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EDITORIAL: Let's start the conversation

2012-12-22T22:32:00Z 2012-12-27T12:28:55Z EDITORIAL: Let's start the conversation Glens Falls Post-Star
December 22, 2012 10:32 pm

Surely, we can agree the conversations should take place.

That mass murder of innocent children, like what occurred in Newtown, Conn., needs a full-throated response from all of us so it never happens again.

Surely, we can agree that would be a start.

The difficulty is identifying the conversation that needs to take place. From what we know — and we may never know the most important details, including the motive behind the crime — there is no one clear response, no obvious course that would have prevented what happened at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

It is bits and pieces of society’s ills meeting at a crossroads to form a perfect storm of evil.

But it must be addressed.

Beginning today and on succeeding Sundays for the next few weeks, this newspaper plans to instigate a discussion in our community of what happened in Newtown, of what is the proper response, of how far we go and what we need to do to make our communities safe.

We hope to spawn passionate debate about school security, gun control, the care and treatment of those with mental illnesses and the effect of media and video games on a society that seems more and more desensitized to violence and less inclined to human contact.

We need to have these conversations, not only because of what happened at Newtown, but because it has happened regularly in our country: Columbine; Virgina Tech; Aurora, Colo.; and the mall shootings in Oregon earlier this month.

That’s just snapshot of the carnage.

In today’s newspaper, reporter Don Lehman takes a close look at how the system is supposed to work in keeping guns away from people who should not have them.

It is just one aspect of a complicated debate on gun control that needs to occur in the weeks and months ahead. And let us be clear, we don’t believe anyone is saying all guns should be outlawed. But we should talk about what type of guns should be legal, who should be allowed to possess them and if safety training should be mandatory.

Too often, this debate has been drowned out by the emotions of the moment, by unreasonable fears of the government and apocalyptic predictions regarding our society.

Surely, we can agree on reasonable debate on gun control.

We believe in what President Obama said when he spoke in Newtown.

We have to change, we have to compromise, we have to agree the current path is not working and is not the world we want to leave for our children, if they survive. And politics should not get in the way.

We need to discuss how far we are prepared to go on school security.

Should metal detectors be mandatory? Do we need armed guards or armed teachers? Are we prepared to adopt a prison mentality at our schools, with walled-off playgrounds and barbed wire?

Surely we are ready to have an informed discussion on mental illness, on depression and removing the stigma that so often surrounds these problems. Do we have the resources to evaluate and treat the people who need help? Let’s finally take suicide out of the closet and address it as a significant problem in our society.

Surely we are ready to discuss what we let our children watch on television and how they spend their time with computer games, texting and social media.

Is it harmful? Do we understand its effects?

As the president said, we have to change.

We hope to address all of these issues. We expect our readers to give feedback, to demand action and to make their voices heard, as well.

What happened in Newtown can never happen again.

But if we don’t have the conversation, it surely will.

Local editorials represent the opinion of The Post-Star editorial board, which consists of Publisher Rick Emanuel, Editor Ken Tingley, Projects Editor Will Doolittle and citizen representative Robert Sledd.

Copyright 2015 Glens Falls Post-Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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