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Might as well blame it on the ozone

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POSTED December 27, 2012 12:47 a.m.

Editor, Manteca Bulletin,

There have been many opinions on why a heinous act of major proportions was committed at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Ct., and what to do about it. They range from the reasonable to the ridiculous. The “whys” range from mental health care shortcomings to a gun culture gone wild to the lack of prayer in public schools, to violent movies and video games.

The “cures” range from maybe doing something about assault weapons and large capacity clips to reining in the free-for-all gun buying at gun shows to arming teachers, to the deployment of active duty troops to schools - the reasonable to the ridiculous.

One of the opinions seems to be a rather thinly veiled attempt to marry religion with government. I am speaking of prayer in public schools. This was the subject of a recent letter to the editor on Wednesday, Dec. 19, (“Our nation needs prayer to recover”). In this letter the writer makes a rather vain attempt to put the blame squarely on the lack of prayer in schools by comparing student behavior prior to 1962 and the present. First of all, the writer attempts this by comparing apples to oranges, Elementary students (..children standing out of line, misuse of paper waste baskets and chewing gum in class) to apparent high school students (...gang warfare, teen pregnancy, drugs, assault threats and murder).

Never mind that he implies that prior to 1962, everything was just fine in high schools across the country. Apparently he never watched movies like “Blackboard Jungle”, and “Rebel Without a Cause” which depicted violence in the 1950s high schools from New York to L.A. In my own home town, a student was stabbed to death in our only Catholic High School. I’m sure there wasn’t a lack of prayer in that school.

Religion is a private matter and it should stay that way. Government is a public matter and it should not be subject to religious scrutiny.

No amount of religion is going to stop man’s inhumanity to man. It has been this way for as long as there has been a written or oral history and surely as long as there has been anything called religion. In fact religion has played a rather major part in its undertaking. Prayer may soothe one’s soul but it isn’t going to prevent mass killings, never has, never will. What we need are real tangible acts on the part of our leadership. In his rather eloquent and moving speech at Newtown, President Obama got the ball rolling, we now await the Congress to do something and that doesn’t mean to put religion into schools or sit around praying for divine intervention, not by a long shot.

Larry Baca
Dec. 23, 2012

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