Letter: Adjust attitudes and behavior



Following the awful Newtown, Conn., massacre will be many calls for new gun control laws, and some of those calling will be the very people at least partially responsible for the self-centered, violent nation we have become.

In Switzerland, all able-bodied males between 18 and 35 (50 for officers) are active reservists, and are required to keep their military-issued weapons at home. These include fully automatic rifles for almost everyone, plus a sprinkling of grenade launchers. If guns were responsible for killing people, Switzerland would be the most violent country on Earth, yet it is one of the most peaceful.

Too many Americans, in their demands for their rights, ignore the fact that every right is countered by a responsibility. A child’s right not to be spanked, for example, carries the responsibility to be well-behaved. Dogs are trained by rewarding good behavior, not bad, yet many parents do the opposite with their unruly children, attempting to bribe them to be good. Too many learn no respect for their parents, teachers or anyone else, and, immersed in gratuitously violent movies and video games, become numb to the real thing.

We do not need more laws; we need rather a national attitude adjustment.

–Richard Willerton, Vancouver