, Newburyport, MA

December 26, 2012

Take action in response to Newtown shooting

Newburyport Daily News

---- — To the editor:

So … here we go again. Another horrific shooting spree. This time 20 young children and their teachers in a school in a town similar to ours. Every time this happens we cry, agonize, hear politicians and religious leaders lament, hear it called evil, listen to the media milk the story and discuss ways to stop it. Then the politicians say, “Let’s not act hastily.” Translate that to “We are afraid of the NRA.” One month later, nothing … not a peep. The story may continue for a bit in the back pages of the paper and then it’s over. And our children and citizens are again at the mercy of random acts of violence and in so many of our homes, domestic violence that so easily becomes deadly.

We’ve watched these mass killings by deranged young men over the last decade and stayed more or less silent.

Ask yourself, have we had enough? Think about our own schools and how easily it could have happened here, at any of our local schools. Then do something. Make your voice heard by calling your politicians, joining gun control organizations, signing petitions and, most of all, not letting this issue die. Demand that our elected leaders take a stand and then work for some meaningful laws. Let’s start with re-instituting the assault weapons ban that was allowed to expire in 2004. Why on earth should the average citizen be allowed to own one? We can limit access to large capacity magazines which, for example, allowed Adam Lanza to shoot so many people so rapidly. And we can require background checks at gun shows and private sales.

This week, we have heard from a few courageous politicians, and maybe this is the turning point we have been waiting for. The NRA is a powerful force but so are we … mothers, fathers, grandparents … the people. Has this last incident in Newtown, Conn., shocked us into action? I am encouraged for the first time to hear some of our politicians actually mention the words “gun control.” The president, while not using the words “assault weapons,” has promised to address this issue.

One thing is for sure. If we don’t do something, it will happen again. That is certain.

Anne Bowdoin