Editor’s note: We asked to hear your views on making schools safer and keeping firearms out of the wrong hands, and you didn’t let us down. We’re dedicating all of today’s space to your comments. As always, write us at [email protected]al.com.—Ken McIntyre
Dear Daily Signal: As far back as recorded history goes, murder has been a serious crime. More laws that continue to say don’t murder, only this time don’t do it with a gun, isn’t going to get any different results.
Banning bump stocks isn’t going to solve the motive for a murder. Banning kitchen knives, or hammers, or baseball bats, or wrenches, or screwdrivers isn’t going to stop anyone with an intention to kill from killing. What causes someone to act irrationally in any manner is a degree of stress in their lives, often monetary and emotional.
Not only should psychologists be deployed in school systems for students to use, but schools need to be teaching in a manner that encourages respect and values. We are releasing irritable, negative young adults into the system every day.
What are schools teaching? Memorization, politically correct history, debunked and outdated information, nothing useful in real world applications, social standing cliques, how to work hard at things you don’t care about, how to become just another cog in the machine. Things need to change.
It’s not about guns. We’ve had guns for centuries without a problem. The generations before took guns to school without any issues. Where the problem lies is mental health and unnecessary stress.
My guns don’t do anything but shoot paper and steel, and when left alone they don’t have a mind of their own. I’m 36. I’m enjoying the weekend at the range just like golfers golf, bowlers bowl, baseball players play baseball, and craftsmen do building projects.
The knowledge of how firearms work and how they’re made isn’t going anywhere. Knowledge can’t be banned, and ignoring what makes someone want to kill is a missed opportunity at evolving as a society.—James Giese, Kansas City, Kansas
I’m 35. A private school associated with my church needed help, so I taught a class and coached for a year. I have a concealed carry permit and carried a firearm every day. No student or teacher ever found out.
However, our benevolent leaders decided to take away a school’s right to decide if they want to allow somebody to carry a firearm on campus. Sacramento now makes that decision for children in the state.—Ashot Malkhassian, Yorba Linda, Calif.
We have this all wrong. This is a generational morality problem, not a gun problem. We’ve raised a generation of children who don’t understand there are winners and losers. Not everyone gets a trophy.
We’ve taken God out of our schools. Made the national anthem a thing to be scorned. Baby-sat children using violent video games and movies full of graphic violence. And we wonder why?
We’ve removed everything that is right and moral, replaced it with violence and sexual ambiguity and wonder why? We are why. This is a self-inflicted wound.
Blaming the tools used by the created crazy people is a political move that does zero to fix the problem. It’s like me getting castrated because my neighbor has too many kids.—Daniel Stark, Casa Grande, Ariz.
— The Daily Signal (@DailySignal) March 2, 2018
Dear Daily Signal: There’s a fine line between defending constitutionally identified rights and public safety, and as usual, the U.S. government has failed to do its job efficaciously.
I’m 42. The first thing that troubles me is that when President Trump announced he was going to ban bump stocks, which is a good idea, he said he would do so via executive order.
While the president does have the power to enforce existing law, he does not have the power to change it. Only a new law or amendment to law can do this. The troubling part is that people are praising him for doing so, which implies that they’re more scared of bump stocks than a dictator’s illegal decree. Congress must act, not the president.
The next thing that defies reason is the lack of historical understanding in Congress. They literally do not understand our own laws. In 1934, after an outcry to “do something” driven by the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre five years earlier, the government mostly successfully defended a lawsuit about the scope of the National Firearms Act; it claimed that a sawed-off shotgun required registration and restrictions specifically because the firearm was not a weapon of war.
Now, more than 80 years later, members of Congress not only are arguing that an AR-15 (or any “assault rifle”) is a weapon of war but that it should be banned. It’s as if they can’t do simple research about the history of gun control in the U.S. and determine that the Supreme Court already has ruled on this, and the government already has argued this. They’re talking about an outright ban on importation and sale of any “assault rifle,” forgetting that they are the ones who argued in favor of them.
