Archived Story

Shooting should prompt questions

Published 12:00am Sunday, December 16, 2012

Just as a human being, and certainly as a parent of two young children, the breaking news alerts sent a sick feeling through my entire body. Reading the words had a very physical impact, as I actually felt waves of nausea with each line.

“Twenty children killed in elementary school shooting. “Casualties reach 26 in deadly shooting.”

Even though I am part of the media and read the “bad news” from our world every day, I am not sure we ever become prepared or desensitized to headlines like those that came from the tragedy in Newtown, Conn.

At least I hope we don’t.

Mass shootings have become far too commonplace. There were others last week in Oregon and elsewhere, but Friday’s vicious attack struck a chord with me, somehow making it more painful than the other equally tragic shootings over the years.

These were elementary school students.

They didn’t do anything to anyone. They were, in the truest sense of the word, innocents.

All the details have yet to come out and it will likely be weeks and months before we know the entire story, if we ever do.

After what appears to be an increasing frequency of mass shootings like this one, we — as a society — have to ask what we are doing wrong or what more we could be doing to address this.

I don’t have the answer. I don’t think anyone does. But the bottom line is that what we are doing clearly isn’t working.

As a staunch supporter of the U.S. Constitution I have always been opposed to major gun-control legislation. If we allow government to erode the Second Amendment right to bear arms, how long before the First Amendment — and rights very important to me like freedom of speech and the press — come under attack?

I certainly remain skeptical that gun-control laws would correct the problem. I’ve always felt that the old adage was true: “When guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns.”

Simply put, we can’t out legislate crazy.

But maybe we can make it a little harder to obtain weapons that are made for one thing only.

Something has to change.

Our nation must do something to become proactive instead of just reactive to this terrible tragedy and the others that are sure to come.

Attacks like this are occurring at scary rates and our society’s current approach — simply burying our heads in the sand — isn’t getting us anywhere.

Any effective plan will likely have to include some combination of education, firearm restrictions and counseling for individuals who may be at risk for this type of behavior.

Lawrence County schools have done a pretty good job of trying to prepare for the unthinkable and ensure that student safety comes first.

But it is impossible to anticipate every scenario or prevent an attack. Nothing will change that, but we certainly have to try.

It is important that we avoid thinking that something like this can never happen here. It can happen anywhere.

The proof is in Newtown and Aurora, Colo., and Columbine and Virginia Tech and so many more communities across our country that will forever be trying to heal.


Michael Caldwell is publisher of The Tribune. To reach him, call (740) 532-1445 ext. 24 or by e-mail at Follow him on Twitter: @MikeCaldwell_IT.

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  • mikehaney

    Responsible gun handling would help. The shooter in this tragedy did not own a gun I understand. They belonged to his mother.
    Fast and furious put weapons into the hands of hard core criminals and we know it did cost one life. How about gun control starting with our gov’t first. We have in the past shipped thousands of weapons to governments that eventually turned against us.
    Also, how many times do we read of a criminal that could never pass a background check arrested for illegal carry?
    More gun laws? How about enforcing safe handling of guns by enforcing the laws we have on the books now.
    I’m tired of facing down idiots with guns now.
    Lived in Ironton in past and caught some fool hunting rats with a loaded shotgun in a field next to my yard. North end of Ironton. Cops called but he had left by time they arrived. I had already asked him to unload. Which he did.
    Lawco Lake. Sheriff called 5 times over the years on target shooting in Wayne National forest. No citations written(good ole boys). One time had round miss my head while walking in beach area. With my kids no less.
    Last febuary, duck blind set up in picnic area next to playground, sunday am,nice sunny day. Sheriff would not respond, board had given permission.
    Hunter left at eleven o’clock. Children playing in playground at one o’clock. How stupid is this?
    I’m a veteran, I support the NRA, and Lawco is a good place to have a hunting cabin with Wayne National just over the hill.
    Hearing hunters over the ridge doesn’t bother me.
    WW111 going on in Wayne national “target shooting” does. As well as shooting on Lake grounds.

    (Report comment)

  • outrome

    No politicans want to “disarm” responsible adults.
    Those who sell assault weapons to crazy & criminals have worked hard to trick people into opposing ANY control of weapons.
    A lot of people seem to be living in a world they saw in some movie.

    (Report comment)

  • mickakers

    I wonder, does excessive media attention contribute to this problem?

    (Report comment)

    • mikehaney

      Mick–the news is violent everyday, but videos games our children play are at least, 10 times worse.

      (Report comment)


    I don’t think disarming the people is the answer, thats the first thing that hitler did and we know the rest of that story. Thats what obama and his crew wants too do, I think that stronger laws on cuns are needed, assalt rifles should not be legal to own by private citizens they should only be legal for police and military. Disarm the people, and we are only a step away from communism, look at russia, china, and cuba, our government is bad right now but its not that bad yet. jmo

    (Report comment)

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