Soldiering on for weapons of mass destruction

Opinion column

Carlton Fletcher

Carlton Fletcher

I just allow a fragment of your life to wander free. But losing everything is like the sun going down on me.

— Elton John

As I slowly recovered from the shock of the tragic events that unfolded in Newtown, Conn., on Dec. 14, I watched/read/listened with growing disbelief to the reaction of many Americans to the shooting of 20 children and six school officials at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Before the blood on the schoolhouse walls had even dried, a great number of ghouls who apparently bear not one thread of human decency started defending Americans’ rights to own semi-automatic weapons like the killing machine used to end the lives of the 20 innocents in Newtown.

They toted out all the tired cliches: “If we take away the Second Amendment rights of decent citizens to own guns, then only criminals will have guns. ... This just shows that we need to arm every law-abiding citizen. ... Guns don’t kill, it’s people who kill. ... You’ll take my guns when you pry them from my cold, dead hands.”


What was most disgusting about this NRA-fueled gun lovefest was that very few of the people who spoke out against any kind of legislation that would curtail the ownership of these weapons of mass destruction offered even a passing note of sympathy for the senseless loss of the lives of 20 6- and 7-year-old children, babies who were just starting to understand what life is. For them, the children were mere casualties of their ongoing self-proclaimed war.

I’ve said before, and I’ll say again, that we as American citizens — no matter how we feel personally about guns — are indeed guaranteed the right to arm ourselves. It’s right there in the Constitution. But I don’t recall any amendment guaranteeing us the right to own weapons that have the capacity for such wanton violence and destruction. And, other than a misguided lust for power that owning such weapons brings, I see no use for the weapons other than what happened in Newtown.

As the nation slowly comes to grips with the horror of the Connecticut massacre, and the call for more control over such devastating weapons has grown, the fervor of gun advocates has increased to fever pitch. Their message: We need to keep our weapons — all weapons — at any cost.

To those advocates, I’d like to present to you a list, one many of you are seeing for the very first time:

Avielle Richman, 6; Caroline Previdi, 6; Madeleine Hsu, 6; Allison Wyatt, 6; Benjamin Wheeler, 6; Dylan Hockley, 6; Noah Pozner, 6; James Mattioli, 6; Chase Kowalski, 7; Josephine Gay, 7; Daniel Barden, 7; Charlotte Bacon, 6; Ana Marquez-Greene, 6; Jessica Rekos, 6; Olivia Engel, 6; Catherine Hubbard, 6; Grace McDonnell, 7; Jesse Lewis, 6; Jack Pinto, 6; Emilie Parker, 6.

Those are the children who were slain by one person — one person!! — with a semi-automatic weapon on Dec. 14 in Newtown, Conn. You can add six more names to that list — Anne Marie Murphy, Rachel D’Avino, Lauren Rousseau, Victoria Soto, Dawn Hochsprung, Mary Sherlach — the adults who were also murdered by that same lone gunman.

Maybe you’re so self-absorbed, have so totally bought into the all guns, all the time ethos, that you have completely passed over the fact that of the 26 people massacred that fateful day, 20 of them were children.

If so, you should realize that while you were out championing your right to own whatever weapon you can get your hands on and oiling up those weapons for the revolution during the holidays, the families of these 20 children were left grieving ... and planning funerals.

Email Metro Editor Carlton Fletcher at carlton.fletcher@albanyherald.com.


Sister_Ruby 2 years, 3 months ago

Fletcher.......there is still NO REASON to lay down arms and create Weapons Free Zones for future lunatics to have their way with all the firepower they can get illegally, on the black market, or out of some THUG's car trunk. You're a fool, as usual.

