December 19, 2012

Letters to the Editor: Preventing another Newtown tragedy

I recently got an email from my daughter's elementary school advising parents on how to discuss the shootings in Connecticut. It suggested parents should stress to our kids that they are safe at all times.

Woman lights candles while visiting a memorial to the victims of the recent shooting in Sandy Hook Village in Newtown,
click image to enlarge

A woman lights candles Monday in Newtown, Conn., while visiting a memorial to the victims of the recent shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

2012 File Photo/Reuters

As a parent, I can do this for my child to reassure her, but as an adult, I know this is a lie. Our children are not safe anymore. They are not safe in school. They are not safe at the movies. They are not safe at the mall. They are not safe at their places of worship. All of these locations and more have been the scenes of mass shootings in recent years.

The Connecticut shooting comes too close to home. All of my imaginary defensives have come down, things like "Well, that probably wouldn't happen in a small New England town" or "At least these things don't happen in elementary schools." They happen everywhere, all the time.

My heart is broken, but I am not defeated by this event. I am mad as hell and want to join with others who are also mad as hell and ready to end this senseless, grotesque violence.

For every action we take to protect kids in the event of a shooting, we need to take ten thousand actions to prevent one from ever happening again. We need to move beyond planning for attacks and dealing with them to preventing them.

We need to work at the local, state and national level. We need gun control and an end to the culture of violence that allows games like "Kindergarten Killer." We need to address it all and make it stop.

We must come to terms with the epidemic of violence that is literally and figuratively taking away our children's childhoods -- and end it.

Jennifer Reck

Cape Elizabeth 

On Dec. 14, there was another slaughter of innocent people, in a school in Connecticut, which was made easier by the current federal law that prohibits guns on school property.

That law didn't stop a lunatic criminal from bringing his guns into the school. It only made it easier for him by stopping the honest people from defending themselves and saving the lives of 20 helpless little children.

If even one teacher had a gun of his own, he could have saved the lives of a couple dozen or more people. But that would be against the law right now, and the teacher would be put in jail for saving lives.

When is Congress going to get serious about preventing these mass murders and stop listening to the anti-gun nuts? Taking guns away from teachers and other honest people is making it easy for the criminals. It is time for the anti-gun nuts to get over their phobias about guns and get serious about protecting America's children.

Ask a psychologist how mass murderers get their start, and he will tell you that they started out as abused children and grew up to be mass murderers. Congress needs to go after the root causes instead of just the same old knee-jerk reactions of "We need a new gun control law."

The schools are already gun-free zones, as was that movie theater where the massacre happened, and all it did was help to make it easier for the gunman. This is a complex problem that needs some serious efforts, not another knee-jerk law that makes us all less safe.

The way to reduce the number of mass murderers in this country is to start by reducing the child abuse wherein they get their start.

Thomas O'Connor


Panhandlers profit from generosity of naive donors 

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