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Letters to the Editor: May 16

On the topic of gun laws

To the Editor:

On April 17, Rockwood School District officials sent a letter to parents informing them that students should not take part in upcoming student protests because of increased risk. In the letter, Dr. Knost said, “This is the anniversary of the Columbine tragedy, and annually it’s a date where we maintain a heightened alert. My fear is anyone with ill intentions regarding some of these highly charged topics would be informed of the exact date and time students would be gathered outside their schools.”

As a parent, I could understand the security risk given the tragic events that have occurred in Parkland, Columbine and Sandy Hook – sadly, to name a few. However, the district wanted to steer clear of politics and resume classroom activities as usual.

The letter continued, “As public school educators, it is our role to care for children. It is also our role to remain neutral on the topics our students may feel strongly about and not advocate a position to students or urge them in any direction. We must consistently remain neutral on events that are not school-sponsored, district-sponsored or endorsed.”

In the case of gun violence, silence and neutrality by teachers and administrators put our children’s lives at risk. Sensible gun laws should be a non-partisan issue. We need to follow the Clayton School Board’s lead and encourage sensible gun legislation [St. Louis Post Dispatch, 04/19/18]. This issue directly impacts our children and schools, and it should not be overlooked by our district.

Many parents, including myself, have seen how active shooter drills traumatize our children. I will not accept this as the new normal, and I won’t ask my children to accept it either. I hope our district looks at the impact it could make by having a voice on this issue and advocating for evidence-based, common sense gun safety legislation. Now is the time to prevent the next tragedy, and our schools and school districts should have a voice in policies and laws that directly impact our teachers and children.

Rhonda Simner

• • •

To the Editor:

I believe that life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are “inalienable rights.”

Owning dangerous, inanimate objects should not be a constitutional right without any constraints. Any gun laws now in place are considered accepted “infringements” to unfettered access to firearms. Some examples are background checks, waiting periods, age restrictions, etc. Any new gun laws cannot be countered by the “shall not be infringed” argument since other gun laws are accepted. These accepted gun laws make the Second Amendment “shall not be infringed” irrelevant and obsolete.

Guns should be treated and controlled just like any other dangerous material that has to do with life and death.

The remedy has to be at the federal level to be uniform across all states.

At the federal level, ban any semi-automatic weapons that can hold a magazine, including handguns, the “go-to” weapon of choice in shooting crimes. Any new purchase should require an extensive background check. All guns, new and existing, should be registered and have a yearly license tax and insurance coverage at the state level. For those who do not comply, punishment is left up to the states.

Now, what to do with the existing semi-automatics out there. A federal buy-back program would need to be established with no “sunset” limit. The money would come from the license tax and fines. As an incentive, strong federal law should be enacted with mandatory federal prison time for anyone caught with any semi-automatic weapon. This is not a “confiscation” program. If you choose to keep yours, then you take your chances.

This gun issue is getting way out of hand and it’s going to take a very long time to get a handle on it.

The question we need to ask ourselves is why make it easier for someone to shoot a lot of innocent people in the shortest amount of time with semi-automatics? Weigh that against your need for a semi-automatic.

This action will take a very long time to make a difference, but we need to start somewhere. Any other ideas that help solve this problem are welcome.

Mike Alalof


‘In praise of the president’ revisited

To the Editor:

In contrast to W.E. Quinn’s May 2 letter, I urge that we learn from people who know Trump a whole lot better than Mr. Quinn or I do. For instance, outgoing Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called Trump a “moron” and current White House Chief of Staff John Kelly called him “an idiot.”

Dictionaries tell us that a moron has the mental capacity of a 12-year-old person and an idiot the mental capacity of a 2-year-old. Both are described as “very foolish or stupid.”

Did Kelly call Trump an idiot because moron was already taken, or does he believe that Trump is actually dumber than a moron? My view is that the truth is somewhere in between, i.e., Trump may be a moron with the attention span of an idiot.

Trump is widely viewed as a pathological liar, white supremacist and delusional draft dodger whose past is littered with “Deadbeat Donald” lawsuits, failed businesses and marriages, as well as allegations of a variety of election law violations [Russian collusion, illegal use of funds, etc.], together with a number and variety of sexual misconduct activities and payoffs, and FBI, IRS, special prosecutor and congressional investigations that we know about and possibly some we don’t know about. Among his latest headline grabbers is an O.J. Simpson-like robbery of his medical records from a former personal physician. 

Mr. Quinn loves his tough guy president and closes with “Hail to the Chief.” I detest this twisted parody of a president and close with “God help America.”

Bill Howard

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