To the Editor:
I was fascinated by your front page article on violence prevention discussed at a town hall written by Jeff Engelhardt (“Panel talks violence prevention,” January 19), and the discussion about how to promote peace and prevent violence through education, policy and programs.
While attending this event, I was appalled by remarks made by DeKalb County State’s Attorney Richard Schmack, which included the progressive utopian message of taking guns away from law-abiding citizens, and the worship of President Obama’s 23 executive orders. Schmack points to statistics showing homicide rates involving firearms are down 3.3 percent. Furthermore, Schmack posits, “What we have to look at, I think, to some degree … is what are we doing right and how do we expand on that.” Schmack presented the typical liberal message of more gun control.
DeKalb Police Chief Gene Lowery stated, “It is time for people to change their perception of police. … The police and residents must become a ‘we’ and work together.” How can the citizens of DeKalb change their perception of the police when Engelhardt failed to inform you of Lowery’s plan to implement a gun-amnesty program with help from corporate sponsors?
Dan Kenney, the organizer of the event, stated: “This whole issue is much bigger than guns. … We have to find a common ground.” However, many of the opinions expressed by the citizens focused on removing our Second Amendment rights. Conversely, some citizens had more interesting ideas. Engelhardt failed to report how people of all ages came to speak on gun rights and gun control. There was a strong showing by advocates of the Second Amendment, with people from the Northern Illinois University College Republicans, Young Americans for Liberty, the NIU College of Law Second Amendment Society, the DeKalb Tea Party and the National Rifle Association.
Furthermore, the common themes of social justice and equality were presented by Maylan Dunn-Kenney, professor of early childhood education at Northern Illinois University, who said breaking the cycle of violence starts with empathy, promoting fairness and kindness, teaching conflict resolution and never acting as if violence does not exist.
Toni Tollerud, a professor of counseling at NIU, presented the key indicator of future violent behavior. She said actions such as eye rolling and gossiping are the seeds that grow violent behavior. Citizens of DeKalb, stay on the lookout for the next child you see rolling their eyes because it could prevent future school shootings.