Read­ers join in weapons de­bate

Con­sen­sus of opin­ions: We can dis­cuss is­sue in re­spect­ful man­ner.

Austin American-Statesman - - B METRO & STATE - Her­man nvil­lal­pando@states­man.com Page D10. Car­ing

As

ex­pected, and wel­comed, many read­ers weighed in on my col­umn about the Con­necti­cut shoot­ings. Thanks.

The re­sponses showed we can have a re­spect­ful dis­cus­sion about this dif­fi­cult prob­lem.

I heard only two ridicu­lously un­rea­son­able sug­ges­tions. The first: “Please crawl back in your hole, sleaze­bag.” The sec­ond: “How about run­ning for Prez?” I won’t do the first, and, be­cause 2016 is a long way off, it’s too soon for a de­ci­sion on the sec­ond.

Mostly I heard frus­tra­tion and ac­knowl­edge­ment that the prob­lem is a mul­ti­fac­eted one that de­fies sim­ple leg­isla­tive so­lu­tion. Many also un­der­stand the chal­lenge in keep­ing guns away from peo­ple who shouldn’t have them while not vi­o­lat­ing the rights of peo­ple en­ti­tled to bear arms.

Sev­eral read­ers re­minded me of the le­gal uses of le­gal weapons.

“.410s are great for shoot­ing in the air and scar­ing off coy­otes at­tack­ing your pets,” Missy Bled­soe told me, won­der­ing whether mak­ing men­tal health care “cheaper, less stig­ma­tized, (more) eas­ily ac­ces­si­ble … would have pre­vented” what hap­pened last week.

Mike Murphy “grew up around guns” but now uses them only “when some­thing needs to die,” like the 323 feral pigs he’s killed on his ranch since 2000. Though clearly not anti-gun, Murphy said, “It’s clear we some­how need to do things dif­fer­ently in cer­tain respects” con­cern­ing firearms.

Some folks, re­spond­ing to my sup­port for fur­ther re­stric­tions on rapid-fire, high­ca­pac­ity weapons, of­fered im­por­tant coun­sel against mov­ing too quickly on gun con­trol.

“My ques­tion to you and most of the me­dia is why is the only im­me­di­ate re­sponse by you to tighten gun con­trol?” wrote Doug Car­roll, who owns no guns. “I’m OK with it,” he added, “but what I don’t hear you and the rest of the me­dia ad­dress­ing is the in­cred­i­ble in­crease in vi­o­lent film and video games over the past 30 years.”

Good point. Here’s an­other one: Just as the over­whelm­ing por­tion of gun own­ers never do any­thing il­le­gal with their

By Ni­cole Vil­lal­pando

Ear­lier this month, the Boys & Girls Club of the Austin Area sat down with Juana Rosas’ five chil­dren and asked them want they wanted for Christ­mas and what they wanted to give their mother.

A typ­i­cal Christ­mas would be a few pack­ages of clothes and a meal shared to­gether.

This year will be dif­fer­ent. The Rosas fam­ily is part of the Austin Amer­i­can-States­man’s Sea­son for Car­ing. The hol­i­day pro­gram features the needs of 12 fam­i­lies and helps hun­dreds of oth­ers all year long through lo­cal non­profit agen­cies.

The chil­dren, ages 5 to 12, made their list, but it wasn’t easy. They didn’t know what toys to ask for be­cause they didn’t have any toys in their

SFor more in­for­ma­tion on Sea­son for Car­ing, call 4453590 or email com­mu­nity@ states­man.com. To make a do­na­tion, go on­line or see the do­na­tion form on one-bed­room apart­ment. When it came to their mom, they knew right away: They wanted to give her a day of re­lax­ation, a day of be­ing pam­pered.

Rosas, 40, works at a laun­dry fa­cil­ity, clean­ing it three times a day, and takes any odd job she can, from baby-sit­ting to house­clean­ing.

“The only time I get to rest is when I sleep,” Rosas said on Wed­nes­day through a trans­la­tor. That was the day her chil­dren, with the help of Boys & Girls Club and the Day Spa & Sa­lon at Barton Creek Square, de­liv­ered her Christ­mas present.

Told that there was a re­porter who wanted to in­ter­view her, Rosas and her chil­dren were driven to Barton Creek Square. When they ar­rived at the spa, Brian Beaulieu, the non­profit agency’s di­rec­tor of op­er­a­tions, re­vealed the real rea­son they were there. “We think you’re pretty amaz­ing,” he told her.

Rosas started cry­ing and hugged her chil­dren in dis­be­lief. “I’m happy,” Rosas said. “This is a big sur­prise.”

Spa owner Ther­essa Nguyen whisked away Rosas and her older daugh­ter, Maria, to have man­i­cures and pedi­cures and for Rosas to get a fa­cial.

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