December 31, 2012

Of all the air-headed proposals to prevent another massacre of children and teachers, the idea that takes the cake is the one of arming teachers with guns to outshoot the assassins. It is beset with too many problems, such as the time and expense of training teachers to shoot straight and true, bolstering the psychological framework of teachers to shoot another human being, storing the gun in a secure place where students couldn’t find it or open the lock — but where the gun would be easily and quickly accessible to the teacher in an emergency — and opening a school district to fiscal liability over which lawyers would haggle in court about the “negligence” of teachers in a shootout at the O.K. Corral gone bad.

This idea is a distraction. The guiding idea should be to rid U.S. cities and towns of weapons of mass destruction. It’s as simple as that. That should be the starting point of any serious discussion about preventing any repeat of the Newtown school massacre.

Thomas A. Shannon, Ashburn

The writer is executive director emeritus of the National School Boards Association.

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I was saddened to read Ron Moten’s Dec. 30 Local Opinions commentary, “Guns on the screen, guns in the street.” Mr. Moten essentially dismissed an entire medium based on one video game and one experience he had seven years ago, and he then linked the Newtown school shooting and other such acts of violence to video games — even though the motive in the Newtown attack has yet to be determined.

As someone who has grown up with video games, I find it astounding that anyone would blame not the availability of guns, nor the lack of sufficient mental-health care, but video games for this tragedy.

Marcel Plichta, Vienna

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Regarding the Dec. 29 front-page article “Fearing proposed curbs, gun enthusiasts stock up”:

I was part of a group of 25 people who protested the sale and use of assault weapons on Friday during the Nation’s Gun Show at the Dulles Expo Center in Chantilly. The expo was billed as the largest gun show east of the Mississippi this year. During the course of an hour, I saw men headed for their cars who could not have carried another box of ammunition.

I wonder how many of those bullets will end up killing a son, daughter, wife, husband or neighbor? You think it can’t happen? Read the morning edition of any major newspaper in the United States.

Earle Mitchell, Springfield

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