To the Editor:
When it comes to gun safety laws I find myself divided about what’s right and what’s possible. It’s a tough problem. And I have never heard a discussion of it in which any two or three people agreed on anything. Try reaching a consensus about gun safety you might as well make jello stick to a wall.
So I am somewhat puzzled about how the editors of the Valley News (how many are there actually?) arrived at solid agreement on every last thought and every word of their joint and very angry editorial demanding repeal of the state SAFE act. Agreement on every last word, that is. The Newtown school shooting they all agree was, “an outlier in the world of homicides if there ever was one...” Really? An exception perhaps, statistically speaking, since our editors and the FBI tally nearly 10,000 gun killings of one kind or another in 2012. But an “outlier?” The killing of 20 children and six adults in a school is an outlier? Where, in Connecticut? Come on guys. The English language is your bread and butter. How did you come on that word?
I am told that since the Newtown shooting many public schools now practice a drill they call a “lockdown.” It’s not unlike the old fire drills except the kids don’t evacuate the school building. They are herded and sometimes locked into closets and other enclosed areas where they are presumably safe from any crazed individual bent on mayhem. From which we may conclude (can’t we?) that school authorities don’t think about Newtown as an outlier nor even that it is statistically insignificant. I know a 10 year old who gets the hebee jeebies and has a sleepless night after every one of these drills in his city school. He hasn’t yet taken a course in statistics.
I don’t pretend to know all the answers to this problem of gun control but I do think it must be addressed one way or another. Dismissing it and the Governor’s motives in unison is as easy as singing in a barbershop quartet. But it doesn’t make the problem go away. We have DWI laws intended as prevention. Why not to a proper gun law? Is a car driven by a drunk more a killing machine than an automatic weapon in the hands of a crackpot? The Governor isn’t altogether wrong. If 10 rounds in the magazine aren’t needed to hunt deer, what are they needed for? Short of a war I can’t think of a practical reason. Of course there is always the lunatic who needs 10 rounds at least if he is out to slaughter a crop of school kids before the sheriff gets him.
There is no law that says you need to like Cuomo’s law. Nor, as our editors claim, will it help the Governor get elected to national office. And yes, there are second amendment rights. There are other rights as well. The right to life for one thing. According to the Center for Disease Control its not 10,000 but 32,000 gun deaths a year in the United States. In some cities the numbers are simply awful and in gang areas right to life has all but lost its meaning. That’s not just about numbers, statistics, types of weapons, or how many rounds of ammunition do you want. Its about a national scandal and about a duty. Call it a citizen’s duty and a journalist’s job to face up to a problem and to scrap the boilerplate.