My final thought on the matter is about the duty of government when it comes to schools. The federal government, as well as states, demands that every child go to school and pass mandatory governmental testing. They do so under pain of fine or imprisonment under state and local truancy systems.
By forcing parents to send our most vulnerable citizens to congregate on dense state or federal properties, the government assumes the fiduciary duty to defend those properties and those that have been forced to go there. This means that all public schools must be hardened.
In my view, the only way to do that is to create a specialty police force, administered under either the state’s authority or Homeland Security’s, which is trained in close-quarters combat as well as in child education. Too often we see police in schools treat kids like adult criminals. This is counterproductive to safety and instills a fear of police into children at a young age, vastly damaging society’s fabric and trust in government authority.
Police in schools should be experts not just in neutralizing armed threats with minimal collateral damage, but also in interacting with children. The ideal candidate would be an ex-serviceman with a bachelor’s degree in child psychology, in my estimation.—Pedro (Pete) Routh, Independence, Ky.
— John Bicknell (@JohnBick1960) March 6, 2018
Dear Daily Signal: Excellent article by Kelsey Harkness on arming teachers to protect the lives of students (“To Keep Students Safe, This School Allows Teachers to Carry Guns”) .
The deterrent factor here is a key point, particularly if schools post prominent signs about armed teachers and staff who have the capability and the training to respond with deadly force to any attempt to harm students.
Arming teachers and staff with proper training and stringent requalification requirements is an excellent idea.—Keith E.
Great story and interview by Kelsey Harkness about a rural community solution that is working, and would work for larger cities except the mindset is different.
I understand the emotional impact the Florida school shooting has had in the public arena, but the facts speak for themselves.
The National Rifle Association isn’t responsible for the carnage. Apparently family members and neighbors did the proper thing and reported the killer to authorities before the shooting, and in true government fashion moved on to other things with no followups.
Rural America is still quite comfortable with all firearms because of their environment, whereas city dwellers have developed a false sense of security and belief in government being able to protect them.
One alternative is to protect schools as we protect our government buildings with scanners and security checkpoints at entrances. The school massacre in Parkland, Florida, is a prime example of why maybe we need both.
I live in a rural area, and our courthouse has a metal detector and three deputies at the only door allowed for entry. There’s never been an attempt at forced entry. The same system will work at schools with fewer taxpayer dollars being wasted on political solutions that won’t work any better than the laws already being ignored.—Brannen Edwards, Savannah, Ga.
We do not need more gun control. We need people control.
We need people to do their jobs in entering data into systems, so there are no cracks for information to fall through. Repeatedly we find that the person who owns the gun should not have been able to buy it. Or the gun was not owned by the shooter, but carelessly stored by a person who unintentionally gave the shooter access.
Laws need to be enforced. Imagine that. I do see where a waiting period might help. Here in Indiana, we have a waiting period for concealed carry permits. A family member who applied for one waited at least six months. At the time he applied, he didn’t even own a firearm. (He does now, and is graduating with a degree in criminal justice in May.)
We need to be far more careful in gun sales with background checks, and should have longer waiting periods. But even then, if background checks do not show mental instability, those folks are still going to get guns. Evil figures out how to go around the law, because evil is lawless.
Why is such evil showing up more frequently? Go back in time to Dr. Benjamin Spock. He advocated that we not spank those darling babies and young children. Now look at what we have. The generation who did not learn self-discipline thorough enforced discipline by parents have raised their own generations of children and grandchildren.
I’m 74. I am part of that age group. However, I did get an occasional spanking and certainly my parents enforced discipline on all manner of things they thought up. Those who do not receive enforced discipline grow up thinking the world is “all about me” and thus are steeped in selfishness or the reverse, lack of self-esteem.
Whichever it is, the person does not have a balanced life or a sense of good and evil. Since the early 1970s, discarding a life through abortion has given the idea that life is not all that important. Eternity seems without value because church attendance is in decline. Church attendance is in decline because only one, or neither, parent feels that a spiritual relationship with God is of any importance.
