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Dear Editor,
Three primary things have filtered out since Columbine to this week:

1: Secure the building! This is everyone's responsibility at the school . . . and the door was left propped open and did not have the ability to lock. Nothing that DC will do can affect the negligence of the staff - period.
2: After Columbine, the nationwide policy of police departments was that in an active shooter event, the first officer on the scene makes entry - period. Sorry, you drew the short straw that day - get your ass through the door. Nothing that DC will do can make the officer "grow a set" in time to make entry.
3: If someone acts "hinkey" on social media - see something, say something. There seems to have been multiple posts by this guy saying he was going to shoot up a school . . . multiple posts. Nothing that DC will do can make folks call the authorities and say . . . "Hey, this guy is threatening to shoot up a school!"
What DC will do is to dance on the graves of children, puff up their chests and try to enact "common sense gun laws." Which will do nothing except to penalize law-abiding citizens.
I wish "they" would simply shut their mouths, let these poor families work through their grief, stop defunding the police, use part of the $40 BILLION to Ukraine to place armed and experienced vets in schools and make darn sure every police department in the country actually trains . . . and I mean TRAINS - not this 100-rounds A YEAR crap when it's time to qualify - their departments in the use of their carry weapons.
Don't even get me started on the lack of respect of the teachers by the students and parents and the complete inability to discipline unruly students. What happened is NOT ABOUT GUNS . . . it's about the dissolution of our society.
The lack of fathers is one canary. Year-long marriages are a second canary. Throwing church in the trash Bin is a third canary. Hating the police - why the hell should they do the job they were hired to do if everyone hates them - is a fourth canary. Flushing mental healthcare in communities is a fifth canary. Putting every fricking hyper kid on meds rather than letting them be kids is a sixth canary. Allowing "teachers" to "help" elementary children DECIDE IF THEY ARE FRICKIN' BOYS OR GIRLS . . . is a FRICKINI' MOOSE standing in your living room!!!!!
And an adult - an 18-year-old man - with a loaded gun, who has been so abused, ignored, beaten down that NO ONE NOTICES HIM until he kills 14 kids and 2 teachers . . . that . . . that right there is what all these canaries and the moose result in. It's NOT THE FRICKIN' GUN . . . it's the society and its effect on its citizens that is the REAL PROBLEM. And THAT IS WHAT NEEDS YOUR FRICKIN' ATTENTION . . . not the guns.
I need a drink . . . peace folks . . .
Bill Keller


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Jill Struve May 31, 2022, 5:44 pm This needs to be printed in every newspaper and on every social media outlet throughout the nation. Well said, Bill! God Bless and have mercy on our desperately ill country.
Bryan Edwards May 31, 2022, 6:28 pm Amen brother!
Brian Anderson May 31, 2022, 7:54 pm Took the words right out of my mouth.
Kaila Cooper May 31, 2022, 8:48 pm It starts at home and its our responsibility to stand up and put a stop to this madness.
Tiffiny Pettit May 31, 2022, 8:59 pm EXACTLY!!! Agree 110%.
Jerry McElrath June 1, 2022, 9:37 am Couldn’t agree more. Said it exactly right.
David Speidel June 1, 2022, 10:57 am The best of the best, brilliant writing at it's finest, send this across the USA!!!
Mark Paulsen June 1, 2022, 2:21 pm Thank you Bill Keller!! You nailed the problem!
Betty Thorsvig June 1, 2022, 2:32 pm Couldn’t have said it better myself. Excellent opinion piece. Kudos!!
judy trygstad June 1, 2022, 2:38 pm This last school massacre is just the tip of the iceberg and one of so many in the last 10 years, not to mention the churches, grocery stores, concerts, etc. where a military style weapon has been used for human destruction. How do you police and protect all those situations? There are so many variables in each case that always get pointed out in hind site. The one common denominator in all is the easy availability of the weapon of choice. The common sense federal gun regulations that were allowed to expire in 2004 has made every state come up with their own protections. Thus, guns can be bought across state lines, bought at gun shows with minimal background checks, and carry permits given with no training. We have all kinds of licensing/training/regulating involved with vehicles, child restraint safety systems, and limits of speed zones. We have age requirements of 21 years for tobacco/alcohol usage and restricted advertising on those products. Why is regulation of a gun industry so protected by 2nd amendment that safety of our society is not even approachable? These military style weapons and amount of ammunition allowed for purchase is not relevant to 2nd amendment language written in the 1700's. Quit hiding behind that amendment I truly hope for Congressional action this time around to correct what was allowed to expire in 2004.
Tenny Jertson June 1, 2022, 3:10 pm Found myself saying, "Yes, Yes, Yes," all the way through this; well said, Bill, well said.
Lylelene Svoboda June 1, 2022, 3:52 pm Well said Mr. Keller.
Randy Braden June 1, 2022, 5:01 pm No one seems to be able to explain why an “evil” person is able to own a gun. No one seems to be able to explain why anyone needs an AR-15 or an assault rifle. No one is able to explain why the Republicans in the Senate won’t pass universal background checks. Banning assault weapons, background checks, and red flag laws are popular in the country.

