The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

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September 23, 2013

Reader: To curb gun violence, we must work to effect change


So Adam Lanza may not have meant to change the country, but he did. Ever since Sandy Hook, Americans have been dividing into two camps. There is that small group who shrug. Yes, they say, it’s a shame those kids had to die — but it’s a small price to pay for liberty.

What matters is that we protect the guns. And the gun makers. And the gun owners, the poor souls who live in such terrible fear of something or other that only an assault rifle and a couple hundred rounds of armor-piercing incendiaries can put them to sleep at night. These Americans — mercifully few, but unmercifully loud — see the occasional Sandy Hook as an acceptable price to pay for their freedom to own as much lethal firepower as they would need to storm Hitler’s Berlin. After all, they won’t be the victims of the next school shooting, and who cares about anyone else?

Then there’s the majority. The people who have been joining groups, talking about options, networking with each other and developing action plans, all aimed at changing our culture’s sick fascination with guns and slaughter. Like the FARGO group that has been meeting at St. Paul Lutheran Church since January. Many of these citizens have little interest in simply banning this or that weapon; some of them belong to the National Rifle Association.

All of them have recognized that Sandy Hook is to America what a black spot on a chest X-ray is to a smoker — a sign that it’s time to change our ways. The idolatry of guns and violence in America has reached the point where no theater, no mall, no Navy yard, and no school is safe. Shootings no longer even have a revenge motive. All it takes is one embittered loser with a Glock to be driving by your kid’s school and you can be the next grieving parent at a mass funeral.

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With the Clinton County Justice Coordinating Commission and the Clinton County Board of Supervisors discussing proposals to construct a new jail, do you think the time has come for Clinton County to construct such a facility?

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