HOW DO WE PROTECT OUR CHILDREN IN A DANGEROUS WORLD?
by Sharon Rondeau
(Dec. 24, 2012) — Following the slaying of 26 people in a Newtown, CT elementary school on December 14, Sen. Dianne Feinstein said that she plans to introduce a bill that would again ban assault weapons such as one found at the scene of the Sandy Hook Elementary School. An assault weapons ban had been signed into law in 1994, expiring in 2004.
While violent crime declined during that period, some outlets reported that the assault weapons ban was not responsible. for the decrease. Questions remain as to whether or not potentially violent criminals obey laws or see them as a “legitimate form of authority.”
Following the Connecticut atrocity, later that afternoon, Obama hinted at his support for gun control legislation and again raised the issue while addressing an interfaith service on Sunday, December 16 in Newtown.
Obama has created a task force consisting of Eric Holder, Joe Biden “and outside organizaions” to study the problem of firearm violence and resulting casualties. Obama mentioned cultural, mental health and family factors as part of a “complex problem.” It is well-known that Eric Holder has long wanted to address violent crime by reducing the availability of guns, particularly to young people, including by “brainwashing” them.
Holder, who has been held in criminal and civil contempt of Congress, believes that “executive action” can be taken to curb gun violence.
Gun sales have increased following the Aurora, CO movie theater shooting in July; the November 6 alleged re-election of Obama, and following the tragedy at Sandy Hook, including in the states of Connecticut and Massachusetts. Some parents have purchased “armored backpacks” for their children’s protection at a cost of approximately $200. Several gun shop owners have declined to speak with The Associated Press, which they see as biased against firearms ownership.
In the South and West, gun ownership is culturally more common than in other parts of the country such as New England. A bill has been introduced in South Carolina to allow pre-screened teachers to carry concealed weapons in schools, and one has been requested in Connecticut. The town of Harrold, Texas now allows concealed-carry of weapons by teachers, while other states are considering similar measures. The Second Amendment to the Bill of Rights states, “A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”
Gun laws in Connecticut preclude a mentally-ill person from purchasing a firearm.
Last Thursday, Obama’s cabinet members held a meeting about proposals to curb violence, shutting out reporters so that Biden could have a “frank conversation” with selected law enforcement leaders. On the same day, Holder met with first responders in Newtown, whose police chief, Michael Kehoe, claims on the police department’s website that Newtown’s schools “are safe.” Kehoe was one of the first to enter the building following the incident and is quoted as having said, “I feel some sense of guilt – you know deep down inside I feel that our job was to keep kids safe and it is meant to be a learning environment.”
A full report on how the perpetrator entered the school alone and killed 26 people is expected to take “months” to complete, according to Lt. Paul Vance of the Connecticut State Police. Federal investigators are assisting with the investigation.
The National Rifle Association held a press conference last Friday to put forth a plan entitled the “National School Shield Program,” which NRA President Wayne LaPierre said his organization would make available ‘to every school in America free of charge” [emphasis original]. The proposed coordinator of the program is Asa Hutchinson, who has served as a congressman, U.S attorney, Undersecretary of the Department of Homeland Security and head of the Drug Enforcement Agency and is now in private legal practice.
LaPierre believes that “a good guy with a gun” in the nation’s schools will deter school shootings such as that which occurred at Sandy Hook. He has accused the media of concealing information from the public and hods violent television shows and video games partially responsible for today’s violent society.
There are documented accounts of lives which have been saved because someone in the area of a shooting had a gun. Instead of simply reporting LaPierre’s viewpoint and proposal, the media judged itself the arbiter of his ideas, showing its clear bias against responsible firearms ownership.
LaPierre advocates enforcing existing gun laws but no additional restrictions on firearms. Connecticut Senator Richard Bllumenthal has called LaPierre’s offer of training and resources “sadly and shamefully inadequate.” Blumenthal is a member of the NRA.
Whose is the real “voice of the American people?”
The state of Oklahoma has a new open-carry law, although guns continue to be banned in government business areas. The state of Vermont has arguably the least restrictive laws on firearms acquisition and a lower-than-average crime rate, although guns cannot be brought onto school or government property.
In an interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper, the parents of one of the child victims of the Connecticut tragedy praised Obama after meeting with him in private on December 16. Grace McDonnell’s mother also described finding a message from her daughter the following day.
Memorials to those lost have sprung up across the country. Newtown has received hundreds of children’s toys which were distributed to the town’s children last Saturday for Christmas as well as at least $2.6 million in monetary donations. One man gave $52,000 to a fund intended to construct a memorial to the victims, and the University of Connecticut has established a scholarship fund for the surviving siblings. While Newtown elementary school children will attend school in a nearby town, a school support fund has been established by the United Way of Western Connecticut. Several memorial funds have been established in the names of the children, who were all six or seven years old.
One child survived the attack by pretending to be dead.