Letters to the editor | NevadaAppeal.com

Letters to the editor

Editor’s note: The following letters to the editor were received after Friday’s shooting in Newtown, Conn. Due to the magnitude of the tragedy, letters over the Nevada Appeal’s 250-word limit were accepted.Do we have secured schools in Carson City? No. Should we? Yes. Isn’t that what taxpayers were promised when the bond was voted on? Yes.I’m so sorry that as an elected Carson City School board member, I have to apologize to this community. I believed that passing the bond several years ago (way before I was a board member) was going to provide for schools to be safer by having a card-key entry system that could be locked down immediately if there were a threat. I’ve come to realize that this did not occur. Yes, we have new parking lots. Yes, we have a new wrestling facility and weight room at the high school. Sadly, we do not have secured elementary and secondary schools and for that I am truly, deeply sorry.The tragic events in Connecticut made me physically ill. I taught for 40 years and I never worked in a secure building. Our children and grandchildren deserve better and the taxpayers deserve to know exactly why those secure systems weren’t put in place with the bond money. It is my hope that there will be substantial discussion about this subject in the very near future and that you, the citizens of Carson City, will demand that discussion.Barbara MyersCarson CitySchool board member“Where was God?” It was a question asked by mothers whose babies were killed during King Herod’s search to kill the Christ child. And once again it was asked after “evil visited Sandy Hook Elementary School.”No single explanation suffices, but to some extent the cause can be tied to people who chose to remove themselves from God, and then strive to remove God from everyone else. In 1963, the U.S. Supreme Court began accommodating those misguided endeavors with decisions to limit God’s influence in public schools.Nature abhors a vacuum. After God was expelled from schools His moral teachings were replaced with contemporary and secular humanist standards, including their credo “survival of the fittest.” Shouldn’t we be asking, “Why is a nation, which was founded upon God, embracing yesterday’s immoralities as patterns for today’s behavior, and why should we be surprised when babies grow up in those environments learning to kill the next generation of babies?” Where was God? He was standing outside our schools, knocking and waiting for the doors to reopen to Him. Jesus said, without exceptions, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven.”Kenneth ReadyCarson CityAs a father of three, I wept watching the news of this horrific event. God only knows what was in that very sick murderer’s mind. To the extent that this type of thing could happen again, anywhere, I would be more comfortable if my kids’ teachers were armed. Return fire would have saved so many. David Cantwell GenoaHow much longer will our presidents, Supreme Court justices, senators and representatives allow themselves to be held hostage by the National Rifle Association, a group representing only about one percent of the population?John O’NeillMindenWe should outlaw all motor vehicles in the U.S. 42,000 people a year are killed by motor vehicles in the U.S. That’s 1 death every 12 minutes! And alcohol, let’s outlaw alcohol! Look at the number of people killed by alcohol related deaths. Wait a minute, we did outlaw alcohol, and it was called prohibition. That didn’t work very well, did it?Maybe we could also outlaw guns too, and then there would be no crime. Wait a minute, does anyone remember the Norway shootings? And let’s remember that Norway has one of the most restrictive gun laws in the world. It is almost impossible for a citizen to legally own a gun for self-defense.In 2011, in this country where normal citizens are not allowed to own guns for self-defense, a lone gunman dressed as a police officer, caught a ride on the ferry to a small island outside of Oslo, Norway, where students had gathered for a summer camp and killed at least 80 people, one of the deadliest shooting sprees in history. No one on the island had a firearm to stop the killer as he casually walked around the island shooting people. Let’s not look at any of the positive things we derive from them, that would be silly and not benefit any political agenda. I am an average U.S. citizen with the mental capacity of a walnut and this makes sense to me. Have any of you parents or grandparents ever looked at the video games the kids are playing nowadays? The game “Grand Theft Auto” was a graphic game where the players got points for running over pedestrians and killing them and extra points for killing police officers. The newer games are even more graphic but the point is still the same, kill and maim as many opponents as possible. Kids have grown up for several generations where there is no value on life and we don’t seem to notice that.How can we stand by and let the network news media and politicians use these tragic events to further their political anti-gun agendas? Ask the citizens of the countries where they have taken away their rights to own guns and they will tell you, don’t let it happen to you! I travel around the world and I have asked.As you can see by the Norway shootings, outlawing guns isn’t the answer. Please keep your wits about you. Listening to the national news and politicians reminds me of the reality TV program, “Idiots Abroad,” only in this case it is “Idiots Within.”This letter in no way was meant to minimize