I am not a psychologist. I am just an old-fashioned old lady who believes that it takes purposeful time to raise a child with values. Two generations of children raised by lackadaisical parenting has brought us to the stage in America where guns are going to be misused.
What we need are dedicated parents who rear their children according to the principles in the Bible. That is what will change America. Ask Dr. Ben Carson what his single-parent mom did to put character into him.
Let’s return to the Bible and commonsense standards, and more gun control will not be needed. Regretfully, this is not going to happen quickly, but I do believe that praying Americans can turn this nation around.
Our country needs another unashamed Billy Graham. Yet, if every professing, believing Christian would do the right thing, it could happen one family at a time.—Karyl Entner, Franklin, Ind.
— The Daily Signal (@DailySignal) March 9, 2018
Dear Daily Signal: I retired from the Washington State Patrol in 1989 after 25 years. I looked upon my job as being an educator and peacekeeper. Thankfully, we didn’t have the current horrendous school shootings, though we did have concerns with traffic safety and drugs.
Each of eight districts within Washington state had a safety education trooper assigned. These troopers would visit schools to talk to students, mainly about traffic safety. As a line trooper, I was assigned in eastern Washington, where individual troopers were assigned a small town to reside.
I sometimes would take photos of bad accidents and park my patrol car in the school lot. Within minutes, I’d have many students looking at what a bad accident really looks like.
Now long retired from policing, I am a snowbird and reside in Arizona during the cold months. State Sen. Steve Smith, a Republican, had an article in the local newspaper about the school shooting in Florida. Smith stated an immediate, simple, and reasonable fix that would put armed law enforcement officers on school campuses.
Every officer needs to compose and file reports daily. Each school could provide a small room where an on-duty officer could complete that function while 1) being present on campus, 2) interacting with students in a positive way, 3) supporting any current school safety officer, and 4) being available to get information from and to staff, students, and administrators.
This would place a marked patrol car at school, visible and normal, for anyone wishing to create harm at odd times and odd days. No one would know when an officer would appear.—Ken Parsons
After watching the commentary on the Florida school shooting, you wonder how can this all happen in the world’s most powerful nation, where we have more freedoms than any other nation?
One factor that is overlooked is what we see in the movies. I recently attended a so-called PG movie with previews that were shoot-’em-up, gun toting, blood and guts, with plenty of double-meaning words (in a cartoon no less) that I would never say to a child.
The movie industry’s bottom line is money, and what is on the screen is disgusting. I almost walked out before seeing the actual movie that I paid for.—Bob C.
If parents and others really want to protect our children, get involved. Stop waiting for the politicians and police to decide for you.
The same with school officials. You wait for the government with your hands out for them to hand you money to fix your problem, then throw your hands up and blame them for the mandates they impose on you for accepting the money, over and over again.
No more gun-free zones. That ultimately is the solution to protect our kids. Armed teachers, citizens, parents, and grandparents are all available willingly, much cheaper than a cop would be.
I have several law enforcement friends whom I can out-shoot and out-think. Most don’t want to do this in schools, as they have extreme stress on their jobs.
Politicians and school administrators talk only of problems. Very seldom will they offer solutions, unless it involves money for them or their cause.—Sam Brongo
— ?Ophidian Pilot? (@ophidianpilot) February 16, 2018
Dear Daily Signal: Your cartoonist, Michael Ramirez, left out the most important part of the picture: the AR-15 (“Cartoon: The Real Assault Weapon”). The mass slaughter would not have been successful without it. If you are so proud of the Second Amendment, why did you omit it? Fake news … with only half-truth.— Mary Martin
If President Trump doesn’t know whom to fire for the Florida school debacle, he might start with the head of the FBI. Obviously, it is a den of holdover Obama idiots and others who have their own agenda—and keeping the country safe is not at the top of their list.