Now for schools. We had four schools in the VSCSD. How many are in Des Moines? Dozens! We would have needed four but how about the hundreds and hundreds of activities we schedule? They are even softer targets! 19 police officers stood outside the classroom while kids were being murdered and didn’t go in.

We need gun reform now. There were over two dozen mass shootings in May. Responsible citizens should be able to own guns. Law breakers should not and should have their guns confiscated! You want to own a gun then be a law-abiding citizen!
Rhonda Pearson June 1, 2022, 6:56 pm Well said!
Norma Gould June 1, 2022, 10:26 pm Bill Keller:

I heard that the door was supposed to lock but did not after a teacher saw the shooter crash his truck. She ran back in and got her phone, when someone said he has a gun, so she could call 911. A rock was holding the door open so she kicked it out of the way and pulled the door shut. It was supposed to automatically lock but did not.

Too many times we hear people say they thought that guy was a little strange but didn't think he would do anything like this. People must wake up and say something when they see something before their child or grandchild is one that is murdered.

I wish someone would explain to me how common sense gun laws would penalize law abiding citizens. Common rhetoric from the right but no matter how many times I ask no one knows an answer.

I will never shut my mouth nor do I ask anyone else to, even you Bill. Everyone has the right to speak. There we go again with defunding the police. I admit it was a bad phrase to use. It simply meant that some of the money for the police force should go to hire a psychologist to be called instead of sending the police when someone is in need of mental help. Those are the ones who end up getting killed. There is even a case where the police were called when a 6-year-old had a tantrum in school and the police came and put her in hand-cuffs. Or a 12-year-old girl was tackled by police for taking an extra milk. Of course these were both black girls, because it wouldn't have happened to a white child. President Biden has said more than once he does not want to defund the police. It is just republican rhetoric.

Everyone does not hate the police but we do have many racist cops on duty these days who should not be police. The one who murdered George Floyd had had issues before but they always glossed over it and allowed him to keep his job, not right. There are too many like him and they are killing too many young black men for the smallest of reasons and they don't care if they shoot them in the back.

Defunding mental healthcare is a republican thing which I believe started with Reagan.

The teacher is not there to help a child decide if they are a boy or a girl or if they are gay or straight, but they are there to answer the questions of their students. What about that child who feels different but doesn't want to ask his parents because of what he has heard they say about those kind of things. He thinks his teacher is the only person he can ask but now he can't ask her so what does he do. Do you have a clue about the LGBTQ and trans kids committing suicide. The teacher used to be that safety net but now republicans want those kids to be forgotten. Shame. LGBTQ and trans kids are born that way, it is not something they learn or taught by their teacher. You aren't giving teachers enough credit to be able to answer these questions fairly. Their questions can not be swept under the rug just because it is a topic republicans don't like.

The so called Christians in the republican party are CINO. They have put their party first above this country and the people because of the power and money they want. The NRA is paying them handsomely for their no votes so you are wrong, we do need to pay attention to guns.

This country is a very racist country and until that changes or if it ever changes we need to pay close attention to guns. You will never change the minds of the racist people as long as trump and the republicans giving directions.

I would also like someone to explain to me why anyone needs an assault weapon. They are made for killing people, not hunting. If it is for collecting, then consider all the babies killed and don't collect that weapon for the good of the country and is people.

Norma Gould
John Parks June 1, 2022, 11:47 pm I keep asking myself "What would Jesus do?"

We have been taught His Love for everyone -including the sinner. We have been taught to have compassion for the powerless, for the poor and for the ill. Jesus found himself befriending those who were considered the lowest of the low. I vividly remember the story of the women of sin who washed and dried his feet with her own hair. Of the blind and crippled whom he was fond of and healed them with His Love and Compassion. And my favorite story - the woman he saved from stoning by reminding those that we ALL are sinful and best not to judge least we be judged. And those who live by the sward will die by the sward. And if you are struck on the right cheek, offer your left. I ponder these messages of His Word and ask myself, "Are we truly living His Love?"

I read the post and now the comments and all question - what would Jesus say if He saw these comments and anger? I see the "Amen" and wonder if we truly understand His Message of Love and Compassion.

I do believe that Christians have a duty to society to protect, to heal and to be an example of His teachings. Is living by the 'sward' our best way to show our love to Christ and his Loving Father? What would Jesus say if he heard the voices in our head? Are we being the loving, caring and HEALING message of his pain and suffering on the cross?

In my heart, I fear the hate and anger our culture is displaying to our Lord and Savior. Would He rather see us reaching our hand out in Love?
Dave Coots June 2, 2022, 10:56 am Semi-automatic Rifle History...

Have not researched to verify because I don't trust the results from the left whom is taking control of our 1st Amendment. Do l believe? Without doubt.

A hundred and fifteen years ago, in 1907...our great grandparents were first able to buy semi-auto Winchester Model 1907.

This is a gun they could buy from a Sears catalogue and have delivered via US Post. It was/is a semi-automatic, high powered centerfire rifle, with detachable, high capacity magazine.