the horrific tragedy that occurred in Connecticut on Friday but only to point out that the real problem is not the guns but the people using them.Gary GreeneCarson CityWhat seems to have been overlooked in the wake of the Connecticut shootings is any commentary regarding the effects of violent computer game programming on children of all ages and how do school teachers defend themselves and their children immediately from a killer who gets into the building? Current policy dictates hiding and locking the classroom doors.Children from a young age are now subjected to round the clock programmed learning some of which is decidedly promoting killing and eliminating human targets. A deranged mind can end up living more in the computer game world than in the world of reality. How many young adults, disenfranchised from their peer group, spend all of their time living in this other reality? How do we recognize and deal with kids adversely affected by this programming? Society must recognize that this certainly is happening. Why did this Connecticut coward feel entitled to “act out” his fantasy of killing small children? Is the “moral compass” of this generation for some kids so perverted that we will see more copycat events like this? As a teacher, I have had the discussion with my peers as to what we would do in the event of a shooter coming into the school or onto the playground to harm our children. We are totally defenseless and would have to go after the shooter with our bare hands to hopefully disarm the intruder and save our kids. That is what the principal and teachers in Sandy Hook did so bravely and selflessly. Help cannot arrive in time. You have only seconds or minutes to react. How different the result might have been if that principal had a weapon in her office. How stupid that we advertise our most defenseless little children as being in a “gun free zone.” Meanwhile, Diane Feinstein and the other equally well-intentioned but impractical legislators are cooking up more gun laws which the killers will never hear about and certainly have no intention of obeying. I think she just said something like the “wishes (rights?) of a few cannot supersede the safety of the many,” (referring to the second amendment?) I used to substitute teach at Denver East High School which had armed guards at that time. Intruders as well as students knew they would be dealt with on the spot. It was a great deterrent. The question has been raised “Do we really want to live that way?” What la la land are these folks from? We already are living “that way,” with a percentage of deranged youth being nurtured in our midst by the technological changes in our modern society. Let’s just look the other way? What a Pollyanna approach to a serious and horrific situation. Do we really want our children and ourselves dying in schools or Christmas shopping malls at the hands of deranged killers, their behavior enabled by some policies of this permissive and wacky society? We need to immediately remove the “gun free zone” signs and replace them with a warning message that says the school is well protected and then protect the students. The school district can determine whether they hire a guard or allow designated teachers to have a weapon on the premises. This needs to be immediate lest the week before Christmas produce more of these copycat killers facing no-armed resistance to their attacks. The best offense has always been a good defense. Stop advertising that the school is defenseless and stop sending out the message that deranged killers can come to a school safe spot to act out their diabolical vision.Henri K. StoneGenoaHundreds of us gathered in Carson City Dec. 15 to celebrate the life of Arthur Hannafin, renowned citizen, leader and architect. It was bittersweet because Art’s vigor is no longer a tangible presence. It was also bittersweet because this celebration of an inordinately positive man came on the heels of the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School.But Art’s life-well-lived has, I think, a message of how we all can respond to that tragedy: passion and involvement. Art was passionate about architecture, about the outdoors, about Carson City, about his family. He was involved in the Eagle Valley Children’s Home, in redevelopment, in ideas. What the tragedies show, in addition to failure to address the serious problems of mental illness and of semi-automatic weapons, is the opposite of passion and involvement. They show too much isolation and too much inability to find positive ways to cope with troubles. If we all are passionate about people and causes that are important to us, and involved with those people, causes, and our communities, America would suffer fewer of these tragedies. Further, when we demand that political leaders ban semi and automatic weapons, and when we as a society remove the stigma from mental illness and provide mental health care, then we might really be creating the communities we want for our families and our neighbors. America can be this great. We each have the ability to follow the lesson of Art Hannafin’s life and make it so.Sarah AdlerCarson City I’m all for guns in the homes of responsible adults, it’s the nut jobs who get a hold of them, (and sell them) that endanger us all. Tighten gun laws or keep expecting massacres.Robin ChristyCarson CityIn response to the Connecticut shootings and all the other evils that man’s evil heart is prone to do when left to itself, without godly restraints, the truth of god’s holy word and the King James Bible, this is the result. Ask yourselves these