COMMENTARY: Parenting, background checks in wake of shootings

READERS’ VOICES / LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Shootings point to need for parent education

We recognize the need for immediate responses to tragedies such as Dayton’s mass shooting. But a longer-term, positive and preventive response is also essential if we are to transform our communities so that such atrocities simply do not occur.

We must rethink the way we raise our children, especially the way we raise our boys. The perpetrators of the latest massacres, and previous ones, are young men, yet no one mentions the role of parenting or the importance of parenting resources. To transform the way we raise our children, we must change the way we support parents. The real red flag I see is one calling for universal parenting education.

As the mother of three grown sons, I have the deepest sympathy for the parents of the troubled young men who committed these mass murders. Last spring I heard Sue Klebold, the mother of one of the Columbine shooters, speak about her struggles to understand what motivated her son. She has become a campaigner for suicide prevention and “end it all.”

I was born in Dayton and grew up in the same small town, Yellow Springs, that Ohio’s governor calls home. As governor, Mike DeWine is rightfully investing in the welfare of the state’s most vulnerable children. As founder of the Parents Forum, I ask him to broaden his concern to include parents and parenting education. “Denial, Ohio,” a recent public service announcement, captures the stark need for parents to change both perspective and behavior when it comes to childrearing — a need hardly unique to this state.

Much of the violence in society is home-grown. We must, as parents, learn more compassionate ways to guide and encourage our children. We can show them by example how to better manage conflict and how to accept setbacks and losses, large and small. Many, many parents already do this. We need to make these best practices standard practice.

Parenting education and parent peer support have to be on our national agenda. Please join me in calling on our leaders in government, business and the social sphere to make parenting resources a top priority. All of us — parents, program providers and policymakers — must commit to universal parenting education as our overarching goal. EVE SULLIVAN, CAMBRIDGE, MASS.

Why leave our lives and safety to luck?

It was dumb luck that my boyfriend arrived home safe the morning of Aug. 3. He had been at work on East Fifth Street of Dayton’s Oregon District. Our hearts ache for the nine families whose loved ones did not return home that morning, for the 22 families of El Paso victims the day before, and for the 277 lives lost in U.S. mass shootings this year, according to the Gun Violence Archive.

Why are we leaving the safety of our citizens and loved ones to luck? I call on Sen. Portman, Sen. Brown, and Congressman Steve Chabot to take action by supporting universal background checks for all gun sales.

Having been raised in a family of responsible gun owners, I understand the utility of a firearm. I also recognize guns as powerful weapons that require regulation. The Dayton shooter fired 41 times in 30 seconds. His weapon of choice, an AR-15-style gun with high-capacity magazines, served no purpose other than taking lives. Current laws do not require individuals buying similar guns online or through a private seller to pass a background check. Congress has the power to change this. SARAH HOLTSCLAW, LEBANON

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