As a 30-year retired police veteran and a recent director of school safety for the William Floyd school district, I feel compelled to express my professional opinion after the horrific tragedy at the Sandy Hook Elementary School ["Moment is here to stop carnage," Editorial, Dec. 17].
Although I don't know the particulars regarding security at this school, it does seem that their lockdown procedures and the bravery of the Sandy Hook staff saved many lives. That said, school security in general, especially at the elementary level, is dangerously lacking.
As director of school safety, I attempted to have school security personnel elevated to peace officer status, thereby giving them greater training and authority to enforce trespasser and other laws. Unfortunately, politics doomed this attempt.
I have also written a comprehensive school security plan that focuses on perimeter security, which is the most important level of protection for students.
Of course, we can never guarantee that even the best security plan cannot be breached. But every additional level of security makes it that much harder for someone to harm our children.
Jim Kiernan, Holbrook
The Second Amendment begins by stating that a well-regulated militia is necessary for the defense of a free state. Can someone from the National Rifle Association or any other gun-control opponent tell me what well-regulated militia Adam or Nancy Lanza belonged to? Did any of our mass murderers belong to a well-regulated militia? So why did they need guns?
Richard Rosener, Blue Point
Quite apart from the Second Amendment, which is intended to protect citizens not from criminals but from their own government run amok, the idea that keeping guns out of the hands of Americans prevents gun crime is easily disproved. Cities with the strictest gun laws, such as New York and Chicago, have high rates of gun-related crimes.
However, every time the gun control issue arises under tragic circumstances, these facts are instantly forgotten. Mass murderers will obtain their weapons no matter how many laws are in place. Until the underlying reasons are discovered and addressed, the death toll will rise.
Today's gun-control advocates are of two kinds: The first are like the ladies who forced Prohibition upon the nation, well-meaning, but irrational. The second are politicians and bureaucrats who believe that nobody should be armed but the government.
Our founding fathers saw in a well-armed citizenry the only counter to government tyranny, and that certainly hasn't changed.
Valerie Protopapas, Huntington Station
While so many are talking about stricter gun control, let's not forget about mental illness. Too many individuals and families are left on their own to deal with the severe mental illness of someone who should be in an institution, for their safety and the safety of society. Was mental illness present in this young man, and if so, had his condition worsened recently?
Work needs to be done instructing insurance companies to provide more financial help to people with mental illness.
Lisa Marie Brant, Hauppauge
I was quite shocked by Anne Michaud's column, "We've been avoiding this too long" [Opinion, Dec. 16]. She writes, "we have gone too far in protecting individual rights, and we must pull back and make this society safer." Apparently, she would like to shred the Bill of Rights. She seems to believe that that pesky document is no longer needed.
The Second Amendment should be out, and I suppose we could also jettison that annoying Fourth Amendment about search and seizure. Things would be so much simpler if we just did not have to worry about freedom.
James G. Collins, Floral Park