We must stop the senseless murders | AspenTimes.com

We must stop the senseless murders

Dear Editor:

(I composed this letter in my mind while crammed under my desk with eight kindergarten students last week in my Aspen Elementary School classroom. Seven other nervous kindergartners were hidden, nearby in bookshelves, out of sight. Why? It was a total school lockdown – a drill to practice keeping students and teachers safe in case there would ever be a threat inside the school – a threat like Sandy Hook, Aurora or Columbine.)

I can no longer be part of the shocked, but silent, majority of citizens waiting for the congressional lawmakers to put their campaign-donation jars aside and wake up and smell the gun smoke. Can’t they imagine the parents’ pain of driving to Sandy Hook Elementary School that Friday afternoon and waiting, not for the carpool, but waiting to identify their murdered children?

If any modicum of good could come out of the Connecticut and Colorado mass-murder tragedies, it must be one that honors the innocent victims and their families. It must be one that attempts to prevent this type of massacre from ever occurring again.

Common-sense gun-control laws are a place to start. Assault weapons and high-capacity magazines are military weapons used to wage war. They are also weapons of mass murder in a theater or a school when wielded by mentally deranged individuals. Universal background checks and waiting periods don’t take away constitutional rights – they ensure them by making it difficult for mentally unstable people to purchase weapons online, at gun shows or from a previous owner. Without these logical safeguards, even responsible gun owners and their families could be potential casualties – anywhere.

It’s time for the National Rifle Association’s political puppets to hear the screams of those first-grade children who were gunned down in a rapid-fire barrage of bullets. It’s time for all politicians to think beyond their campaign coffers to the 20 small coffins in Newtown. Sandy Hook teachers put themselves between a gunman’s bullets and their students. It’s time for gun-control obstructionists, receiving NRA’s gun manufacturers’ money, to emulate the teachers’ bravery and take a political bullet if necessary by cutting the strings attached to that blood money.

I urge U.S. senators and representatives to step up and vote with conscience to pass common-sense gun regulations to avert future slaughters. The NRA didn’t kill the Sandy Hook children, but it continues to work to kill bills that might have saved them.

Dee Searing