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Letters to the Editor

We are all vunerable

To the Editor,

It’s important to realize that schools are not the only sites for mass shootings: they can happen anywhere.

Since 2004, when the last federal ban on assault rifles sun-setted (yes, there once was a ban!), at least 31 shootings have occurred with four or more killed. (Metro USA News updated Feb. 14, 2018.) Of the 31, 12 happened at businesses or places of work, four at churches, four involved family members or friends, two at public events, two at government sites, and seven at schools. Including the recent Parkland, Florida, school incident, at least 15 of the shootings involved semi-automatic or automatic weapons. Only five involved shooters under the age of 21.

While we certainly need to protect our school children with appropriate security, schools are not the only vulnerable places. The issue of assault rifles is far broader than that: we are all vulnerable wherever we are. With over 3,000,000 assault-type weapons currently in private hands, we can expect that some owners will not be determined to be “mentally ill” until they press the trigger. And mental stability is only one factor; the other is legal access to weapons designed to kill many people quickly.

While school administrators and school boards address the need for immediate solutions for school security, we also need to demand action from our legislators (whose own government offices, ironically, are heavily secured) to re-ban private ownership of assault rifles. After many mass shootings prior to 1994, federal legislators had the guts to do it then, and they can do it now.

Finally, we need to campaign doorto-door and on social media for candidates who will support legislation to ban assault rifles that can kill any of us anytime exercising our right to assemble freely and securely.

Change will only come if decisionmakers face the real issue.

Betsy Scanlin

Red Lodge

We need action

To the Editor,

(Cynthia) Marble’s letter (‘Schools, Guns and Prayer’ CCN Feb. 22) suggests that less prayer and Bible study in our schools has led to an increase in gun violence, but it is not true that prayer has been widely removed from public schools. Students can pray to the God of their choice, or no God, anytime, anywhere. Students have the right to carry Bibles in school. Students can choose to study religion as a part of assignments, where applicable. Students may also attend the church, temple, mosque, synagogue, or other religious institution of their choice. School is not the place to push any particular religion. It is a place to teach how to think; not what to think.

The First Amendment of the Bill of Rights assures us that a state religion is unconstitutional.

Marble states, “Atheism does not foster hope,” which has resulted in “increasing expressions of hate and violence in our society and the hopelessness expressed in mass shootings.” History is filled with the cruelty of religious people, the loving kindness of atheists, and vice versa. Therefore, religion, or lack of it, is not a likely cause of the rampant gun violence we are now experiencing.

I think the roots of mass shootings are varied, but a major cause is the NRA (National Rifle Association).  In worldwide studies of gun violence, the distinguishing features of our situation are the number and availability of guns. Other developed countries don’t have this problem.  At all.

The NRA is now understood by most to be a lobbyist for the gun business. They just want to sell more guns, and they want to do so at the expense of our children’s lives. There are limits on the first amendment right to free speech. The classic example of this is yelling fire in a crowded theater. In other words, when peoples’ lives are at risk, reasonable limits can apply.

After every massacre, the NRA, which owns many politicians, makes sure that nothing is done to solve the problem. Marion Hammer, a powerful NRA lobbyist from Florida, sent out a memo to her supporters last week, in the wake of the Parkland massacre, urging them to oppose: waiting periods, raising age limits, banning or limiting sales of assault weapons and bumpstocks. One of the current NRA-backed proposals involves arming teachers.  This, of course, would make the gun manufacturers even richer. While most people are for improved background checks, the NRA blocks this idea every time.  Beat your wife? No problem!

On Mother’s Day 2000, I took my son to the Million Mom March against gun violence in Washington, DC. He was 11 years old. This has been going on too long.

Cynthia Marble and I agree on the most important thing: we need more love and kindness in the world.

As the Parkland students who began the #neveragain movement keep saying: Prayers are not enough; we need action.


Katy Kern

Red Lodge


Upcoming Events

  • Tuesday, April 23, 2019 - 7:00pm
    Now Group meets at the Bridger United Methodist Church, 222 W. Broadway (west entrance of church) Tuesday at 7 p.m.
  • Thursday, April 25, 2019 - 7:00pm
    Meets every Thursday, 7 p.m. – 8 p.m. at the Red Lodge Area Community Foundation, 122 S. Hauser. It is open to all. 425- 1755.
  • Thursday, April 25, 2019 - 7:00pm
    Clarks Fork Group meets at St. Joseph’s Catholic Hall, north end of Montana Avenue, Thursday at 7 p.m.
  • Friday, April 26, 2019 - 7:00pm
    Rock Creek Group meets Tuesdays and Saturdays at 8 a.m. and Wednesdays and Fridays at 7 p.m. at Calvary Church, 9 N Villard, Red Lodge.
  • Saturday, April 27, 2019 - 6:00pm
    The Carbon County Republican Lincoln Reagan Dinner is April 27 starting at 6 p.m. Social Hour, Beef Dinner at 7 p. m. at the Joliet Community Cente. Silent auction, pie auction, live auction of gun. Contact: Ed at 606-2159 and Cynthia at 425-1226.
  • Monday, April 29, 2019 - 7:00pm
    Joliet Group meets at the Community Center Monday at 7 p.m.

The Carbon County News

Street Address:

11 N. Broadway, Red Lodge, MT 59068

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P.O. Box 970, Red Lodge, MT 59068

Phone: 406-446-2222

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Open: Monday-Friday, from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.