Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Columns

January 7, 2013

HEINIG: Sandy Hook atrocity — time for reflection

There’s no foolproof way to prevent another

Charles Layne’s recent letter in the Kokomo Tribune helped me clarify my own beliefs about gun ownership and the Second Amendment. As a lifelong educator, the Sandy Hook massacre terrified me. The slaughter of young children and their teachers brings forth emotions that no one can suppress. Those emotions force us to confront a dilemma that can have no satisfactory solution. We desperately want to safeguard our children and prevent similar tragedies in the future, but how?

Some people hope to do that by arming school employees. Maybe that’s a good idea for the few school employees with law enforcement experience. Giving guns to the rest of us would probably endanger more kids than it could protect. Other people seek to protect our children by stricter gun control laws. They feel that an intruder who can’t get a gun isn’t as much of a threat. Probably so, but who can’t get one illegally?

Mr. Layne’s ideas come at a particularly appropriate time for me. His letter appeared on Jan. 2. I’ve been remembering my father even more than usual. Dad died on New Year’s Eve 25 years ago. He was a police captain, but his duties were primarily administrative. Nevertheless, he was required to carry a gun even when off duty.

Actually, Dad didn’t like guns, but he would have agreed with Mr. Layne that the weapon itself is passive. He thought the problems came from irresponsible gun owners, and he tried to prevent them from having guns. His duties included issuing gun permits and disposing of guns confiscated from felons.

I don’t think Dad ever denied a permit to anyone legally eligible for one, but he often encouraged them to consider alternatives: “You want a gun because you work nights at a convenience store. Does your employer pay you enough to risk your life? Is your future worth more than a few bucks an hour?” The alternative in this situation is obvious. Get another job! Unfortunately, that’s not as easy as it used to be.

When I was a young teacher, I supplemented my income working part-time in a jewelry store. When I told my Dad that some jewelers carried guns, he urged me not to do it. He believed the best response to an armed robber was total cooperation: “Money and merchandise can be replaced. Can you?” He also said most gun owners aren’t accustomed to using one under stress: “Knowing how to shoot doesn’t mean you know when to shoot!”

Mr. Layne is right on target when he states we can’t blame the Second Amendment for atrocities like Sandy Hook — not when the media persistently romanticizes the very worst elements in our culture: “Virtually every form of entertainment — television programs, movies, music, video games — contain increasingly violent themes.”

Even if I had disagreed when I read his letter on Jan. 2, I would have to agree now. This past week, I made the mistake of seeing the newly released film, “Django Unchained”. I found the amount and the severity of the violence in it disgusting. As an old history teacher, I must admit the movie accurately presented some of the most brutal and inhumane aspects of slavery. It isn’t surprising that the film was rated “R”. I certainly wouldn’t allow my child to watch it without supervision. So why did more than 80 percent of the reviewers like it?

We will never know why Adam Lanza stole the lives of so many innocent people, most of them very young. The tragic reality is there is no foolproof way to prevent another Sandy Hook atrocity or any random killing spree. We can only pray to be observant enough to protect our children, our neighbors and ourselves from such heartless cruelty.

The families and friends of the victims will never achieve complete emotional recovery. They will grieve for the rest of their lives. The parents of the slain children will suffer the most. It isn’t natural for us to live longer than our children. Our only comfort is our faith that those poor little ones and their teachers have returned to the Creator who loves us all. We will be with them again!

Mark Heinig Jr. of Kokomo is a retired Indiana principal and teacher. Contact him at markjr1708@gmail.com.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Columns
  • DAN COATS: New Harmony marks its 200th anniversary Situated between St. Louis and Louisville, New Harmony is a small town in southwest Indiana smaller than 1 square mile in area. Fewer than 1,000 Hoosiers call this serene Posey County community home.Despite its size, the town has monumental significa

    July 31, 2014

  • Rob Burgess House of Burgess: Let's put lethal injection to sleep

    It was only a matter of time before this happened again; and I’m sad to say I’m not surprised at all.
    On July 22, the Supreme Court gave the go-ahead for the killing of Arizona death row inmate James R. Wood III, who had filed suit requesting a delay until the state revealed the details of the drugs that would be used to end his life.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • ANDREA NEAL: Fleeting canal era had lasting impact on state Editor’s note: This is one in a series of essays leading up to the celebration of the Indiana Bicentennial in December 2016. In 1825, the Erie Canal was completed to great fanfare. Cannon fire, parades, balls and speeches celebrated the speed and ski

    July 30, 2014

  • TOM LoBIANCO: Pence, Bayh crowd field with questions In the 2016 political landscape, a pair of the state's political big dogs -- Republican Gov. Mike Pence and former Democratic U.S. Sen. Evan Bayh -- have potential candidates holding their breath and waiting on them. Until Pence says otherwise, he's

    July 29, 2014

  • JEFFREY McCALL: All things Hillary are not news, just distractions This column has nothing to do with who should or will win the presidential election in 2016. It has nothing to do with partisan politics of any flavor. This column does, however, assess how television is oversaturating the "news" agenda with countles

    July 29, 2014

  • BRIAN HOWEY: World is rising up to meet Putin's thuggery Any illusions I had about the progressive nature of Vladimir Putin’s Russian regime quickly dissipated when I returned to my Moscow Grand Marriott room in August 2007. Upon opening the door, I was greeted with the spectacle of my papers and note pads

    July 28, 2014

  • DICK WOLFSIE: A trip to end all trips My wife is planning a very exciting vacation to celebrate our 35th wedding anniversary. This was a big surprise to me. Not the vacation part, but the 35 years. I thought it was 34. Right now she is on the back porch, the patio table stacked high with

    July 28, 2014

  • ED VASICEK: Happy marriages do not just happen My wife, Marylu, and I met through a mutual friend. My wife had been involved with Campus Crusade at her university, where my friend, Norman, also attended. One Christmas break, Norman invited his friends from church (including me) to a party — along

    July 27, 2014

  • MICHAEL HICKS: Truth about inflation Almost nothing in economics seems to confuse people as much as monetary inflation. That confusion leaves an intellectual void into which some of the least credible ideas of the modern world crawl.Goods and services typically have a price dictated in

    July 27, 2014

  • RAY DAY: Some laws will do us in In my opinion, we have made laws that are contrary to what they were intended. And this writer is going to let you in on his thoughts about them. One of the things that has been processed incorrectly is the child abuse law. When you tell the parent h

    July 26, 2014

Latest news
Featured Ads
Only on our website
AP Video
Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN Raw: Deadly Landslide Hits Indian Village Obama Chides House GOP for Pursuing Lawsuit New Bill Aims to Curb Sexual Assault on Campus Russia Counts Cost of New US, EU Sanctions 3Doodler Bring 3-D Printing to Your Hand Six PA Cops Indicted for Robbing Drug Dealers Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey Raw: Obama Eats Ribs in Kansas City In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast Raw: Otters Enjoy Water Slides at Japan Zoo NCAA Settles Head-injury Suit, Will Change Rules Raw: Amphibious Landing Practice in Hawaii Raw: Weapons Fire Hits UN School in Gaza Raw: Rocket Launches Into Space With Cargo Ship Broken Water Main Floods UCLA
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Obituaries
Poll
Kelly Lafferty's video on Tom Miller