« Sometimes you need a reminder that people can do wonderful things. Here are 26 examples | Main | Disturbing response to President Obama's Newtown speech pre-empting NFL game »

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Readers respond passionately to Newtown column

I knew when I wrote this column that I would be pushing certain buttons and knew it would elicit a pretty passionate response. And it has. And I think that is necessary. I'm tired of seeing this happening again and again - and other every day smaller incidents - and as the conversation unfolds, it mainly becomes a debate about the extremes of gun control, then quickly goes away.

This isn't only about the types of guns circulating and how we do or don't regulate them - there are always a ton of factors involved in such things. But dealing with the gun issue is an important part of the potential solution and I don't want us to be able to deny that this time.

And, no, I did not want to wait to deal with this. I've done that countless times myself, hoping that a moderate voice will break through and lead us somewhere. But that never happens. The current conversation is too one-sided. That needs to change.

Under the column in the comments section, people have responded.

Here are some who responded to me directly, unedited and as is:

Ms Murray,
Our country is dealing with a national tragedy. The autopsies are not complete,names have not been released,entire families and friends have not been notified,bodies have not been claimed,funeral arrangements have not been made,travel plans have not been made and mourning is just beginning. This tragedy reaches far and wide
( even to Myrtle Beach and Indianapolis).
Having said that, I notice that Mr. Bailey ,to further his writing career, has decided to immediately start discussing public policy. There is time next week or the week after to discuss public policy. Is there no time for compassion at The Sun News? Is Mr. Baileys career so important that today's column could not have waited for a week or two?
I cannot help but wonder if The Sun News leadership team could stand face to face with family and friends of these victims and defend the timeliness of Mr. Baileys column? I notice that even the most adversarial politicians in Washington have taken a pause and allowed President Obama to be the one official voice of compassion. Not Mr. Bailey! Apparently, he feels a need to further his career and jump on the public policy while these poor children are still in the morgue.

Note: I no longer communicate with Mr. Bailey. Please feel free to share my thoughts with anyone in your organization including Mr. Bailey. At the risk of being repetitive, could all of you look family and friends in the eye tomorrow?
Thanks for reading,

Thank you for your comments in today's column that expressed so well what I both think, and hope, conveys the thinking of the majority of our citizens.
Bill Cosby once did a comedy skit on the challenges of a Revolutionary War soldier trying to quickly reload after firing his musket as the enemy troops approached. Today the reality is that an amendment that may have made sense in 1776 simply can not be used to also apply, 236 years later, to the automatic weapons of 2012. That just takes common sense.

You also mentioned the absurdity of our populace being armed and prepared for the evil government to be at door while tolerating the carnage that has become all too prevalent in our society. That too just takes common sense.

This issue has simply got to somehow manage to be discussed intelligently in a forum outside of the "politics as usual" mess we seem to have created for ourselves, I will tell you that for most of my life I was a "moderate" Republican. Since the Tea Party, extreme right wing and religious fundamentalists took over the Party of Lincoln I have moved even more to the center, and would now call myself a "conservative" Democrat.

You are correct that the issues in our violent society go beyond solely gun control, but it sure is an obvious place to start. I sincerely hope that many others join the fight to stand up to the NRA and its right wing allies. Call me a blind optimist, but I think Newtown may just have been the final straw that will get more and more citizens involved in DOING something, not just TALKING ABOUT something.

My wife and I have a great deal of respect for you. I'm sure that the haters, as I call them, will unlease their usual venom on you --- but stand strong in your beliefs, and continue to fight the good fight. We are blessed to have your voice speak out to us with such insight, honesty, passion and clarity.

Scott Van Pelt

Column today ... ...one of the best you’ve ever written. Matt


Certainly agree there is need to have more stringent regs to acquire a gun, and ban purchase of automatic and semi automatic assault weapons.  
However, there are major problems in our culture. We have turned away from God, many kids have terrible home life, and we have a dark side with video games, movies, and the internet glorifying violence and killing. We need to make major changes in our culture……this is where the biggest problems are. Joe

Where is the logic in your story? Are we all supermen that lose the ability to empathize with others because our elected officials votes do not reflect what the public wants?
How do you make the common man responsible for the deaths is Sikhs? Last time I checked they live thousands of miles away, is that not right?
If you are angry withy elected officials, call them on inaction. I personally think our current President is the worst in my  lifetime, but is he responsible for all the problems we face as a nation? Not so much.
Your article seems to suggest that unless we cannot personally solve the entire worlds problems we have no right to voice empathy an concern over the New town victims. You can and used  to write better than this, please give it a better effort and write something that makes sense, not something to inmflame people and incite anger Greg
Mr. Bailey:
Just wanted to let you know that in spite of the invective leveled at you in the "comments" in the on-line edition, there are many in the Myrtle Beach area who appreciate what you write.
Thanks !   You are a major asset to our community... keep up the good work !

