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February 23, 2012 at 5:00 PM

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Guns in classrooms and our society

We as citizens share the guilt

I awoke this morning and turned on the news to find out that an 8-year-old girl was in critical condition after being apparently accidentally shot by a gun-toting 9-year-old classmate and a state trooper had been shot and killed while carrying out a traffic stop [“Gun in classroom wounds 3rd-grader,” page one, Feb. 23].

Any mention of the obvious need for significant gun-control reform will immediately be drowned out by the inevitable reactions of the various National Rifle Association factions, the Second Amendment constitutional revisionists, and western-movie dreamers who eagerly fantasize about the day that’s sure to come when they will have to defend their homestead against the outlaw gang.

These defenses of the virtues of gun ownership will be unabashedly made, even against the tear-stained backdrop of two more extended families forced into mourning with their futures sadly and dramatically changed.

“Pretty sad, but that’s the price of freedom” is what the gun apologists will say, perhaps even suggesting that if the 8-year-old had only been packing that things might have turned out differently. Or at least let’s arm the teachers, as has been seriously proposed.

My generally open mind has always been dumbfounded by the gun advocates and their political handmaidens. Given the horror of the daily gun deaths all around the country and the culturally embarrassing statistics comparing our rate of gun deaths to those of all the other even remotely civilized countries in the world, their argument strikes me as having the morally equivalent merit of saying “There shouldn’t be laws against stealing because I’m not a thief” or even “Why should there be laws against murder; I’ve never murdered anyone?”

But I know I rail in vain and that between the time I click “send” on this letter and the time I turn on the news tomorrow, someone who this minute is engaging in normal life pursuits will no longer be with us, the victim of gun violence.

We as citizens share the guilt and should all be terribly ashamed.

— Terry D. Jackson, Kenmore

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