The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA


December 20, 2013

Readers' Forum 12-20 | What did we learn from Sandy Hook?

JOHNSTOWN — On Dec. 14, 2012, an intruder, unchallenged, methodically murdered 20 innocent kids and six adults.

Upon the first anniversary of the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy, I hope that, among the intense gun debate, steps have been taken to make all schools as safe and prepared as possible.

Some propose arming school personnel while others vigorously oppose that option. A couple of options that might be considered in lieu of arming school personnel with actual guns are pepper spray and/or taser guns. Both of these alternatives are capable of incapacitation and are simple and affordable. Combined with smart strategy and tactics, these tools may be able to save lives.

School boards, administrators, teachers and community members should come together and discuss these options through town halls or other forums in order to create a quality plan of action, or those in schools will continue to be easy targets.

School personnel should not be paranoid but prepared, and it is imperative that they be given the training and tools to protect themselves and the young lives they’ve been entrusted with in loco parentis.

The alternatives presented, although much less threatening than an actual gun, would at the very least give something incredibly valuable to school personnel and students that those at Sandy Hook never had – a chance.

Pray for the best, prepare for the worst.

John Curlej


Political spin becoming obnoxious

I’m so tired of political spin that’s meant to confuse the issues and ignore basic truths. I’m tired of:

-- Hearing that Obamacare is the law of the land and we should move on. At one time, slavery, women not having a vote and prohibition were the law of the land. Bad laws should be changed.

-- Seeing so many people below the poverty level. The war on poverty started in the 1960s, and there are now more people below that level than ever. Applied, liberal philosophies result in the exact opposite of the stated intent. Promote personal responsibility, not handouts.

-- People being offended by symbols of Christianity and our politicians and courts kowtowing to them. I’ve read the Constitution and Bill of Rights and can’t find anything that says anyone has the right to not be offended at anytime by anything. Just get over it, and that’s what the courts should tell them.

-- All the gun-control pontificating. I haven’t heard one advocate say how he or she plans to take guns from criminals, just law-abiding citizens.

-- The climate change discussion. NASA satellite photos show that the Arctic ice is about 1 million square miles larger than last year, and there hasn’t been an increase in global temperatures for 12 years. There are those who would debate the reasons for this, but that’s the point – it is still open to debate, not settled science.

Jim Kopriva


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What is the biggest key to reducing gun violence in Johnstown?

Tackling the area's drug problem.
Controlling folks moving into city housing.
Monitoring folks in treatment centers and halfway houses.
Tougher sentencing by the court system.
More police on the streets.

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