While we're at it, why not outlaw marijuana, crack, alcohol, prostitution...............oh wait....we already did that. How did that work?


waltspecht 2 years, 3 months ago

As if the Anti-gun crowd didn't jump first. The smoke from the first announcements hadn't even cleared and people were condemming the weapon, not the perpetrator, nor the system that allowed him to exist and flurish. There is nothing that can be done to stop a Crazy, other than to lock them away at the first sign of a problem. That we can't do because the Government won't fund such action, and you would be violating their Freedoms, as the ACLU would be quick to point out. So lets pass a law, that only law abiding citizens will observe, and that Criminals won't be held accountable to because they can plead the Fifth about self incrimination. (When answering Probation or Parol Officers questions) So admit it, you want to disarm the average honest citizen so you will feel better. I would feel better if every Teacher that was ever removed from Teaching for any inappropriate contact with students were permently jailed to protect all the children in the future. Do you think I stand any chance of ever seeing that?


USTPC 2 years, 2 months ago

Exactly. I watched numerous reports on the Newton shooting and every one of them was calling for gun legislation on the day of the shooting. The NRA waited a week before they commented. So who really did not wait for the blood to dry on the walls before pushing their agenda? It was the anti-gun group not the pro gun group.


RedEric 2 years, 3 months ago

Every state had institutions where disturbed people went. Probably most went unwillingly. They were treated and cared for. Some for short terms and then released. There were abuses as with any large scale operation. They were not as depicted in "one flew over the coocoos nest". The primary benefit was that the patients were safe and so was the public. This started to be unraveled in the 70s and was completed in the 80s. It was called "normalization". The liberals congratulated themselves and abandoned the disturbed. Connecticut tried to make it less restrictive to confine someone. The ACLU fought and won. In some states the patient must sign to agree to confinement. The mass shootings were all committed by disturbed people. People who were "freed" by ACLU. Free to sink deeper into to their mad worlds until these acts seem justified. In France of all places a psychiatrist was jailed because he released a disturbed person who then committed a murder. Instead our government wants to take guns away.


DoctorDorite 2 years, 3 months ago

1st amendment: your brain controls what you write with your keyboard. 2nd amendment: your brain controls what you shoot with your firearm. Simple, its the faulty brain thats causing the problems, not the tool as designed. I'd bet the press would go "ape &^%# " if what they write is limited by government control. I suggest they keep a watch over their shoulder, Uncle Sam will be after them too ! Its simple, more press means more knowledge of government doings and more guns mean more freedom from government control.


waltspecht 2 years, 3 months ago

December 17, 2012 San Antonio Texas. A man upset over his girlfriend leaving him shot her and went into a crowded movie theater and shot one more. Then a Deputy Sherriff that was off duty put four rounds into him. A bad man with a gun, met a good Women with a gun. He isn't dead. Why wasn't this covered by the Media? Probably because it would have backed up the NRA's statement made two days later


Cartman 2 years, 3 months ago

So gun owners have no feelings? Get off your self-righteous pedestal Carlton and quit using the memories of these innocent angels to push your perverted politics on those who did nothing wrong.


LoneCycler 2 years, 3 months ago

The Gun Free School Zone Act, better known as the “Free Fire Zones for Schools Act,” is clearly not working. Instead of changing this law to allow honest citizens to defend themselves from lunatics bent on mayhem, progressives like Mr. Fletcher insist on trashing the US Constitution, hysterically claim assault weapon look-alike rifles are evil incarnate and then drag out the victims of the latest massacre as evidence they are right. It's a pathetic attempt to exploit misery for political ends -- but this is what progressives do as a rule.


markslappey 2 years, 3 months ago

carlton u r wrong -before the bodies were removed liberals were shouting for gun control -the NRA did not comment for several days -when will people like yourself get it thru your heads that guns don't kill people do ,full auto weapons have been banned for years ,now the shout is for semi auto ,then pumps ,then lever action then bolt action and then all guns -we know what obama and the U N are striving for -a disarmed socirty one that can be dictated to with no liberty -it is a tradegy that even one child was killed ,not as bad as the thousands of abortions done each week that we are taxed to pay for under the fradulent planned parethood ,how bout the thousands each year killed by drunk drivers or by hands and knives ?people who want to kill many will find a way -if the government dictates what gun one can have will it next be what kind of car one can drive


Merlin 2 years, 3 months ago

Ohhh, just my kind of hard hitting commentary from my most admired idiot. Give it a rest Fletch. Did you plagiarize this?


