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State Rep. Kampf Reflects on the Horror of Newtown

"Whatever we do, I feel we must make thoughtful and reasoned decisions," the Republican wrote.

The following letter was written by 157th District Representative Warren Kampf.

In response to the tragic events in Newtown, CT, there is a natural call to do something to prevent this from ever happening again.  I feel that call myself.

As a father of two young children as well as a former criminal prosecutor, I am shocked, disbelieving, grieving and saddened.  In the face of this, I do not agree with those who simply say, "No," to any future changes or declare there is no "political will" to make change. 

However, I do not believe we can rush into a course of action.  For one thing, all of the facts about the Newtown shootings are not yet available.  To take action without the correct facts is to risk making decisions that do not meet our common goals and would waste our collective will on weak or useless measures.

I believe we must also look at this problem in a very broad manner rather than simply focusing on one area or issue.  

Some change occurred years ago with the shootings at Columbine, and then with Virginia Tech, and in other somewhat similar moments.  Maybe we can learn from what was done in the wake of those events or build on those responses.  I feel we must again look at issues in our mental health system, possible common sense measures related to firearms or ammunition capacity, the security measures in place at our schools, the impact of violent content in our culture on our citizens, and even more. 

We must bring people together and study the facts, research, and reforms made around the world after events like this.  This can help us prevent such tragedies from occurring in the future.   

The actions of the Newtown shooter at their core, however, are inexplicable to me, and the deaths of those children and teachers make no sense. 

We must be honest about that no matter what actions we take, be they legislative or otherwise.  Of course, this awareness should not prevent us from trying.  We know that other forms of evil have indeed been driven from the earth by collective efforts, but an expectation that all pain, suffering, tragedy, and horror can be eradicated is as misguided as the belief that nothing can ever be done. 

Whatever we do, I feel we must make thoughtful and reasoned decisions on how to move forward.  Our nation cries today for the victims, and I believe tomorrow we can honor them with good works if we act wisely.  

Deborah W. December 22, 2012 at 02:48 PM
The gun industry makes weapons for the military and then finds was to get around regulations and produce military style weapons for our citizens. Hunting rifle sales are slipping because most of our youth prefer video games to shooting wildlife. Possessing the capability to slaughter people has grown fashionable in a segment of the population largely due to the power of the 4 million member NRA and the gun lobby. That they hold so much sway in America is appalling. In Australia after a horrific mass killing assault weapons were promptly banned and measures were taken to remove them from the general population. The murder rate declined by 60%. Less guns-less carnage. No one is willing to concede that here. The British police force do not carry weapons as they feel it escalates violence. It is illegal to own a gun there. They have less gun murders in one year than we experience in a week in this country. Again, less guns - less murder. Living in a country armed to the teeth in the name of self protection to me is no different than living in a country with the ominous buzzing of drones overhead. This is taking a severe psychological toll on the people exposed to these conditions. Never knowing when they will strike. In America, knowing your neighbor is legally allowed to amass weapons of mass destruction, which is what todays weapons have evolved into is bringing terrorism to the home front. If we do nothing to change direction in this country, shame on us,
Koss Michael December 22, 2012 at 04:55 PM
Who voted for this guy? After all we have experienced with school shootings over the years and four incidents since he has been in office, and this elected state representative still has not formed any conclusions and/or some possible action steps. Had Newtown been closer to his home and family, I seriously doubt we would be reading about his call for more analysis. kampf needs to get off the party bandwagon and let his inner parent guide him into action. There are long term and short term action steps in addressing the slaughtering of our children. An immediate ban on assault weapons and large capacity gun clips needs no further analysis. It is an action step that Kampf can propose right now. Oh, but what would his party do to him? Really, does he care more about his job or about all of our children and citizens?
Rodney VanHorn December 22, 2012 at 06:45 PM
State Rep. Kampf is spineless. He is and always will be a mouth piece for the NRA and other gun organizations. The fact that these children were not recognizable by the coroner because they were each shot between 9-11 not enough for Mr. Kampf. What more facts does this elected official need before he is willing to do something about gun violance in our state. His response was typical of someone with no courage to do the right thing. He is a disgrace!
Hulahoop December 23, 2012 at 02:51 AM
"The British police force do not carry weapons as they feel it escalates violence. It is illegal to own a gun there. They have less gun murders in one year than we experience in a week in this country. Again, less guns - less murder. " Not true. I lived in the UK for a long time. Many guns are banned, but not all. It's not illegal if you are licensed. There is a stricter policy that in the US, but there are still some police and non-police that own and carry firearms, though not the average bobby. More important, gun related crime has nearly doubled since the ban was enacted in the UK.
Deborah W. December 23, 2012 at 03:03 PM
Thank you CM for the information. Do you happen to have any statistics compared to the US? I can see where gun crimes would have doubled with the worsening economic conditions, income disparity and high unemployment in the UK. It bodes very ill for the US and the availability of WMDs and mindset of people that violence is the answer to our problems we have here.
Interested Observer December 24, 2012 at 01:28 PM
I find it hilarious that people can call Rep. Kampf beholden to the NRA when they have already come out 100% against things he believes may be solutions (like reforms for firearms or ammunition capacity.) Just as bad, all Rep. Kampf seems to be calling for here is allowing a thorough examination of everything to ensure a solid, workable result. Decisions made based on emotion are rarely the best decisions - he wants to take emotion out and build a solid, consensus agreement. The comments here are exactly the extremes on both ends that the Representative seems to be warning against. I also appreciate that he isn't beholden to either extreme; a Representative is supposed to represent the majority, not the minority extremes. I guess people want to read what they want to read, but saying he isn't willing to do anything when this entire statement is about finding a solution that will work, instead of being political window dressing, is simply irresponsible of those attacking him.
Paul G. Celentano December 24, 2012 at 05:33 PM
Interested Observer: In the immortal words of the beloved Ed McMahon, "You are correct, sir!"

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