearms in schools, that did not stop him or any other school shooter. There is already a law about killing people, that did not stop any criminal.
I used to have a Federal Firearms License; I gave it up last year. A line on the 4473 Form is the buyer says he/she is not mentally ill. According to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPPA), a doctor cannot report a mentally ill person and reveal medical secrets. HIPPA needs to be adjusted/modified to allow doctors to report (on a specific website) those that have mental disabilities that should not own firearms.
In Australia, the gun confiscation is a disaster for citizens. The crime rate went through on every line item. Great Britain banned firearms and the crime rate went through the roof. They are talking about banning long kitchen knives because people are using them for violence. Ban the knives there, they will use baseball bats.
Is the First Amendment null and void if you use a computer to write a law because they were not around when the U.S. Constitution was written?
AR-15 does not mean Assault Rifle 15, it means Armalite Rifle 15. My firearm has never hurt a human being.
Our senators, congressmen, President Trump, our money (banks), sports stadiums, and SCOTUS are protected by firearms. Are they more important than our kids who are protected by a sign saying, “No Guns Allowed”? I could go on, but you get the point.
Teachers in some other countries carry firearms and there are no school shootings. DAVID BRANDENBURG, BEAVERCREEK
Interesting this is an affluence problem
White suburbanites often avoid the cities because of their perceived violence. Yet there has never been a mass shooting in a predominantly black inner-city school or a black shooter.
Today, we find that children in predominately white, suburban, public schools are actually at greater risk of being traumatized, injured or killed by gun violence from a mass shooting.
Also, there is no report of a mass school shooter having experienced the effects of serious or fatal gun violence himself. Their only encounter with gun death seems to have been while playing video games. In reality, their first experience with an actual gun death is their first victim.
Gun violence and drugs have plagued inner-city communities for decades. With the opioid epidemic now ravaging predominately white small towns and suburbs, the laws and courts are changing. Drug addiction is no longer viewed as a criminal offense with mandated jail time, but as an illness requiring treatment and rehab.
Now that the victims of gun violence are no longer poor children living in the cities, but affluent children living in small towns and suburbs maybe those with the power will change gun laws as well. ANN V. PADDOCK, DAYTON
READERS WEIGH IN ON FACEBOOK
Here’s what some people were saying on our Facebook page about proposals to arm teachers, about the decision by Dick’s Sporting Goods stores to stop selling some weapons, and other gun-related issues, such as Gov. John Kasich’s formation of a task force to study gun violence.
Rick Morgan: Guess what? Dick's has never sold assault weapons. They are buying into and using the left's false terminology. And, by the way, I have never been in a Dick's store that sells any type of gun.
Randy Caperton: There are other staff in schools other than teachers that would love to be armed. I've seen stories from newspapers around the country where janitorial staff, maintenance workers, office staff and principals wished to be armed. And yes, there are teachers wishing to carry as well. You just have to dig harder because the media doesn't like stories that don't fit their agenda. … It isn't a left or right thing. If I had a kid in school and God forbid there was an active shooter in the building that just opened the door to the classroom my child was in, I'd much rather have a trained teacher firing back instead of having a room full of targets.
Mark Edwin Sanders: Voluntary training by teachers shows their concern for the safety of their students as well as themselves. Hats off to those educators.
Brian Martin: So … you'd rather not have a chance to survive a shooting as opposed to having a gun at hand to save your life?
Jerry Jerome: I hope if you're truly concerned about "the children," you'll get rid of your bicycles and not let them go to swimming pools or ride in cars. Way more kids die from those than guns. So, you'll do that right away, correct?
Pat Neff: Would (you) rather keep the useless signs that promote #GunFreeZones up, and just hope the police get there in time to keep the number of dead down to say 50 or less? The only way to stop a madman with a force multiplier (like a gun), is with another force multiplier (like a teacher or staff with a gun). Getting on your knees and pleading with them will do nothing to stop them.
Tim Stump: Banning weapons to limit the casualties … is only wishful thinking. No plan is perfect but a proactive approach will save a lot more lives.
Denise Cooper: (Tougher gun laws will do) nothing except prevent people with mental illness from buying them, but that won't stop people from getting them, though. Killers dont care about the rules or laws. Maybe make it a law to have armed guards in the schools to deter such actions. I mean they do that for stores and our children deserve at least as much if not more than what is being done to protect cigarettes and diamonds.
John Kohl: No amount of gun laws will ever stop any kind of murder, that is just plain stupid thinking. Gun laws just make it safer for killers to kill.
Robert Estes: Honest people are not the problem — people buying illegal guns is the problem. Guns from the alley out of someone's trunk and so on where there is no background check or anything. Don't penalize the good people because of the few stupid people.
CONTINUING THE CONVERSATION
It’s been just over two weeks since students were attacked at the high school in Parkland, Fla.; classes resumed in the aftermath on Wednesday. And again, the national debate about guns and gun laws has flared. We’ve received many letters and Facebook comments on the issue, and today share some of them. Your thoughts? Email email@example.com. — Ron Rollins
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