Tonto 2 years, 2 months ago

What a waste of print. You just became the trillionth idiot to evoke the sob story defense of your position...which you held before this terrible event. Haven't seen you writing about bus safety when a train hits one and kills multiple children. As if anything we could have said or done would have lessend the pain felt by that community....but you will use it immediately in an attempt to validate your position thru an emotional response and an appeal to humanity; implying disagreement makes one less than human. Maybe you should do the weather page..you can blame tornados on God and demand some sort of action there as well.


USTPC 2 years, 2 months ago

Here are some statistics for you Carlton:

Firearm Homicide: 11,493 Non-Firearm Homicide: 16,799 (number one weapon - baseball bat) Deaths from motor vehicle accidents: 34,485 Deaths from medical errors: 195,000

So you want to outlaw guns to protect the loss of innocent lives. Why are you not also calling for outlawing baseball bats, cars, and doctors? They are responsible for 21.42 times as many deaths each year than firearms.


tiredofit 2 years, 2 months ago

We think we have problems now, wait until the crack babies,ice babies,meth babies get of age, some already are, all heck will break loose. These parents have not raised there children with any morals, respect therefore they won't respect therselves muchless anyone else. Stupid parents raise stupid children. As the NRA says the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.


Black_Falcon 2 years, 2 months ago

“Of all of our studies, history is best qualified to reward our research.”—Malcolm X

In light of the CT shootings, gun control debates are in full swing. As usual, these debates underscore the lack of critical thinking that permeates society. Let me begin by saying that I am a staunch supporter of the 2nd amendment. Further, I am a card carrying member of the NRA. However, having said that, I would be willing to support some form of gun control if a viable argument was presented to me. So far, I haven’t heard one. So far all I have heard are the same hackneyed positions from gun-control activists they always posit. For example:

We need to ban assault weapons. This sounds good but let’s examine this position critically. First, what is an assault weapon? How will these weapons be defined? Will it become a ban on scary looking weapons? Second, and more importantly, we have tried this already (remember Columbine). Further, CT already has an assault weapon ban in place; a ban that was in place at the time of the shooting. Sadly, the ban didn’t work.

We need to ban high capacity magazines. What does a person need with a weapon that can shoot that many times? This goes to Mr. Fletcher's argument. Sounds good, but let’s dissect this critically. Excessism is a part of American culture. For example, what does a person need with a Lamborghini of Ferrari? The speed limit (in the US) is only 70MPH (in some places 75MPH). Why have cars that can travel over 200MPH? Or, a house can only provide shelter. What does a single person (i.e. athlete or celebrity) need with a 20,000 Sq. ft. mansion? The point I am making is that we all have things that go over and above what is required for basic functioning. Second, and more importantly, it won’t work. Let’s suppose there was an assault weapons ban and there was a limit on high capacity magazines. A person could legally possess a 9mm handgun and unlimited amounts of 10 round magazines (Remember VA Tech).

I am saddened by what happened in CT. I think we as a nation should respond with sensible legislation. However, the legislation should (at least) address the problem and provide realistic solutions. For example, how to address the mentally ill needs to be re-examined. Further, the violence that permeates society via movies, television, video games, etc. needs to be addressed. Violence in America is a multi-faceted problem. To only talk about gun control is short sighted and downright foolish.


VSU 2 years, 2 months ago

If you were to take away all guns, I believe the crime rate would skyrocket beyond belief.


Abytaxpayer 2 years, 2 months ago

Mr. Fletcher while you are bleeding those tears, I have to ask why? Look and see how many kids die each year from playing football and how many sustain life altering injuries. What killing and maiming for public spectacle does not tug at your heart too? So killing in cold blood is bad but killing for public entertainment is good? You truly are heartless!


Jacob 2 years, 2 months ago

Don't confuse Carlton Sheeple with the facts. They don't fit in with his liberal, effete agenda.


ScubaGolfJim 2 years, 2 months ago

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia says that the US Constitution is not a "living document" and must be interpreted as at the time it was written. Except he appears to not hold that opinion when it comes to the 2nd amendment.

