Superintendent, 1st Selectman React To Florida Shooting

This morning, Superintendent of Schools Colleen Palmer sent this message to families of all Westport students:

Yesterday, waves of shock and profound sadness permeated all schools in our country as again we heard about another school shooting. One official reported in the press that this was the 18th school shooting in 2018, and it was one of the most deadliest in terms of loss of life.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the community of Parkland, Florida as it grieves the loss of its loved ones and struggles to come to terms with this horrific event.

Schools are the heart of any community, housing its most vulnerable citizens when in operation. On any given school day, we have 21% of our Westport residents sitting in our classrooms. Ensuring that our schools are safe and secure for our students and staff remains our preeminent goal.  Nothing supersedes keeping your children safe – nothing.

With the level of emotional upset felt in our community by the recent news in Florida, there have been some parent inquiries about our school security. While it would not be appropriate to share details of our overall plans in this communication, it is important to know that our District has comprehensive safety and security plans in place at each of our schools that have been reviewed by our first responders. We work in a strong partnership with all of our first responders, and Chief Koskinas and I regularly communicate, as we did last evening, whenever there are events that can have a ripple impact in our community.

Our District trains staff how to be prepared and to keep our students safe in any event that we may encounter, from a high-impact weather event to an active shooter situation. Every school routinely conducts lock down drills and other emergency drills. Ironically, Staples High school had informed its students earlier this week that in homeroom today the school would be reviewing its lock down procedures for a scheduled drill after the break. The school will continue with its preparation for this drill, but has modified the presentation to be sensitive to recent events.

We will continue to review and reflect upon all of our security measures to remain prepared and to enhance any deterrents to school violence. This past Monday, a team of administrators, District security staff, both our Police Chief and Deputy Chief, and a representative of our Board of Education conducted a site visit to a neighboring school district that employs School Resource Officers. SROs are specially trained police officers assigned to work directly in schools to support school safety. Having a School Resource Officer in our District for 2018-19 has been under review for the past few months, as well as other ongoing initiatives. We are constantly seeking to assess every aspect of our security program. Our safety plans don’t just sit on a shelf, but are discussed, reviewed, and improved on an ongoing basis as we gain new information.

While much of our work on school safety and security is behind the scenes, we never stop seeking to improve our approaches, protocols, and training to support the well-being of our students and staff. In response to parent requests for more information, we will provide a presentation on school security in the upcoming weeks.

Please do not hesitate to contact your student’s school administrator if you have specific questions or concerns related to the safety of our schools.

In addition, 1st Selectman Jim Marpe released this statement:

On behalf of all Westport residents, I would like to offer my heartfelt prayers and condolences to the residents of Parkland, FL. The senseless mass shooting at the Stoneman Douglas High School has devastated dozens of families. It has also vaporized the dreams, hopes, and futures of so many promising teenagers who were lost. All Westporters are terribly saddened and heartbroken over the tragic events.

Unfortunately, gun violence such as this can happen anywhere, as the 2012 Sandy Hook school tragedy constantly reminds us. Parkland, FL has a population size similar to Westport, and was recently named one of Florida’s safest cities.

In Westport, our police department continues to take proactive measures, in coordination with the Westport Public Schools, to protect the safety and security of our students and staff.  Our police officers and school staff regularly receive training to prepare for, and respond to, similar crises.

But that is not enough. Congress must pass legislation that protects our youth and all citizens with reasonable and common sense gun regulations consistent with Second Amendment rights. There is absolutely no excuse for our national leaders to ignore this problem again.


96 responses to “Superintendent, 1st Selectman React To Florida Shooting

  1. Waves of shock? Really? This has become routine in America. MAGA?

  2. Russell Gontar

    Ms. Palmer is correct. There is absolutely no excuse for our national leaders to ignore this problem, but that is EXACTLY what is going to happen. 90% percent of the country supported closing the gun show loopholes after Sandy Hook, but congress did NOTHING. Nothing. 20 first graders mowed down wasn’t enough for them. Congressmen being shot on a baseball field was not enough for them. Make america great again? I’m afraid we’re headed in the opposite direction at full speed.

    • Chip Stephens SHS '73

      It was written, The pen is mightier than the sword, and an update may be that Social Media is mightier than the pen.
      Here we have a case where the killer advertised his mission to kill, bragged he would be a professional school killer and actually displayed his weapons on social media just prior to this tragedy.
      Here we have a tragedy which was pointed out to the FBI and local law by social media participants, that was a red flag but fell between the cracks.
      And here we have a sick, young individual who was thrown out of the school where the tragedy occurred but managed to get in, act, and actually get out in the panic.
      So many red flags and missed opportunities so many questions of how we deal with security, mental illness, overt anger and most importantly how we deal with enforcement of our existing laws. We need to learn to deal with the sick individuals who show their intentions but are ignored or protected by ignorance of the facts and blindness to the red flags.