Trump should start by putting school safety under U.S. marshals. They have a better record.—Nelle Verell, Kansas
The emphasis on defending one’s own freedom is often omitted from many discussions. All critters, including humans, have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, as mentioned in the Declaration of Independence. The USA is, as far as I know, the only nation that even mentions such natural rights.
But as soon as natural rights are mentioned, it seems, there is an attempt to abrogate them by governments (tyrants and democracies). It seems we forget that our rights, or the government’s (the rights of we the people), stop where others’ start. The Supreme Court just has not figured that out yet.
Indeed, a major faux pas occurs when folks ignore that the Constitution is a construct of “We the people … ,” and not a judge. Further, every elected official and most public officers swear that they will “support and defend the Constitution.” Alas, this oath is not enforced in this life.—Jim Johnson, Greenfield, Mo.
— Warner Todd Huston (@warnerthuston) March 8, 2018
Dear Daily Signal: Thanks for Ginny Montalbano’s article on Virginia state Delegate Nick Freitas (“7 Points a Virginia Lawmaker Made in a Speech on Guns That Went Viral”). His presentation on weapons ownership is understood and appreciated in rural America, where guns are primarily used for sports but available for defense if needed.
We’re comfortable with our weapons, whereas people in large cities tend to associate guns with criminals only. They have bought the concept that Big Brother in the form of government will save you. I live in an area that at minimum takes 20 minutes for a response time, and the truth is city people aren’t much better off, maybe even worse.
Of course, the real problem is social experiment and political correctness, which continues to allow poor judgment to be used to blame others for our own shortcomings. Quick justice would help restore order.—Brannen Edwards, Savannah, Ga.
Thank you for the concise, easy-to-read summary of Nick Freitas’ remarks on the Second Amendment to colleagues in the Virginia House of Delegates. I have forwarded it in its entirety to nearly 200 additional American readers throughout the U.S. and overseas.
To be honest, I have to wonder just what Democrats have to be proud of. They seem to have been on the wrong side of so many important issues in American history. Delegate Freitas would be an excellent presidential candidate in the future.
Since the day of that atrocity in Parkland, Florida, Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel repeatedly has proved he is unworthy of his position. Making good people helpless does not make bad people harmless.—Mark Dubay, Conroe, Texas
Ginny Montalbano’s excellent article on Nick Freitas’ speech covers my opinion exactly. It is time to use and depend upon common sense to solve the terrible problem of mass murder in our school systems, as well as all other places where large numbers of people congregate.
We cannot depend upon our law enforcement agencies to protect us from immediate danger when it takes them even a few minutes to respond to a threat. There have been too many occurrences of slaughter in our schools to accept any other solution. Common sense (and a police officer friend) tells me that I must react immediately to any threat to me or my family.
Psychological studies, gun control, new laws, and so on are absolutely not effective. Common sense is.—John (Pete) Ross, Montrose, Colo.
Thank you for the story on Nick Freitas. As I sit here in Iraq, I cannot but wonder about those who think a government can protect them. It is the citizens who do that, and public law enforcement.
I have been in the military for 33 years, and have seen firsthand what can happen when you rely on your government to protect you. Mass graves in Kosovo, modern-day brown shirts, and a myriad of other vile outcomes from such beliefs.
Know this, our Constitution is admired across the lands where we have fought to bring back the rights of citizens and the oppressed. Washington elitists who have never spent time defending freedom like our forefathers and today’s military have nothing to base their actions upon and have forgotten why we formed the United States.—Tom Barnett
— The Daily Signal (@DailySignal) March 9, 2018
Dear Daily Signal: Thank you for Fred Lucas’ article about violent video games (“Industry Leaders Defend Violent Video Games in Meeting With Trump”). If you have any pull with the president, tell him they should be banned.—Randy Malcom
We have been hearing about National Walkout Day, the March 14 event for students to support gun control. After doing a little digging, I found this was being promoted, funded, and supported by the Action Network. They are the ones who did the “pink hat” protest.
