EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


December 19, 2012

Letter: For the children ... and against handguns

To the editor:

There are two points I would like to raise with The Eagle-Tribune in the aftermath of the senseless murders that took place in Connecticut this Friday past. The first is that I hope the heroism that was shown in that school brings into clear focus the phrase “For the children.”

The next time your columnists choose to decry the teachers unions at time of negotiation with their snide, snarky suggestions that teachers do not embrace that phrase and that all they are really in it for is a better place at the public trough, please know this. Every teacher, administrator, school health professional, teaching assistant, substitute and custodian in America was in that school this weekend. They directly identify with the six adults who lost their lives and with the many who followed protocol, stayed with “their kids” and were fortunate enough to lead them to safety. They are professionals and they want to collectively bargain for terms of employment, but that does not mean that they only care for themselves. It also does not mean that in order to be “For the children” they should exempt caring about themselves. When the madman came to Sandy Hook, they exemplified the kind of courage and coolness under the most extreme form of horror imaginable. They cannot be more honored. “Hug a Teacher today” indeed.

The second point I would like to raise is that it was disheartening to see your Sunday editorial on the murders take the opportunity to use several paragraphs to get in a few licks to the liberals who have the audacity to suggest that stricter gun control might, just might, be a good idea after all. Like all Americans, of every political stripe, I am finding words to describe what I am feeling to be insufficient in the aftermath of such an unspeakable tragedy. But surely, we can now all see sense in the concept that there is weaponry that the Founders, in their most vivid imaginations, could not conceive of when they crafted the Second Amendment. There is no longer any moral justification to owning handguns. They were developed and invented for one purpose: To kill humans. They are concealable, incredibly powerful and in semi-automatic form, turn into killing machines. Semi-automatic rifles are equally senseless for indiscriminate, private ownership. You do not hunt with semi-automatic rifles. They are not a sport weapon. No one is suggesting rescinding the Second Amendment. No one is suggesting that private citizens should not be allowed to legally own guns. But if this event cannot allow for a reasonable review, then you should be prepared to describe what does have to occur that would allow it. Because I think most American’s do agree that the operative phrase is, at last, “Enough.”

Gerry Gustus


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