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Web letter by Gloria Dance: Navy Yard massacre shows folly of trying to arm schoolteachers

On Sept.16, a heavily armed, unstable individual entered a military installation at the Navy Yard in Washington, D.C., and killed multiple victims. It should not surprise anyone that similar events have occurred in our places of business and entertainment, and in our homes and schools.

That same individual also managed to shoot and kill armed military personnel who are trained professionals in defense under assault. They were people who had high levels of experience in the use of firearms. Given that fact, how does any reasonable citizen believe that a teacher, armed with a handgun and limited training, can stop an intruder in a school?

The National Rifle Association has suggested that more good guys with guns will stop bad guys with guns. If it didn’t happen at the Navy Yard, it seems unlikely that it could happen anywhere else.

The NRA also turned gun owners against reasonable laws and tried to scare them about government lists, even though that was not in any proposed legislation. Then we find out that the NRA has its own lists of gun owners – and in great detail.

As a retired teacher, I do not see the logic or wisdom in this thinking. As a parent and grandparent, I worry about the safety of those I love. As a victim of gun violence, I know there is no guarantee that owning a weapon will keep you safe. As a citizen, I hope we all consider how frequently violence visits our fellow Americans.

As a former social studies teacher, I respect the Constitution. I also know it can be amended. Further, I believe that our greatest rights are “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” When thousands of Americans die every year, how do we honor their lives? We have no liberty if we live in fear of mass assaults. And those who have lost family members will spend the rest of their lives in pursuit of happiness after horrible losses.

We don’t need a call to arms. We need a call to action. We need sensible changes.


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