      • Russell Gontar

        We cannot control every individual who may or may not make their inclinations known. We can, however, control inanimate objects. Yes, it’s not a perfect solution, nothing is going to be perfect in a nation inundated with 300 million weapons. But just as we have reduced highway fatalities through increased car safety, laws and drive eduction, we can do the same for gun violence. Highway fatalities are way down over the past 40 years, not eliminated, but significantly reduced. If we are a still a moral country, it is our responsibility to increase public safety by taking reasonable measures to eliminate weapons that have no place in civil society.

        • Chip Stephens SHS '73

          We have the knowledge and ability to create algorithms within electronic and social media to identify and flag this behavior. There have been too many examples of these damaged young killers making their presence known and shouting it out both in social media and in personal interactions and we miss it.
          We can continue to stress to our children, and everyone if you see something bad or troubling, say something. AND FOLLOW UP We need to hold those who protect us to a high standard of accountability and enforcement.
          We can be aware of bad behavior, statements, intentions and interactions, where we can think.. I should say something, rather than lamenting I should have….
          We are our brother’s keeper Listen, care, share it could save a life

          • Russell Gontar

            When Sandy Hook happened, public support/approval for closing the gun show loopholes hit 90%. 90%! THAT, my friend, is the country seeing and saying something, yet nothing was done.

            Even if you could predict who might be the next perpetrator, we do not apprehend individuals who haven’t done anything yet.

          • Werner Liepolt

            We also can track how Russia uses bots and trolls to promote a pro-gun environment to divide us and make our society increasingly unsafe.

  3. Years ago I knew someone whose child was involved in a physical altercation at Staples. In trying to work through all the attendant issues, she found out that cell phone 911 calls were blocked coming out of Staples, to prevent pranks and false alarms. I don’t know if that was ever, really, the case, but I hope it isn’t now.

  4. Arline Gertzoff

    Nothing will change as long as our leadership inc the Gov of Florida are beholden to the NRA .The weapon Used was banned for ten years BUT the ban was lifted .Talk is cheap

  5. As we watch and learn more about this horrible tragedy, it appears there were social media posts by the killer which the students knew. Before the news told of the persons name, many knew exactly who the killer was due to his posts.

    How as a community can we come together with our students, our children, and get them to show us a post that would be deemed “bad/troubling”? There is no substitute for gun control, but can we somehow get to
    an open environment where our children feel safe and ok to let us know about concerning social media posts.

    As a parent I will make a real effort. Could the school also be an environement where this is discussed. If students talk amongst themselves and also come to the conclusion that informing people of a bad post is the right thing to do, then maybe we can make progress.

    My prayers for the families.

  6. Congress refuses to enact sensible common sense gun control legislation that protects residents while also protecting Second Amendment rights. By doing so they are complicit in these awful crimes. And unfortunately, history repeats itself. Absolutely nothing happened after Newtown and Las Vegas. NRA money is valuable to these politicians, but the life of each child is pricelsss.

  7. Many of our surrounding school districts employ School Resource Officers. This is long overdue in Westport. We’ve spent millions on security improvements (locks and glass) to keep our children safe while the best deterrent has been ignored by our former Superintendent. Dr. Palmer has recommended Westport adopt the SRO position as not only a “guard” but a well-trained officer that can interact with staff and students, run safety and informational programs, provide a perception of security for students, help stem the rising tide of harassment, drugs and alcohol use as well as build a trusting relationship with students. There should be an SRO in every public school. . If not, then the school without one becomes more of a target. The knowledge an SRO is present alone would cause a potential shooter to think twice. SROs have been credited with saving lives across the country, including at one Oregon High School where an SRO stopped a student who had just killed one individual and was planning a rampage. Purdue University professor Eric Dietz, Ph.D., the former director of Homeland Security for the state of Indiana and 22-year Army veteran, unveiled the results of research on active shooter situations. The research found that the presence of a school resource officer can drastically reduce casualties during an active shooter situation because response time is reduced significantly. That doesn’t capture the preventative nature of the position either. Dr. Palmer and the BOE have been discussing the SRO position but this cannot be taken as just “business as usual”. This must be done expeditiously. As well known as Westport and our school system is, the downside of that is attention-starved psychopaths couldn’t ask for a better target. Wait for gun control? Don’ leave it to a politician to protect your kids….never going to happen, no matter which side of the issue you’re on. The cost? There are many unfortunate people across this country that would be glad to give every dime they have to turn back time.Let the BOE, Dr. Palmer and your RT Members know this is a priority and let’s not be the ones that have to say “We could have”.

