Letters to the editor - Wednesday (12-26-2012)

  • Posted: Wednesday, December 26, 2012 12:01 a.m.

What more can we do to keep our children safe?

I think a lot of folks are still reeling over the Sandy Hook tragedy. People are asking what they could have done differently to save lives, when they seemed to do everything right? And surely, many of those children and some adults are alive today because so many people did do exactly what they should have.

So why wasn’t that enough to save the poor babies that are no longer with us? Because there is so much wrong with society these days, no one is safe ... anywhere, really. So, what can we do — put an officer in every school? Probably not. And would one officer be enough? I think we should put guns in the schools (safely locked in locations throughout the school) and train teachers and other staff how to use them and how to react in such situations (they already train for “lock down” scenarios).

I dare say that in any given school in the United States, there are enough teachers and other staffers who are pro-gun that seeking volunteers for this duty would not be tough. Have them train with our police officials for such instances. It might not save every life, but it sure would have limited the lives lost at both Sandy Hook and Columbine. I think it is shameful that we even have to plan for such a thing, but it is clear that we have to do something. School used to be a safe place for our babies to go every day; we all need to feel safe again.

— Stephenie Walker
Try volunteer defenders

Regarding the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.:

Many have joined together in proposing new laws to tighten the sale and use of so-called “assault” weapons. Some propose banning them altogether. Indeed, I agree with those actions. But I’m afraid it won’t be enough. Guns will still be around, and the deranged people who seek to pervert their use will still be around, too.

What I propose doing is simple, yet I believe it can be very effective.

First, I would propose that all staff at public school and universities be offered the chance to volunteer for firearms and safety training classes, similar to the training now used by public safety staff such as the Department of Corrections.

Second, I would select a set number of those who volunteer to complete the training.

Third, I would place double-locked, security-coded gun boxes in specific classrooms (where trained staff volunteers are stationed), near their desks or whiteboards, and equip each locked, security-coded gun box with a specific handgun, such as a Glock 9mm.

Fourth, I would mandate that there be periodic safety checks, including adding intercom-alert drills, etc., to ensure preparedness.

And last, I would construct these boxes so that they will appear to be “thermostat” or “fire extinguisher” boxes. Kids would never see inside the boxes. They’d be out of sight, out of mind. Plus, they’d be doubly secured, since only select, trained staff would know the codes to open them.

This, I believe, would help out tremendously. After all, when was the last time you heard of a potential assailant entering a police station or a prison department?

— J.H. Freeman
Piedmont Correctional Institution

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