Rockland group expresses grief, speaks out on gun violence

By Daniel Dunkle | Dec 15, 2012
Photo by: Daniel Dunkle A candle flickers during a vigil and protest against gun violence Dec. 15 on Main Street in Rockland.

Rockland — A small gathering of residents stood with candles flickering on Main Street in the bitter cold Saturday evening, Dec. 15, to express their grief and outrage over the school shooting in Connecticut.

The vigil was organized by Rep. Elizabeth Dickerson, D-Rockland, who said she spent the day studying Maine's gun laws in preparation for a local and statewide discussion on how to prevent tragedies in schools. Dickerson is also a Rockland City Councilor and a local school teacher.

"It's a coordinated nationwide vigil to express our grief over the recent shootings," Dickerson said. "And to give my local constituency a chance to come together to share their grief, and to share some thoughts and ideas on what they think might be able to be done to improve gun safety and look at gun control laws, and also to look at school safety issues."

A gunman murdered 26 people Friday, Dec. 14 at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., 20 of them small children.

Dickerson was joined by other residents who spoke to passers-by about the issues. Several present felt it is too easy to obtain guns without background checks, and want to see a change in public policy in response to the school massacre.

Under existing state law, she said, you have to go through a background check buying a gun in a store, but not from a private citizen. As an example, she said a person could buy a gun after reading an ad for it in a publication without going through a check.

"I wonder if maybe we ought to have more background checking," Dickerson said. "That maybe private gun sales shouldn't be so easy."

In addition to looking at criminal history for those seeking to own guns, background checks in some states also look at mental health history, she said.

Dickerson said she wants to have a discussion with constituents about the issue and wants to hear ideas to solve the problems.

"I'd like to see assault weapons banned, personally," she said.

Some, who were present, argued bulletproof vests should not be sold to private citizens, but should be reserved for law enforcement officers. Several of the gunmen in mass shootings around the country were wearing bulletproof vests when they committed their crimes.

Rockland Mayor Will Clayton has also called for a meeting of leaders from schools, police and fire departments to discuss how to prevent school shooting tragedies.


Vigil seeks end to violence
(Video by: Daniel Dunkle)
Comments (18)
Posted by: Catherine Cooper | Dec 18, 2012 19:45

I agree with Daniel and John. Criminals don't and won't obey laws. Criminals will always have access to guns, In England, home invaders feel free to wander into any home. No law abiding citizens and most police are unarmed. Citizens who have passed a background check should be allowed guns.Otherwise, police, the military and criminals will be the only ones with guns. That is a terrifying thought.

Posted by: Wilber Eugene Roman Sr. | Dec 17, 2012 13:31

Some idiot on television said that and I quote " all guns should be taken from all people and the only ones that should be allowed to carry firearms is the law isn't that dumb

Posted by: N H | Dec 17, 2012 08:44

Typical response from ex-massachusettes residents.  Should not the headline read that "people control" rather than "gun control"?  I do not believe that the guns went to the school and went off by themselves, the shooter was the problem not the piece of metal with a trigger.

Posted by: Lisa Diane Archer | Dec 17, 2012 07:53

Degrading others and name calling ???????   Their is a place for Anger in this terrible tragedy, but not toward each other. Trying to work together and come up with some sort of workable solution is a much better use of our energies.

Posted by: Reginald Walker | Dec 16, 2012 19:53


How many of the people"victims" in this story could have been involved in an incident similiar to Connecticut? We'll never know.

"When police pull the trigger in crisis, the mentally ill often are the ones being shot

Posted by: Bill Packard | Dec 16, 2012 18:24

Too bad we can't take the time to grieve, reflect and thank God for the blessings we have before we launch into the "I can fix this" posts.

Posted by: Donald Burr | Dec 16, 2012 15:39

If we stop and think about it, (once the majority of the facts are gathered--often many months after the dates of such tragedies) mental illness seems to be at the heart of this type of story.  If our system of care is such that we cannot find the resources to "fix" a child with an issue--and there is a variety of them--then we will forever be cleaning up horrifying crime scenes such as this one, only twenty minutes from my home.

Posted by: Marie Paschke | Dec 16, 2012 12:43

Guns are the symptom, not the disease.  Violence comes from hurt, disillusionment, trauma induced rage.  It comes from desensitization as we numb ourselves to this sort of thing.  Our children, some of them 6 years old, play games with simulated murder and rape.  And with all of this, our most vulnerable...our mentally ill and our abused children are being neglected.  Funding for mental health treatment is being cut before our very eyes.  I don't like guns either, but this is so much more deeply seeded.

Posted by: Peter Rollins | Dec 16, 2012 11:59

Don't forget about the frequent knife attacks in schools in China where guns are banned. I believe there was another one on Wednesday.

Posted by: Stephen Burleson | Dec 16, 2012 11:30

Gun control laws, school safety...all of these things should be looked at.  But three points need to be made.

First, it's doubtful if tighter gun control laws would have made much difference in some of these mass shootings. In this case and the Colorado theater shooting, the guns didn't belong to the shooters. I personally am in favor of bans on assault weapons, large magazines and certain types of ammunition, but I don't think they will prevent these types of incidents. 

Second, all the safety precautions in the world don't seem to be helping our schools. An armed person can shoot his way into a school and kill 20 people faster than first responders can get there. An unintended consequence of designing for school safety is that children and school staff are trapped inside a school. They can't escape out a window - they can only sit and hope law enforcement gets to them before the shooter. Another unintended consequence is that many schools are starting to look like concrete bunkers instead of pleasant learning environments. This can't be good for kids.

