Congratulations to the Central School District for taking one of the most-effective means of preventing school massacres — making sure that the classroom school doors have locks that can be locked from the inside. The effectiveness of this measure was surely demonstrated in Newtown where life and death depended on the turn of a key. The teachers who locked their doors or, if that was impossible, were locked in by the school custodian lived, along with their students. Those unable to lock their doors died.

To those who protest that fire codes prohibit locking classroom doors, it isn’t true. The general requirement of fire codes is that fire exits be openable from the inside to allow escape in a fire. Panic hardware that allows fire exits to be opened from the inside, but not the outside, have long been standard features of modern buildings, except apparently schools.

Congratulations also to all legislators who support reasonable restrictions on weapons, such as the proposed legislation mandating more-secure storage of weapons. If there has been a boom in sales of gun lockers (not display cases) to match the post-Newtown surge in sales of assault weapons, I sure haven’t heard of it. This is something that all owners of weapons should support without being compelled, but don’t.

On the other hand, the most-persuasive evidence for greater restrictions on weapons comes, not from the proponents of restrictions, but from the free-floating fear and anxiety and the lack of empathy of many of the supporters of unrestricted weapon possession. We see them in innumerable legions in all media touting how necessary weapons are to protect their lives, liberty and pursuit of happiness. Absent from their arguments is any appreciation that the children of Newtown also had a right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

President Barack Obama’s featuringa child at a press conference who wrote that he wanted to be safe and happy goes to the heart of the issue. The NRA has it half right — people kill people including children, and they do it most effectively with military weapons designed for killing people en masse.

Mattie Coxe


Baton Rouge