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Web letter by Mark W. Castleman: Seizing guns cannot overcome effects of poor parenting

I awoke from a terrible dream. I was out and about when I was stopped by three men in military dress. They said they were collecting everybody’s firearms and was told to give them mine. At first I resisted their request. It was at that point I was faced with the barrels of their rifles. One of the soldiers had tears in his eyes as I was once again asked to turn in my firearm. I handed them my 40-year-old Walther ppk/s. I told them to take care of it as I took pride in owning a pistol of this quality. This pistol has been my carry weapon for a lot of years and at 40 years old still looked brand new. They tossed my pistol on top of a pile of firearms they had already collected like it was a piece of junk. Thank God I woke up to find it was only a dream. What the hell is going on in our country that would make somebody like me have such a terrible dream?

When is America going to wake up? We need to quit blaming the objects of these tragedies. Guns were the tool used at Sandy Hook as well as Columbine, Virginia Tech, the theater in Colorado and the congresswoman’s shooting in Arizona. But we can’t overlook the biggest tragedy as far as lives lost, the Oklahoma federal building bombing. And now we have the Boston bombing that left three people dead and hundreds of people maimed for the rest of their lives. All of these acts were at the hands of the younger generation. Columbine was at the hands of two kids, age 17 and 18. Virginia Tech, the Colorado theater shooting and the Arizona shooting were by individuals in their early 20s. The Sandy Hook tragedy was at the hands of a 20-year-old. The biggest killer was McVeigh at age 27 when he set off a bomb at the federal building in Oklahoma.

It’s easy to point to objects as the source of our problems. When are we going to tackle the real problem we have here in this country? The real problem starts and ends with us parents. Not only are parents not teaching their kids how to do the right things, we encourage it. Case in point is the 20-year-old Sandy Hook shooter. He was allowed to stay home all day and play video games. And why did he have a gun safe in his bedroom? What the hell was his mother thinking? And what about the two brothers in the Boston bombing? I know they were not born on American soil, but they were living and getting an education here. The point I’m making is that their own mother was arrested here in America for shoplifting some 10 years ago when she was here for a visit.

In days past, kids went to school to learn. The school system took care of making sure they were there to learn. We were expected to dress and act like students. Kids were not allowed to dress in the manner they dress today. Today if a teacher sends a kid home for inappropriate dress, the parent threatens the school system with a lawsuit over free speech. What does this say about our parenting? My child didn’t have free speech during her growing years.

We have done a crappy job of teaching our young what it means to have respect and to give respect. If we can’t parent our kids, then at least give our school system back the tools they need to help us with the job. You can take my pistol, but I’ve got a news flash for you, it won’t solve a thing until we fix the problems we are creating with our kids at home.

MARK W. CASTLEMAN

Fort Wayne

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