News From Terre Haute, Indiana

December 19, 2012

READERS' FORUM: Dec. 19, 2012


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Change requires drastic actions

This letter is directed to our federal legislators:

The recent events at Newtown have made me think about our country and our legacy in history. I am a physician and have practiced over 40 years. In 10 minutes at Newtown more children died by far than all the childhood deaths I have seen in the past 40 years. The deaths of 20 children 40 years ago in this manner would have been totally inconceivable. We cannot go back to 1970, but we can and must go forward with change to make every possible effort that events such as we are seeing in our country do not become accepted parts of our legacy to the world.

Nothing ever improves without change.  

Status quo does not improve things.

Drastic deeds require drastic action.

Although many steps need to be a part of the ultimate solution, there are steps that can be taken immediately that will decrease the risks of another tragedy. I would like to submit the following for immediate action by our federal legislators.

• A federal law that makes the possession of an assault weapon in the U.S. illegal.

• A one-year amnesty for people to turn in their assault weapons and be reimbursed by the federal government.

• Following the one-year amnesty, possession of an assault weapon results in a one-year federal prison term. No probation, no exceptions.

• Other rapid-fire sidearms are no longer allowed to be sold in the U.S. Those who wish to continue ownership of rapid-fire sidearms have one year to be federally licensed for their weapon or turn it in and be reimbursed. After one year those who are unlicensed will receive an automatic six-month federal prison term.

— James Buechler, M.D.

Terre Haute

Hidden points in weapons policy

I have also had conversations with ISU public safety director Bill Mercier about the weapons policies at ISU and the information I received is, in my opinion, one of the most neglected points in regards to informing the public.

Several streets that pass through ISU campus that the city has given domain over to ISU are subject to the same policies. In other words, you could be driving through one of the main streets in Terre Haute and if pulled over by ISU police, you are subject to the weapons policy. This includes in Mr. Mercier’s own words, seizure of your property (firearm or any other policy restricted object), and suspension from school if you are a student.

Faculty and staff penalties were not discussed, as I am neither of those. I understand their right to keep weapons from being carried on campus, but in your own personal vehicle traveling on a government-built city road should not be subject to inter-campus policies. They at least have the onus to make sure the general public is aware of their “domain” on certain thoroughfares.

— Jesse Tohill

Terre Haute