About 400,000 semi-automatic rifles were produced before WW2. Civilians had hundreds of thousands of these for 40 years, while US soldiers were still being issued old fashioned bolt action rifles.

The 1907 fired just as fast as an AR15 or AK47 and the bullet (.351 Winchester) was actually larger than those fired by the more modern looking weapons.. The ONLY functional difference between the 1907 and a controversial and much feared AR15 is the modern black plastic stock.

The semi auto, so-called "assault rifle" is 115 years old. It isn't new in any way. The semi auto rifle was not a weapon of war. The government MADE IT a weapon of war 40 years after civilians had them. The semi-auto can be safely owned by civilians. The proof is that literally 3 generations of adults owned and used them responsibly and no one ever even noticed.

Want to fix the horror of mass shootings? Fix the things that have changed for the worse in the last 50 years - Family Values, Prayer from Schools, Ten Commandments from Court Houses, Spanking Kids, Morals, What is socially acceptable, Confusion on Genders, Left Wing Liberalism, Socialism, ect.

- because the rifle technology in question was here long before this insanity.

GOD SAVE THE USA. The framers of the Constitution understood that guns were the only way to stop a tyrannical government and that remains so true today with the current administration. Pass a law that takes the guns from the bad guys and enforce it before the guns are taken from law abiding citizens. The people that think a gun law will change the attitude of these deranged shooters can keep riding their unicorns and viewing that beautiful rainbow.
The only reason the Government has not passed legislation to protect the school kids is their belief that if it gets bad enough people will want gun restriction. That is exactly what some in DC want, CONTROL. Also, anyone that thinks a 9MM is a high powered firearm is delusional and doesn't know much about guns.

Dave Coots
Darrin Lindsey June 3, 2022, 1:51 pm Dave Coots... Please tell us how "the left is taking over our 1st Amendment." I'll venture to guess that you're referring to the Free Speech and Expression aspect of the 1A. If you would read the 1st Amendment, you would see that the only people that can violate your right to free speech, is our government. No other person or corporation can do anything to violate your free speech rights. If the government punishes you for something you say or do, you have a case. The government cannot do that. If anyone that is not representing our government does something, or says something to you, because of something you said or did, you do not have a case! That person or business that doesn't represent our government has the same right as you, to say or do something of their pleasing, in reply to something that you say or do. If a business has a policy that you broke, they can respond by not letting you use that business. Because they have the right to free speech and expression too. If a social media business has a policy that is broken by someone using their business, they have the right to enforce their policy, up to and including termination of that person's account. That doesn't violate anyone right to free speech!!!!! Unless they sew your mouth shut and cut your fingers off too. Because termination of an account doesn't stop anyone from speaking or typing. It just stops them from using that business. Your information on the Winchesters is wrong too. Our military purchased over 200,000 of those military rifles, in 1915, and our military used them in WWI.
Darrin Lindsey June 3, 2022, 2:47 pm Mr. Keller... You're saying that the following list of things, is what killed those 19 kids in Texas:
-The Doors
-The Single Parent
-All of the people that beat down and ignored the poor guy with $3,000 worth of weaponry
-All of the adolescents that didn't call the FBI after seeing a threat on the internet
-"Dissolution of society"
-"Throwing church in the trash"


You're also saying that it's more important that a few million Americans have these guns, that totally destroy organs in human bodies, because they need to have a penis extension to use at target practice. They also need magazines that hold 50-100 rounds, because they need to destroy those targets fast, instead to just hitting the target. All of this, because you think someone is going to march to your house and take all of your guns away from you. Those that have you under their control tell you these things. The truth is that it's IMOSSIBLE for the 2nd Amendment to be abolished. To create a new amendment to our Constitution, to abolish the 2A, it would require both chanmbers of Congress to pass a resolution by 2/3 of the vote. That's impossible in today's environment. THEN, if it was possible for Congress to do such a thing, the resolution would have to be accepted by 3/4 of the states. That's 38 states! That's impossible in today's environment. THEN, it would need to be signed by the president. The last time Congress passed a proposed Constitution Amendment was in 1972. It was the Equal Rights Amendment, that would've made women equal to men. Still today, that has never gotten the 38 states required to ratify it. Although a few more states have signed on in the last few years.

Now! Quit with the "Defund the police" crap! That was brought up by the Minneapolis city council, after the George Floyd murder, ONLY! It has never been considered by our government! The $40 billion that Congress allocated for Ukraine, is from the military budget! It wasn't just random money setting around for any use. It would be illegal to use that money for anything outside of military consideration. You made a huge deal about police only training once per year. What about the millions of firearm owners that never have to be trained on their weapons? Nobody has to be trained to get a permit to carry. Back to your "throwing church in the trash" comment. Who is throwing it in the trash? Are you proposing that a law be made that requires a person to attend church? Sort of a "mandate"? Freedom of Religion also means freedom from religion! Or just freedom.

