Carol Lucas

Choose common sense, stop the madness

By Carol Lucas

When I picked up the most recent copy of the Island News, which, by the way, I find the be the best informed local paper available, I turned right away to the Voices section.

Knowing that the past week had been rife with news and opinions regarding the horrific massacre in Uvalde, Texas, I was anxious to see the local take on what has become a uniquely American problem. Two of the three editorial pieces dealt with this tragedy, fair enough coverage. Mike McCombs’ contribution was much more extensive, and it is one with which I absolutely agree. When reading that of Cherimie Crane Weatherford, however, I found myself asking, “When is she going to address gun regulation?” And I was really pulled up short by her suggestion of the implementation of a mental health class in every school.

Before I address either of those issues, let me say that most of what Ms. Weatherford said seemed to be heartfelt, and I applaud that. However, the suggestion of a mental health class as part of school curriculum is perplexing; furthermore I believe the failure to address the issue of guns is a glaring omission.

In the interest of transparency, the apparent word of the day, I must tell you that I am a retired high school English teacher with 32 years of experience. Having retired in 1997 from a suburban school district in Pittsburgh, Pa., I am anguished every time one of these school shootings occur.

My thought is always, “There but for the grace of God go I.” And when I see politicians recommending the arming of teachers, my anguish turns to rage, yes, rage!

I envision myself in the middle of discussing Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales when a kid – make no mistake, chances are great he will be younger than 20 years old – walks in with his assault rifle (please take note of the name assault, no question about why he is here). I must now pull out MY assault rifle, blow him away in front of my class, and then hope to return to The Miller’s Tale after a few moments of clean-up.

Flippant? Ludicrous? Perhaps, but so is the suggestion of arming teachers. And after Tulsa, Okla., are you also going to arm doctors as well as their receptionists? And by all means, you as a patient, want to be very sure that you carry your gun to an office visit, so that if you are in a position to help people escape by holding a door, you are also in a position to shoot the intruder. Is this what we have become, a return to the wild, wild West?

The answer, people, is guns. GUNS! And the easy acquisition of assault rifles is for one purpose and one alone … to kill people.

I’m so disgusted that what I perceive as reasonable changes in gun laws are a no go for Republican Senators. Someone please take the time to explain to me why ASSAULT rifles cannot be banned.

I saw somewhere a suggestion that with every purchase of such, the buyer must enter the armed services for proper training. I can hear the wails and cries, even as I type.

And why not raise the age to 21? Why not an extended background check with a longer waiting period? You don’t want the government digging into your background? Newsflash! Technology has already rendered that null and void. Look at Canada’s laws and their statistics for mass shootings and weep.

As for mental health issues, I haven’t encountered anyone who doubts the legitimacy of better mental health care. However, regarding Ms. Weatherford’s suggestion of integrating said class into the curriculum, I must ask if she thinks that in a classroom of 25 to 30 kids, this will be effective. Will you encourage in this class the idea of a child’s going to someone in authority and saying, “I think Johnny has a mental health problem?”

Imagine the chaos that could produce, not only among the kids, but also with the parents. And at what grade level do you propose introducing this kind of class? Any educator will tell you what a delicate proposition this is. I agree that mental health is part of the solution. However, let’s not make it the ONLY solution to a multi-faceted problem.

In conclusion, I’m not proposing taking away guns. Sadly I believe that train left the station years ago. But please let’s implement a common-sense approach and stop the madness. The police forces want it; most Americans want it; legitimate gun owners should get behind it.

Carol Lucas is a retired high school teacher and a Lady’s Island resident.

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