Letters to the Editor

How will Federal Way schools protect the kids? | Letters

On Dec. 14, 20 students and six school staff lost their lives at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn. I don’t know if this tragedy could have been completely avoided, but it certainly could have been lessened so that some of these victims could have been saved.

I put the blame for this tragedy squarely on the Congress for allowing the ban on assault rifles (which this mentally unstable person used to break into the school and kill his innocent victims) to expire in 2004.  In the Second Amendment to the Constitution (also called the Bill of Rights), our founding fathers gave Americans the right to bear arms; however, I do not believe they intended to include assault rifles when they gave us this right.

But since Congress let the ban expire, they have allowed the sales of these dangerous weapons to be legal for eight years. Now they are on the streets and we are facing the consequences. One American put it quite succinctly when saying “an individual used a shoe bomb to try and blow up an airliner and now everyone has to take their shoes off at the airport. Since Columbine, there have been 31 school shootings and yet, nothing has changed.”

In case you weren’t aware of it, Sandy Hook had a security system in place and the doors were locked, but it didn’t stop this mentally unstable perpetrator from committing his crime.

I work in Federal Way Public Schools and the $64,000 question is, “what can a school district do to protect its staff and students in situations like this?”

One answer is lockdowns, which each school practices on a regular basis and it undoubtedly saved lives at Sandy Hook. That is why students need to take these drills very seriously.

After I heard the news, I emailed our president, both our senators and our congressman, Adam Smith. The message was simple and clear: Enough is enough! It is time to act.

I proposed that they take three actions, and although it is not the “complete solution,” it is a step in the right direction:

1. Reinstate the ban on assault weapons.

2. Close the “gun show loophole” so anyone who purchases a gun must have a background check.

3. Upgrade the background database so that it is both accurate and complete.

In addition, to deal with the assault rifles on the street, they need to take one additional action and that is ban the sale of any ammunition for assault rifles.

Mayor Bloomberg said New York City has an effective program, so that would be a good place to start. Furthermore, Sen. Feinstein of California has a bill she plans to introduce to ban the sale of assault rifles, so I commend her for being proactive on this very important issue.

It is time for the National Rifle Association to take a back seat as the safety of all Americans must be a top priority. The NRA’s answer to this problem was to assign armed security personnel at all our schools; however, this is not the answer, especially given the financial problems our national and state governments are now facing.

Gary Robertson, Federal Way


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