Rose Rouse June 3, 2022, 5:00 pm All the background checks and gun regulations in the world won't stop these horrible shootings. It is not the gun that causes the problems, it's the person that has the gun. If someone wants a gun bad enough, they will find one. Illegally. How many guns can be stolen or bought off the streets in any city. Do you really think stiffer background checks are going to stop any of that?
Tracie wWalker June 3, 2022, 8:23 pm Dear Editor. It’s sad to me that we have done so very little to protect our children and people since Columbine. Since Columbine!!!! Basically, active shooter drills for our kids are the best we seem to be able to do. Does it seem strange to any of you that at some point soon, there will be a school shooter well versed in active shooter drills? Because we have failed to act for so long. Despite 80% of the country being in favor of some sort of controls on the weapon of choice, AR15s.

The reference about “the short straw” for a police officer who is the first on sight armed only with a handgun against someone with an AR15 is disturbing. Would you enter a building if you were up against a crazy person with an AR-15? Would any of us want our son or daughter to draw that “short straw.” 19 good guys with a gun in Texas couldn’t “grow a set.” I think it’s safe to say, that’s not a solution at all. It’s nothing but unhelpful hyperbole. You think they didn’t do their job because they weren’t being given enough respect? I think it might have more to do with the fact that they were seriously outgunned and were going to certainly be killed, without even making any bit of difference. Can’t we at least give them a fighting chance by removing weapons of war from our society?

And then we throw out the mental illness card and yet we cut and cut and cut mental health services. Here is a canary….what do you suppose the trauma of active shooter drills and the press coverage of school shooting after school shooting does to our teachers and our kids? Especially when we refuse to do anything to help them. We will most certainly find out.

And then the next Canary… our society is in ruin because people are turning away from God. It seems to me that people aren’t turning away from God. They are turning away from church. A church that has been taken over by hypocritical, judgmental people who have truly forgotten WHAT JESUS WOULD WANT US TO DO! People who are so arrogant that they think they understand God’s plan, but have forgotten his compassion and forgiveness. People who are so arrogant that they think God’s plan only includes them and people like them. The rest are unworthy somehow. People who can’t look at the parent of a transgender or gay son or daughter and see the struggle that both have gone thru on the road to acceptance and love; and mirror that acceptance and love. A church that is more hell bent on dabbling in politics than ministering and caring for all people. And as for respect, respect must be earned. What have we done lately to earn our children’s respect? I will tell you what, we fail to protect them, we fail to stand up for anyone who is different in any way, we talk about “growing a set” and yet do nothing to help end the carnage they see in our streets and schools every dang day. We worship capitalism and corporate greed over all. And everything is a right/left argument, rife with hypocrisy and misinformation. We rant and rant and rant, and yet do nothing. Except for thoughts and prayers.

It’s easy for us all here where we sit to have an opinion about gun control. Even me. We have been immune to the most horrendous of acts. Maybe the only folks whose opinions should matter are those that have buried a family member who was a victim of gun violence. A family member that they sent off to school or shopping, who returned in a coffin, unrecognizable after being riddled with bullets. The rest of us are too busy worrying about our rights and the demise of society to act or even consider negotiating a solution. Maybe if we thought more about our responsibilities and our obligations, things would change. I won’t hold my breath.