questions: What if the Ten Commandments had not been removed from the walls and halls of our schools and government? What if the killer had access to read them or a Bible? He might have heard the life changing gospel and if not converted, maybe might have been restrained by God’s truth from doing what he did. In removing God and the King James Bible from public life, we’ve robbed ourselves and our children of God’s wonderful gift of how to know him.Hosea 8:7: “For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind,” every nation before us, who did reject God and His truth, have come to ruin. This country will not escape ruin either. More gun control laws will not change man’s evil heart, only God and His word that’s allowed to be freely taught in our schools and faithfully preached form our pulpits can hold back the flood of evil that this nation is now reaping. Lawmakers, listen up! Your time is coming, the ungodly laws you pass today will be your ruin tomorrow when they come knocking on your door in a body with an evil heart, devoid of God. Rosalee Barnwell HintonCarson CityMy heart goes out to the families that lost their loved ones at Sandy Hook Elementary School. It is a loss that never goes away. What do you expect? The majority of people in this country want God out of our society. Without God, there is no love. Without love, there is no understanding of right and wrong. We expose our children to excessive violence and unconscionable sex through music, TV, video games, Internet and movies. Most parents expect liberal schools to raise their children. Parents can’t discipline their children, that’s called abuse. Kids are not taught to be productive or be accountable for their actions. Without God, what do you expect?Laurence C. PedersonCarson CityWith the deadly use of two handguns, the Connecticut massacre was just another example of another demented person’s sick cry for help, but at the expense of children.In my 54 years, this has to be the most dastardly thing I have ever heard about. What happened literally twists my stomach into knots. It was a slaughter of the innocent.As I write this opinion, it’s all I can do to hold back the tears as I stop and think to myself. It’s nearly Christmas, and those poor children had presents yet to see, maybe a train set or an action figure, a new doll or an iPod, all waiting to be opened by them on Christmas morning.How painful it must be for the parents to look at the beautiful ribbons and brightly colored paper, knowing they’ll never be opened by their sweet children. Silenced now is their laughter, for they once gleefully played in the winter snow. No more shall they be reminded to take off their wet boots or hang up their coats when they come inside because, after all, that’s what parents tell their children around Christmas time in Connecticut.I wish there was a wand to wave so all this would go away, but there’s not. There are some things in life everyone has to deal with, and this is one of them.Pray for the parents, but pray for the souls of those poor little children, for their lives were tragically cut short before ever having the chance to live.Donald PaetzCarson CitySandy Hook; Aurora; Red Lake, Minnesota; Tucson, Arizona; Springfield Oregon; Sikh Temple, Oak Creek, Wisconsin; IHOP, Carson City, Nevada. 72 dead, 110 wounded. In every one of these terrible American mass shootings of the all too recent past the perpetrator had earlier been observed to have mental problems. In every single case. And in every single case, one or more gun owners sold, gave or through negligence made available to the mentally ill shooter one or more deadly firearms.The failure here is not one of government regulation or lack of care for the mentally ill. The problem is one of rampant, repeated failure of gun owners to exercise responsible stewardship of their firearms and to exercise due care. With very large numbers of firearms in the hands of our citizens, it is not practical for government to undertake to control these weapons. It is necessarily an issue that falls to gun owners. Gun owners, both individual and commercial, are the ones who are ultimately responsible for transferring guns to others of their fellow citizens. It is upon the responsible, due care of gun owners that we must necessarily depend to keep guns away from crazy people and those of diminished capacity.We don’t need to enact more gun control laws or create more bureaucracy so Government can get further into the business of controlling firearms. Instead, we need to amend our liability laws to make explicit the responsibility of gun owners to insure that firearms they own do not come into the possession of persons of diminished capacity. If gun owners are subject to unlimited civil and criminal liability for any act committed with a gun they sell, give or make available to a person of diminished capacity it will encourage gun owners to exercise the level of responsibility and due care necessary to keep guns out of the hands of crazy people.Subjecting gun owners to such strict liability will of course be criticized as restricting gun owners ‘freedom’ to trade their guns in any way they see fit. And this is certainly true. Strict liability in this form will make gun owners reluctant to transfer any firearm to someone else unless they know with near existential certainty that the recipient is careful, thoughtful, mentally stable and likely to remain so. Somehow, I think this is exactly the standard of care and gun stewardship we should expect and require of our fellow citizens who bear arms.Randy CarlsonCarson City