, Newburyport, MA

December 27, 2012

If we try, we can change gun laws

Newburyport Daily News

---- — To the editor:

“Freedom makes a huge requirement of every human being. With freedom comes responsibility. For the person who is unwilling to grow up, the person who does not want to carry his own weight, this is a frightening prospect.” — Eleanor Roosevelt

This past Sunday, I attended Mass both in Merrimac at the Church of the Nativity and then in West Newbury at St. Ann’s Church. I witnessed a children’s choir that included both of my children sing their hearts out and saw the crowd smiling with delight coupled with tears running down their faces as we all thought of the victims and their families of the horrible tragedy in Newtown, Conn. While grieving through this, a horrible thought came into my mind: “What if a gunman with a semi-automatic weapon enters the church right now? What would I do?”

I do not feel free anymore; I feel sad, ashamed and depressed with our society as a whole. With responsibility comes accountability and it is time for us collectively to begin to make the right decisions. Gun control, help for the mentally ill, make choices based on the concept of right and wrong, not on whether it is allowed. All of these things can begin to make a difference in our society.

Reading your Opinion on Monday, Dec. 17, where you state, “ ... but it is hard to imagine that further restrictions on gun laws will have an appreciable impact on incidents such as this,” coupled with “we are foolish to think laws alone provide solutions” is a defeatist attitude inspired by apathy and I for one am saddened you would use your platform as the editor of a local newspaper to continue to push this tired agenda.

To quote our president, “We can’t tolerate this anymore. These tragedies must end. And to end them, we must change ... In the coming weeks, I will use whatever power this office holds to engage my fellow citizens ... in an effort aimed at preventing more tragedies like this, because what choice do we have?”

As citizens, parents, teachers, coaches, administrators, clergy, elected officials, everyone, we can change, ditch the tired attitude of “what difference does it make.” Try.

After I read your editorial, I then picked up the Tuesday edition of your paper with the headline, “Customers frightened as man brings assault rifle into Walmart.” What would you do in that situation? Accepting it doesn’t seem right, does it?

Terry Hartford

West Newbury