Vicki Westling's and W.E. Williams' columns in the OBSERVER (Aug. 15) are about two different problems. The first problem was about gun control and the second problem was about the lack of parental control, how to detect mental instability in individuals and how to get and maintain households with two concerned parents.
Prior to 1960 school shootings and other mass shootings were rare. "Copy cat shootings" arrived. In 1960 public schools in New York City had rifle teams. Students were allowed to bring their .22-caliber rifles to school. Their rifles were carried on public transportation. At school the firearms were given to their home room teacher and/or their rifle coaches to be held until after classes. After classes, instructions and training would be undertaken by those so inclined.
When I was 16 years old, I rode my bicycle through the streets of Fredonia and carried my .22-caliber rifle no problem. No one was frightened or disturbed. Today the above action would warrant that the SWAT team be called out. To solve the first problem about mentally challenged people is difficult. To solve the second problem is equally challenging. Children raised in some single parent homes may also contribute to shooting problems.
Williams states in his column that from 1880 to 1960 75 percent of black children were raised in two-parent families. Without proper guidance or instruction on what is right or what is wrong, the children are left to do whatever they desire. Their role models are basketball or football heroes who often disobey firearm laws and only receive a slap on the wrist when so charged because they are celebrities. When children are raised without a caring father or mother, they do not attend church, are disobedient in classrooms and elsewhere and assault teaches. What else can be expected?
Williams also stated that in the last five years, the city of Philadelphia schools had 30,000 criminal incidents including assaults (4,000 were on teaches), robberies and rapes. When mass shooting occurs, the first thing out is more gun control. "Guns do not kill people. People kill people." The mentally disturbed and those who conceive that they have been wronged react with force. Many adults between the ages of 15 and 24 solve their problems by shooting someone, often complete strangers (drive by shootings). When all firearms are confiscated, the only ones who will have guns will be criminals and law enforcement.
James McIlvain is a Dunkirk resident.