Last, mass shootings are symptoms of a problem - not the problem itself. Gun control laws, school safety measures, and so on just put a bandaid on the symptoms. What we really need to be addressing are the personal and societal conditions and triggers that set these people off.

Posted by: DANIEL DATES | Dec 16, 2012 11:26

Mass murderer Adam Lanza is yet another example of how society is collapsing right in front of our eyes.  When I was young, I never imagined that someone would come into my school and try to kill me.  But now any school that does not have armed security is being incredibly foolish.  The mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut on Friday was the second worst school shooting in modern American history.  All of the children that Adam Lanza savagely murdered were either 6 or 7 years old.  It was such a horrific crime that even the mainstream media is using words that they would not normally use such as “evil”, “wicked” and “demonic”.  There does not seem to be any penalty that would be too harsh for what Adam Lanza did.  In this type of case, the death penalty seems way too kind.  Unfortunately, Adam Lanza is dead so he will never have his day in court.  Instead, the rest of us are left trying to figure out why this happened and what to do about it.  Sadly, there will inevitably be more Adam Lanzas.  We live in a blood-soaked society that loves and glorifies violence.  And I am not just talking about video games and movies.  The horrible truth is that more than 2000 children are murdered in the United States every single day in our abortion clinics, and most of our “leaders” actually approve of this practice.  When you add in all other forms of abortion such as “morning after pills”, the number is closer to 3000 children a day.  Overall, more than 50 million babies have been killed in America since Roe v. Wade was decided in 1973.  We have pushed God and morality out of our schools and out of public life, and instead we have taught our young people that the slaughter of millions of babies is no big deal.  Is it any wonder that they are so screwed up?  We have raised up a generation of young people without teaching them moral values, and now we are experiencing the bitter fruit of our foolishness.

But instead of focusing on what is really causing all of this, the mainstream media seems absolutely obsessed with the idea that more gun control laws would solve our problems.

Oh really?

Adam Lanza broke at least three Connecticut gun control laws.  Would adding a bunch more really make a difference?

Just take a look at the city of Chicago.

Chicago has some of the strictest gun laws in the entire nation.  The intent was to greatly reduce gun crime in the city.  But instead, Chicago is now being called “the deadliest global city“, and the murder rate is running about 25 percent higher than last year.

Well, what about in other areas of the world?

Down in Australia, gun murders rose by about 19 percent and armed robberies rose by about 69 percent after a gun ban was instituted.


The UK has some of the strictest gun laws on the planet.  So how has that worked out?  Well, gun crime in England and Wales rose by 89 percent over the course of a decade…

The latest Government figures show that the total number of firearm offences in England and Wales has increased from 5,209 in 1998/99 to 9,865 last year  -  a rise of 89 per cent.

Banning guns is not going to solve anything.  The criminals are always going to be able to get guns.  But banning guns will take them away from hard working American citizens that just want to have a chance to defend themselves as our society crumbles all around us.

Posted by: Edwin Ecker | Dec 16, 2012 09:35

Guns are no respecter of persons,they serve the greater good in our society ,the usual "ban the gun" rants of those of us who do not understand the problem is typical and will only add to the confusion.

Mental illness is the prevalent problem not banning weapons from the public.

Anything can be used as a weapon so start banning !


Posted by: Richard McKusic, Sr. | Dec 16, 2012 05:42

"The way you think determines the way you feel, and the way you feel determines the way you act.”"   Rick Warren

Until we come to an end of the mean spirited, angry rhetoric the violence will not end. :(  Think about what has effected your life the most; name calling or encouragement from a friend, teacher, family member?

Posted by: Michelle Paulsen | Dec 15, 2012 23:41

This is an older report but if true it seems we have been over looking something as a society and as usual placing the blame in the wrong place. I had no idea of the connection in all of these tragedies. I am deeply torn-up over what happened this week in CT. the loss of so many innocents is incomprehensible; however if we want to stop this from ever happing again we have to find the real cause of the problem. We don't blame cars for drunk divers, why do we blame guns for violent criminals? There has to be more going on we need to look deeper. More gun control only takes guns away from law abiding citizens. Criminals or mentaly disturbed will always find away get guns or other weapons to destroy others.

Posted by: Reade Brower | Dec 15, 2012 20:48

I think in countries where guns are banned and/or harder to get legal access to, the statistics back up the point that less guns, less violent crime. If you take guns off the streets then only criminals have guns it becomes a different argument.

Posted by: Ed Glaser | Dec 15, 2012 20:45

Just for the sake of argument John, when you list something as a "FACT," one can back that up with a reference of some sort. Just curious what statistics you used that will prove that it is a fact and not a talking point.


Posted by: Jeff Sukeforth | Dec 15, 2012 20:02

very very true, not guns, society and mental illness

Posted by: John A Lazaro Beckman | Dec 15, 2012 19:30

bulletproof vests should not be sold to private citizens. Now thats a bright idea! Do people even stop to listen to what they are saying before the stupidity comes running out of there mouths. I can understand a knee-jerk emotional reaction by neurotic liberals afraid of guns following a tragedy such as this to "ban guns", but if after having some time to think about it you still maintain this position, despite all evidence, logic, and purely factual and statistical data saying otherwise - there is something wrong with you! Liberalism is a mental disorder.

FACT: Guns save a lot more lives and prevent a lot more crime than they cause!
If making guns illegal will take them off the street? Maybe we should make heroine and meth illegal too!

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