The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Editorials

December 30, 2012

Readers' Forum 12-30 | Courage needed to change violent culture

— In 2006, a gunman entered an Amish schoolhouse and shot 10 young girls, killing five. The Amish are God-fearing people.

If the recent shootings in Newtown and other places are the result of this nation’s “godlessness,” why did the shooting in the Amish school happen? Do we really believe that God punishes the innocent for the wickedness of others?

Those who believe this, and who believe that humans have the power to push God out of our schools, have a rather small view of God.

Do we have such an inflated view of ourselves that we believe the God who set the limits of the sky and the seas would himself be set by our limits?

What fuels our violent culture, and the recent shootings that have erupted, is fear. People fear crime, changes in their communities and decreases in law enforcement, so they purchase guns. Economic woes continue to feed this fear as they deprive our communities of resources to protect their citizens. Politicians keep silent and fail to act out of fear of losing their positions. Subsequently, criminals such as the shooter in Webster, N.Y., are empowered by lax enforcement of current laws.

To find a solution to this problem we need courage, not fear. We need courage to change our violent culture and to curb our insatiable hunger for high-powered weaponry. This change needs to happen immediately, before another child, another first-responder, or another church woman decorating for Christmas loses his or her life.

Rev. Jennifer Oaks

Johnstown

Stricter laws needed on assault weapons

We all have the right to bear arms to protect and defend ourselves, for sportsmanship and hunting.

I own guns for sportsmanship and defense. I believe there needs to be stricter laws on assault weapons. Most assault weapons are purchased on the black market.

There is one strategy to educate ourselves and empower ourselves to be better trained in circumstances we can handle before a disaster.

The ALICE program educates, trains and empowers people on how to encounter and deal with insane, off-balanced individuals, etc., who scheme plans to enter schools, federal buildings, organizations, etc., to cause harm and take the lives of innocent people:

A: Approach attacher and keep them in one area.

L: Lock down.

I: Investigate (where attacker is located).

C: Counter attack (keeping attacker in one area).

E: Exit (properly to safety).

We as a people and nation need to redefine ourselves for future generations. With a Congress divided, our Constitution begins with the words “We the people ...”

We the people need to step up and tell our Congress and other leaders that we have had enough of innocent manslaughter.

B.J. Mroczka

Johnstown

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Tackling the area's drug problem.
Controlling folks moving into city housing.
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