EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

December 30, 2012

Your view: Letters to the editor

The Eagle-Tribune

---- — Our nation’s moral compass is askew

To the editor:

As I started to reflect upon the evil at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, my first response to the revulsion was: Our Father, who art in heaven, hollowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power and the glory are yours, now and forever.

Next, I listened to the talking heads on television. They proffered a multitude of possible causes — the availability of assault rifles, violent video games, glamorizing death and destruction in film and on television, mental health issues, particularly an apparent absence of adequate care, etc. The one question that was never asked could be the most important: Why are these military-style weapons being purchased in such great quantities by American citizens?

I visited a number of gun shops subsequent to the Newtown massacre of innocents and their teachers. I asked the patrons about the impetus for their purchases. The response, to a man, was: “I don’t trust my government.” They were not referring to state and local government but to the federal government. This raised another question: Why don’t these people trust their government?

Was it something in the nation’s past: the Vietnam War, students killed by the National Guard at Kent State University or Jackson State University, giving syphilis to black men in the South, a virus planted in subways to test its spread, giving LSD to unwitting American soldiers, Watergate, the Chicago Police riot, propping up dictators for moneyed or political interests, overthrowing foreign governments, etc.? Perhaps it was recent events: invading a country pre-emptively for contrived reasons, protracted wars, a two-term president who some claim was never elected, the Supreme Court usurping the franchise of the American people and holding its own election by crowning Bush II in a 5-to-4 decision, Citizens United, torturing prisoners, renditions, creating “Homeland” Security since “Fatherland” and “Motherland” were already taken, cameras popping up everywhere, abrogation of constitutional rights to assembly and habeas corpus, special ops forces and tactical teams who look like the U.S. military in our streets, bailing out banks with the people’s money, literally holding hands with the Saudi king, corporate subsidies for the oil companies, sanctioning the outsourcing of American jobs, interminable gridlock in the best Congress money can buy, peaceful and unarmed protesters being pepper-sprayed and clubbed in the streets, the NSA intercepting phone calls, the FBI’s carnivore computer program intercepting emails, an economy teetering on the brink of collapse, on and on ad infinitum.

Instead of our nation being politically correct, how about moral rectitude? Our country is a predominately Christian nation and freedom of religion has made ours a nation of many peaceful religions. Let us start treating our citizens and other countries around the world in a manner that reflects that fact.

Finally, it occurred to me that wickedness has many assistants, righteousness only one. Where do we go from here?

Harlan Cheney


Arming a few teachers could save lives

To the editor:

I do not believe that everyone in the United States should have a gun or guns. I do have a number of guns with permits in Massachusetts, Maine and New Hampshire for over 40 years. I was a second lieutenant in the Massachusetts Army National Guard and taught weapons training and marksmanship. I do believe that a properly trained and responsible person has the right to possess a weapon.

With that being said, I would like to offer a possible solution to at least minimize the killing of innocent children and adults as we have seen in the last four or five years.

It has been said that the country cannot afford to have a police officer in every single school in America. That is understandable, but here is an idea that could work.

Train one or two responsible and physically fit teachers or other school personnel in gun procedure and marksmanship, arm them and pay them $500 more per year.

These armed persons must be able to react instantly to any intruder who is firing a weapon in that school. They must be able to pull their gun and fire accurately at the perpetrator to disable or kill him or her.

If there are several floors to the school, then you need one armed person on each floor.

The persons selected must be totally committed to intervene, confront and fire that gun at the assailant.

I truly believe that this proposal will at least minimize the victims and possibly stop the carnage even before it starts. Also, all schools should have an alarm system which would alert the armed school personnel so that they can react ASAP. It is now time to protect the children and adults in all of our schools.

Jerry Valley


Obama is a bully with a pulpit

To the editor:

In a recent press conference, the president read off a series of poll statistics: 54 percent want an assault weapons ban, 48 percent want a limit on magazine size, etc. He has done this many times in the past with many different issues.

Now we face a fiscal cliff entirely of his and Congress’ making, and he has made the political calculation that if he forces us over it, polls say that the majority of Americans will blame Republicans.

This is not leadership! A leader does not lead by polls, then give the public what it thinks it wants. A leader does what needs to be done, what is right, whether popular or not. A leader make the tough decisions. He does not make childish, petulant demands, then go on a campaign tour to whip up public sentiment for his off the cuff idea.

A president would realize that it is Congress that writes the laws and spends the money. A president would, like Bush, Clinton, Bush, and Reagan before him, lay out the broad idea then work with Congress, even the hostile members, to get his priorities passed.

Our present wanna-be dictator does not seem to understand that and evidently four years have not taught him what a lifetime failed to prepare him for.

Mark Acciard