- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
I was absolutely amazed by Commissioner Evan Slaughenhoupt’s (R) response in The Calvert Recorder [“There are better solutions than gun-free zone policies,” Dec. 26] to Duwane Rager’s letter [“Put politics aside to move forward from school shooting,” Dec. 21] regarding guns in our schools. The commissioner’s answer, similar to the NRA’s, is that the solution to slaughter in schools in the U.S. is that to protect our children, we need to increase the number of guns in the schools, not decrease them. He implies that it is only the sky marshals and armed pilots who are responsible for no recent hijackings. Did it ever occur to him that a better explanation might be that the increased security prior to boarding eliminated people carrying guns on a plane and, therefore, the hijackings?
I am, however, surprised that he didn’t suggest that the better response to hijackings would have been to increase the number of guns and box cutters on planes rather than decrease them. Using his logic, I am certain that all air passengers would be much more confident about their, and their fellow passengers’ safety, if they knew there was a possibility that any, or all, of the people on that flight had concealed weapons. Maybe we should test Evan’s theory that the more guns the better. We could advertise that, at the passengers’ discretion, they could choose between certain flights that allow concealed weapons and others that don’t. Which flights do you think everyone, including Evan, would choose?
Regarding guns in schools, I would point out that there were three armed law enforcement officers assigned to Columbine High School the day of the killings. Regarding security systems, Newtown, Conn., had some of the best. Neither stopped the killings.
I have to assume when Evan talks about concealed carry laws, he is referring to arming teachers. That, in my opinion, is even more absurd. People who advocate doing so need to spend some time in a classroom and see what a huge responsibility our teachers already have and what great job they do. We do not need to burden them with more responsibility. It is not that they are not able to handle a gun, although there are certainly some that are not, and there are also some that would not. It is that their responsibility is for the education of students in their classroom. They can’t go running off every time someone slams a door or makes some other sound that might mean trouble. In addition, with the size and complexity of some campuses — for example, Virginia Tech — it is possible, if not likely, that the armed “teachers” wouldn’t even hear it.
I do not claim to have the answers. I don’t think anyone does. What I do maintain is that more guns (concealed or otherwise) and more lethal guns are not the answer. The mother of the Newtown shooter legally bought the guns that were used to kill all those children, the teachers and others, and taught her son how to use them. She boasted about how responsible he was with and around those guns. The only thing that might have stopped him was not having those guns in the first place. If his mother had the chance to redo that part of their life, would she have bought those guns? I think not.
Certainly, there is no possibility of banning all guns, nor would it be the right thing to do. I do believe, however, that we need to look seriously at restricting to the military and law enforcement mass assault weapons and high volume clips, the only purpose of which is to kill fellow human beings. In today’s society, is that unreasonable? Would our forefathers think it unreasonable? In both cases, I think not.
William J. Phalen, Huntingtown