This is very simple. The AR15 is too accessible and to dangerous. Don’t make it more complicated than that and we might succeed in making a start.
Linda Duffie June 3, 2022, 10:43 pm Vote vote vote! If you are tired of the status quo vote for the candidate who would support change. Don't whine and say "yeah, but what about issue xyz?" Either you want chasms on this issue or you don't. Vote!
Bill Keller June 4, 2022, 11:34 am Judy Trygstad . . . I realize that no one will ever put aside the phrase “military style weapon”, but other that looking like an “evil black gun” an AR is simply NOT a military weapon. In fact, its round is smaller than virtually any hunting rifle. It’s so small it’s not allowed to be used for deer hunting in most states, including Iowa. It is a semi-automatic meaning you must pull the trigger each time you wish to fire a round. And it will not fire military grade ammunition reliably either, the primers have a fondness for blowing out of the casing and making the AR inoperable. I know some of these things because I am an AR armorer, a Post Certified Patrol Rifle instructor and an NRA Certified Training Counselor and Rifle Instructor. I’ve taken well over 200 hours of training with and AR and the M16. I’ve seen military grade ammunition lockup an AR. It is NOT a military grade firearm. Just as a point of fact, the average individual has not been able to purchase “assault weapon” since the 1934 federal gun control act went into effect. In order to be an “assault weapon” it must be capable of fully automatic fire – today’s ARs and AKs are not full auto capable. As for background checks, buying across state lines and the like. An individual can not purchase a firearm across state lines from ANYONE legally without a background check. There is but a single firearms background check in the US, it’s called the NICS check. It is, today, an online verification of an individual's criminal record as it is kept by the FBI and their responses on an ATF-4473 form. It does assume that the information filled out is truthful under penalty of law with a fine of $5,000 and 5 years in jail. As a side note . . . when Hunter Biden filled out his ATF form 4473 and he got to the question – ““unlawful user of, or addicted to, marijuana or any depressant, stimulant, narcotic drug, or any other controlled substance,” – he answered “NO” . . . yet there he is – standing next to his dad as free as can be. Huh. Your friends must make a difference in his case. You cannot buy any firearm from any gun store unless you complete a 4473 and pass the NICS background check or unless you have a valid carry permit – and no, Iowa’s new Constitutional Carry does not count. If you buy from a dealer at a gun show, they will run a background check before the firearm is transferred to you. If I as and individual, within Iowa, wish to sell a firearm to my neighbor – I can do that without a background check. However, if he commits a crime with that firearm, I will be held accountable. I can NOT sell a firearm as an individual to anyone out of state. I would need to ship it to an Federal Firearms Licensed (FFL) dealer and he would run the background check and complete the transaction. That would mean that the shooter in Texas passed a background check. As for the age limit – I was issued my first M-16 at age 18 and became proficient with it. I carried one for a year while on my “Southeast Asia Vacation”. I actually used real “weapons of war” – Google up the M-16, the M-60, the M-79 and the M-134. Take a look at the difference between an AR-15 semiautomatic rifle – and a true weapon of war. As for waiting until 21 – the argument seems to be that a person’s brain isn’t fully developed to fully understand what they are doing. Yet, we issue driver’s licenses at age 16, it’s being argued that the vote should be given to 16-year-olds, 14-year-old girls are being directed to abortions with out informing their parents, transgender transformations are being explained in kindergarten with out the parent’s knowledge. So . . . mmmm no, I’m good with the 18-year-old limit. If I can serve and be expected to die for my country, I should be able to own an AR at 18. As for the 2nd Amendment, its sole purpose is to provide people with a defense against their government. Over history countries like Russia, Germany, France, China, Cambodia, Guatemala, Uganda, Australia, and now it seems – Canada banned and seized their citizens firearms. Over time it’s estimated that over 100 million people have been killed by their own governments. Check out the Lakota Indians at Wounded Knee and see what gun confiscation looks like in the US. I am NOT hiding behind the 2nd Amendment – I am defending it. Over 21 years I took my oath as both an enlisted man and Officer to protect the country from all enemies both foreign and domestic and to defend the Constitution of the United States. It is a lifelong oath. I will honor it until my dying breath. Oh, and a final thing about the Assault Weapon Ban that expired in 2004 – Columbine occurred in 1999 – the ban was still in effect. Their weapon of choice was propane tank bombs scattered throughout the school. The only reason the death toll was not considerably higher is that they screwed up the fusing and they didn’t go off. So, decided to just shoot kids instead. Take the Alice Training some time. Watch the movie. So, should we ban propane tanks as well??? Just curious.
Bill Keller June 4, 2022, 12:02 pm Randy Braden – Perhaps we should look at the word “evil” first. Why is there evil? You certainly aren’t the first and probably not the last either to wonder about it. Why would God even allow evil? The way I view it is fairly simple – how can I understand love – if I don’t see hate? Hot without cold. Light without dark. Or, Good without Evil. Evil just is. It always has existed and it will always exist. It is a fact of life that you choose to ignore at your peril. Are you prepared to meet evil someday? The school and the officers in Texas clearly were not. My suspicion is that in their heart of hearts they “knew” that nothing bad would ever happen there. Evil would never pay them a visit – until it did. And it went “badly”. As for my “need” for an AR. Rosa Parks didn’t “need” to sit in the front of the bus. Blacks didn’t “need” to sit at the soda counter. Ruby Bridges didn’t “need” to go to an all-white school. Yet, as Americans it was their right. After a bloody civil war, the 14th Amendment passed giving Blacks equal rights under the Constitution. Yet it took the civil rights movement of the 60s and the demand to sit in the front of the bus or at the soda counter or to attend a white public school to be made reality. They didn’t “need” it – it was their right as an American. I don’t “need” an AR – it’s my right to choose my own means of personal defense and an AR is one of many different weapons I depend on. As for background checks – read my response to Judy and become educated. As for the school’s negligence in securing the facility and the school’s PD and their cowardice in responding to an active shooter – that is on them. It in no way affects my ability to defend myself as I see fit or my Constitutional rights as an American. I have no problem with lawbreakers having their firearms taken away. Felons completely lose their right to have a firearm. It is the enforcement of these rules that becomes the problem. If you don’t enforce gun laws – you may as well not have them. That’s another interesting phrase that pops up in this discussion – “common sense gun laws”. Tell me, which of the 20 THOUSAND+ gun laws are NOT common sense? The reason they don’t stop crime is that prosecutors don’t enforce them. An example, a 16-year-old (if my memory serves) in NYC shot and attempted to murder a cop. Thankfully he failed, he was arrested, and let out on bond of $2,500. See a problem there anywhere??? Much of gun crime would drop significantly if they would enforce the gun laws. The biggest problem with Red Flag laws is that they violate the Constitution – primarily the right to a fair trial and the right to confront your accuser. Many are written that your legal firearms can be taken by something as simple as an anonymous call accusing a gunowner of a crime. No evidence, no doctor evaluation – simply an accusation. So, no – fully opposed to them. So, to your last sentence – I, and the VAST MAJORITY of gun owners are law-abiding citizens. We’ll keep our ARs – thank you very much.
