With deep regard for our future

I am one of your elementary school teachers who deeply desires to preserve our schools as places of safe, sheltered learning. As any of your teachers worth their salt know, effective classroom management is the key to nurturing healthy, safe classrooms. We, your adults, America, need to invigorate our cultural management to nurture a safe, healthy America for our children.

Japan, Australia, Canada, and the UK have all dramatically lowered their national gun homicide rates by flexing their national political will through dialogue, policy, and national legislation. They have successfully addressed their cultural management through prevention, treatment, and enforcement. The key common elements of their success include:

– gun access, (many guns held under lock and key at sporting clubs, training facilities) 

– types of guns that are legal

– stiff licensing procedures with a renewal every five years

– mandatory training to certificate levels for obtaining a license

– extensive background checks for public and private sales that require the police to be involved in the background checks as well as mandatory medical certificates of mental health and drug free status obtained by taking mental health and drug tests at the local appropriate facilities

– ample government buyback programs for newly made illegal guns

– mandatory retraining every 3-5 years for gun safety and handling to maintain a gun license

– quick consequences of extended jail time for those who are not licensed or buy or sell guns illegally.

One important tool in our cultural management is the automobile. Cars can also be weapons of deadly destruction. It is mandated that we be trained in how to drive them; pass a driver’s test to obtain a driving license; learn to maintain them to keep them in safe working order; register our car every year; and maintain our license. Driver’s licenses can also be taken away. Guns are recognized tools in our cultural management. Guns can also be deadly weapons of destruction.

We can strengthen our cultural management by requiring the following: gun owners must be licensed; mandatory training to obtain the licenses; guns to be registered nationally; universal background checks using national databases culled from enforcement, educational, and mental health institutions and swift enforcement against those who abdicate their responsibility or obtain guns illegally. Not only would this help nurture a populace that is aware of the responsibilities that come with the right of owning a gun, it would also generate income. This income could be used by the national and/or state governments to help fund buyback programs of illegal guns; maintain the databases for background checks;  print and issue licenses; fund comprehensive early identification,  treatment,  and/or training of those suffering from mental health challenges, etc.

As one of the many hired stewards of your future, I am doing my level best to help your children know how to become well-skilled, knowledgeable, responsible adults with fine character and beautiful hearts. America, your children are determined and clear headed. Can you be as strong as your children and tighten your powers of protection? Or will you take the politically easy way out and leave more smoking guns, bodies, and blood on the floors of our schools?

Darienne Oaks, Shelburne

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