Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana


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.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
  • 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

  • MARK HEINIG JR.: Will Pence, Ritz and their playmates ever grow up? Many Hoosier Republicans are curious about Gov. Mike Pence’s future. He probably is, too. Assuming he doesn’t wish to return to Congress or retire from politics, he must decide whether to seek another term as governor of Indiana or run for president

    July 25, 2014

  • LEE HAMILTON: Why congressional incumbents keep getting re-elected It’s no news that Congress is unpopular. In fact, at times it seems like the only real novelty on Capitol Hill would be a jump in its approval rating. In June, a Gallup poll found members’ standing with the American people at a historic low for a mid

    July 25, 2014

  • SEN. JIM BUCK: New laws offer help for kids Families with children who have special needs often face difficulties finding the best care or treatment for their specific circumstance. During the 2014 legislative session, the Indiana General Assembly passed several initiatives to assist these fam

    July 24, 2014

  • BILL STANCZYKIEWICZ: Youth sports leagues are on troubling decline An important youth development activity is looking to end a recent losing streak. Participation in organized youth sports leagues for baseball, football, basketball and soccer declined by 4 percent between 2008-2012, according to a report in the Wall

    July 24, 2014

  • MAUREEN HAYDEN: Expiring term heightens urgency of legislator's mission State Rep. Rebecca Kubacki had plans for her return to the General Assembly next January.The two-term Republican from Kosciusko County wanted to exert “full force” to roll back a law that prevents the children of undocumented immigrants from paying i

    July 23, 2014

  • CECIL BOHANON: Spend down surplus? Been there, done that Back in 1998, the state of Indiana had more than $1.3 billion in surplus funds in its general account. This was about 57 days of state spending. The state had total surplus funds of more than $2 billion that was over 24 percent of its annual operatin

    July 23, 2014

  • MAUREEN HAYDEN: Expiring term heightens urgency of legislator's mission State Rep. Rebecca Kubacki had plans for her return to the General Assembly next January.The two-term Republican from Kosciusko County wanted to exert “full force” to roll back a law that prevents the children of undocumented immigrants from paying i

    July 22, 2014

  • TOM LoBIANCO: Indiana Democrats deal with divide on education On the face of it, the battles between Democratic Schools Superintendent Glenda Ritz and supporters and staff of Republican Gov. Mike Pence have been a unifying force for Indiana Democrats. But the scrapping has exposed a deep rift within the party o

    July 22, 2014

  • BRIAN HOWEY: Is Evan Bayh contemplating another gubernatorial run? This could be the saga of “LeBron Bayh.”Like a thunderhead brewing in the distance, you could see this one coming. This was the progression: former state Democratic Chairman Dan Parker announces he will not become a candidate for mayor of Indianapoli

    July 21, 2014

Latest news
Featured Ads
Only on our website
AP Video
Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Palestinians and Israeli Soldiers Clash Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kerry: No Deal Yet on 7-Day Gaza Truce Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow Gaza Residents Mourn Dead Amid Airstrikes Raw: Deadly Tornado Hits Virginia Campground Ohio State Marching Band Chief Fired After Probe Raw: Big Rig Stuck in Illinois Swamp Cumberbatch Brings 'Penguins' to Comic-Con Raw: Air Algerie Crash Site in Mali Power to Be Restored After Wash. Wildfire Crashed Air Algerie Plane Found in Mali Israel Mulls Ceasefire Amid Gaza Offensive

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.
Kelly Lafferty's video on Tom Miller