Bill Keller June 4, 2022, 12:32 pm Norma Gould – As I stated to Randy above, the negligence and cowardice that was shown by the school district and their police department is a local problem and, in no way, affects my Constitutional rights. I have a similar discussion with my students in every class – carry your gun every day everywhere you can legally. Period. The argument to that goes something like this . . . It’s 10:30 PM and you’re in a “big box store” parking lot when a couple guys with machetes step out from behind a van while you’re walking to your car. What’s your response going to be”. “MMmm, hang on guys, I need to go home, go to my gun safe, and grab my carry gun – be right back!” Just how’s that gonna work out for you? Same with schools and active shooters. They need to know today, now, right this moment – what they’re going to do when evil comes. That all the doors lock. That the resource officer is armed and very well trained. That their camera system is working and the PA can broadcast the location of the shooter. If the school is willing, that all the teachers and staff that wish to be armed are – and that they are trained to deal with an active shooter. This all needs to be done today, now! That staff have trauma training in the use of tourniquets and compression bandages. The school needs to take the sure knowledge the evil exists seriously, and they must be willing to confront it – or when it visits, kids and staff will die. Simple as that. As for my comment on defunding the police – it’s simple truth. A few cities to check out – Minneapolis, Chicago, NYC, Seattle, Portland, LA, San Francisco, Atlanta – to take the names I remember off the top of my head. Defunding also takes many forms. I probably go through a couple thousand rounds minimum annually per platform in range practice and a couple thousand dollars each year in training. The average police officer in the US goes through 200 rounds per year . . . 200. I tell my students that the minimum – THE MINIMUM – number of rounds to maintain a skillset is 1,000 rounds per year per platform. For an officer that would 1,000 for his duty pistol and 1,000 for his Patrol Rifle and probably 500 for his Patrol Shotgun. As compared to 200 rounds for his duty pistol alone. I consider this pattern as part of the “defunding” a police department. Let alone paying for course work that they need to attend. We are truly unique here in Vinton in my experience with the VPD. I do help train them from time to time and I know many will buy their practice ammunition out of their own pocket just to make sure they get range time. As for me, I offer my training services to any officer at not charge. Mental health - if you go through and check who defended mental health agencies – they are state agencies not federal – and, as in most things, Democrats led the way in the defending of mental health facilities. Honestly the rest of your post about trans kids, etc – feels more like a typical leftist rant and has little to nothing to do with my original article. You got in the NRA (trains more police officers and civilians than any organization – we all want folks and police trained, right??), you use the words “assault weapon” – see my response to Judy above – you have no idea what a real assault weapon can do, I hope you never do as well. And take all the guns to save the babies . . . got it.
Bill Keller June 4, 2022, 12:48 pm John Parks – WWJD . . . Really? Here’s what I picture when I see Jesus looking down on this evil we bring down upon ourselves. I see the wrathful Jesus in the temple whipping the money changers. I hear two stories about why he did this. First, they were desecrating his Father’s Home and this infuriated Him so he drove them out. The second was that when a pilgrim came worship His Father, many times they did so with a burnt offering. Since they came from other countries, they needed to change their money into local currency so they could purchase their sacrifice. The money changers were cheating the pilgrims making their sacrifice more difficult to accomplish. Jesus avenged the righteous and whipped and drove the money changers out of the temple. Either reason seems possible to me. I can envision Jesus with a flaming whip walking through the school going first after the shooter, then the negligent staff and finally the police department dealing out His punishment for their negligence. Then I can clearly see him kneeling in the school yard gathering the souls of the dead children to Him and taking them to heaven. “Suffer the little children and forbid them not!” He was there. He gathered them, loved them and took them home. As for Christians protecting society, I can only speak for me. I carry a gun every day, every where I can. I will never turn my back on a person being attacked and will use all the will, strength and training to protect anyone around me under lethal attack. I will continue that defense until the attacker has stopped their attack or until they are dead on the ground or until I have drawn my last breath. Old saying, the only way evil can succeed is for the good man to stand down. That was certainly proven out in Texas – evil succeeded.
Bill Keller June 4, 2022, 1:21 pm Tracy Walker . . . It seems they you think laws will protect the children. Really. I know one that’s been “on the books” since the mid-1400s BC. In fact it was “written in stone”. It only 4 words long. “Thou shalt not kill!” It’s been added to, of course. Integrated into different civilizations. Yet, the meaning has not changed. “Thou shalt not kill!” What would you add to would change the events in Texas? As I shared in another response, the Columbine killer’s weapon of choice was propane tank bombs – they just screwed up the fusing. Should we ban propane tanks. What about the 20,000+ gun laws already on the books? It’s almost as if an evil person ignores them all? Imagine that. You don’t need guns – a fellow in Wisconsin killed 6 with a pickup just before Christmas 2021 – drove right through them. Missed my niece and her kids by a handful of yards. You know – he’s out of jail on a $2,500 bond. Huh . . . Should we ban pickups? Evil exists, evil acts. As for the “short straw” comment, I wish that I could claim that as mine – but it came from a nationally known law enforcement trainer. Standing before evil is the primary job of a cop. PROTECT and serve is how it goes I believe. Apparently, it took an off duty officer 40 miles away and a borrowed shotgun to do the entry that what – 20-ish officers could not fine the “stones” to do. He had the only solution – he shot the shooter dead. The school cops are cowards and should all be replaced – today, now, this moment! Of course, they could be killed – over 100 officers die every year – it’s in the job description – “facing armed men could be hazardous to your health”. Would you rather do it?? I don’t think they didn’t do their job because they didn’t get respect – though in large cities responses have slowed because 2 officer patrols have become 1 officer patrols and they have city councils talking crap about them. I think they did it because they were afraid of going home in a zip-loc. It’s a real fear, an honest fear – yet it’s their job so get to it . . . or quit. As for what God would want – see my other response to John. He took care of getting the children Home – I have no doubt at all. And, of course, you end with taking the AR. As I said before – the negligence and cowardice shown in Texas does nothing to my ability to keep and bear arms as stated in the 2nd Amendment.
Norma Gould June 5, 2022, 2:53 am Bill Keller
So you appear to be saying we need more good guys with a gun. I remember reading about a man in a department store where there was an active shooter. He said he had a clear shot at the shooter but there were other people hiding in between the clothing racks and counters. He was afraid if he took a shot someone would move or get up to see where the shooter was so he didn't feel comfortable doing that. I call that a smart guy with a gun and I'm not sure about the majority of people carrying guns. The first thing I would do if I were in that parking lot you talked about, is call 911 and call to warn the store whose parking lot they were in. I would not be carrying a gun.

