The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


January 12, 2013

Proactive vs. reactive: Gun control from view of school shooting survivor

Gunfire in a crowded school cafeteria caused high school freshman Brent Paucke to duck for cover under a table.

As he gathered his thoughts and surveyed the environment, he was quick to recognize the 14-year-old behind the trigger. It was a transfer student who rode his bus.

Two thoughts ran through his mind during that fateful experience right up until he emerged from under the table and defused the situation.

“I was trying to figure out a way to disarm her,” Paucke said. “And, I remember thinking that people should be made to respect guns and not think of them as a status.”

That shooting occurred more than 10 years ago at what was then called Bishop Neumann High School, located just north of our Valley in Williamsport.

Speaking via a Facebook chat session on Saturday evening, Paucke, who is currently serving in the Navy and stationed in Italy, agreed that the Sandy Hook massacre was a real tragedy.

“Sandy Hook is horrible regardless of the reason, motive, whatever it may be. There are no words to even explain that situation,” he said.

What he doesn’t agree with is the immediate call for widespread gun control.

“I think the wrong things are happening,” he said. “Instead of taking power away, I believe we should empower — teach children firearm safety and make them more familiar. We should consider arming our teachers and our society in a responsible way.”

An interesting take from someone who had been at the traumatic center of a school shooting himself.

“I mean I think it should be a process to get a gun, but I think they should have mandatory eductional trainings on firearms teaching people how to fire, make safe decisions and become marksmen,” Paucke said.

How many people pushing for widespread firearm control are familiar with guns? How many are petrified by the mere mention of the terms “assault rifle” or “semi-automatic?”

Those questions and the media firestorm that has followed the Sandy Hook shooting has led me to the following random thoughts.

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