  8. Steven Halstead

    On April 20th 1999 when the Columbine shootings occurred, as a member of the Board of Education we, all Westport officials and citizens, received a “wake-up” call.

    Dr Palmed is absolutely correct, “Ensuring that our schools are safe and secure for our students and staff remains our preeminent goal. Nothing supersedes keeping your children safe – nothing.”

    The morning after Columbine the BOE and Westport town officials immediately and aggressively started a serious and continuing process to focus on school safety. That work continues.

  9. Michael Scherer

    Gun control, while unequivocally necessary, should not be the only focus. We should also hit the NRA where it hurts…its bank account. The NRA enjoys 501(c)(4) status under the Internal Revenue Code which affords it confidentiality, in terms of who contributes to it, as well as tax exempt status (btw, it’s deemed qualified 501(c)(4) status due to its being a “social welfare” organization, clearly a sick joke). Aside from the economic pain of it paying taxes, being forced to disclose its significant contributors would be very useful. But until that privileged status is revoked, we as consumers should boycott buying products/services from any organization that either contributes to the NRA or employs NRA members as officers/directors/managers/etc. With the power of a viral social media cause, imagine if mass consumer boycotts worked to cut off the NRA’s funding sources (contributions/memberships) in this back door manner. Perhaps reporters could get to work on listing those companies that should be boycotted. Although I can’t quantify the actual congressional influence of the NRA, the fact that ~60% of Americans favor gun control yet nothing ever gets done, together with the NRA’s well-known lobbying power, there is a connection. If we can impact its funding sources, perhaps this would weaken its influence.

  10. Well said, however we will never be safe as long as automatic weapons available. Congress please don’t sweep another one under the carpet. How about the police department publish a list of everyone in town who owns an automatic gun – let’s see how the general public feels about that!!!

  11. I think the focus on guns is not the root of the problem. I friend who lives near the Fla. shooting wrote me a long sad email last night and this is what I wrote back to her. ——–Growing up in NYC, getting on the subway by myself since I was 10, never once did I feel I needed a gun. As a kid you learned how to steer clear of “weird” people and how to keep away from danger and keep safe by exploring the city of 7 million people who lived in harmony and came from all over the world. Sure, there were neighborhoods of poverty but mostly populated by hardworking immigrants. The unsafe neighborhoods were the ones where “they” dumped the mentally ill, the desperate druggies, and alcoholics no one wanted to deal with anymore. Poverty didn’t make people dangerous mental illness, drugs, and alcohol did, RICH or POOR. Mental Illness is still stigmatized and not treated seriously enough but it’s more common than the common cold. I make a sad joke these days; everyone is nuts, the only distinction is if they are benignly insane or maliciously insane. If our society stopped hiding and stigmatizing mental illness of all forms, depression being a top candidate and made it a priority to treat for FREE we would have a safer and happier world and I’d bet no one would NEED a gun except for sport or hunting. (BTW I don’t own a gun and never will..)

  12. knock off the prayers. Nonsense. Establish gun laws and diligent licensing of guns. No one needs an assault rifle. Its a bunch of crap and I am sick of politicians doing nothing and offering prayers. Elected leaders who bow to rthe NRA should be thrown out of leadership. Cowards like our Mr Bone Sperm 5 time draft dodger who walks around like he is John Wayne and Pinocchio

  13. Mary Cookman Schmerker Staples '58

    So much to say but not right now. Seeing the Flag at Half Staff and knowing the reason brings tears and chills. I am the grandmother of 4 high school age wonderful children and the mother and mother in law of two high school teachers. We the people need to do something………

    • Mary Cookman Schmerker SHS '58

      I need to amend what I posted earlier. When I said “Not Right Now” I did not mean to echo those who do not want to talk about Gun Control right after one of these tragedies. I just want more time to think what do I say and who needs to be contacted. Gun control is a must. It might have been Dave Stalling who first posted that the problem is deep. It is a serious problem and laws will help. Mental health is a serious problem that we need to address. But the problem is deeper than either of those. There seems to be something in our culture that needs an about face. I have a few thoughts but still want to mull them over.

      • Mary Cookman Schmerker SHS '58

        My Mistake…It was Bob Stalling……sorry about the incorrect first name.

