Denver East High, Nashville school shootings draw emotional letters

Violence against children and at school spark outpouring of concern, rage

Re: “3 children, 3 adults dead,” March 28 news story

Although normally, I’d never watch a video of a shooting, I did just now of the Nashville, Tenn., school event. I do truly praise the officers who went in and did their job so effectively. But my heart aches for the children in that building who will have to endure reliving this trauma for who knows how long, not to mention the trauma of losing three schoolmates and three adults from the school. The Colorado legislature needs to act now on an assault-style weapons ban as well as other significant gun control (background and age limitations for purchase). I so fear for my three small grandchildren who may have to undergo “active shooter” drills in their classroom. This should not be a part of their education!

Catherine Englekirk, Castle Rock

And once again we lower caskets into the waiting earth.

The small ones are the most conspicuous.

And tears are shed and families broken.

Yet those who can affect a change are silent, always … strangely silent.

Nick Lehnert, Longmont

We have a social contract with our children:

• You have to attend school

• We’ll keep you safe

We’re not upholding our part. Maybe our children should sue us.

David L Stevenson, Denver

Monday there was another school shooting in Nashville, Tenn. Three children and three adults dead. It’s beyond me why there have been so many school shootings happening in the last 10 years. Could it be that they offer the least resistance? Could it be mental health issues? Or could it be guns are too readily available? Whatever the reason, this has to stop. It’s hard to pass laws when gun lobbyists control how the Congress and Senate vote.

Leroy M. Martinez, Denver

Any Congressperson who does not vote for gun control legislation and yet claims to be pro-life is a verifiable hypocrite.

Terri Tilliss, Parker

Rights have associated responsibilities; living in a democracy entails a right to vote and a responsibility to pay taxes. A right to own guns commits the owner to the responsibility to ensure they are not used illegally.

The responsibility for a crime rests principally with the criminal, but is some responsibility borne by the manufacturer, the gun shop, the owner who allows his gun to be stolen? Or the parent who gives a gun to a minor or a gang member passing on a gun that is then used in a school shooting? Does this represent criminal liability or financial liability? If our society allows too many guns to get into the wrong hands, does each member bear some responsibility? What if they have never owned a gun? If my stolen gun is used in a crime, part of it is on me.

Peter Sanford, Englewood

Americans are stupid. Why is this so difficult? Ban assault-style weapons. No exceptions.

Republicans are more concerned about unborn children than they are about the ones who are already here.

The Second Amendment is a broken smudge of grammar on the 21st century.

As long as someone with serious mental health issues can buy as many assault-style weapons legally as he or she wants, as long as criminals can easily obtain assault-style weapons, and as long as racists, domestic terrorists, and NRA sycophants can pose with their testosterone there will be more Nashvilles.

America is an embarrassment to the concept of common sense.

Craig Marshall Smith, Highlands Ranch

Every time there is a mass shooting, we view the drama on TV and read about it in the newspapers. We listen to comments about the killings from all sorts of people, except the representatives of the National Rifle Association and the Republican Party. They hide under the covers until the tragedy blows over.

However, the GOP-NRA are very vocal when they threaten elected officials with defeat at the polls if they so much as try to place any restrictions on gun ownership.

Joseph Power, Aurora

Children are not the price of freedom. They are the price of paranoia and a warped set of values that cherishes firearms more than our own children. We do not send children to war, yet the gun lobby has no problem with kids involuntarily being placed on the front lines of this culture war.

There is no “well-regulated militia” here. The Second Amendment does not specify what kind of arms may be kept and borne. So-called originalists happily ignore the original context of the amendment. The time for action is well-past. Common sense gun controls do not hinder anyone’s right to self-defense.

Congress needs to grow a backbone and act to protect those most vulnerable. Ban assault-style rifles now. Such a law would go beyond just reducing such firepower; it would send a message that we have buried enough innocent children and adults just to appease the gun-lovers.

AC Dion, Westminster

Seeking better answers to our school safety

Re: “More school security and gun control,” March 26 editorial

The Denver Post editorial board seems to want to have their editorial opinion both ways. Supporting stricter gun laws and agreeing with the Heller decision. I agree there needs to be stricter gun safety laws in place to keep Coloradans and all Americans safer from gun violence. But the Heller decision was a calamity for a safer America. The decision was a reinvention of the Second Amendment and a piece of judicial activism that opened the flood waters of gun violence in communities all over America.

Responding to the latest tragedy with thoughts and prayers and a new attempt at gun law reform will not be enough to stop gun violence, though. The American people need to get ahead of the gun violence that is plaguing our communities and endangering our children.

But there is one solution to stop gun violence. Its time and long past due to start the process of repealing the Second Amendment. This antiquated and exploited amendment has no place in contemporary America. It has become a tool for marketing and selling guns with deadly consequences. If The Denver Post wants to support the long game to get better control of the deadly weapons flooding our community and nation, it is time to begin the conversation to repeal.

