If a holiday party for county health workers in San Bernardino, Calif., can become the site of a mass shooting with ties to terrorism, does it cause you to think about what to do if you are ever in a situation that suddenly turns so horribly bad?
For some people, that means arming themselves and contemplating an in-kind response. But the range of possibilities is far wider, from staying aware of nearest exits and hiding places to simply being prepared to run.
The real question is, how far have these incidents encroached into our everyday thinking about how we conduct our lives?
I had been very worried about the daily mass shootings in this country and the fact that anyone, including felons, terrorists and the mentally ill, can buy unlimited quantities of firearms without background checks.
But now, after hearing the National Rifle Association and the Republican presidential candidates explain how much safer we’d all be with a gun, I realized that gun violence isn’t killing 88 Americans a day because there are too many guns, but because there aren’t enough.
And because I believe it’s my patriotic duty to make this country safer, I’m going to buy either a military-style assault weapon, a .50-caliber sniper rifle or a handgun with a 100-round clip.
I’m leaning toward the handgun because I can get free shipping and it comes in pink.
Sharon Austry, Fort Worth
The facts that we have an ocean on each side of the U.S. and are able to arm ourselves under the Second Amendment have unequivocally provided us an extra degree of freedom and security.
Our government expects us to absorb others’ cultures and religions, which are polarizing and detrimental to our way of life.
We’re allowing too many refugees to come here to capitalize on our economic and welfare benefits, paid for by us, the taxpayers.
What guarantee do we have against sleeper cells infiltrating our great nation with our lackadaisical president at the helm? We cannot compromise and capitulate to terrorists and their brand of religion.
Pam Weaver, Fort Worth
A nation of total armament by the citizens because of fear is absurd!
Our national safety is primarily up to our government and our leaders. Individuals should be more observant of their surroundings.
Personally, I pray for my safety when I leave home. Upon safely returning home, I say a prayer of thanks!
George J. Anthony, Fort Worth
Mass killings in unexpected places have affected my life.
When I thought about going to the tree lighting downtown, to a mall, a concert, to an event for a political candidate, and even when I go to church, I now think, “Some may be shot here where I am. Maybe it will be me.”
So, I guess I have been affected in that I consider a little more if I really want to be out in public.
Janet Crowell, Fort Worth
Jesus taught, “Blessed are the peacemakers, they shall be called the children of God.”
Jesus never carried a weapon to harm anyone, and, as his follower, I will put my trust in God and not a gun.
Guns do not offer a nonviolent solution to the problem. There will always be more radicals hell-bent on destroying human life until their minds and hearts are convinced that this behavior is ungodly.
After a terrorist attack, there is always the knee-jerk reaction — a call for “common-sense” gun control.
I’m all for that, but what would have prevented the massacre in San Bernardino?
Bad guys will always find a way to create carnage.
Robert Kai, Keller
Too much of the discussion has revolved around concerns greatly exaggerated by fear and political opportunism.
It’s understandable, but ultimately unreasonable, that some of us will allow the hysteria over wanton acts of violence to change Americans’ way of life.
And, it is unreasonable to be forced to listen to or read about ugly reactions from GOP presidential candidates.
However, there will be leaders who will come up with productive suggestions for intelligent economic and security actions and, when they do, we should encourage and support them.
In the meantime, as George W. Bush said after the 9-11 attacks, Americans should just go out shopping more.
Patrick Jenkins, Arlington
At a recent forum at Texas Wesleyan University on how the school will respond to new legislation regarding concealed firearms on campus, a professor spoke against the idea because he didn’t want to worry about editing his feedback to students for fear of lethal retaliation.
The kind of student who would shoot a professor for a bad grade is not the one who thinks, “If only I could legally take my gun on campus, I’d show him!”
Rather, that kind of student is like every other campus shooter. They act, knowing that until someone arrives with a gun, they can kill all they want. And they don’t bother to spend a day earning the license so that they can be in compliance with the law.
There’s no safety in knowing that only the criminals are armed.
John Flenniken, Willow Park
These recent incidents have not “encroached” into the thinking about my everyday activities.
And, because most Americans (30 per day) are murdered by other Americans, probably of the Christian faith, I would be more afraid of the macho, cowboy, bubba-looking dude than I would be of an Arab-looking person.
And I will leave through the nearest exit when I see someone walk into a public place with a gun on their hip.
Jon Van Winkle, Fort Worth
Ever since 9-11, I never board a plane without a feeling of angst. I never feel completely safe from the possibility that this flight might be the next one blown apart by a terrorist bomb.
I feel the same angst when I attend meetings at my church. After all, it’s at group meetings that most terrorist activities occur.
I’m not impressed by President Obama’s vow to fight the “new” phase of terrorism.
There’s nothing new about terrorism. Islamic terrorists have been wreaking wrath on the world for centuries.
Bob Mowell, Fort Worth
I try to avoid large crowds, and I don’t associate with people from countries that I consider to be dangerous, or even other people, no matter what their background, who I think may be a threat.
I’m also very careful about what I say to people in a public place. This may not be a PC thing to say, but unless I’m in a professional meeting or university situation, I’m cautious about whom I’m around.
I would look for potential hiding places, but, unfortunately, I would not be able to run.
Walter H. Delashmit, Justin
These recent events, as well as others that have been perpetrated by homegrown Americans, only illustrate why we must exercise our Second Amendment right.
The arming of U.S. citizens is necessary to fend off a tyrannical government as well as evildoers who would bring harm to our family and our country.
Steven West, Arlington