      • Hi Mary,
        Please hurry up your mulling since Sandy Hook, and face reality. A Westport Detective told me today there have been 6 shootings in 6 weeks. Local Radio reports 18 shootings in 2018.
        How many fewer lives would have been lost if one of our good guys shot back at the bad guy? I am not advocating for the wild west. Inaction is costing lives and ee should not sit aroung wringing our hands all these years later.

        • Mary Cookman Schmerker SHS '58

          I am facing reality. Each of us needs to decide where and how we can effect change. One thing I have learned in my life, and I am not young, is that leadership makes a difference and sets the tone. Right now the leadership of our country is a mess. We are divided into factions and the tone is very angry.

  14. Find the money to fund armed SRO, and roving SRO’s ASAP. In this town, no excuses the funds are not there if we get our priorities straight.
    Thank you.

  15. This Congressional candidate from Kansas is continuing his AR-15 giveaway despite the tragedy.

    • Avi, what is your priority, or agenda? How does what you pointed out help?
      Please read well said below comment from D. Trivers.

      • With this type of sentiment, it shows that once again Congress will do nothing. They are therefore complicit in these awful tragedies. That’s it.

  16. The pain that the victims and their loved ones experienced will never go away. It is incomprehensible. The cause is inexcusable. We can only offer our condolences, love, and support. Banning firearms is not the answer, but it surely is understandable why it is desired.
    The gun didn’t do the killing.
    Blame the shooter.
    Blame the agencies that did nothing to identify or treat the shooter’s problems. Blame those who saw his posts and did NOTHING!
    Blame those who felt his threats were an on-going joke.
    Address the real problem – violent games, angry, mentally ill people, laws and agencies that are powerless to take control when a problem is seen and identified.
    People who want guns will always get them, regardless of the law. This tragedy could have been prevented.

    I live in a state where there is no gun registration or license required. If a person wants to have a concealed carry firearm, no one cares, although I believe a convicted felon is not allowed to have a firearm. See for example: . After an incident where I needed help from the State Police, a State Policeman advised me to get a firearm. When I expressed surprise, he said that very many VT residents are armed and that is one reason there is a very low murder rate by guns. These statistics are from the Vermont Department of Health. Between 2011 and 2016 in Vermont, 420 people died from gunshot wounds. In total, there were 373 suicides and 47 homicides involving firearms in Vermont during the six-year period in question. The majority of the gun deaths — 339 over the six-year period in question — were caused by white men shooting themselves. To put it another way, 89 percent of the gun deaths in Vermont from 2011 through 2016 were suicides. See: .

    Look at cities where guns are banned, or where ‘gun control’ exists, you’ll find the highest rate of murders by firearms. Bad, crazy guys will always be able to get illegal weapons. People who might be able to protect themselves will not. I know If I cannot depend on another person to protect me – the police will tell you that their response time is not a guarantee – I need to be able to protect myself, The latest tragedy was caused by a mentally ill person; the system failed him, but that is no excuse; he never should have been able to obtain any firearm. If there had been a legally armed person (police, security, teacher) in the school this might have been prevented.

    • Valerie Smith-Malin

      Actually, no. The states with the strictest gun laws also have the fewest gun deaths per capita. Statistics back that up. When Connecticut made tougher gun laws after Sandy Hook, gun homicides dropped by 40%.
      Your comment about “people will always be able to get guns” is straight out of the NRA playbook, and is disproven by data. The NRA will say anything to perpetuate their profits. They only care about lining their pockets, not American lives. Data also shows that access to guns enable suicides. It’s an enormous logical fallacy perpetrated by the NRA that arming people will fix the problem. Background checks, getting rid of automatic weapons (such as when the Brady Bill existed) all make for a safer US. Americans are 25x more likely to be shot than residents of other developed countries, and 93 Americans die every day from gun violence. Time for sensible gun laws now.

      To support smart gun policy, support,, or That is Gabby Giffords non-profit– she’s the US Rep from Arizona who survived a shooting while meeting with constituents.

  17. Trivers & Petrino – take off your NRA tinted glasses & see things as they truly are & not what you’ve been “trained/brainwashed” to see. If you were truly brave enough to take a good, hard look at the beautiful & young lives lost, you’d agree that sensible gun control is the ONLY answer.
    No one – not the mentally ill; the healthy; the young; the old; male or female should ever be able to purchase a military style assault weapon in our country – period!

    • Which facts did you find inconvenient? BTW. What is an “assault” weapon?

      • Commonly used military term. Read a little, it helps. There are too many facts we’ve all read & learned to list. Catch up…..

        • No it is not. Nice try though. Now, be specific.