I want to thank you for your column today because I'm sure I will be in the minority and thot some support would be good.  I have been struggling with this since Friday.  I have been watching my Facebook posts and just absorbing them without response. They are either strongly for or against and none address the deeper societal problems around this issue. I have nothing against hunters, I grew up with a father that participated in all levels, small game, deer and archery hunting. He also was a competitive handgun and shotgun shooter.
He was not fanatical about it but enthusiastic and tremendously safety oriented. At the appropriate ages I was introduced and couldn't adapt to small game hunting because of the skinning and gutting afterwards, it just did not fit into my makeup so the shotgun became a dust collector.  When I was 18 I tried deer hunting and that brought a severe case of buck fever and I unloaded the rifle and walked out of the woods to never return and now there are two dust collectors.
Life moved on, a stint in the USAF, marriage, kids, and moving to a new neighborhood where I obtained an FBI agent for a neighbor.  After many discussions with him and support from a wife with growing fear from news of house break-ins growing in the news, I finally submitted and went with him to buy a handgun for in-home protection. It seemed cheaper than getting a large attack dog to feed and clean after. Now there are three dust collectors. I also do not believe that fear is a reason to buy a gun.
Life moved on again and now there is a new wife and the same handgun in a new house in a new state.  The new wife is working on her master's paper on our reasonably new computer and the monitor starts to get finicky for her one night while I'm already asleep. She awakens me to complain about the computer but what is different, she has the handgun pointed at me and is upset because she thinks she is going to lose all her work. After making sure her work is saved and promising to buy a new monitor as soon as the store opens she lowers the gun and hands it to me. 
The reason I was not concerned about her with the loaded handgun pointed at me, I kept an empty chamber under the hammer and a blank cartridge in the first firing position, so I knew I had time to recover the handgun from her if she decided to start firing.  I decided I would do the same thing my father did with his handgun. He wanted the intruder to have time to change his mind and leave and if he wasn't smart enough to do that then he would suffer the consequence of the next round being live.  Even with the handgun being there for personal protection, I did not really want to shoot anyone unless absolutely necessary.
Thanx for sharing your feelings, I love it when intuition surfaces.
Craig "Rooster" Emerson

Wonderful column today in the paper.  You are absolutely correct. . . . .
  I understand those who think they need a gun for protection???  But I don't think anyone needs an assault rifle.
   I'm sure you'll catch some heat for the column from the pro-gun lobby, sad as that is.  Better gun control is the answer; not more guns.
  Thank you'
Kathy Rosenberg

... you again have hit the nail on the head! New to the area the first column of yours I read dealt with Church vs State...and I wanted to send you an email which simply said, “Amen!”. You provide a calm light of reason in a state filled with red – blind hatreds, ignorance, and “if they say it enough it must be true.”  
A believer in getting the local paper I do enjoy most of the Sun – the exception being the “Opinion” and “Letters to the Editor.” Clearly this is an area which the senior executives feel should be a graffiti wall for every screwball – and the occasional writer with something worthwhile (and factual and non-vitriolic) - to vent. I supplement the Sun with at least 2-3 papers on line, normally British. I think the Brits do a better job of reporting big issues in the USA.  
It was yesterday’s (Saturday’s) Telegraph [www.telegraph.co.uk] which had the most striking front page dealing with Connecticut – including large photos of the three murdered teachers and the “accused” killer. But the article also included information on “You the People,” a White House webpage where people may create petitions which, should the petition get 25,000 signatures in thirty days the White House will respond. I enclose the url for “Immediately address the issue of gun control through the introduction of legislation in Congress.” [https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petitions] which as of now has over 115,000 – after 24 hours!  
Again, for your timely, tongue-in-cheek, “if I could I’d have done it myself a long, long time ago” column this morning, many thanks. And keep doing what you’re doing.
          Ron Crouch

Hello Mr. Bailey,
I liked your column today because it points out the lack of logic we have in society today. I personally believe the easy access we have to weapons coupled with the anger instilled in our youth needs to be addressed - starting at home with things such as violent video games and movies! I have no idea if  young Lanza was heavily exposed to these but I know several of prior mass murderers were. From what I've read, this exposure by itself is not deemed damaging but to those who have a predisposed condition (unknown in many youths) these games and movies "desensitize" them to violence.
On a recent visit to my brother-in-law, I witnessed his 5 year old son playing an extremely violent video game in which his son was killing anybody and anything that got in his way. I said (Darren), Jayden should not be playing this, he is too young to understand it's a game and will grow up thinking killing is a game! Darren turned to his 5 year old son and said; "honey, you know the difference between this game and not really hurting somebody, don't you? To which Jayden responded, yes. Yeah right, he knows the difference just like he knows the difference between drinking orange soda and the orange colored cleaner his mom uses (which they keep an a high cabinet because he might think it would be good to drink) they should leave it under the sink - after all, they probably told him a couple times it's no good to drink!
In closing, we need a campaign to remove violence from our developing youth so they are not "desensitized" to violence.
Thanks for the good work you do!
John Rohner


About The Sun News and Myrtlebeachonline.com | Terms of Use & Privacy Statement | About The McClatchy Co. | Copyright