I haven’t written for a couple of years, but today I am compelled to write. I wish I wasn’t. In the 1950s, our country had roughly 93 guns per every 1,000 people. In 2017, we owned 120 guns for every 100 people. Guns have gotten more powerful and more abundant, and those who wish to go out in a blaze of glory wear military-style body armor to protect themselves while they carry out their most horrible fantasies.

Allison Whitworth has lived and taught in Douglas County public schools since 1992. She cares deeply about the children of our community and has devoted her career to making a difference. She now works as an instructional coach supporting teachers throughout the county.

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Thanks, Allison. The solution in this case is simple. Stop selling assault riffles.

Tom Wingo

I understand Allison's emotional response, but I do not agree with most of her proposed solutions.

She did not state the solution was to stop selling assault rifles, she said there should be no gun ownership (not even responsible gun ownership). She said anyone who thinks they need a gun needs to rethink their lives and what they do for fun. This includes hunters like me. She doesn't think expanded mental health services or tighter gun control restrictions will work -- only the banning of gun ownership. She can have this belief because she sees not personal utility in guns - therefore, she gives up nothing if her proposed action came to fruition.

I am not a gun fanatic but I own multiple pistols, rifles and shotguns. I grew up around guns, and served in the military. Guns are not a fetish for me, they are tools. Some of my guns were inherited and some were purchased. I own a 100 year old Winchester with a well worn saddle ring that once put meat on my great grandparents table. It has history - it tells a story not just of my family, but of the settling of the West. It had utility and purpose. My guns reside in a safe when they are not on my person. After UCC shooting, I got my concealed carry license and I carry a concealed weapon. I am unashamed of exercising my right to defend myself and my family. My guns have utility and purpose.

Allison is quick to dismiss solution that have not been tried - universal comprehensive mental health screenings and easier access to mental health services - national legislation for comprehensive screenings for gun purchasing - and federal funding for school security upgrades. Proposing the banning of responsible gun ownership is an extreme position that is a nonstarter for any effective change.

Where I agree with Allison is the virtual world we have allowed our youth to live in unchecked. Its the same story over and over again. Disenfranchised young male, obsessed with guns, outsider at school, poor social skills, angry about their life and finds an internet community that tells them their problems are caused by someone else. That is the profile. That is who pulls the trigger. Do we stop this very small group of people, by banning guns for everyone? Isn't there a more targeted approach we could use?

Our government monitors intel for terrorists threats in a very sophisticated manner. We know what internet sites to monitor, suspicious activities to track, and individuals to watch. We don't have a national ban on air travel or purchasing fertilizer. The Patriot Act already put us in a surveillance society, maybe more resources should be dedicated to threats from within out borders.

Lastly, we are a country that has a lot of freedoms. Maybe the most important is freedom of speech. However, hate speech, speech that instigates violence, and creates irrational fear always seems to be at the center of these violent acts. People, even emotionally damaged ones, don't just wake up one day and decide to kill -- they seek out a place to make sense of a world they perceive to be cruel - and they get their answers in the form of chat rooms and conspiracy theories. Limiting free speech is a slippery slope - but maybe someone smarter than me can find a way to make hate speech less mainstream than it has become.

Scott Mendelson

". . . easier access to mental health services . . ." Yes, I agree.


Adults are addicted to screens just as much as teens. Tucker Carlson and Fox News/Entertainment is their screen of choice. Check the ratings. Fear, hate and anger all day every day. Then add in all the adults on Facebook or other social media. Children learn screen addiction from observing their parents.


Thank you for your truthful letter.

The only time that any of your ideas will become a reality is when Republicans are voted out of office, from the top on down. Republicans, the self-proclaimed pro-life party, absolutely refuse to enact any legislation that will control guns and save lives.

And the so-called pro-lifers who consistently vote for Republicans have made a Faustian bargain in trading the lives of breathing schoolchildren for the lives of the unborn. Having made this bargain, I wonder how they can live with themselves.

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