The Daily Star, Oneonta, NY - otsego county news, delaware county news, oneonta news, oneonta sports

Letters to the Editor

December 26, 2012

Seward 'knee-jerk' statement misguided

Seward ‘knee-jerk’

statement misguided

I am disturbed by the fact that Sen. Seward allowed himself to be quoted in the Daily Star, warning us to avoid a “knee-jerk reaction” to the Newtown massacre of children and teachers.

Since he is our representative, I think he owes it to us to explain in greater detail what he meant by this phrase. Does he mean we should devote the next year or two or three to “studying” what changes we can make in our laws that won’t disturb the gun lobby overly much? Or what?

This is too big and too tragic an issue for our state senator to brush aside with a mere phrase. What leadership does he plan to provide to help ensure that such a tragedy does not occur in our district — or elsewhere, for that matter?

The danger we face, it seems to me, is not acting too precipitously but in not acting at all — for fear of riling the wealthy few who own stocks in gun companies.

“With all deliberate speed” is a better rule of thumb for making urgently needed changes rather warning against a “knee-jerk reaction.” In Australia in 1996, following a shooting massacre, the government banned the sale of semi-automatic guns, bought back those in circulation, and required gun purchasers to register all weapons under their own names. As a result, gun deaths dropped 59 percent over the next 10  years, with not even one mass shooting since then.

Let us make ourselves acquainted with the ways other democratic nations deal with gun control and also with mental health needs. Whatever such efforts we can make we must make sooner, not later — no matter whom we upset (including the NRA) — to prevent such a tragedy as occurred in Newtown.

Hilda Wilcox

Cooperstown

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