The killings in Newtown remind us of the 1963 bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Ala. Four innocent girls were killed in the church as they prepared for their Sunday service.
Their deaths at the hands of the KKK marked a turning point in our country's civil rights movement. Folks who had ignored the horrors of the bombings, beatings and deaths as a result of our segregation laws suddenly paid attention.
The murders at Sandy Hook Elementary may be that same wake-up call. These horrors should never have happened in the sanctuary of a church nor in a school.
Eventually, segregation laws were changed.
America's gun laws need to be changed.
If any redeeming factor could come from the Sandy Hook murders, let it be the turning point where we finally ban the sale of assault weapons and high capacity ammunition clips.
The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. said at the Birmingham funeral regarding the deaths of the little girls, "They say to each of us that we must substitute courage for caution. They say to us that we must be concerned not merely about who murdered them, but about the system, the way of life, the philosophy which produced the murderers. Their death says to us that we must work passionately and unrelentingly for the realization of the American dream."
Today, the 20 children and six caring adults "say to us" the American dream is one of safety for all children. Only if we can begin to enact some meaningful change can we begin to heal our country from this epidemic of senseless gun violence.
Let us follow in the examples of the civil rights movement. Let us raise our voices through contacting our elected officials, through social media, through demonstrations, by supporting organizations lobbying for gun control change, and by voting.
Contact your senators and congresspersons at www.house.gov to find your representatives and www.senate.gov to find your senators. Leave them a phone message to support the ban on assault weapons. Let freedom ring.
I read with interest in the Dec. 18 edition Garfield County Commission Chairman John Martin's reason for denying local funding for Planned Parenthood, even though the grant was recommended by the county's Human Services Commission.
"They're a big national organization, and I think they have enough outside resources without using money that could benefit some of the local organizations whose budgets are smaller," Martin said. "I understand they do a good job - this is not an insult. I just think they need to stand on their own."
So why then did the chairman feel it was OK to approve a grant threefold higher for Catholic Charities? The Catholic Church is an international organization with sufficient outside resources to stand on its own as well.
The chairman's reasoning is flawed, at best, and therefore his rationalization for not supporting an agency that was a lightning rod in the recent election is suspect. He should tell us the real reason he has a problem with funding an agency that spends its local dollars to help with breast cancer screenings and STD detection.
Laurel Springs, N.C.