Printed letters, February 22, 2013
As a pediatric physician, I mourn the deaths at Sandy Hook Elementary, but I can no longer remain silent amid the flood of politicians and celebrities cynically using the Newtown incident to call for infringements on the constitutionally guaranteed rights of law-abiding citizens.
The underlying premise of my profession is to be an advocate for children. I have been in this field long enough to know that bad, or even deadly things happen to innocent children, almost always from causes beyond our control.
I believe we do our children a great disservice with false reassurances. It is a lie to tell them their school is safe, when the school in fact is a gun-free and target-rich environment.
There is little to deter a deranged individual intent on doing maximum harm with minimum resistance. Mental health professionals are unable to accurately predict imminent violent acts. We surely cannot eliminate evil by legislation.
Therefore, the adults at any school are our first responders, and willfully disarming them puts children at grave risk during the long minutes between the first gunshot and the arrival of police.
Growing up includes learning how to use tools to improve our lives. Safe operation of a car, power tools and, yes, even firearms are important skills for youth.
Beyond this, though, the most precious tools we give our children are the ground rules that bind us as a nation. Our Founders understood the fragility of liberty, and each generation bears the responsibility of passing that torch on to the next. Freedom can be chaotic and messy.
Freedom does not mean that we are free from danger or free from infringement upon our God-given rights. It means we are free to chart our own course as responsible citizens; that we use free speech responsibly; that we bear arms responsibly, and that we do our best to stand up for those who are weaker than we are. These are principles worthy of conserving.
JAMES SCHROEDER, MD
Survival was bigger concern than future generations
In his Feb. 13 column, David Brooks was full of prunes.
He said that our pioneering ancestors, “volunteered to live in harsh conditions today so their descendants could live well for centuries.”
However, when our European ancestors left the more settled parts of the East Coast, they didn’t really think about braving the hardships so that some spoiled-rotten descendant could have lots of stuff and otherwise live in comfort that was totally beyond their ability to conceive.
Little farms were hacked out of wilderness areas. They fought the original inhabitants of the land and won at a horrendous cost to both peoples. They gave birth to children, many of whom did not survive. They died frequently at ages that are now considered middle-aged. They died of illnesses and injuries that are fixable today.
Some figured out how to obtain cheap labor by enslaving others, thus creating additional hardships.
The varied faiths of our ancestors gave them a view of an afterlife that made it possible to handle whatever each day brought them, and for most, I believe, that was the future.
I notice that a lot of the elderly people in the Grand Valley area did not survive the last couple or so months. As an elderly person who struggled through the inversion, I can say with certainty it is not thrilling to face death. I’m not ready to die any more than Brooks or anybody else.
I did get a flu shot at a local pharmacy last fall to try to keep from getting ill and being a medical pain in the pocket book. Medicare did pay. While the shots were going for $25 to regular people, Medicare was charged $51 for this old person. I suppose that the sale price loss for the regular people was covered out of some other government pocket.
In “the olden days” elderly family members lived with family. No doubt the elderly persons helped with the household as best they could and died of old age when they couldn’t.
We could dump all the programs for the elderly, if today’s younger people would allow their elderly to live with them.
I don’t think this, however, will make one whit of difference as respects the future of any ordinary people.
It is not the elderly who are the problem, but rather those in our society who have no scruples about lining their pockets at the expense of others (and/or the government) and the members of society who do not have the ability or desire to understand what is really happening.
Why not require all guns to be single-shot weapons?
Now that members of the anti-gun and “makes me feel good” crowd have determined that it is the gun and not the human that has caused so much mayhem, they believe they have solved the problem by restricting the number of shells in a magazine to 15 and other measures.
With this kind of logic, requiring all guns to be a single shot could save another 14 lives.