Letters to the Editor

Letters to editor: School shooting, gun safety

People dressed as angels paid tribute Sunday at the memorial for the victims of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, where 17 people were killed in a mass shooting on Feb. 14.
People dressed as angels paid tribute Sunday at the memorial for the victims of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, where 17 people were killed in a mass shooting on Feb. 14. Miami Herald/Tribune News Service

We can demand change

As a high-school teacher for 10 years, I have been in actual emergency situations twice. I’ve tried to calculate how fast we could get to a window to get out if we desperately needed to. And I’ve considered what I could do during that time to keep someone distracted long enough for the kids to get there.

I’ve thought of these things and more because our nation is in crisis. We are facing problems we refuse to admit, and until we admit they exist, we will not move forward. So, I will begin my day by entering my classroom and making sure the door is locked.

That’s my part. I urge others to do theirs. We have the power to change this path. Admit there is a problem. Take steps to solve it. Allocate funding, support and resources for mental health for individuals in need. Change the laws so people who are a risk do not have access to firearms. Action is long overdue.

From this point forward, I cannot vote in good conscience for any candidate at any level who has not spoken out and taken meaningful action to protect our nation.

Tricia Weiderman


Give money to families

Many politicians have received “blood money” from the National Rifle Association. Are they going to give some of this money to the families of the slain, innocent schoolchildren? All the blood money should be given to the families.

Who controls this country? The government, the NRA or Vladimir Putin?

Bill Manuel


Join NRA to change it

Since most Americans support common-sense gun control, there may be an answer in democracy. If a few million of us joined the National Rifle Association, our voting power could change the culture there, which changed 40 years ago from an organization to provide firearms instruction, according to their website, to one dedicated to fighting for the right to bear arms.

The Second Amendment reads, “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” A Google search of the word militia reveals that it is a military force raised from the civilian population to supplement a regular army in an emergency. The NRA focuses solely on the last part.

We don’t need a militia, clearly. And there is nothing well-regulated about guns in our society. The Centers for Disease Control is not even allowed to conduct research about gun deaths. The cost to join the NRA is fairly affordable; perhaps if the majority of Americans who want something done about gun control join, we could outnumber them.

David Lloyd and Emily Balsam


Gun is the problem

Gov. Matt Bevin thinks that gun violence is caused by, well, let’s repeat his words:

“The gun is not the problem. Do we need to be thoughtful and intentional about who has access to what and what that ultimately means? Of course, but there is no responsible gun owner who doesn’t believe that. We have a cultural problem. The mores of America — there will be many that will confuse that with morality is certainly part of it — but the mores that define who we are. And what is or is not acceptable. What we do or don’t tolerate. Where we draw lines and where we put boundaries. These things have been changing and not for the better.”

On average, 36 Americans die each day due to gun violence. In Australia, less than 230 people were killed due to guns last year. They watch the same movies and TV shows as we do. The gun is the real problem in the U.S. Australia has a common-sense approach to controlling guns.

Bevin is not interested in that — only in the power, money and votes that he and his Frankfort friends get from gun supporters. If he cared about Kentucky, he would adopt the very simple approach that Australia has and stop the senseless killings. Bevin’s cultural gun explanation is just a bunch of garbled meaningless words.

Gene Lockhart


Follow Australia’s lead

After yet another tragic mass slaughter of our children in school, we must be not only grieving, but outraged. As a nation, we still choose to do nothing, merely because of political inconveniences. The blood of the innocent people who die in mass shootings every year is on the hands of our leaders, our legislators and on us, because we are not bold enough to do what must be done to stop this insanity.

In 1996, in Australia, a horrific mass shooting, the Port Arthur Massacre, took the lives of 35 people and injured 19. That same year, the Australian government, with full support of all states, passed the National Firearms Agreement. This law banned semi-automatic, self-loading rifles and self-loading shotguns, which are designed to kill people, and imposed stricter licensing and registration requirements on other guns. It also instituted a mandatory buyback program for firearms banned by the 1996 law. Since these laws were established, the homicide rate in Australia has decreased by more than 20 percent and there have been no mass shootings. Those are impressive statistics that demonstrate what a country can do if its leaders truly value human life and courageously put safety of citizens above all else.

Don’t our children deserve more respect than any politicized lobbyist organization?

Kathryn Ault


Fight back at the polls

Legislative representatives’ “thought and prayers” is a code phrase for we won’t do anything. But things actually can be done to stop the massacre of not only our children but all Americans killed by gun violence:

The No. 1 thing is to vote.

Second, follow the money of National Rifle Association-backed candidates and expose their complicity. Vote out those representatives.

Third, encourage your friends to vote for those who choose to enact sensible gun laws.

Fourth, register friends to vote if they aren’t already.

After a mass shooting in Australia, the legislators created strident new sensible gun laws. Unlike the NRA would like us to believe, the citizens of Australia have not been overtaken by a “Big Brother” government. Instead, the citizens have been protected from future mass slaughter through gun violence.

Take back our government and save the lives of our children.

Marianna McDonald


Done with gun craziness

I am done. Done with “Guns don’t kill; people do,” “Nobody’s going to take away my freedom,” and “The left won’t be happy until they take all our guns and only criminals have them.”

On and on they go — good, honest, well-meaning people unconsciously parroting exactly what the National Rifle Association wants them to say. Why? So gun-industry profits rise higher and higher, even more than the current $51 billion per year.

Those profitable U.S. guns lead to the deaths of 33,000 every year. No other nation has a record like this.

I am done sitting by when more have died from private gun violence than from all wars we’ve fought. Done with feeling paralyzed and tolerating pitiful leaders who pray for families, but won’t do a thing to prevent future attacks.

I bet you are done, too. Eighty percent favor common sense gun laws. We must get up on our hind legs and start growling. We must register and vote in 2018 and 2020. If candidates won’t stand up against gun excesses, they can’t lead us.

I give my life every day to trying to build sustainable communities. There is no sustainability in our future if we allow ourselves to be paralyzed by stupid memes, cowardly leaders, or nice people who don’t think straight. It’s time to end this craziness.

Claire McGowan