Written by Hillsboro Free Press Monday, 24 December 2012 14:59
Superintendents address Sandy Hook
We have all been shocked and hurt by the enormous tragedy that occurred at Sandy Hook Elementary. Words are inadequate to describe the hurt that has occurred in Newtown, Conn. Our children’s safety and well-being is our No. 1 concern but we must also remember that no community is immune to such tragedies happening locally.
All of our districts have building and district Emergency Operations Plans in place in collaboration with local and county-wide first responders.
This past fall all the county school administrators and emergency personnel attended a training held by our sheriff’s department, led by Sheriff Robert Craft. We have agreements in place to share counselors and resources if ever one district is hit hard by a particular crisis.
There are some suggestions for parents at times like these:
• Limit your child’s media viewing an online access to these events. Turn off the set at times and talk to your child, process with them what they are seeing and thinking.
• Assure your child that they have your love and support, at home and at school.
• Assure your child they are safe at school. As tragic as the event is at Sandy Hook, schools are still some of the safest places for children.
School safety and preparedness is more than just an educational responsibility. It is a community responsibility. All of us bear some responsibility to look after the well-being of our children in our community. We encourage you to communicate concerns to school officials or law enforcement officials when you see concerns.
We hope and pray this kind of tragedy is never repeated and we pray for all of those suffering loss in Newtown. It takes all of us to be vigilant and supportive to each other to prevent such events from occurring again.
John Fast, USD 411
Jerri Kemble, USD 397
Lee Leiker, USD 398
Steve Noble, USD 410
Ron Traxson, USD 408
Blame the criminal, not the weapons
Once again our nation has been shocked and saddened by another horrific crime against our society. Why some coward would target children and unarmed women, I cannot imagine.
Since the perpetrator determined to end his own life as a final act, why couldn’t he instead have placed himself on the front lines against our country’s enemies instead of taking the lives of our finest here for the future?
Once again, enemies of our national security are wrongly blaming firearms rather than the person behind them in another act of violence.
Before I continue, let me first share that during my life, I have lost close family and close friends through use of firearms, so I do know personally what it’s like.
I also have been on the open end of the barrel a few times, so I know what it’s like to stare death and violence in the face.
I have heard proposals to limit access to assault rifles, but I remember that we, as a nation, have restricted access to illegal drugs and we all know how successful those laws haven’t been.
There have also been proposals to restrict the capacity of clips and magazines. However, I can assure you that anyone who has ever taken high school metals shop has the basic knowledge needed to expand such capacities themselves, should they be so determined.
Yet another proposal is to restrict the purchase of ammunition. Will those laws also restrict the amount of ammunition a determined criminal would be able to purchase on the black market while capable individuals, who could prevent criminal actions if armed, come up short on ammunition?
Please, we need to remember that Timothy McVeigh did not use a firearm in Oklahoma City to fulfill his desire of evil mass murder. His crime did result in the immediate passage of some gun-control laws, even though he didn’t bother to use a gun during the commission of his crime. His crime also resulted in the curbing the advancement of the militia movement so we don’t have armed volunteer militia keeping watch over our schools, malls and theaters, which was proposed by the many militias.
We also don’t have those volunteer militias guarding our borders.
Let me ask: How many school massacres were there in the 17 years before Oklahoma City bombing and how many in the 17 years since? Perhaps the militia are essential to our national security after all? We are armed to protect from an oppressive government among other reasons.
Let me just ask you, would you feel your children are safer attending a school with unarmed teachers and locked doors or with unlocked doors well guarded by your hometown volunteer armed militia members? I have grandchildren and I know my preference. The criminal in Connecticut blasted open the locked doors and shot unarmed teachers.
An afterthought: When I was in school, almost every pickup truck in the parking lot, students and teachers alike, had a rifle or shotgun displayed in the back window. Fights were settled with fists.
I went to school where we shot targets with a .22 caliber rifle as well as archery during gym class.
When I was in Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts, we were taught target shooting with firearms and archery. My father taught me to hunt and fish and along with these lessons were the lessons not only to respect life, but to respect the life I took—don’t waste it.
I was taught to not kill of wanton desire or a sense of slaughter, but to use my skill of killing for survival purposes. I was also taught not to leave my target wounded, but to have mercy and complete my task. These must have been good lessons because I sure never entertained the thought of taking the life of innocent.
If you have a God, may he bless your thoughts, your prayers and your loved ones.