Theres something to learn from principals advice
Be nice to each other; its really all that matters.
With this appeal Dawn Hochsprung ended her daily address to the students of Sandy Hook Elementary. The words are probably among her last before she rushed to the scenes of the shots and screams. Her quote is also the simple message of this time of year.
The small town knew the 20-year-old killer was strange a true loner. Everyone likely knew he lived with his divorced mom, who was very involved in his life. Some probably knew she had in their home the weapons he used.
Now we see ingredients of a combustible situation. But they were there all along, which adds another ingredient: familiarity.
The ingredients brewed and stewed gradually and privately. No one noticed. The isolated boy lived in the background. He probably felt invisible most of his life.
In the principals daily advice we especially need to include the hardest to include. Reach out to the outcast, all year long.
MIKE WINTER, Boise
New gun rules needed
The horrific mass shooting in Newtown, Conn., raises the issue again of the place of guns in our society. Notwithstanding the constitutional right to bear arms, Second Amendment, see U.S. Supreme Court cases including Robertson v. Baldwin, (1897); United States v. Miller, (1939); District of Columbia v. Heller, (2008); and McDonald v. Chicago (2010). We must put in place some mechanism to restrict those who might be likely to use them in an unlawful manner.
I dont have any magical answer, but just restricting those who have been adjudged mentally incompetent or convicted of a felony doesnt seem to cut it.
I think that requiring every potential purchaser of a firearm to submit a detailed listing of every felony criminal charge filed against him or her is a start. Further, a minimum of three months from the time of the submittal to permit a thorough search of records and background seems reasonable. Dont use the old saw, Guns dont kill people; people kill people. In 2005, 11,346 people were killed by firearm violence. The 2006 data indicates 68 percent of the homicides were by guns.
WILLIAM J. BONNER, Meridian
Do more to secure schools
Our prayers go to those killed and those in Connecticut touched by the recent tragedy in a schoolhouse. Most of us cannot imagine their grief.
While we debate gun control, cant we do something to secure our schools? Cant we all agree to prevent the easy access that anyone has to most schools, where children are targets?
Metal detectors wont slow someone bent on murder and suicide. We need to secure access to the property. We need to closely and continually monitor the perimeter of schools. It seems theres a clear pattern of appearance these killers take on with the attire they don.
We need to know these suicidal murderers are on school property before they have access to its interior, allowing a quick-response team to arrive with a chance to mitigate carnage.
Freedom to roam is important, but it should not be extended to schools.
The cost of equipping schools with walls, cameras and someone to monitor them seems minimal when you consider the alternative. Someone will hop a wall, but at least they become more obvious to cameras and those nearby as theyre slowed by scaling it. If anything is worth a tax buck, our children are.
JOSH CAMERON, Eagle
We must protect ourselves
The Connecticut children died in a gun-free zone. One determined armed adult could have changed this. That same week in Chengping, China, 22 schoolchildren were attacked by a knife-wielding man. I assume the school was a knife-free zone. The criminals knew where to find helpless victims.
The same week near Cincinnati, Lashawn Daniels tried to rob a convenience store. One clerk produced a shotgun and the clerk held at gunpoint pulled his own pistol. Only Mr. Daniels was injured. I doubt these two clerks were trained like police officers. But they took responsibility for their own and each others safety. You didnt read about this in the Statesman. Only a criminal died and it was a beneficial case of citizens employing firearms to protect themselves and others.
Twenty children may have died because our society thinks rules and wishes would protect them. And just like in Oregon, our law enforcement officers arrived rapidly hoping to save lives, but the victims and murderers already lay dead. If we cannot protect ourselves this will not change. All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing. Is that our societys goal?
BILL ENGLAND, Star
Americas wake-up call
On December 7, 1941, America woke up from years of being ill-prepared to deal with the evils of totalitarian, fascist and nationalist regimes.
On September 11, 2001, America woke up from years of being ill-prepared to deal with the evils of religious fanaticism and terrorism.
On December 14, 2012, 20 innocent babies were murdered in another bloodbath caused by the evil of a crazed person with guns.
What sleeping giant do we awaken this time?
ROGER J. DONNAY, Boise
Mental illness a factor
Gun control isnt the only concern Americans should have in regard to the mass shootings.
It seems clear that severe mental illness is a factor in these horrific episodes. Current funding and policies of mental health treatment nationwide mean that, even when committed by a judge, seriously disturbed individuals are released from hospitalization, or never hospitalized, when they respond to medication. They then stop using the medication, because of the condition.
Many years ago a U.S. Supreme Court ruling said that keeping mental patients confined without their consent was a violation of their civil rights. States quickly dismantled and defunded the asylum system. Please note the word asylum, meaning a place of safety, was once used indicating the mentally ill were being protected. Current policies on mental health have also resulted in the large part of the rise in the homeless. A nationwide campaign to change state and/or national policies, including insurance coverage for treatment, could help. Certainly gun control should be involved, too.
BERNICE C. KADEL, Boise
Stop using Constitution as a crutch for guns
Of all the nations gun owners, how many will actually get to use those guns to defend themselves or their homes?
Most robberies take place either in the daytime when no one is home, or in the middle of the night when everyone is asleep and has no time to get to their guns, particularly in homes where there are children and parents are doing what parents should do that is, they should not keep guns loaded and should keep them out of reach of children. One hears more about children shooting each other because they have come across the guns owned by their parents than about people using them to defend their homes.
People keep quoting the Constitution as the document that says everyone can carry a gun; however, its actually an amendment to the Bill of Rights. And, Im not entirely sure that the Supreme Courts most recent interpretation of that amendment is a correct interpretation, but that is what gun owners use as their excuse/reason.
The Constitution says that a constitution was put into place to insure domestic tranquility Is that what we are doing by having guns everywhere?
SHERRY RAWSTRON, Nampa
NRA rules not working
Will someone please explain to me why a gun, the purpose of which is to kill, cannot be controlled and regulated to the same degree as an automobile, the purpose of which is to deliver us where we need to go?
We have had enough of the NRA dictating the rules of gun ownership and use in this country. Look where this has gotten us. We hang our heads and ask why, why are our little children murdered? It is time to stop this insanity. It is time to develop gun control that allows for safe and sane ownership and use.
We should be ashamed if this does not happen, now. I ask the legislators of this state, which is so gun friendly, to lead the march for gun control in this country. If they believe that guns are so important, and the right to own them, then at least, please, make it safe for the rest of us who walk around with gun carriers, and send our little children off to school, believing they are safe.
WENDY STEVENS, Boise