Right time to take action
Jan 31, 2013 | 1828 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Actions taken this week by local police and school officials over alleged, unspecified threats to area schools should not be considered an overreaction. Schools across Windham Country were on heightened alert, many were put into a higher security mode, and police were stationed at some as a precaution (see story on page 1).

All of this was done after an unspecified individual made unspecified verbal threats toward school-aged children. In other times, those threats may have been brushed aside. But not today, not after what has happened recently. The last thing anyone wants is local headlines about another shooting or school tragedy.

Officials did the right thing and we applaud their efforts.

Meanwhile, the debates over gun control continue to heat up, while innocent people across the country continue to die of gun violence on a daily basis.

This week various legislative bodies are hearing testimony on gun control proposals. In Connecticut, some of those testifying were parents of children who were killed or saw their classmates and teachers killed in the Newtown, CT, shootings.

In the US Senate, former congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords told legislators to “do something” to change the culture of gun violence in this country. She knows all about gun violence firsthand. Giffords was the victim of a shooting two years ago in her home state of Arizona. In her testimony this week, she pleaded with legislators, saying “Too many children are dying. Too many children. We must do something,”

Meanwhile, Giffords’ plea was underscored just a mile from President Obama’s home in Chicago. There, 15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton was shot dead in a park shelter, a week after she sang at the president’s inauguration. Initial reports say it may have been gang-related, and she may have been a mistaken target. That certainly doesn’t make this young woman’s death any easier to swallow.

For lawmakers, and even those fervent supporters of the Second Amendment, there has to be some solutions out there. There must be common ground found. The preponderance of evidence mounts daily. Something must be done to reverse the violence this country suffers from.

What we must avoid is allowing these deep wounds on our collective skin to scab over. Too often we become numb to the violence around us. Too often we say, “It can’t happen here.” Too often we leave the difficult decisions to someone else. The reality is, it is up to everyone to demand better. Gun violence is rampant in this country.

There are numerous legislative proposals to curb gun violence. Some are sensible, some are not. But individuals must also take up the call. Get informed and involved.

As this week clearly reminded residents around the region, it could happen here. Thankfully, nothing did. Thankfully, the right actions were taken to contain the immediate threat. Now, actions need to be taken to reduce those threats for the long term.
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