Leonard Juliano, Arvada

I agree with the common sense suggestions for dealing with the pervasive and escalating problem of gun violence in Colorado as well as throughout the United States. The measures being put forth by the Colorado legislature are small steps in the right direction. It’s so frustrating to hear the specious arguments against gun control, such as “These laws won’t do anything to help” and “We need to focus on mental health.” It’s true that the laws being set forth are not a panacea but merely a step in the right direction. Baby steps is the only way we can march toward a problem that has slowly and steadily built and worsened over the decades. The distortion of the meaning of the Second Amendment has allowed the firearms industry to profit while untold lives are lost. This is unconscionable and evil. Those who want to protect themselves and hunt should not object to purchasing in a safe manner, being required to have adequate training on their firearms of choice and keeping those deadly weapons registered and safely stored. And weapons of war should be outlawed, pure and simple.

Gloria Ross, Centennial

The Post’s 26 March editorial asserts that various gun control proposals will save lives, when in fact they are not at all likely to do so. Why? Because the defining feature of criminals is that they break laws. Gun control as an anti-crime measure rests on the premise that criminals will be the first group disarmed, when in practice they will be the last.

Gun control advocates seem unable or unwilling to grasp this simple fact. Ergo, when a new gun control law inevitably fails to reduce crime, the advocates cite that failure as “proof” of the need for even more restrictions. In the process, they defame millions of law-abiding people as murderers waiting to happen.

The Post’s proposed revisions to House Bill 1230 are particularly problematic and suggest that the Post is simply trying to take as many guns away from as many people as possible as an end in itself. Semiautomatics are favored by people with certain disabilities, most notably back problems, because they generate less felt recoil. “High velocity, low caliber” is well-suited to small game hunting and pest control because high velocity means longer range, and “high velocity” covers pretty much every rifle more powerful than a .22 rimfire. The Post’s proposal, therefore, amounts to a thinly-veiled demand for a blanket return to 19th-century technology. That would make HB 1230 less likely to pass judicial scrutiny, not more, so be careful what you wish for.

Eric Krein, Lakewood

Again, the drumbeat by the editorial board of The Post and the progressive left is to ban guns. Too bad the Constitution stands in the way. Any gun law will eventually be overturned on constitutional grounds. The argument should not be about banning guns; it should be about personal accountability. For this, the Democratic majority in the legislature and the governor’s mansion consistently fails at this novel idea.

Need proof? The Joint Budget Committee struck down a budget proposal to add capacity at the state’s juvenile detention centers. The Democratic super majority introduced HB 23-1249, that if passed, sets limits on prosecution of juveniles and would prevent any kid under the age of 13 from facing charges of any kind except murder. Aggravated assault, sex crimes and everything else, these kids get a free pass.

Where is the accountability? The progressive left continues to coddle criminals of all kinds. The better solution is to instill the values of right and wrong, preferably at a young age. It is clear by the level of juvenile violence that parents won’t do this, and why should they? Our elected officials, with the approval of The Post, condone and support these reckless and violent actions in our society without consequences.

Jeff Jasper, Westminster

A firearm lockbox prescription from a pediatrician

Earlier this month, I celebrated an exciting patient encounter – a family agreed to take home a firearm lockbox from their toddler’s wellness visit. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) notes that 4.6 million children in the United States live in a home where a firearm is stored improperly (loaded and unlocked). This patient was one of them. Similarly, the AAP recommends that community pediatricians routinely discuss access to firearms and methods for risk reduction.

This family lacked safe storage for their loaded gun, so I was elated when they agreed to take and use a firearm storage safe. Tragically, while I counseled this family, East High School experienced their second violent shooting of the month. Another child had accessed a firearm, ultimately injuring two before dying of a self-inflicted gunshot, becoming one of 110 individuals who die of gun violence in the U.S. daily. The family I met that day was surprised to learn that firearm injury is the leading cause of death for youth aged 0 – 19. They were surprised to learn they could decrease this risk by 85% by locking the firearm separately from ammunition and keeping the keys inaccessible to their child. I have never met the 17-year-old who took a gun to school and shot two staff members, but I understand that 15 years ago he was a 2-year-old toddler at a wellness visit. I can’t help but wonder if anyone asked the family if they had a firearm or a way to store it safely.

Katherine Pemberton, Denver

As history repeats itself when tragic events happen, society points the finger at others to solve the problem. The cry for gun control or putting officers in schools may not be the answer but only a way to make everyone more secure, but will it?

California has some of the toughest gun control laws but has it stopped shootings? Having more controls opens the black market to make a profit. As suggestions continue to be thrown out on solving the problem, why hasn’t parental responsibility been a solution? When are we going to hold parents responsible for their child’s actions? Parents not knowing what their child is doing or can’t control them is not acceptable. Should laws be considered to hold parents more responsible than gun laws?

Instead of putting a bandage on the problem, shouldn’t we first tackle where it started? Government and schools can’t solve this!

Dave Usechek, Parker

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