Our Founding Fathers could not have imagined the type of weapons available today. Therefore, they obviously meant that the people could own flintlocks and muskets. Do you know how long it takes to reload a flintlock or musket? My Grandmother could stop a deranged shooter before the second shot. Thirty round mags for handguns? Not necessary, and not protected by the 2nd.

Personally, I think that the Supreme Court should base it's rulings and interpretations of the FEDERAL version of the US Constitution and Bill of Rights. That one that omits the second comma making the phrase about the people and the militia all one body. Therefore, “Because a well regulated militia is necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed.” In other words, the amendment is really about protecting militias, notwithstanding the originalist arguments to the contrary.


Sister_Ruby 2 years, 2 months ago

Jim, you ignorant slut. The Founding Fathers imagined the citizenry owning the same weapons that enabled the United States to become a free and independent Nation. At that time, it was flintlocks and muskets. But you miss the PRINCIPLE of the amendment which was to enable the citizens to rebel against their governments which could become and has become inevitable throughout history. We are just about there once again in the USA unless there are changes. Either that or we must protect ourselves against cartels and others who can illegally obtain any weapons they want because they have unlimited money. Don't be a fool, son!


wildman 2 years, 2 months ago

Mr Fletcher , get off your left leaning high horse and stop listening to so much rock n roll. How many children were aborted for convenience sake on that same tragic day? Are you pro abortion? How many children were killed by distracted, drunk or just stupid drivers? Should we ban cars and trucks? Once again the left gleefully take a tragedy and turn it into a political fiasco. Your left sided mind never surprises me. But don't you think the death of all those innocent children was and still is tragic enough without using it to make some silly political statement. You keep quoting the dope smokin' rock- n -rollers and I'll keep my guns.


Cartman 2 years, 2 months ago

Carlton used to pontificate about Obama not coming after our guns. Now he critisizes us for not rolling over for it.


USTPC 2 years, 2 months ago

You know what is really funny about the headline of this article? Bush was criticized for his attack on Iraq because they did not find the weapons of mass destruction (the definition at that time was that WOMD was nuclear bombs). But, the Iraqi regimes soldiers did own and use automatic machine guns and based on the headline of this article, semi-automatic weapons are now considered weapons of mass destruction. By default that means so are automatic machine guns.

On that fact alone, does this mean that Bush has been exonerated and is owed an apology by the liberal media and everyone else who lambasted him? Based on the headline used above he is.

Carlton, just an FYI - A weapon of mass destruction is an object or device that can cause widespread devastation, usually by exploding or emitting poisonous substances. Weapons of mass destruction include nuclear weapons, bombs, and torpedoes.

For you to call semi-automatic weapons and high capacity clips weapons of mass destruction is irresponsible at best and flat out lying to create the greatest emotional impact from the masses at worst.


waltspecht 2 years, 2 months ago

The second ammendent meant the people would have arms commenserate with the standing Army, not necessarily to overthrow an oppressive tyranical government, but to readily supliment the standing Army should the fighting be on American Soil. So they would indeed want the people to have actual fully automatic Assault Weapons, and be well versed in their use. That is an unpleasent truth many people tend to overlook. Plus, why don't you check with a Combat Vet, not someone that was "In the rear with the Colonel and his gear." What the preferred weapon for inclose combat is? Hint, it isn't an assault weapon, either semi or fully auto, it is a shotgun and an operator that knows how to use one. One of the primary weapons at Columbine and the Colorado Theater was a shotgun.


Mr_Heatmiser 2 years, 2 months ago

But I don’t recall any amendment guaranteeing us the right to own weapons that have the capacity for such wanton violence and destruction. And, other than a misguided lust for power that owning such weapons brings, I see no use for the weapons other than what happened in Newtown.

What sort of weapon did the second amendment guarantee us, Carlton?

Perhaps it's odd, but when I think about the phrase "a well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state", I actually tend to think more of a military-style weapon than a hunting firearm.

Also, just because you don't see the need for something doesn't mean the need doesn't exist.


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