FROM: Jeff Weinstein, President
Maine Gun Owners Association Inc
PO Box 373
Yarmouth ME 04096
TEL 207-846-3000

December 20th 2012

The Newtown CT School Shooting Incident and Related Gun Issues

The heart-wrenching tragedy experienced by the people of Newtown CT was a nightmarish event that shocked all parents throughout the United States. Murder on such a scale, especially of victims so young, is unfathomable by any right-thinking person. The thoughts and prayers of an entire nation go out to the families, relatives, friends, and associates of all the victims.

The question arises: What do we do now to minimize the possibility of a similar event from occurring in the future?

Some proposals were brought forth within hours of the incident by people and organizations who didn't have much information with respect to what did or didn't happen. This was especially true of the electronic media which found itself repeatedly backtracking and correcting previously-broadcast information. Of course, during the unfolding of an event such as this, it's understandable that some corrections would have to be made. What was particularly disturbing, however, was the regularly peppered commentary and editorializing by reporters and anchors that essentially blamed the guns for the tragedy. It wasn't until days later that the media acknowledged the "complexity" of the situation and the major role that mental health issues played in this event.

At this point, the mental health of the shooter is recognized as the major element underlying this tragedy. The guns, while admittedly employed to commit mass murder, were not, in and of themselves, the cause of murder. That rests solely with the shooter.

My concern now is that some people, supported by organizations which are anti-gun to their core, will blindly shout for more "gun control". Additional gun control measures, of course, would have done nothing to prevent the Newtown tragedy from happening. Anyone who has rationally studied and carefully analyzed school shootings would conclude that this was so.

We live in a violent culture. There are numerous underlying reasons why violence plays out in our homes, on our streets, and in our schools. Drug trafficking, crime-ridden neighborhoods, gang violence, violent video games and movies, and a fundamental disrespect for our fellow human beings are just a few examples of the cultural factors that have contributed to our decline as a civilized nation. We have become desensitized to violence.

When looking at the society around them, it's small wonder that American citizens conclude that a firearm can play a major positive role in the personal protection of themselves, their families, their friends, and their neighbors. And if one of the "good guys" had had a firearm immediately available during the Newtown shooting, things would have likely turned out significantly different.

Which brings us back to my original question: What do we do now? To me, the best solution is pretty straight forward. First, re-evaluate our approach for caring and treating the potentially violent mentally-ill. Second, allow Concealed Firearms Permit (CFP) holders to carry firearms in schools and other "gun-free" zones. Places designated "gun-free" zones are recognized as defenseless; you might as well post a sign out front saying, "Attack me".
Third, recruit several teachers in every school who would be willing to train and qualify for a CFP. The teachers should receive additional training related to their school's environment. I've talked with teachers; many would be willing to do this. Third, break away from the deadly misconception that the police will instantly protect you. They can't do that. You're on your own for some period of time! You'll then realize that the best and only protection you have from the "bad guy's" gun is your gun.

I really don't want to see another Newtown. Seeing another helpless, defenseless school being decimated by a crazed individual or gang is totally unacceptable. Hopefully, we'll collectively find the courage and determination to build the first responder defensive line within our schools in order to truly protect our kids.