Gun control is not a threat to anyone's liberties
Richard Dawahare's Dec. 22 Kentucky Voices contribution "Gun culture rooted in fear" was an insightful analysis of a complicated and divisive topic.
The National Rifle Association's tactic of clouding the issue with fear and misinformation — for instance, their constant mantra that gun control advocates want to remove handguns, hunting rifles and collectibles from the gun enthusiasts' possession — makes them appear to be "black and white, in- the-box" thinkers possessing little insight into a grave problem.
I have long been an advocate for assault rifle control, yet am an advocate of handgun and hunting rifle possession (if that is what one wants).
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The first time I shot an AK-47, I realized those types of military weapons are not for hunting and not even for target practice. The gun was designed to spray a fan of bullets at an enemy in light of the inability of an average soldier to hit a target. It was designed to kill as many humans (not bear, deer or elk) in as short a time as possible.
The whole issue reminds me of past concerns over cigarette warning labels, vehicle seat belts and baby seats. One would have thought that the world was coming to an end — "big government is taking away our freedoms."
Control the sale of military rifles and we will be just fine. The ones who are so paranoid as to think their lives are in constant danger from an unseen enemy can just buy a few more .38s.
Louis Zoellar Bickett
God in the schools
A friend of mine inspired me to write, especially when I read recent letters about how the events in Connecticut happened because we took God out of schools.
I see God at my school every single day, from the canned food drives we hold every year to the counselor that goes out of her way to make sure a child is in a healthful home environment, to the teacher that stays extra hours without pay to tutor students falling behind, to the resource center that gives out clothing to those less fortunate, and to many parent volunteers like me who give time and talents so that all students will have a wonderful education experience.
As my friend told me, "Just because you aren't quoting Scripture at school, doesn't mean you aren't living it at school."
Vets ready to protect
A weapon used to attack is an assault weapon. But used to defend, it is a defense weapon.
I am retired from the Army having served 25 years. I am well-trained in the use of weapons, better trained than 95 percent of police officers.
I, along with my fellow brothers who served and were discharged honorably, would take the job of protecting our nation's children.
We don't need to be trained, which would save the taxpayers money; and us veterans, are in much need of jobs.
The only thing that would need to be done is to put us through mental evaluation to prove we are not a danger.
I have a 16-year-old in school and she is my gem. I would do anything to protect her and her friends and all of the children from having to witness this again.
It is a shame that I was put on guard in an Iraq village to protect their kids but not allowed to protect ours.
Dudley S. Hall
Gun buybacks work
I like guns. I grew up in a rural county where there was ample opportunity for squirrel and rabbit hunting within walking distance of my house.
We used to hike out the railroad to the trestle over the creek. There we used our .22s to nail some of the abundant supply of beer bottles as they bobbed along the current — great fun.
Times have changed. Our world has become both more crowded and more technologically complex. And as times change, we must follow along and change with it. Common-sense gun control is due.
The indisputable fact is that the United States is the most gun-violent place outside of a war zone on this planet. We are also the most liberal to allow armed citizens. Does anyone see a pattern here?
Implementing gun control to reduce gun violence is possible. In 1996 it was done in Australia. Matt Miller of the Center for American Progress recently described in The Washington Post the bipartisan national firearms agreement put in place two weeks after a horrific mass killing of 35 people at a resort in Tasmania.
Since then, homicides have dropped 59 percent and suicides dropped 74 percent.
Relax, gun owners — no one is coming to take your guns. In addition to sensible restrictions on new gun sales and beefed up background checks, a buyback program could serve to take a number of firearms out of circulation. And this would serve a dual purpose of stimulating the anemic economy.
More killing to mourn
Pray for the little ones so brutally slaughtered. Imagine being so young, in a place where you feel secure, are provided for and have no worries. Suddenly with no warning and no way to prepare, your life is ended among terror, chaos, blood and pain.
Why are they doing this? You have no chance to protest or to defend yourself. Someone who doesn't even know you has decided to kill you.
We can debate assault weapons, but what about the knife attack on 22 children in China? Our problem is not weapons, our problem is us. What is it about our society that puts such little value on human life?
The words above could be used to describe the killings in Connecticut. They could also be used to describe an abortion. It may make us feel better to call an unborn baby a fetus but consider: at 21 days the fetus has a heartbeat, at six weeks has recordable brainwaves, at 10 weeks sucks its thumb and is sensitive to touch, and at seven to eight months recognizes its mother's voice.
The thought of 20 children being slaughtered in a classroom sickens us. What about the more that 1 million being slaughtered each year? When are we going to stop the killing?
Outrage every day
The nation tragically, shockingly lost 3,000 lives on 9/11. Our response included the invasion of two countries, the sacrifice of thousands of additional lives, hundreds of billions of dollars spent, the loss of liberty legislated through the Patriot Act, the creation of a new federal bureaucracy at Homeland Security and the use of torture as an intelligence-gathering tactic.
Each year, 30,000 lives are lost in America due to gun violence, many being innocent children.
Now we have suffered the devastating loss of 20 of our beautiful, innocent first-graders, gunned down in a matter of minutes by a sick individual with easy access to a mini arsenal. The murder weapon itself looked like it should be on the front line of some faraway war zone.
We witness the equivalent of 10 9/11s every year in terms of lives lost, yet we do nothing. No more. Our collective indifference to this rolling American tragedy should be our national shame.
The Second Amendment and sensible gun laws are not mutually exclusive. It is past time for comprehensive action to address our tragic reality. Our Founding Fathers did not envision violent mass death and eternal despair as the price of our freedom.