Generally Speaking: Week of December 20

December 19, 2012 Theodore W. General
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In memory of the Sandy Hook school massacre

As the father of a young teacher, four children and four grandchildren, the youngest age three, the recent massacre at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, really hits home.

It makes you seriously wonder when places like schools and house of worship can no longer be considered safe havens for children and others. This latest gruesome incident happened only 60 miles from here! Maybe it’s time to let retired detectives, state troopers and police officers serve as security sentinels within our public and non-public schools.

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Unfortunately, it’s beginning to look like the only way you can prevent large casualties like Columbine and Newtown, is by having an armed officer on duty at every school! I know there is a big cost associated, but if we are to shield and protect our children from armed, deranged predators, no expense should be spared.

Of course, there are other immediate measures that can be taken by banning the purchase of assault weapons by members of the general public. If you are a high-powered gun enthusiast, maybe restricted shooting ranges can be set up where you rent the firearm while you are at the range and of course must do your target practice on site and can’t leave the premises with the weapon.

With present day technology and special apps, I’m sure just like we have no-fly lists for possible terrorists, a nationwide computer system can be set up at shooting ranges, gun shops and other places where guns and ammunition are sold. Even when a storekeeper turns down or sees what he considers is a suspicious gun or ammo buyer, that incident should be recorded in the appropriate database.

So let’s keep alive the memory of those tender, young children and the teachers that lost their lives that fateful day, and remember them in our hearts and prayers.

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Major Fran Rader, the commander and pastor of the Bay Ridge Corps of the Salvation Army, was the guest speaker at the December meeting and Yuletide holiday party of the Bay Ridge AARP chapter held at the Shore Hill Community Center.

Rader thanked the AARP members for their annual food drive to help restock the Army’s local pantry, and for the many years they have been collecting toys, games, plush animals and dolls for needy children during the Christmas and Hanukkah season. She also spoke about her center on 86th Street, making available small emergency funds for food, clothing and furniture.

The AARPers were also treated to a live performance by the Fort Hamilton High School chorus under the direction of Bob Lanigan. Chorus soloists were Shayla Whitaker, Timica Sinclair, Shannon Burgher and Tony Stancapiano. City Councilmember Vincent Gentile stopped by and presented a grant check to Bay Ridge AARP President Peter Killen.

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Keep Christ in Christmas! A blessed and very Merry Christmas to you and your families.

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