A matter of willingness
We don't have the willingness to set aside differences and resolve the country's problems for the common good. We don't have the willingness to house the homeless or feed the hungry. We don't have the willingness to set aside bias and accept our neighbors of any ilk. We don't have the willingness to confront racism or hatred when we see it. We don't have the willingness to confront politicians who fail to carry out our wishes. We don't have the willingness to express the most basic courtesies to neighbors and strangers alike.
But we have the willingness to allow our children to be slaughtered, our neighborhoods to be targets of violence, while lobbyists claim the need for military-style weapons with hundred-round clips.
We have the ability to halt these horrors. Do we have the will?
Steven E. Glauser, Elkins Park, firstname.lastname@example.org
Please stop the carnage
As a retired schoolteacher and a grandparent, I am saddened and outraged over the school shootings in Connecticut. I am begging my elected representatives to support a bill that would ban the sale of assault weapons and the sale of guns at gun shows without a background check.
Please help to stop the carnage of the innocents.
Howard Brouda, Havertown, email@example.com
Children sending a message
This hit way too close to home, as I teach in a K-4 public elementary school. It easily could have been our principal, our first graders, our teachers, or me. While the pundits argue over who or what is to blame, one comment resonated with me. Someone said that children are not born evil, with the intent to kill. Somewhere along the way they are failed by their parents and society at large.
Children need parents who are strong role models, who make them feel safe and loved. Parents of troubled children need school and community supports. Many parents are in denial when we suggest that their child has a problem. Others are willing to seek help, but are not capable of navigating the roadblocks put up by insurance companies. Often, parents are told by mental-health agencies that the first available appointment is months away. In the meantime, the problem doesn't go away. It snowballs until a tragedy occurs.
Listen up, America. Our children are sending us a message.
Gayle Block, Philadelphia, Gaylemail@aol.com
Insurance for gun owners
It is heartwarming that people contributed so generously to the costs of burying the victims. However, it is outrageous that the survivors should pay those costs. Why are gun owners not required to carry insurance? Why should it be the victims, or their families, who pay the financial price of being shot? Insurance assigns fiscal responsibility. If we require this of people who own cars, we surely should require it of those who own guns.
Dale Kinney, Bala Cynwyd
Shame on those who won't act
Shame on the people who have the ability to protect themselves, their children, or each other from wanton acts of violence, but not the will.
Some tell us there is nothing we can do about senseless gun violence. Some tell us that personal freedoms are more important than the right of a child to live her life in safety. The PR and the money of some seem to have prevailed, but as long as the ability remains, we stand accused.
Some say that we must first solve the problems of the human mind, but mental conditions are variable, unpredictable, and difficult to forecast or detect. Guns are real, tangible, and quite predictable. A gun is an inanimate object, almost totally under the control of the person handling it.
We have the ability to attack the problem. Do we have the will to do it?
Dick Linderman, Philadelphia
Only one purpose for weapons
What despicable excuse will the National Rifle Association give as it continues to defend the right of citizens to own weapons for "sport and hunting," including the weapons used by Adam Lanza? These weapons are purchased for one purpose: to kill human beings. Shame on the NRA and shame on those who defend it.
Diane L. Donato, West Chester, firstname.lastname@example.org
Keep serving mentally ill
While we are looking for politicians and the NRA to come up with sensible gun-control laws, we must not forget to pressure cities and state legislatures to stop cutting back on funds to serve the mentally ill, as is currently the case in Pennsylvania.
Joseph W. Ruane, Philadelphia, email@example.com
What will you do?
How many tears have you shed and how many conversations have you had since the slaughter of innocent children and teachers in Newtown? How many tragedies will it take before the conversations and tears produce necessary action to limit the possession and use of assault weapons? President Obama and others seem determined to "take meaningful action." What will you do? Will you challenge legislators to enact and enforce effective gun laws? Our children deserve this from us.
Mary Ellen O'Connell, Narberth, firstname.lastname@example.org
Time for reasonable regulations
When the Second Amendment was adopted, "firearms" could not be used to commit mass murder in minutes. Modern firearm technology, with semiautomatic mechanisms and large magazines, should be highly regulated and, ideally, restricted to law enforcement. Society needs to protect itself from immature and unbalanced individuals. Reasonable regulations should include a ban on assault rifles, restrictions on ammunition purchases, and competency examinations and background checks for certain weapons. Civilized Americans must insist that their representatives enact reasonable gun-control regulations.
Peter Norman, Warrington
The violence of our hearts
Yes, it is about guns and laws, about mental health and awareness, about school security. But, most of all, it is about the violence of our hearts. Maybe if we concern ourselves more with the things that truly count in life - God, Bible, prayer, church, family - our hearts will soften and change, and so will our actions.
Joanne Landman, Bryn Mawr
We cry for them
We are a nation in shock. We are heartbroken. As parents, sisters, brothers, aunts, and uncles, we wish to put our arms around those who have suffered such loss. Yet how can we do so? How can we communicate with those who have suffered so? How can we tell them we love them, we support them, we honor the memories of those they have lost? They must all know we cry for them.