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Letters to the Editor

Readers write: Letters to the editor, February 27, 2018

  • Author: Anchorage Daily News
    | Opinion
  • Updated: February 26, 2018
  • Published February 26, 2018

Teachers can do it all
Since we can't afford to pay policemen to man every school window and doorway in America, Donald Trump's idea to arm 20 percent of all teachers is a good money-saving alternative. But doorway cops can be avoided, and it won't be long before someone figures out that they don't even have to enter a school to kill children. It would actually be much more efficient to wait until last bell and mow them all down as they come running outside to catch the bus.
So we should obviously train another
20 percent of teachers in triage, and another 20 percent should become familiar with the art of trauma surgery. And since the bullets of AR-15s are designed to obliterate internal organs, then the remaining 40 percent of staff should be on hand to donate blood and body parts. Sure, the kids who get shot in the heart, spine and brain will probably be out of luck, but the average educator can survive just fine with only one kidney and half a liver.
Teachers could be reimbursed for their donated organs from the FBI retirement fund, as a punishment for the bureau's ineptness at anticipating the intentions of every male gun owner who has ever held a grudge against anyone. This plan will work beautifully, unless the shooter makes a last-minute change of plans and decides to attack a country music concert instead. Or a church, or a movie theater, or a grocery store.
Let's face it, these highly adept teachers are also going to have to receive first responder and disaster mobilization training in order to spread themselves around.
— Beth Terry

Different ways to arm teachers
Let's arm teachers with pay that reflects their education and important role in children's lives so they don't have to make ends meet with food stamps; adequate supplies for their classrooms; and social services and school nurse support so that children with problems can be helped early.
— Christine DeCourtney

Reinstate ban on assault rifles
It seems that, so far, "good guys with guns" haven't been very effective in stopping mass murderers armed with high-velocity, high-capacity semiautomatic military style weapons, who usually have the advantage of the element of surprise and the ensuing chaos. The good guys with guns who can actually effectively engage an active shooter are the highly trained SWAT teams. To reduce the damage done by shooters, we can, at least, reduce their rate and volume of fire with high-velocity, tissue-destroying 3,200 fps rounds.
Congress needs to reinstate the ban on semiautomatic assault weapons with their high-capacity magazines, with possession of such weapons to be made a felony, with existing weapons to be bought up by the government and distributed to police departments and/or military, with the remainder destroyed. Of course, our legislators in Washington tremble in fear of crossing the NRA and its followers with even the mention of "gun control," regardless of how much sense it makes for the overall safety of Americans, especially our school children.
It's time for the NRA to act responsibly and admit that, for the greater good of Americans, combat weapons have no place in civilian hands. There are plenty of other types of firearms for target shooting, hunting, and home and personal defense, if you feel the need for that. Just because you can't own an AR-15, the government won't come for your rifles, shotguns or handguns. That's just unjustified paranoia, regardless of what the NRA says. I am a gun owner and hunter and have a tree full of moose antlers to prove it. I also have eight grandchildren in public schools, who I want to be as safe as possible. I also had a 41-year medical practice in Palmer and have seen the tragedy of gunshot wounds. I think I know what I'm talking about.
— David P. Werner, M.D.

Leave the guns to the pros
We hear another dog whistle from the president to his base and the NRA. Arming teachers sounds good but shows a lack of true knowledge. Just being armed to intimidate a shooter will get more people killed. Teachers show their dedication to teaching their students by doing anything they are capable to help and protect their students.
If someone is expected to put their life on the line they should have all of the training and safety equipment to protect themselves. Do we want our teachers wearing a bullet proof vest every day in class. A police officer receives about a year of training and pychological evaluations before they are allowed to go on the job. And you should know that few if any police academy classes graduate all of those who start, and that many applicants never make it past the psychological testing. We have these standards for a reason just as we have standards for our educators but both standard are different.
Law enforcement personnel receive continuing training on emergency responses, Special response units receive additional training for high risk situations like an active shooter as well as additional specialized equipment.
I salute our teachers for their dedication and sacrifices for our children; we need to protect them as well as our children. Just to let you know I am a retired police officer and retired USAF security specialist who believes that teachers and police officers are dedicated public servants with very different skills sets for a good reason. Arming teachers makes as much sense as grabbing any random street cop and have them teach AP Chemistry.
— James Anderson
Eagle River

Wouldn't trust Trump with AR-15
I agree with President Trump that we need to raise the age for buying assault weapons. But I'm unsure about the age to raise it to. I wouldn't trust President Trump with one, and I don't need one myself. So I suggest 75 or 80?
— Rick Wicks

Take politicians to task on guns
The student survivors from Parkland, Florida, are right in calling on action from Congress to ban assault weapons. They are courageous and inspiring; my students in Unalaska have been moved to action and uplifted by the message that unified, articulate teenagers can have a voice at the table.
The heartbreaking, shameful part of this story that a tragedy of such magnitude —which now feels apocalyptically common — was the impulse for their request. Equally shameful is that their courage is starkly contrasted by the likes of Sen. Marco Rubio, who, in backing the NRA, suggested that the sole nature of the problem is "crazy people." Sen. Lisa Murkowski spoke only of the need to address mental health issues, along with numerous other Republicans who, in the guise of "acting", are calling for stiffer background checks while refusing to condemn the military-style weapons used in rampages that have become a uniquely American plague.
Yesterday, the president made the ludicrous suggestion that teachers should be armed in order to best protect our students. Teachers are educators, not law enforcers. For Trump to suggest that teachers arm themselves is saying that the government cannot — or will not — protect its citizens. To declare impotence in the face of the second amendment is to willfully misunderstand the context of the amendment: it was created so that states could form militias to destroy insurrections at a time when the U.S. did not have an effective military. To behave as though the law is powerless against gun-abusing Americans is inept and dishonest at best. Nowhere in the tragedy of this shooting and the hundreds of other mass shootings in America has there ever been a reasonable argument in favor of the personal possession of weapons of war.
Although it is accurate, it is not terribly effective to blame the NRA for mass propaganda nor for the manipulation of our lawmakers. It is past time, however, to hold our elected officials to the fire for failing to act in the best interest of society. Murkowski, Young and Sullivan: do your jobs. Legislate based on reason and virtue, for the common good.
— Amy Purevsuren

The views expressed here are the writers' own and are not necessarily endorsed by the Anchorage Daily News, which welcomes a broad range of viewpoints. To submit a letter under 200 words for consideration, email, or click here to submit via any Web browser. Submitting a letter to the editor constitutes granting permission for it to be edited for clarity, accuracy and brevity. Send longer works of opinion to

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