Throughout our lives, things happen that make you ask, “What is this world coming to?” Friday was one of those days. It was one of those days where we hear there are 20 young children dead and six school professionals dead because a 20-year-old shot them inside their classrooms.

As the tears flow, I ask again, “What is this world coming to?” I have grown tired of the number of mass shootings this country is seeing happen inside our churches, schools, movie theaters, or at a parking-lot event where your congresswoman is speaking with constituents. In some cases, the gunman lives and we search for answers, in others, the gunman dies on scene, and we still search for answers.

After hearing news of the most recent shooting, Mark Kelly, husband of former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords who was shot in 2011, said stricter gun laws are needed. Kelly immediately renewed the debate that continues to be talked about in the media and in general, but ignored by our lawmakers.

President Barack Obama spoke after getting news of last Friday’s shooting. He spoke from the heart, stating that these children between 5 and 7 years old had their entire lives ahead of him. With tears, he couldn’t stress enough the severity of this senseless act. While he didn’t make his speech too political, he stressed that these mass shootings have to stop.

“As a country we have been through this too many times. Whether it is an elementary school in Newtown, or a shopping mall in Oregon, or a temple in Wisconsin, or a movie theater in Aurora, or a street corner in Chicago - these neighborhoods are our neighborhoods, and these children are our children,” he said in a press briefing at the White House. “We’re going to have to come together and take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this, regardless of the politics.”

The gun-law debate is a touchy subject, and it’s one that deserves some attention. While some cried it is too soon to bring up gun laws on a day where 20 children died, I say when is there a better day than when 20 children are shot to death in a classroom where parents leave them telling them they will be safe?

Do I believe in the Second Amendment? Absolutely. However, do I believe that any person outside of our paid military should have a 30-bullet magazine, or a military-style assault rifle in his possession? Absolutely not. The bottom line is our lawmakers can start a dialogue. You don’t have to get rid of the Second Amendment, but you can find a compromise that might end up preventing a shooter in Tucson from killing six and wounding 13, that might stop a a killer in Aurora from killing 12 and injuring 58, and would prevent an a murderer in Newtown from killing 26 people, which included 20 children.

But, while lawmakers have to suck it up and realize it is their responsibility to start talking about hard topics and make tough choices surrounding gun laws, they can’t keep ignoring the mental illness factor. Let’s face it, people are the ones pulling the trigger, and much too often it is a sick person doing it.

When there is no way of forcing someone who is obviously sick to get help because they are over the age of 18, some of them are left to do the unthinkable. While we still don’t know Adam Lanza’s exact mental state, we do know Jared Loughner and James Holmes had issues long before carrying out the heinous acts, and while many said they needed help, no one had the tools or resources to get it for them.

(2) comments


When it comes down to it, it's a question of whether we continue to arm citizens and live with armed criminals, or disarm the citizens and live with armed criminals, because criminals don't really care whether their access to or use of a weapon is legal or not. Many of the gun laws advocated are already in place. The perpetrators of crime have a habit of ignoring them as was the case last Friday.

As to the "assault" on assault style weapons, I wonder if people really understand the terminology. Assault style weapons are just semi-automatics: one trigger pull equals one shot. Almost all guns fit this description. Automatic weapons do not show up in the arsenals of mass murderers. Even the so-called assault weapons rarely get used. So why advocate against them?

If we truly believe the problem is access to weapons, it would be better to start with knife control because of the much greater number of stabbings that occur over shootings in this country.

Lastly, I can't help but stand up for women who are told they can't own a gun because it's unsafe and it might end up in the hands of a criminal. So they just have to concede to criminals.

Women don't have to accept victimization. They have as much right to carry weapons to protect themselves as they have a right to vote. Many gun control laws impede a woman's ability to protect herself. Thelma should give serious consideration to what she is saying about women when she advocates laws that give women fewer rights than necessary for self-preservation.

John J Flanagan

I agree that there should be background checks, and perhaps it is time to control gun shows. However, there are pistols that are almost as powerful as assault weapons, and we can never prevent a psycho from acquiring a weapon legally or illegally and using it on innocent civilians. Unfortunately, the progressives and liberals have a one sided and one dimensional approach. They want to ban guns or control the legal acquiring of them by responsible citizens. What is not discussed is the irresponsible Hollywood producers who continually spew out the most violent and hateful movies year after year. Some of these celebrity screwballs act and produce this filth and still want to go after the second amendment. I would like to see our nation address the idea that maybe we should also put some restrictions on the freedoms abused in the production of movies that depict gratuitous violence

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