Letters to the editor on learning from Sandy Hook, mental health services, arming teachers, Christ’s birthday, religious displays

12/24/2012 12:00 AM

12/21/2012 5:15 PM

What we can do about Sandy Hook

Someone asked: “Will America ever survive the horrific tragedy of Sandy Hook?” The short answer is “yes.”

We survived slavery, the Birmingham, Ala., bombings, the Oklahoma City bombing, Sept. 11 and all of the other recent massacres perpetrated by Americans. Evil has always been among us. It proliferates when good people do nothing.

So the long answer is: “It depends on what we do about it.” I offer four suggestions:

•  Recognize that, though we all have our differences, we are in America together with no distinguishable desire to leave. Vilifying, dehumanizing and alienating one another contributes to the arsenals of evildoers.
•  Offer simple “thank yous” to children and youths seen “doing the right thing.” It encourages them to become adults who do the right thing.
•  Consider that mentally ill individuals who are not required to take their medications unless or until they harm someone can be a tragedy waiting to happen.
•  Consider that guns given to the above, as well as criminals and “no-fly” individuals, are also tragedies waiting to happen.

SHARON HILL CRANFORD

Wichita

Need services

Ever so sadly, there is now new meaning to “all I ever needed to know I learned in kindergarten.” After the terrible grieving, what will we learn? What will we do? Can the free-market think tanks and all their horses and men tell us how to put Humpty back together again? Surely they will have the answer.

We do not have mental health programs because they are not profitable. Many saw federal funding cut during the Reagan years because, well, government is just too big.

Government programs are there to provide needed services in a civilized society that corporations and free enterprise never will provide – because they can’t make money providing mental health care to 20-year-olds.

It’s not rocket science. If people do not pay taxes, there are no mental health services to identify, isolate and treat people who would otherwise take semi-automatic weapons into kindergarten classes and kill children.

These wonderful kindergarten children are now the teachers and we are the students. Sitting on the rug at their tiny feet, what will we learn? What will we do?

JOHN HENDERSON

Wichita

Protect ourselves

Suppose the principal at Sandy Hook Elementary School had been legally carrying a handgun and properly trained in defensive measures. She might have been able to disarm or kill the gunman before he started his shooting rampage.

Why do you think these crazies go to schools or colleges? Because they are “gun-free” zones, and the cowards know that no one will challenge them.

Removing guns from legal owners would not stop the bad guys from obtaining weapons. More important, people have a natural right to defend themselves and their families against danger.

The police can’t save you. By the time they arrived at Sandy Hook school, the killing was done. When push comes to shove, we have to protect ourselves.

Schools should have handpicked, National Rifle Association-trained employees who carry concealed guns to protect the students in their care.

This is a crazy world. We must have the means to protect ourselves.

LAURIE HARTKE

Wichita

Celebrate birthday

You know what I love? A really great party. You know what makes a party even better? When it’s someone’s birthday. I always enjoy celebrating the wonderful gift of life and am thrilled to say “happy birthday.”

Because I love parties and birthdays, I’m confused as to why some people are offended by the words “merry Christmas.” Aren’t we celebrating a birthday?

Even if you don’t know someone personally or, in this case, believe in Christ, you can still allow others the joy of the celebration. There is historical evidence that a great prophet once lived. Even if you don’t believe this prophet is the Messiah, why not celebrate the birthday of a historical figure? We celebrate George Washington’s birthday.

Perhaps one day you will find a cure for cancer or end world hunger, and your birthday will be celebrated worldwide. My hope is that after hundreds of years, even if people do not know you, they will still celebrate your birthday and the contributions you gave to the world.

This is also my hope for Christ. Even though we cannot see Him, and not everyone “knows” Him, I don’t see why we can’t have a party for His birthday. Merry Christmas to all, and God bless you.

ASHLEY LIKES

Wichita

Problems solved

We have two problems that I think can be solved: the recession and the attack on Christmas. The attack on Christmas is a misguided attempt to keep Christians from placing their religious symbols on public property. However, public property belongs to all citizens and, hence, to all religions. Thus, all religions should be allowed to place their religious symbols on public property.

Given the competitive drive of the various religions, this would result in each religion (and each denomination!) trying to outdo the others in the magnificence of their displays. The resulting construction boom would make a big difference with regard to the recession.

GERALD H. PASKE

Wichita

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