Would political leaders give up their guards?
The right to bear arms is not only a right but a necessity.
These tragedies must end, and to end them we must change. The first half of this sentence is a sentiment I believe we all support, but, as for the second half of the sentence, Im not certain what President Obama meant ... but I can make a pretty good guess. I would guess that change means that my house, as well as your house, will need to become a gun free zone, much as was the Newtown elementary school. That puts every law-abiding citizen in the untenable position of being the unfortunate individual who brings a knife to a gun fight.
Given all this, I might be willing to compromise my constitutional rights if the president, all the members of Congress and the judiciary will agree to give up their armies of armed guards that surround and protect them at all times and to live as they would have us live waiting in fear for a police officer to arrive while being at the absolute mercy of the armed psychopath kicking down our front door.
DANNY R. WELLS, Nampa
Gun laws can be tightened, and must be tightened
The massacre of young innocents has the gun nuts out in force defending our lax gun regulations again. I always try to be civil with my letters, but I have had it. This is the last straw. While I grant you we will never completely eliminate these massacres, we can certainly reduce how often they happen.
The argument that guns dont kill people is seriously flawed. How ridiculous would your gun argument be if used to justify eliminating traffic regulations. Cars dont kill people, drivers do. Logically, then, we should do away with traffic laws. Despite your protests, gun laws do save lives. Within two months of a massacre in Tasmania in 1996, Australia banned all auto and semiautomatic weapons. Since then Australia has experienced a 59 percent drop in gun murders and a 64 percent reduction in suicides by guns. In the decade prior to the new gun laws, Australia had 11 massacres; since then, zero. It can be done, it must be done.
RICHARD RINGELSTETTER, Boise
Dictators thrive when citizens are unarmed
I am a big supporter of guns in the homes of American citizens. I used to think that we really only need a shotgun or rifle for hunting purposes and it would be OK to have a handgun, too. I was opposed to machine guns and other weapons used in wars. My thinking has changed dramatically in the last few years. I now believe all Americans should be armed with any weapon of their choice. Why the change? Dictators thrive when their citizens have no guns. Look at the people killed in Russia, Germany, Cuba, China, North Korea, Iraq, Iran, Egypt, Libya and Syria.
But we are a democracy so it couldnt happen here. Oh really? It can and is happening right here in America, and it is being reported daily by Fox News, and many national and local talk show hosts. The mainstream media either ignores it, tweaks it or bashes those exposing it. All that evil has to do to thrive is to convince good men to do nothing. Americas greatest enemy will not come from across the many waters, it is already here!
JERRY WILLIAMSON, Boise
Educators must be trained to respond to attacks
So if I look beyond the emotional manipulation in the headlines, I see that mass shootings are apparently not increasing despite our current gun laws. I also see that crime has been steadily decreasing for over 20 years, despite our current gun laws. So why are some people so easily convinced that attacking fundamental constitutional rights and giving up more power to the government is the right way to deal with tragic events like the Newtown shooting?
I dont own any scary-looking black rifles (you know, the ones that manipulative media outlets like to mistakenly call assault rifles). I dont have any particular interest in owning any scary-looking black rifles. But as an American, I understand that freedom also extends to concepts, actions and things that I personally may not enjoy or take part in.
Schools have always had training and preparation for fires and earthquakes. Wouldnt it be smart to train and prepare for possible terror attacks as well? In addition, I propose that we take a good look at our mental health support system. Big-government advocates who focus on banning guns instead make me deeply suspicious of their real motives.
MARK WEAVER, Kuna
Predictably, sales for high-capacity clips and magazines increased after the Newtown tragedy. If you (think you) cant beat em, join em! Also predictable on the Statesmans letters page, the Christians have the solution: put Christ and the Bible back in the public schools where it (sic) belongs. I grew up in those supposedly more Christian (read: white) days of the 50s, and we got plenty of moral education without God and the Bible in the classroom. Far fewer guns, as well, when there was a real threat to our society. It seems Idahos evangelical sects believe that to be a true American one must be of the (evangelical) Christian faith (and preferably white); no other faith need apply. America, land of the free, as long as youre appropriately Christian!
The idea that what Americas schools need is Christ is a clear suggestion that anyone with other ideas should be deported back to whatever heathen wasteland they came from. Ironically, it seems many believers in Christ are Hispanic, some are homosexual, some adulterers, and so on; classes of people these patriotic Christians prefer to disdain and would just as soon wish be gone. You just cant win for losing, can ya?
JEFFERSON YOUNG, Boise
Deport violent criminals
Regarding the Sandy Hook tragedy:
Lets not get swallowed up in diversions like Second Amendment this, clip size that, a bad childhood or armed guards everywhere.
Why not consider revoking the citizenship of those who commit crimes with a firearm?
Do the crime, do the time, lose your citizenship, get deported, end of story.
MARK PETERSON, Eagle
Do not stigmatize mental health patients
As a clinical social worker with 30 years of experience in the mental health field, I am compelled to respond to the numerous calls to address the problem of mental illness in the aftermath of the terrible murders in Connecticut.
I am gravely concerned that persons with mental illness are being put in the same category as these individuals who commit these heinous crimes. Someone who would go into a school and gun down 20 children and six adults is way beyond anything I would define as mentally ill. Mental illness is treatable and people who are treated lead normal, productive lives.
Referring to criminals that gun down innocents as mentally ill does a grave injustice to people who really do struggle with various kinds of mental illness. It adds to the already existing stigma associated with mental illness.
What we have to get better at is detecting potential mass murderers among us. That is an achievable goal. We can also figure out a way to rid ourselves with our obsession with violence, if we put our hearts to the task.
LINDA LESTER, LCSW, Boise
CHURCH AND STATE
A First Amendment issue
In the Dec. 22 letters section of the Idaho Statesman, Mr. Joseph Stull states about forcing religion into the classroom: Offend? Too bad. I think that he is more likely to amuse than offend. He states that the problem is that there is no fear of God. Why should anyone be afraid of something that lacks the power to affect any outcome? That is the reason for the rule of law.
As far as morals and ethics, these are taught daily from childhood through college, both informally and formally. They become the basis for conscience.
Being an atheist, I certainly dont fear any god, but I do fear the wrath of the law. It has teeth, and is a force with which to be reckoned. If, as Stull states, Gods laws are not a deterrent, why would having him in a school deter a deranged murderer? Anyone with the power to reason can see that the universe is sheer chaos that even a 6-year-old cannot escape.
The separation of church and state is mandated in the First Amendment. Take your fight there.
FLOYD A. VAHALIK, Nampa
No role for Cruise
I have read all the books in Lee Childs Jack Reacher series. They are pointless escapism and just plain fun. Had Hollywood made a series of them I would probably have gone to see every one over time.
But not now.
When Tom Cruise accepted the role, he insulted all of Childs readers. And he must certainly have enough money to not need the work. At the beginning, middle and end of the day, Tom Cruise will never ... ever ... ever ... be Jack Reacher.
DANIEL REED, Boise