Cumberland Times-News

December 26, 2012

There are ways we can protect our most vulnerable people

To the Editor:
Cumberland Times-News

— I definitely believe no one except a member of the military or a police force needs a semi-automatic or automatic weapon.

I also believe the average American does not need a magazine enabling them to get off multiple shots without reloading. This might, at least, give first responders or potential victims a chance to incapacitate a shooter.

I also believe in the rights of hunters. However, when you’re hunting, you only get one missed shot before the animal bolts away from danger. I also don’t believe the answer to gun violence is more guns.

I don’t hold out much hope that limiting automatic weapons such as the Bushmaster, AR-15s, Glock 10mm, etc., or banning high-capacity magazines will be enacted into law.

The NRA and the gun and ammunition manufacturers they represent are too powerful. They will simply obstruct any legislation hoping the outrage most of us feel dissipates.

That being said, reading in the Washington Post that there is already a proposed law in the Virginia legislature requiring teachers and principals to be armed got me thinking.

Maybe there’s another option while we work to sort out the root causes of our violent society.

Is it access to weapons, cuts in mental health funding, violent movies and video games or parental responsibility? Most likely, it’s all of the above.

When we lived in Amsterdam, they were installing what they called “man traps” in banks and jewelry stores with bullet-proof glass and metal detectors.

It’s basically a vestibule containing two sets of interlocking doors with an intercom and video that can be controlled from another part of the building. A person shows ID and/or explains their purpose for being there.

And, mind you, this is in a country where there are very few guns and crimes carried out with a gun are rare.

In the Netherlands if you want to go hunting, you go down to the local armory and sign out your gun.

If a man-trap had been in place, this latest shooter would not have gotten in carrying an arsenal of legal weapons. Additionally, bullet-proof glass everywhere in the school would have prevented the maniac from shooting his way into the building.

This system is also safe enough to be used in schools. Fire code would require that someone could exit the space while denying access to the secure area.

Why is it this, along with bullet-proof windows, couldn’t be federal law?

I can hear it now: “Oh no, our taxes will go up.” But, what kind of country do we want to live in?

A civilized society must have other priorities than simply taxes. I would pay higher taxes to protect our most vulnerable, wouldn’t you?

Elaine Monroe

Capon Bridge, W.Va.