Cape Gazette

Tuesday Editorial

Tragedies call communities to action

Dec 18, 2012

The tragedy in Newtown and our own recent tragedy in Lewes are completely different, yet details seem to link the two events.

Both tragedies unfolded in December, in the days just before Christmas. Adam Lanza’s murderous spree occurred Dec. 14, while pedophile pediatrician Earl Bradley was arrested Dec. 16, 2009. Like Bradley, Lanza is described as very intelligent and also socially challenged. Some who took their children to Bradley ignored his quirky manner because of his skill as a diagnostician, while Lanza has been remembered as bright, yet so withdrawn he could barely speak in class.

In Newtown, Lanza’s victims were mostly children; in Lewes, Bradley’s violence also struck the community’s most vulnerable, and although it’s now three years later, Bradley’s crimes, like Lanza’s, are still unfathomable.

Lanza’s weapons have drawn immediate attention. Outside a war zone, why should anyone have the kind of high-powered assault rifle Lanza used or the high-capacity ammunition clips he carried? Why are such weapons so easily available? Shouldn’t that magnitude of firepower be out of reach for all but the best trained and most disciplined soldiers defending our nation? It is far past time to end easy access to assault weapons. Getting these weapons and high-capacity clips out of homes is an essential place to start.

But focusing on guns alone is not enough. As the Cape Region knows, violence against children doesn’t always involve guns. The tragedy in Newtown, as in Lewes, must also draw attention to the critical importance of mental health care.

Mental health evaluation must be routine, administered as part of everyone’s annual health checkup. Quality mental health services must be made available to all, well before needs reach the crisis point in any more communities. Our hearts are broken for Newtown families who lost their children. In our Cape Region, Bradley’s victims survived, yet the loss of their innocence is no less heartbreaking.

These tragedies call us to action. It’s time to ban assault weapons and ensure better mental health for everyone, and especially for victims of abuse. In this season of hope, let us not forget to hold all of our children close and promise each one a safer future.

Comments (2)
Posted by: Tim McCollum | Dec 19, 2012 09:19

Well said.  It is sad that the horrific event in Newtown is the tipping point.  There is no need for assault weapons in these United States.  Mental health care needs to be recognized and provided in our health care system.

Posted by: Barry Wayne Price | Dec 21, 2012 08:53

Remember Waco. Some in America are paranoid, some fear is justified.

Date February 28 – April 19, 1993
Location Mount Carmel Center, Waco, Texas, USA
31°35′45″N 96°59′17″W / 31.59583°N 96.98806°W / 31.59583; -96.98806Coordinates: 31°35′45″N 96°59′17″W / 31.59583°N 96.98806°W / 31.59583; -96.98806
Causes Belief that federal firearms laws had been violated.[1]
Goals ATF attempted to serve a search warrant; FBI attempted to end ensuing siege.

On February 28, 1993 76 ATF agents, accompanied by three helicopters, attempted to conduct a surprise raid on the Branch Davidians' home and church. Davidians, who armed after hearing there would be a "raid" and possible "shooting", engaged in a gun battle with agents. Fifty-one day siege ensued followed by April 19, 1993 FBI attack, during which or sometime after, the building caught fire and burned down.

76 men, women and children lost their lives in the siege including leader David Koresh.

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The price of liberty is eternal vigilance.