So, unlike the narrative that CNN has been giving that these are student-led protests, it’s actually a well-funded adult organization that is using our kids. I think it is outrageous that our kids are being used as pawns to promote a political agenda and disrupt their education time.
I don’t see anyone in the media talking about this, so I would love to see you provide some commentary on the matter.—Christopher Russell
This is a sad time in our nation when one person can get TV coverage on a subject he knows nothing about, and those who are really concerned for our nation as a whole have no place to speak.
We are in a bad situation when we think firing everybody is the answer. We need to teach a simple principle that when you point a finger, you have three fingers pointing back at you, which makes everybody responsible. We have become professional destroyers of men, businesses, and our nation.
Someone should ask the young people of the high school in Parkland: If this shooting had not happened, would you still be marching, demonstrating, and proving you know nothing about the situation?
However, it makes them good future candidates for newscasters and politicians.—Gene Ray Bowe
I enjoyed breakfast with a friend last week, a retired policeman. We discussed guns in school and costs, at which point he suggested a solution without cost.
This nation has a vast army of retired policemen. My friend said he would gladly volunteer to work with other retired policemen to guard our schools at no charge.
Is this another dimension we should add to our national discussion?—Ron Dale, Boise, Idaho
Do we want to stop mass shootings? Of course we do. The answer, however, is not necessarily gun control.
The real answer is to move our culture to one that respects the life and dignity of each human person from conception to natural death.
That is the cornerstone of our Catholic Church teaching and other Christian teaching. Jesus always has the right answers.—Kathleen Goryl
— e.Diane (@Dianestraley) March 7, 2018
Dear Daily Signal: I want to thank Walter E. Williams personally for his commentary about gun control (“Shootings Are a Morality Problem, Not a Gun Problem”). The heart of the matter is the matter of the heart: Because our country has turned from God’s Word, moral decay is destroying our Founding Fathers’ biblical principles.
They knew the truth of God’s Word. That’s why they used it to form our republic. I’ve learned four principles of life:
—My unbreakable, unshakables: Those are my morals, ethics, core values. They control who I am and my actions.
—What I focus on controls me: Core values make my foundation, whether good or bad.
—Choices: I’m free to choose what I say and do. But once I choose, my freedom is turned over to that choice.
—The law of the harvest: What I sow, I will reap. So be careful of those choices that are rooted in my unbreakable unshakeables.
Thank you again to Walter Williams for his wise wisdom of truth. May he stay the course, keep the faith, and uphold our Founders’ biblical principles.—Donna Blair, Felton, Del.
Some thoughts on making schools safer:
Fence in the entire school. To save money, have architects or contractors donate it for the privilege of publicity and a big tax deduction. Or have only two entrances per school—both with metal detectors and cameras that actively alert security. Have a third security officer who can relieve the other two.
Second, I am a Republican, and I believe in the Second Amendment. I am a hunter. But I am also a parent and teacher. Republicans and Democrats must get together and end school shootings. Commonsense legislation must be passed to protect our children. Ban assault weapons. They are not used for hunting or target practice. They are used only for mass killing. It is not gun control but killing control.
Third, we should not let children make any important policy decisions because they are being educated by social media. Young people today are not well read or knowledgeable about the real world or important values and thought.—Pat Ellis
I am tired of the same knee-jerk comments and arguments after every incident involving a gun. The same people start the clamor, based on emotion, to write more feel-good laws that can’t be enforced without violating the Second Amendment.
We already have laws that either cannot or will not be enforced. Worse, additional laws could lead to more incidents such as Ruby Ridge, causing unnecessary loss of life by both law enforcement and honest, normally law-abiding citizens who will refuse to be disarmed.
Constitutional laws must be enforced uniformly and without exception, or changed when they become so onerous that it is necessary to repeal or amend them. Unenforced laws teach disrespect for all laws.
The beauty of our constitutional republic is that the means exist to modify or repeal any law, including the Constitution, not on an emotional tide, but with due process and deliberation.—James Sloan
Chrissy Clark helped to compile this column.