We have more guns in this country than we have people. We now have 120.5 guns for every 100 people and we sure as hell are not safer. All republicans talk about is mental health and hardening school's. You can harden every school in the country and our kids will still not be safe. There will always be a shooter who figures out how to get in. Because a person has to want mental healthcare for it to work we really can't count on that helping. There are too many "gun nuts" in this country who value their guns more than anything else and will kill to keep them.

I am sorry to hear you pushing you gun beliefs onto your students. Sometimes all a person needs is a little encouragement to get a gun and carry it to do evil things. Call it an assault weapon, an AR-15 or whatever you want. Makes no difference. A lot of people have been killed by them.

Did you see the 60 Minutes episode about assault weapons and see the difference between the damage done by a hand gun and an AR-15? The AR-15 explodes inside the flesh-like gel they shot it through. Those babies in Uvalde could not be identified without DNA. They had been shot more than once. Imagine living with that image of your child for the rest of your life. No wonder people are getting angry.

I think this has become an extremely racist country and their presence at the Capital on Jan 6 is proof of that. It appears these extremest are on the right and no matter what mental health laws are put in place that will not change. More than one of the recent shootings have been against the black community.

Let's say the schools are all protected and evil can't get in. I guarantee you they will just take their AR-15's and go to grocery stores or places where they can walk right in. Until these guns are banned, nothing will change. That is the weapon of choice.

Norma Gould

Bill Keller June 6, 2022, 12:12 am Norma Gould . . . It would seem your bottom line is you simply want ARs to vanish from the face of the earth. Perhaps in some imaginary land that’s a possibility – but, unless our nation has a desire to repeat of “The Late Unpleasantness” in an effort to completely disarm the American people – I don’t see many restrictions on the AR or any other current firearm passing muster before the Supreme Court. Time will tell. There is a true desire on the part of the Democrat Party to “Pack” the Supreme Court to insure they can have their way in all legislation in the future as well as eliminating the filibuster to ensure that the minority party fully looses their voice. Should that happen, we will have followed in the footsteps of many tyrannies and, without doubt – a “rematch” of “The Late Unpleasantness” will be the result.

The only belief that I am “pushing” is self-reliance. The ONLY PERSON responsible for your personal defense and protection is the person you look at in the mirror each and every day. I have no problem with that at all – it is as it should be. You seem to have chosen to remain defenseless – as is your right. You mentioned my little parking lot scenario and for you it played out in your mind as you first calling 911 – I assume to get help – and you then called the store to tell them they had a problem in their parking lot. And, of course, you specifically stated you would NOT have a gun – gotcha. I would imagine playing this forward in your mind’s eye the police quickly arrived and either scared off or arrested the evil doers. Cool. Let’s call the land that this scenario played out in “Fantasy Land” – you went home safe and sound. Perhaps it went like this.

You’re walking to your car, arms full of goodies and the nasty people jump out waving machetes and demanding your purse, cell and car keys. I can see the conversation going something like this . . .

You: Gentlemen, you know this type of behavior is illegal. I’m going to set my bags down, call 911 and the store!! Just stay right there!!!

Bad Guys – since they are “bad guys” they’re probably white racists as well – wouldn’t you just know!!! Let’s call them Fred and Tom . . .

