According to Robert Price’s column (“AR-15 anyone? It’s for a good cause,” April 2), just two days before the Nashville mass killing at a private Christian school, the Beardsley School Community Foundation held a fundraising raffle, and the BIG PRIZE was a donated AR-15 rifle!
I have a personal connection with the Beardsley School District as a parent of two children who received good K-8 educations in the district, and myself as a teacher, a vice-principal, a principal and assistant superintendent in the district.
From this experience, I can attest to the fact that parents in the Beardsley district want the same things for their children as parents in any other district. At the very top of every parent’s list is the safe return of their child at the end of the school day. I simply could not believe my eyes. This “nonprofit, non-political” organization claims to exist for the purpose of assisting kids growing up in poverty. Poverty or not, these same kids are potential victims of our nation’s number one cause of childhood death: gun violence!
After leaving the Beardsley School District, I served as superintendent of the Fairfax School District before joining the Kern County Superintendent of Schools Office. It was at that time that I became a gun owner and held a CCW permit when my job required traveling alone to the most remote school districts in our county before the day of cell phones. This experience gave me an understanding and appreciation of the Sunday Forum by Thomas Morgan (“Which is easier? Eliminating guns or eliminating all the reasons people kill one another?” April 2). Morgan is cited as a retired Kern County sheriff’s deputy and deputy Kern County Counsel attorney. He has had years of experience with both guns and the laws. He states that training and preparedness cannot really guarantee the human response to mortal danger.
I owned a gun and earned my CCW permit, and I am thankful that I never had to use them because I know I lacked the comfort and competence to do so. I also firmly believe that more guns are not the solution to mass killings in our schools. I know from pertinent letters to the editor in The Californian that I am not alone in my concerns about the safety, especially of our children. We certainly do know that mass killings will continue, and that the AR-15 is the weapon of choice for the perpetrators.
I cannot sit comfortably in my own home and remain silent when our precious children continue to be killed by these outrageous weapons. I know that there will be plenty of finger-pointing and denials of involvement in the decision to raise funds by glorifying the AR-15. What a message this sends of the value of innocent lives.
If you sat at the table when this decision was made, I would ask:
What in the HECK were you thinking?
If this gun is used in the next mass killing (not necessarily by the raffle winner), how will you live with yourself?
Was the 2nd BIG PRIZE an Easter basket filled with jelly beans laced with fentanyl?
Carol Hatcher is a retired school superintendent and Kern County Superintendent of Schools Office Division administrator. Post retirement, she is an international consultant.