State Rep. Joe Moody (D-El Paso) answers questions Sunday after...

State Rep. Joe Moody (D-El Paso) answers questions Sunday after the Texas House investigative committee released its report on Uvalde mass shooting. Credit: AP/Eric Gay

LI police are ready to protect schools

I watched the video from the Uvalde, Texas elementary school mass shooting with sorrow and extreme frustration ["Uvalde report cites 'egregiously poor' decisions," News, July 18]. The public could now question how quickly police will respond in a similar situation, adding to their concerns as they send their children off to school. My children are grown, but I now worry about the safety of my grandchildren. Having spent decades working to increase school security, I want to reassure parents that I believe what happened in Texas is an anomaly. Long Island police officers are extremely well-trained and equipped, and I have personally seen them bravely responding to help others without regard for their own safety. That’s what is required of good police officers.

One event stands out in my mind. The police radio broadcast a shooting in Bohemia: armed subject, people shot, subject continuing to shoot people. It sounded like an active shooter situation in progress. Calls to 911 indicated people were hiding in fear. I was less than a mile away and responded immediately with many other units. I happened to be the first to arrive. As I often had instructed officers to do, I had thought through what I'd do in advance, taking a moment to get a shotgun from my car trunk. Police officers sprinted past me, and we entered the building to find two people dead and one wounded. A murder-suicide, with a bystander shot. I was impressed that day, as well as on many others, when I witnessed officers taking incredible risks to save lives. The Uvalde failure is not endemic in law enforcement -- quite the contrary. Many brave officers have answered the call without hesitation and have been killed responding to active shooter calls across our country.

Let’s hope that years of cooperation and good work between law enforcement and Long Island schools will help to spare us, but if officers need to respond, they will, without hesitation. I know, I’ve seen it.

Stu Cameron, Plainview

The writer is the former acting Suffolk County Police Department commissioner.

Our country is in crisis. Mass shootings occur almost daily, and people have opposing positions. One side sees guns as the problem, and the other believes it's mental health. Both sides dig in their heels. One side finds the solution as gun control, and the other finds the solution in more guns and increased armed protection.  I have been in the mental health field for more than 35 years and know the system is inadequate, especially for those who can’t afford decent health insurance. Even if you live in a state that has expanded Medicaid, you may still have trouble finding a mental health professional, so resolution of this problem will take time and will be costly. I do not understand why anyone needs a semi-automatic rifle. The Second Amendment was put in our Constitution when that type of weapon couldn’t have been imagined. Its availability has enabled mass murderers to be more effective. While responsible gun owners need to be heard and acknowledged, simplistic answers only further divide us. Why can’t we find a compromise? Let’s put our heads together and come up with reasonable, intelligent solutions.

Kathleen H. Thompson, Northport

The writer is a licensed clinical social worker.

The pandemic of gun violence, particularly mass shootings, is an existential threat to the American way of life. Enough of the empty nonsense espoused by do-nothing politicians. A federal task force with teeth needs to be created, one that can proactively investigate people at potential risk. This might include loners and outcasts, many of whom may be readily identifiable by school counselors, teachers and even classmates. If you see something, or if someone or something doesn't feel right, it needs to be brought to the attention of an entity that will take it seriously and actively investigate. Enough of "thoughts and prayers" and other platitudes. This cannot go on. It cannot be the new normal in America. Haven't we all had enough?

Joel D. Reiter, Woodbury

It would be a wonderful debate among our Founding Fathers to hear their take on today’s need for gun control and its implications. The National Rifle Association forgets the “elasticity” intended for future generations’ interpretation that the Constitution's writers  intended them to have. They couldn’t have foreseen: the population density of today’s cities, technology of today's weapons, and the diversity of groups and their divergent views  that  did not exist then. Controlling weaponry does not destroy or encroach upon the Second Amendment.  The urgent need of society to continue to exist demands the control of the proliferation of weapons.

Norm Barrie, Jericho

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