To the editor:
Law-abiding citizens, especially those who are parents, are horrified and outraged by the terrible tragedy of school shootings, as recently occurred at Newtown, Connecticut. It is perfectly normal for there to be an uprising of emotion and a feeling that "Something must be done, anything, that will prevent this from happening again." Politicians, being true to their nature, are highly motivated to 'do something, even if it's wrong' - "it" usually is, and that's what's being proposed now.
Firearms are not the problem, and more laws won't prevent mass shootings, because people who obey laws understand that shooting someone is already against the law. A law to prevent ownership of a certain type of firearm or magazine will have no more effect on mass shootings than stopping the sale of 1.75-liter bottles of whiskey or 16-oz drinking glasses will reduce deaths by drunk driving - people with criminal intent will find a way to obtain a firearm or bottle of whiskey anyway.
Fear of being killed in a confrontation will not dissuade deranged persons bent on a mass incident, but fear of not being able to carry out their mission will. This would be accomplished by the expectation of quick counter-response - for example, if the Newtown school principal had been empowered and trained to carry a firearm with her when she rushed to the classroom where the shooting was going on, she would have had a chance to stop the tragedy instead of lunging at the shooter with no chance of effect. A pair of armed school guards would be better.
Other logical steps to be taken are to keep criminals in jail - use of a gun to commit a crime without injury should result in mandatory hard time without parole - that is a minimum of 10 years at hard labor, in a prison that is much more austere than many are today - a place that people want to stay out of. Twenty-five years if there is a shooting injury. And a capital offense with a firearm should result in capital punishment - death by firing squad, in my opinion.
Regarding your interpretation of the Second Amendment, a militia is indeed a military organization and depends upon military-style arms, all using similar ammunition, to function effectively.
I urge you and your readers to visit Fact Check.Org: Gun Rhetoric vs Gun Facts - an impartial analysis of the issues before us. What is needed are people who can think clearly and avoid "doing something, even if it's wrong" in the aftermath of this latest tragedy, and who have no political axe to grind.
Ben H. Wolcott