Thanks again to all of you for the ideas, links, and info. The forum was Tuesday night and it went really well. It was well attended and by far the majority of the audience were community members (the local fish and game club was well represented), there was only a hand full of students. I was surprised and pleased to find that the other panel members weren't a bunch of liberal witch hunters. The school superintendent was very reasonable and was frank about their security efforts and discussions, including armed security and armed school personnel. The pastor/counselor/college professor was pro-gun, knowledgeable about weapons, and teaches an ethics course in which all of his students feel that there is no need for more gun laws and that we would be better served by enforcing the ones we have now!! Even the social worker was pretty neutral on guns and emphasized the need for better funding for mental health care and the need for mental health and personality issues to be better recognized and for those people that need it to get better care. In fact the only person on the panel that really had anything anti to say was the sheriff!
To make a long story short I will highlight some of the things the sheriff had to say as well as the points I tried to make. At the end of this post I'll have a link to the archives page of the UMM website, they will have the video of the forum available there in a few days.
A number of people took advantage of the forum to go after the sheriff for the things that he'd said in the newpaper interviews. He was very wishy washy and back pedaled on most of his comments but he still stood by his personal feelings that we should have an "assault weapons" ban, only cops and military should have "assault weapons", it's too easy to get a CCW permit and should require more training, and if it an AWB will "save just one life" it's worth doing. He is against armed school personnel but for school resource officers (he used to be one) and says that we should legislate money for them. However, regardless of his personal feelings, he will enforce the law as written and won't do anything unconstitutional.
When I had opportunities to speak I emphasized the need for personal, familial, and community responsibility. I told the audience that they are the true first responders and would face the criminals before any LEOs and that they should be as well armed as the sheriff's deputies that will show up after the fact with their AR15s and 30rd mags. I agreed with the need for armed security in schools and suggested that instead of waiting to legislate money that will probably never be there, we look to our communities to take responsibility for our schools and children and ask LEOs (active and retired) to volunteer their time to act as school security. I told them that my kids go to the local elementary school and I'd be glad to give a few days a month and said that we have lots of LEOs with children and grandchildren going to our schools that feel the same way. I emphasized that we could have armed, experienced, law enforcement personnel on site in days rather than wait months or years for the state or federal government to act. I also reminded the sheriff that 4 states have constitutional carry and do not require CC permits and they have not seen any increase in gun crime since those laws were enacted. There was more but I'm not going to bore you with all the details. Suffice it to say that I actually got a nice round of applause at one point, I think the people were liking what I had to say.
So, I was nervous about speaking in front of all those people but I was confident because I'd prepared well (thanks in no small part to all of you) and I was able to make the points I had hoped to when I volunteered to do this. Also, I encourage all of you to get involved where you can and to act on your convictions, you'll feel better for it and might actually make a difference.
If you are interested in watching the video of the forum, go to this link - http://machias.edu/archived-videos
- it should be up in a few days. If you do watch it please come back to this thread and let us know what you think.