To the editor: Gun proliferation is part of problem

Gun rights advocates are fond of saying “guns don’t kill people, people do.” Presumably this means that someone who is intent upon committing murder or mayhem will always find a weapon of some sort and a way to use it. So, since guns are not the problem, there is no need to control access to them. Case closed.

But, it’s not that easy. There are far more guns per capita in the U.S. than anywhere else in the world, and we have far more murders and mass shootings than any other modern democracy. If guns are not the root of the problem, what is? Are Americans genetically more prone to violence? Is there a greater percentage of mentally unstable, psychopathic people here? Do Americans watch more violent video games (a popular speculation)? Is our crime rate that much higher than everywhere else? The answer to all these questions, confirmed by numerous studies, is no. What makes America different is the number of guns in circulation (over 300 million) and how easy it is to get them.

Guns may not be the sole cause of our problems, but it is obvious that they cannot be blithely dismissed as a factor. The hundreds of thousands of students who marched for their lives on March 24 know this, and they are not going to meekly swallow such trite clichés. Some of them have seen their friends and teachers shot down before their eyes. They are angry, they want something to be done and they aren’t going away.

One final point: If you believe that putting more guns in schools is the best way to deter the next well-armed psychopath, let’s stop trying to do it cheaply. Asking a teacher to design challenging lessons, grade the pile of papers on his/her desk, coach tomorrow’s soccer game, and – in their spare time – prepare to stop an active shooter armed with an AR-15 is absurd.

If we are at the point where we have to harden our schools because we’ve been foolish enough to make millions of weapons available to just about everyone on demand, let’s put police officers and professional security guards in every school and give them the surveillance technology and other tools they need to protect the students. It will cost a bundle of money, and our taxes will go up, but at least this would be a viable proposal.

Bill Dunkel
Windham

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  1. mike leclair says:

    I need to point out the numerous violent attacks being carried out around the world where guns are not readily available to the average person. England, France ,Germany ect where the choice of a weapon has been a truck ,a car, and in many cases large knives. Also i have noted the many times in Africa where mass murder, rape and kidnappings are perpetrated over and over by the criminals with guns against defenseless civilians. I’m also aware that homemade bombs are frequently the choice of many radicals and i know how easy it would be to make one.If we take care of our people with the existing gun control laws the guns will take care of themselves. Believe it or not there is already some working gun laws that need to be used on a routine basis by the police and courts. More gun laws’ many unenforceable, is not the answer. Enforce the laws we have.
    PS I am a hunter and i love to target shoot a few times a year and Iam also a believer in the US Constitution.I get a little nervous when my rights appear to be under attack.

  2. Philip Atwood says:

    The ineffective strict gun ban laws in Chicago and the resulting carnage there attest to the folly of strict gun regulations.

    Arming and training teachers to keep our school children doesn’t really solve the problem, as a shooter could kill several students before an assertive counter strike could take effect.

    As far as making schools safe the idea of armed guards with metal detectors at the entrance, seems to work at airports and court houses, and we have absorbed the cost of those activities and learned to live with the resulting time delays. It will be an inconvenience, but so what? We all put up with it if we want to fly or go to court because being safe is more important than taking off our shoes and belt.

  3. Stuart Lindberg says:

    “False is the idea of utility that sacrifices a thousand real advantages for one imaginary or trifling inconvenience; that would take fire from men because it burns, and water because one may drown in it; that has no remedy for evils except destruction. The laws that forbid the carrying of arms are laws of such a nature. They disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes.

    Can it be supposed that those who have the courage to violate the most sacred laws of humanity, the most important of the code, will respect the less important and arbitrary ones, which can be violated with ease and impunity, and which, if strictly obeyed, would put an end to personal liberty… and subject innocent persons to all the vexations that the guilty alone ought to suffer?

    Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man. They ought to be designated as laws not preventive but fearful of crimes, produced by the tumultuous impression of a few isolated facts, and not by thoughtful consideration of the inconveniences and advantages of a universal decree.”
    by:
    Cesare Beccaria
    (1735-1794) [Bonesana, Marchese di] Italian nobleman, criminologist, and penal reformer

  4. Mark Green says:

    Bill first off I don’t agree with your comment that there are far more gun murders than any other country,yes there maybe more guns then any other country but that is what has helped keep this country free from foreign governments and has stopped our own government from becoming a tyrannical government which I believe it is leaning toward!

    Everyone cannot just walk into a place and by a gun. You must first pass a very detailed background check and many are refused and it is a felony to lie on a background check so yes it does prevent many from legally obtaining guns as I can however agree with 1 comment you made that is have armed guards and metal detectors outside the main school to stop any person looking to do harm before they get into the school, to me that would do far more to protect our children then anything S55 will be capable of doing. None of us want to see any children hurt or abused by anyone. S55 does not do one thing to protect any child!!!

  5. Roy Amsden says:

    So it would cost a lot of money! Are we now placing a value on our kids lives?! What value would you place on your kids lives?! We’re sure there are places to reach into our $5.8 billion budget to find the money! We need to have armed security “where trouble starts, when trouble starts”! Anything less should be totally unacceptable! Calling 911 is a disaster waiting to happen! Our officials that are supposed to manage background checks are totally inept! And worst of all….a ten round limit on a magazine is a sick joke!! A very sick joke!! Our elected officials appear to believe 10 shots in a school will at least be an improvement over 30 shots! God help our kids while these people are in office!

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