Guns are not toys to bring to school
Thank goodness nothing tragic happened when an 8-year-old Pasco student brought a loaded handgun to school. The student was not a budding mass murderer, but simply a youngster with a need to show off to friends — very typical. Thankfully, before anything tragic happened, a fellow student notified a safety guard, the gun was confiscated, and the appropriate authorities notified. All well and good. Peril was averted and calm restored, but the potential for tragedy brings chills: a little rough play, some childhood hijinks or a dropped gun that accidentally fires, injuring or potentially killing a child. Chilling.
There’s a lesson here, and it’s that if Second Amendment rights mean anything, they must be paired with Second Amendment responsibilities. Near the top of the list of responsibilities is a parent’s duty to keep firearms safe from the curious children in their household. This is common-sense firearm safety, a responsibility with which even the most ardent Second Amendment advocates should agree. In this case, it means there should be a law that requires the safe and locked storage of all firearms in households with minors.
Unsupervised children accidentally killed or injured playing with firearms are not a major factor in gun statistics, but they are the most tragic — and avoidable. Pasco school officials dealt with this issue quickly and effectively, and they should be commended. But that does not give permission to ignore the issue of gun safety, especially when it involves the well-being of our most vulnerable. The NRA should live up to its commitment to firearm safety and get behind appropriate legislation. It’s a small step, but it’s one with the potential to bring the disparate sides of the gun issue together in common cause.
Jon Crawfurd, Gulfport
Even dumber than smoking
State is smart to investigate vaping | Editorial, Oct. 26
I have always held that nothing could be stupider than smoking cigarettes. I was wrong. I underestimated the cleverness of American corporate culture and the gullibility of the American consumer. But, in all fairness, who could have foreseen something as idiotic as vaping?
Pete Wilford, Holiday
Words that soothe and heal
Presidents speak of Cummings with respect | Oct. 26
I have just listened to President Barack Obama praising the life and deeds of the late U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings, the honorable congressman from Baltimore. For the first time in months, I felt hope for the country I love. I have not heard these words of peace, love, serenity and character since the last time I heard this former president speak. To all of the supporters of President Donald Trump out there, I am not condemning the present occupant of the White House, I am focusing on Obama’s words. President Trump’s words are so loaded with venom that we as a country must choose sides on issues that have little to do with who we are as a nation. Winning and losing today — and taking sides on which there can be no retreat — divide us. That led to T-shirts that say, “I’d rather be a Russian than a Democrat.” I’m sure Democrats have similar statements of division. If you haven’t listened to President Obama’s eulogy, please do so, and listen to the words of love and cooperation.
Robert Clifford, Tarpon Springs