Opinion | Parents Fearing for Their Children’s Lives

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To the Editor:

I lied to my children. It was not the first time I’ve lied to them, I’m sure it won’t be the last, and I pray it’s not a lie at all.

They asked me: “What if a shooter comes to my school? What if it happens here? Will I be safe? What about my friends?”

I told them, “You practice for this at your school with your teachers and friends, you’ll be fine.” But Robb Elementary practiced, too.

I told them, “Your school has locks on its doors, you’ll be fine.” But so did Robb Elementary.

I told them, “Your teachers love you and will protect you.” But Irma Garcia and Eva Mireles tried; they loved their students, too.

I told them, “It won’t happen here.” But it’s happening everywhere, it keeps happening.

This wasn’t the first time I’ve answered these questions. They’re the answers I give them when they wake up with nightmares that there are bad guys in school and they couldn’t hide. They’re the answers I tell myself when I drop them off in the morning.

When will it stop? When will somebody, anybody, do something? We can’t keep shaking our heads and calling it a tragedy and moving on.

Paige Allred
Trinity, N.C.

To the Editor:

I am an American living in Massachusetts. I feel fortunate that I do live there, where a license is required to own a gun. As more violence and slaughter of innocent people, particularly children, occur, I have been thinking about emigrating to Austria to join my daughter and her family.

I used to lament that they lived so far away, but now I consider myself one of the lucky ones: My daughter and grandson are much safer there than here, hands down. My friends who are grandparents look at me, shake their heads and say how hard it must be to have them live so far away. My response to them now is “I hope they never come back.”

My affinity to the country where I grew up and raised my children has been severely damaged.

Kari Cretella-Nickou
Newbury, Mass.

To the Editor:

As a parent of two school-age children, I wonder every single day if their school will be the next site of a mass shooting. And if it is I know exactly whom I will not blame. I will not blame the hunter who earned a license. I will not blame the sportsman who practices his craft and competes at competitions. I will not blame homeowners who have licensed guns they feel are needed to protect themselves and their families during these volatile times.

I will blame the gun manufacturers who are beholden to their board of directors and shareholders, and the C.E.O. who is driven to make a profit at any cost. And to insure their bottom line the possible mass murder of children, of my children, is a calculation they’ve made and have accepted. Every single one of them has chosen money over my kids’ lives.

Let’s start a conversation about the real threat here. And let’s hold those who produce the guns and pay the lobbyists and elected officials to do their bidding accountable.

They have the right to earn a living. They have a right to be profitable. But not at the cost of our lives and our children’s lives.

Stan G. Horowitz
New York

To the Editor:

Democrats in Congress are racing into a trap. They are about to participate in the likely passage of a watered-down measure that will do little but give cover to Republicans and the gun lobby. More mass shootings will occur. The Republicans and the gun lobby will claim, “See, we tried gun control and it doesn’t work.”

Philip Gerson
Studio City, Calif.

To the Editor:

Re “Children Die of Hunger and Thirst as Fierce Drought Ravages Somalia” (news article, June 12):

Children are not disposable garbage; they are precious jewels, and we are morally obligated to protect them. The brilliant reporting in this article is a wake-up call that we must do anything in our power to address the food and water shortages in the Horn of Africa.

My heart breaks for the innocent children of Somalia. I am stunned and appalled by the lack of outrage at Russia for its blockage of wheat from Ukraine that feeds many in this region. We also see clear evidence of climate change leading to extreme weather conditions leading to floods, warming temperatures and drought.

In the 21st century we should be ready to scream, “Not on my watch!” We need to donate money and food, and pressure our government to help the up to 20 million people facing the risk of starvation in Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia.

Leslie Ebert
Catonsville, Md.

To the Editor:

Re “The Doctrine of the Irreligious Right,” by Nate Hochman (Opinion guest essay, Sunday Review, June 5):

The beauty of using culture wars — both secular and Christian — as the primary fodder of political dialogue is that the issues over which they are waged will never be settled, will never cease to be divisive. These issues — such as abortion, same-sex marriage, other L.G.B.T.Q. rights, etc. — are informed by everyone’s personal and moral judgment.

Shaping electoral politics around their rightness or wrongness continually proves to be a convenient and deliberate ruse to avoid talking about far more pertinent matters such as poverty, ever widening wealth and income inequality, homelessness, quality education and health care, gun control, and the future of our children’s lives given the assault on the environment.

The business of government should be to ensure that each child and the adults in their lives and communities are guaranteed every right and resource to attain their fullest human potential regardless of their gender, race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation or citizenship status — not to adjudicate what happens in the confines of people’s private lives.

Kasturi DasGupta
Freehold, N.J.
The writer is emeritus professor of sociology at Georgian Court University.

To the Editor:

“The Doctrine of the Irreligious Right” omits the most significant characteristic of this faction: It is anti-democratic. It will use any means necessary — disinformation, corruption of elections and violence — to gain and maintain power.

The politicians who ride in front of this parade are aiming for a dystopia — unaccountable government and unregulated capitalism coupled with religiously regulated personal choice — and no democratic means to turn it around.

Arthur Karlin
Bedford, N.Y.

To the Editor:

Re “No Degree, but Saddled With Debt” (Business, June 7):

Over the past few decades, there has been a cultural shift toward (1) the assumption that almost everyone should go to college, and (2) the notion that education will be financed in significant part by student loan debt.

Back in an earlier era, when I was going through university and graduate school, this was less the case. It was more common for young people to work their way through college, have college funded by their parents or defer/reject college to go directly to work, the military or trade school.

I put myself through B.A., M.A. and Ph.D. degrees by working, getting scholarships and living frugally, without incurring any debt. Sure, times were different, but it was not easy. Anyone who thinks it was did not live back then and go through what I did.

When I graduated with my Ph.D., the job market was awful. But I had peace of mind in not having to worry about a cloud of debt over my head.

With the exception of a home mortgage or an emergency, it is generally best to avoid personal debt if possible. It allows for greater peace of mind, self-reliance and a happier life overall.

Rebecca S. Fahrlander
Bellevue, Neb.
The writer is a recently retired adjunct professor of psychology and sociology.

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