It is not the guns; guns are inert

One of the results of the Parkland shooting has been a proposal that perhaps teachers should be armed. Personally, I think that would be a serious mistake for many reasons, not the least of which would be the lack of proper training for using a weapon. Teachers carrying weapons could be a very bad idea if law enforcement enters the fray. It would be very difficult for an officer to differentiate between the bad guy with a weapon and a teacher with a weapon.

That would be the case however, only if the law enforcement people enter the fray. If they stay outside, it wouldn’t be a problem and armed teachers might be able to subdue an assailant.

That the school resource officer in Parkland, Florida did not enter the school and engage the shooter totally mystifies me. It was suggested the officer thought the shooter was outside. In my opinion, that is not a reasonable assumption.

One can hear gunfire and assess its location. Children died because of that choice. Having an excellent record is not the same has having courage. I guess one never knows if one has courage until challenged. Some have it and some don’t. Though it was rare, I did encounter some cowardice in the military as well. Very sad.

So, where are we? Some businesses are deserting the National Rifle Association as a result of the Parkland shooting. In my opinion, that is an economic decision, not a moral or ethical one. Those businesses hope their action will benefit them by making them look good in the eyes of the media, etc.

Sure, they care about those families, but I believe their decision to drop their relationship with the NRA is a calculated hope that it will benefit them financially and has little to do with anything else.

While I personally see no reason or need to have an AR-15, consider this: Place an AR-15 and ammunition on your deck and watch it. It is inert. It will do nothing. It is not the guns. Pogo was correct: “We have met the enemy and it is us.” As a society, we are not doing what we morally and ethically should be doing. Where is morality? Where is civility? Where is ethical consideration for others?

On a much lesser scale, the degradation of society was further demonstrated to me by an experience I had this morning.

I was out for my daily walk and passed a pond where two young men were fishing. Initially, I was impressed. Then they started talking. Maybe they thought I am deaf because I am old, but I doubt it. I really don’t think they cared.

Apparently the only adjective being learned and used in conversation among many young people today is the “F” word. I was astounded by the exuberance and repeated use of the word describing just about everything they were doing or talking about. No other adjective was used.

Why? Perhaps they think it makes them appear “grown up.” In reality, it makes them appear ignorant, uncouth, poorly raised, and totally limited in their capability to express themselves intelligently. If one’s vocabulary is so severely limited that such an adjective is the adjective of choice, it is very sad. Why do parents tolerate such vulgarity? Is that what the kids hear at home? That too would be very sad.

While most of the young people with whom I interact (primarily my grandchildren and Kiwanis Key Club members at our local high schools) are very polite and well raised, I am concerned that too many of the young people (both male and female) I see and hear along the golf cart paths using such vulgar language are indulged, spoiled, undisciplined delinquents.

As I said in a previous letter, we must be parents, not friends. We must demonstrate, teach, and expect/demand moral, ethical, civil behavior. The future of our republic specifically and our society in general depends upon it. God help us.

Richard B. (Ben) Backus, Ed.D.
Peachtree City, Ga.