Letter to the Editor: Led By Children

“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results,” Albert Einstein, Rita Mae Brown or Benjamin Franklin. Without disparaging our feelings of grief, hopelessness, frustration and anger in response to gun violence, we turn to “Thoughts and Prayers.” I join others in declaring the time has come for requiring ourselves and our lawmakers to do much more than “Thoughts and Prayers” in response to mass shootings. God is not fixing this problem. This is our problem. We own it. No other advanced country shares this problem.

A majority of Americans support a number of measures to attempt to reduce gun violence in our society. Acting on none is not acceptable. What led me to write was seeing the leadership exhibited by the students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. They, joined by other students across the country, are protesting the inaction by lawmakers on gun violence. Their mantra is “We don’t want your ‘Thoughts are Prayers.’ We want action.” If you want to see leadership, look toward our students not toward our stonewalling lawmakers.

Add our voices to Ben Dickmann’s. Ben turned in his AK-57 rifle to local law enforcement saying, “I am a responsible, highly trained gun owner. However, I do not need this rifle. No one without a law enforcement badge needs this rifle.” I don’t know Ben, but he and we reached our tipping points together. Ben also wrote, “I can no longer offer only my Thoughts and Prayers. … I can’t stand idly by and say, it’s only the crazies. It’s time to actually do something.”

Add our voices to the voice of the La Grange, Ill., father who listened to his high school-aged son. He told his dad they didn’t want AR-15s on the street and that those guns were too easy to get. The gun owner’s son and his friends went with him to the La Grange Police Department to turn in the rifle and saying, “That particular gun is unnecessary for me. I don’t need it. And I can’t rightly own it with children out there fighting to get these things off the streets.”

Since it’s children that inspired us, the number of American children who were victims of gun violence between 2014 and 2017 is 2,710 children below the age of 12. It is hard not to react with scorn to Speaker Ryan and others’ statements that this is not the time to consider alternatives.

Recently, we overheard a Door County Medical Center employee say that they would be conducting an “Active Shooter Drill.” We are conceding that with our current position on gun control, our physicians, nurses, physical therapists, our pastors and our teaching faculty are our “first-responders” to gun violence. Our teachers are dying shielding students from bullets. Arming our teachers with guns, putting more guns in our community, fits the definition of insanity.

As the young leaders of Marjory Stoneman Douglas tell us, it is time for “Never Again.” Never Again!


Peg O’Harrow and Norman J. Wilsman

Sturgeon Bay, Wis.

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