Fred: Hey, Tom – she seems pretty upset with our machete waving and all, she’s called the cops. What should we do???

Tom: Well, you know their response time is kinda slow, up to 30 minutes in this area. We got a couple of camp chairs in the van – let’s get them out and we’ll just have to wait for the police to arrive.

Both agree, chairs are fetched, set up, probably an adult beverage is taken from a cooler and Fred and Tom sit quietly until the police arrive.

And as I suspected earlier – Fred and Tom went to the slammer and you stuck your goodies in the car and headed home with a heck of a story to tell the gals at coffee the next morning!!!

Now, let’s move to the land most of us inhabit – Da Real World – and see how this plays out. I see three different possibilities.

Possibility Number !:

You’re walking to your car, arms full of goodies and the nasty people – evil really – jump out waving machetes saying something like: Give me your purse, cell and car keys or I’ll gut you like a fish!!

You see he’s quite serious – hand everything over – and 5 minutes later your car, purse, cell and Tom and Fred are long gone with their van as well. You’re safe, shaken and walking back to the store to report your carjacking and robbery to the police. Within a few hours you’re safely back home. This would be your best-case scenario in this world.

Possibility Number 2:
You’re walking to your car, arms full of goodies and the nasty people – evil really – jump out waving machetes saying something like: Give me your purse, cell and car keys or I’ll gut you like a fish!!

You see he’s quite serious but as you are dropping your goodies and handing over your cell and purse Fred realizes that this carjacking is “Strike Number Three” – if caught, he’s headed to jail for a long time. And he realizes that if you walk away eventually, you’ll identify him. So, with a single slash you hear the wet splat of your intestines fall to the ground, a second slash severs you neck nearly to the spine and a third slash buries the machete in your head, halfway through your forehead. As you lay bleeding out on the ground Fred and Tom quickly leave with your car and their van while you roll the whole event round in your mind for your remaining minute with the sure knowledge that this just should not be happening. This would be the second-best scenario in this world – you’re dead but your suffering only lasted a handful of minutes.

Possibility Number 3:
You’re walking to your car, arms full of goodies and the nasty people – evil really – jump out waving machetes saying something like: Give me your purse, cell and car keys or I’ll gut you like a fish!!

While you’re dropping your goodies and handing over your purse and keys Tom looks at Fred and says something like – “Should we make a few extra bucks??” Tom replies “Why Not?” and whips out a SAP, smashes it against your temple and you drop like a rock – out cold. They pick up you and your stuff, throw you in the back of the van, zip tie you and drive off with your car and their van. Car is delivered to a chop shop while you are delivered to a regional human trafficker – a slaver. And, for the next 10-20 years you are a sex slave for their “organization”. I would consider this the worst-case scenario with pain and suffering being your existence for a decade or two..

With your current mindset you are simply prey in a world looking for folks just like you to take advantage of. Please – wake up, look around. You are your first responder. You are responsible for your own safety. Help is not coming in time to do you any good.

As for the fellow in the department store who had a clear shot at an active shooter – shame on him. I’m sure every person the shooter killed after he passed on the shot, wished he would have taken it. However, to be honest, I see a number of folks who get a permit, buy a gun, take a single training course and then carry their defensive weapon but never practice with it. Ever. It’s as though the permit and the gun become a magic talisman that is supposed to protect them. They never become a “shooter” but simply remain a gun owner and carry permit holder. That’s not how the real-world works – as this fellow and the victims found out.

I saw nothing in your response that actually deals with evil – so I guess you would simply prefer that we also act a prey and let evil have their way with us. MMMmm – no. I refuse. Norma – I pray the universe continues to be kind to you and that you never experience a visit from true evil. Peace.
Anthony Bopp June 11, 2022, 3:37 pm "I saw nothing in your response that actually deals with evil."

I see nothing in your post that actually deals with evil either, Bill. Good guys with guns don't deal with evil. At best they deal with the consequences of evil, without ever approaching dealing with evil.

Bad guys will always have a greater incentive to get guns than good guys. Making it easier to get guns in general means you are going to load the odds ever more in favor of the bad guys, not the good guys. Evil will have the upper hand as long as we give the bad guys obvious advantages to have the upper hand.

Dealing with evil means several things. It means dealing with controlling gun availability in a reasonable way. It means heavily funding working anti-poverty programs. It means elevating the worst performing schools. It means funding mental health programs and sciences (rather than defunding as our current state government has done). It means requiring gun safety training on a routine and frequent basis (not every five years, not a four hour class, not a class where you don't even shoot under trained observation). It means requiring permits proving you are up to date on such training before you can buy a firearm, and particularly before you are allowed to conceal carry.
Dave Coots June 14, 2022, 9:31 am Darrin Lindsey Here's a good example how the left is taking away our 1st Amendment rights. I've got better things to do than to write paper on this subject, hence one example. The video boils down to Biden's Climate & Energy Advisor saying that social media should immediately block content about Biden's policy as a source of inflation. It will happen. The news and social media is just an arm of the left.

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