The debate is lacking
Sadly, the conversation about gun violence is off to a lousy start. Debaters have shown mostly nonyielding, noncompromising attitudes. What a shame! This conversation shouldnt be about you or me having it our way, or the NRA, or the gun industry or the Second Amendment.
It should be about reasonable people finding a way to reduce gun violence and sensible people owning sensible firearms. It should be about finding a way to make this country a safer place to go to school or anywhere else without fear of being attacked by some monster armed with weapons designed for rapid fire and high body count.
We all agree other factors like mental illness and entertainment violence contribute to our culture of violence. Ironically, though, the medical and entertainment industries are also protected by our Constitution and current law. That means any comprehensive solution to reining in gun violence will take cooperation, calm dialogue, compromise and sacrifice. We can do it if we have the will. But if were not willing, we have to ask ourselves: What kind of people are we when the choice is between the safety of our children and having it our way?
TEX BEAUCHAMP, Meridian
Letter misses mark
The letter from Sue Fillman (Dec. 28) would be laughable if it didnt highlight such a serious problem in this country the inability to think critically. Ms. Fillman asks, Where are all the stories to prove that guns in the hands of citizens save lives? Could it be there arent many? Any? Good question, and heres the answer. You dont see those stories because they contradict the news corporations ideology. Any story or statistic that would be favorable to private ownership of firearms will not see the light of day in todays media. We have a whole generation of young people growing up not knowing what unbiased news reporting looks like.
Todays media is nothing but a huge propaganda machine. You see only their version of what they want you to see. Firearms in the hands of private citizens are used to save lives and property over a million times a year! (The midrange of estimates by researchers.) The people of this country need to realize the depth of deception that is taking place. Do some intelligent research. If all the information you are getting is from the media, then you are mighty short on facts.
LAYNE CREA, Meridian
When the Aurora, Colo., shootings occurred, I felt like it was appropriate for me to ask our elected representatives to consider legislation to restrict the availability of large-capacity gun magazines that can be purchased by anyone over the Internet for less than $100. I received responses from both Rep. Raul Labrador and Sen. Mike Crapo that effectively stated that any additional gun restrictions were not the answer to safeguard the public from further attacks. I know that it probably wont matter in this state, but I just wanted to make sure that their constituents all know their stance.
ROBERT ELSETHAGEN, Eagle
We appear polarized as a nation when addressing certain issues which will have a significant impact on our children and grandchildren. Current hot-topic issues include our future economic strategies and gun control.
Those who are intransigent in their beliefs should ask if they are guided by a commitment to do what is right for our nation or if they are guided by something else. All too often we may be guided through pride rather than with a commitment to do what is right and only point to facts which substantiate our individual claims while ignoring other realities.
Our country cries out for leaders who are guided by solid principles and who truly desire what is best for our nation without regard to personal financial benefits and reelection concerns. Those who identify themselves with a specific political party must recognize that we often have common goals and that together we can achieve those goals for the sake of our children and grandchildren.
If we are truly a Christian nation, we must walk the talk, praying for Gods inspiration and guidance. Let us pray that our nations leaders do the same, recognizing that effective leadership emerges through humility, collaboration and service.
BOB FONTAINE, Eagle
Control laws wont help
Let me say first it is a tragedy what happened at Newtown, Aurora and the others, and I feel for the families that lost loved ones, especially the children. As far as gun control to stop this from happening again, it is not the answer. Wu Huanming killed seven children and two adults and injured 11 other persons with a cleaver at a kindergarten in China on May 12, 2010. Should we ban cleavers and all kitchen knives, too?
Our Founding Fathers gave us the right to bear arms not so we could kill Indians to protect our families and not so that we could shoot deer to feed our families. The reason our Founding Fathers gave us the right to bear arms is because if the government ever became corrupt or oppressive or took away our rights, the people could rise up and overthrow the corrupt government. In our Founding Fathers clarity and wisdom, they had flintlocks for weapons when the Constitution was written, because if the government has flintlocks, then so should the people, and if the government has assault weapons, so should the people. (Idaho Statesman, Dec. 21, Texas town allows teachers to carry concealed weapons.)
JAY GIMPEL, Boise
People need protection
As our country mourns the loss of many of our fellow Americans, I have been thinking about gun control laws. Although these recent events are extremely tragic, more stringent gun control would not have prevented the shootings. By taking away the right of the people to keep and bear arms, as given to us in the Second Amendment of our Constitution, criminals will still be able to get firearms. Criminals have always been able to get what they want, whether its legal or not. Thats what makes them criminals.
By changing our Second Amendment right, it would be much harder for normal, good citizens to obtain guns for protection. That was the idea of the Second Amendment in the first place for protection. I truly hope that our right to carry firearms for our protection is not taken away. It is just not the answer to stopping these terrible tragedies.
ELISABETH HARPER, Boise
Evil has no rules
If a monument could be built and engraved with all the names of the innocent who have lost their lives in the war between good and evil, it would likely reach so high into the heavens, only God could read the names. But I fear if we put more guns into more hands, we will need more monuments, or this one monument will reach so high in the heavens that God cant read the names.
Once again we have seen the ugly face of evil. Once again we ask how could anyone do this? Evil has no conscience. It does not concern itself with guilt, shame or remorse. It doesnt feel pain or shed tears. Evil has no rules, regulations or laws it must follow. Theres no such thing as a line evil cannot cross over. Its possible, if we put more guns in more hands, we could be aiding evil. I say this because all of us have the ability to hate, and hate fuels evil.
ROY LUNSFORD, Kuna
Criminals dont obey
It was only a matter of time, with the recent shootings in the headlines, that the gun control advocates would begin howling for more bans on what law-abiding citizens are or arent allowed to own. Im sure many are again rabid about ignoring the obvious causes for these criminal acts (it was a person who pulled the trigger, as I recall) and blaming the tools they used for their horrible attacks. Ive never heard of an assault or any other type of weapon pulling its own trigger.
The mere ownership of these weapons by law-abiding citizens is of no threat to society as a whole. Its when these weapons are used by criminals that they become a threat to the rest of us, and its not just assault-style weapons. Criminals will use anything they can as a weapon. Criminals dont obey laws, so legislating bans on certain weapons wont affect them anyway. Our Second Amendment right allows each of us to adequately defend ourselves against aggressors. Its writers didnt say we could only use sticks and stones against attackers with guns. They gave us the right to use the same weapons our attackers would use.
LARRY HOLMES, Boise
Line up volunteers
Everyone will agree that the incident in Connecticut was senseless and tragic. That goes without saying. And finding a way to end such insanity is imperative.
However, taking everyones guns away is not the solution to the problem. Neither is hiring retired policemen to guard every school in the country. Logistically it is cost prohibitive.
So how about this? Have a volunteer group made up of employees from within the school, call them a posse if you want. They could be resource officers, teachers, janitors, principals, etc. Volunteers that are police-trained and qualified to respond within the school to such an emergency. They would receive ongoing training by law enforcement personnel and have at their disposal within the schools guns, bulletproof vests, Tasers, etc. whatever it takes.
The cost would be tolerable, plus the added advantage to such a program would be the deterrent factor. Anyone contemplating such an insane act as we have seen in the past would know up front that they would be met by a competent, fully-trained posse thats armed, ready and able to take them out if necessary. Will it work? Not unless we try it!
DON L. LAYNE, Cascade