Regarding guns: Enough is enough!

Dear Editor:

As I write this letter, I peer through my kitchen window and toward my small woods and see a couple of squirrels chasing each other up a tree, and I smile.

I was born and raised on a small country farm in southeast Decatur County. As a boy, one of my greatest pleasures was hunting. When squirrel and rabbit hunting seasons were in, I loved to grab my 410 shotgun and go on the hunt. During those years I killed many rabbits and squirrels and I would always take them to a very grateful neighbor who loved fried squirrel and rabbit. One day as I completed my hunt for squirrels, I laid the squirrels in the trunk of my car and as I looked down at them I came to the realization that I hunted for the pleasure of killing. From that day to this, I never hunted again. When I was a boy, I loved hunting and I loved my gun. As an adult, I have come to loathe both.

A great transformation has taken place in our culture. Americans are now immersed in a proliferation of guns. It has been estimated that there are over 300 million guns in America. It goes well beyond having a shotgun for small game, or a rifle of sufficient caliber to hunt deer. We now have semi-automatic rifles. These rifles are manufactured to kill human beings, not game. We have a collusion of gun manufacturers, NRA, and cowardly politicians to allow this to happen, all in the name of wealth and political job security.

I could go on and on about gun manufacturers, NRA, and politicians. Today I will give you one example of their influence. In the 1990s, the NRA lobbied Congress to limit the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Preventions funding after the CDC financially backed a study that found a strong correlation between having a gun in the home and an increased risk of homicide. In 1996, Congress passed a budget amendment prohibiting federal funds from going toward research that would advocate or promote gun control. The author of that bill is Jay Dickey (R-Ark). He later stated he regretted doing that. There have been many heart wrenching accidental gun tragedies in the home and the NRA didn’t want any facts on that subject.

On Dec. 14, 2012, I came home from work, turned on the television, and much to my horror, I learned of the Sandy Hook Elementary School (Connecticut) slaughter. Twenty first-graders and six school employees were all shot to death by Adam Lanza with a semi-automatic rifle. As I saw the faces of the pure innocence of these children, I wept. I, to this day, can’t imagine how their parents ever got through this. I thought perhaps this would be enough to end this type of pure evil. I was wrong.

To the NRA, gun manufacturers, politicians, I ask: Is there not one fiber of your being that dictates your moral obligations?

John Vanderbur, Greensburg

More social studies, less testing

Dear Editor:

With the 2020 election quickly approaching, one topic has crossed my mind lately, public education. Specifically, the lack of social studies courses offered in it.

This is nothing against social studies teachers, rather against the schooling system.

Schooling was originally instituted to educate voters in order to make educated decisions when voting. With the lack of social studies classes now offered, this is becoming more and more impossible to achieve. Social studies teachers can no longer find the time to teach all the way through American history. This is a problem. In my public education, I was taught nothing about the period 1820-1840. Many impactful things happened during this period for the United States and have lasting effects.

Students are being deprived of an education needed to actively participate in the democracy our government is based upon. I believe this is partially due to the fact that students are now required to take a considerable number of standardized tests. Social studies is not an area commonly covered on these tests, so in order for school corporations to keep funding up, they cut social studies programs and institute more classes on the subjects presented by the tests.

If children and young adults are not taught about history, how will they prevent repeating the mistakes previously made? In resolution to this issue I propose rather than forcing another English or math class upon our students, why not give them the option to take a social studies class?

Sydney Dieterlen, Dillsboro

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