Dec. 14, 2012, is a date that will be remembered as one of the saddest in our nation's history. The grief being expressed can't possibly begin to console those who endured the tragic loss of the children along with the brave adults who lost their lives as a result of the heinous act of a mentally disturbed individual.
No doubt thousands of questions that are being pondered include those of why these acts are happening with such frequency. Also being discussed are what types of steps need to be taken to reduce or eliminate these types of horrific incidents in our nation's future.
I'll begin with three priorities.
1. There needs to be a standard set for mandatory security upgrades for all public/private school systems including our colleges and universities. The upgrades need centralized security command centers that monitor all points of entry to any building that contains students, teachers and school district employees.
The command centers need to have the capability to send split-second alerts to trained and adequately screened armed security personnel who would have the ability to respond to the point of entry determined by security monitors that might be about to be breached.
There also needs to be a uniform, standard upgrade to the types of security grade doors in our schools. In Newtown Conn., Adam Lanza was able to easily breach a locked door simply by using his assault rifle to blow out the generic glass door in a matter of seconds.
If these upgrades would have been in place, the odds are highly likely that we wouldn't be observing children's funerals taking place in Newtown.
2. I'm a gun owner. I own three high-powered hunting rifles, two small-caliber 22s as well as a semi-automatic shotgun. I do not own nor do I need an assault weapon like the one that was used to murder 20 innocent children who had bright futures in front them along with the brave adults who tried unsuccessfully to protect them.
The only people who need assault weapons are trained, screened security persons, local and state law enforcement and our nation's military personnel.
Private citizens do not need assault weapons. I do believe in their Second Amendment rights to own low-capacity firearms like the ones I own for hunting/sporting purposes.
3. Mental health evaluations and treatment of such also need to be upgraded and made available to all citizens. This would include much needed public awareness and educational tools that would serve to teach our populace about warning signs to look for in people who need that type of help/treatment.
Bottom line is we've obviously reached a tipping point in our nation and some serious proactive initiatives need to be implemented to end the now daily, weekly, monthly and yearly tragedies.
Our prayers and thoughts are with those who've suffered this enormous loss. Our hope is with our still living children's future to reduce the threat we are now experiencing.
The time for action is now.
Mark R. Brown