          • Really? Look it up this time, it’s not that difficult…..
            I’ve shared my thoughts & opinion. By the way, the majority of our country agrees with people like me. To continue any exchange with someone like you is a complete waste of time, as I find your small mind & petty thoughts inconsequential.

            • I did look it up. You are confused. Still no answer from you.

              • Hmmmm, it’s interesting the detail you’re so focusing on….
                You’ve just grown smaller. Conversation over.

                • Russell Gontar

                  Colleen – Don’t take the bait. This pathetic attempt to steer the conversation into one about what is or is not an assault rifle is just the standard GOP/NRA/Trump talking point, specifically designed to divert attention away from the bloodshed they have caused. They just don’t care.

                  • Gee, Russell how special, thanks for sharing. So, your approach to advancing the debate is to insult those who disagree with you in an attempt to …what ? Change their minds? Good luck with that.

                    • Russell Gontar

                      You made 4 attempts to try to engage someone, anyone, in a waste of time discussion about the definition of assault weapons. Sorry you didn’t care for being called out on it.

                  • Inquiring about the definition of an “assault” weapon, which is needed to pass laws, is suddenly indicative of blame and lack of caring?

                    Doesn’t this mean Merriam Webster Dictionaries are to be blamed for the shooting?

                    • Russell Gontar

                      We had a law which banned the sale of assault rifles and limited the number of shots per magazine clips to 10. Thanks to the millions of dollars received by congress from the NRA, the law was allowed to expire. It is congress that has enabled these maniacs to get their hands on these weapons and it is congress that enabled the shooters to have enough ammunition on them to minimize reloading. Just your tax dollars at work…

      • Michael. End the purchase of AR-15. That is a military style assault rifle. End it before more children, our loved children, our murdered.

        It is easier to buy the AR-15 in Florida than a hand gun. It has got to end.

        We should also start to control the sale of bullets for that gun and track when someone buys threm. This shooter, like all shooters, had many rounds of ammunition.

        Stop the killing!!!

        • Yes, of course stop the killing (murder).

          The debate would advance further towards a resolution if both sides sounded as though they knew what they were talking about. For example ,in one of the threads someone asked how a 19 year-old came to possess an AK-15. I can tell you with absolute certainty he did not have an AK-15. I know as well he did not use automatic weapons. The shooter did not have an AR-15 either according to published reports. The AR-15 is not a military style anything; it is weapon designed for use by civilians. It seems that many are completely unfamiliar with the laws regulating the possession of firearms, or the nature of that which they are trying to ban.

          I favor background checks for all firearms purchases. There should be at least an option to obtain a permit that meets federal standards and thus gives the permit holder the right to carry firearms in every state. ( Many states have reciprocity agreements now.) However, as it turns out, there are civil rights issues. When Obama proposed denying permits to those on the “No Fly” list it was discovered that the ACLU had won a judgement in a federal court which determined the method for constructing the list was unconstitutional. So, what will constitute the data used while screening? How will screening process preserve the rights of those screened ? You can be sure, whatever the process, it will be tested in court. There are states that will never agree to background checks for the purchase of long guns. Each one of those states has two senators, and a constituency that will not support what is perceived to be a limitation on their Second Amendment rights.

          The majority of those who die from “gun violence” are suicides; roughly 19,000 out of 32,000. The number of deaths was declining for many years, until the last two years of the Obama administration, and now the first year of Trump’s administration. You can find all the data on the CDC website.

          If you are trying to advance a position; you would more likely succeed if you at least appeared to know the facts.

          • Russell Gontar

            The facts are the shooter WAS using an AR-15. It’s design is based on the M-16. It is designed to tear apart human beings as quickly as possible. And that is why it is used so often in these situations. I guess that’s your definition of “civilian” use.

            • No, it was NOT an AR -15. It was an M&P 15, .223.

              • M&P-Military and Police?
                “M&P” stands for “Military & Police” and is used to pay homage to the iconic Smith & Wesson .38 Military & Police revolver.[3] “In 1899, Smith & Wesson introduced what would become its most successful revolver, the .38 Military & Police. Everything about this firearm was innovative, from its solid frame and its hand ejector system to the cartridges it fired. The .38 Military & Police, now known as the Model 10 revolver, has been in continuous production since 1899, and over six million units have been produced.”[4]

                The M&P15 was unveiled at the 2006 SHOT Show, it debuted in two varieties: the M&P15 and the M&P15T.[5] Both are basically the same rifle, chambered in 5.56×45mm NATO, with the T-model featuring folding sights and a four-sided accessories rail fore end. They include the standard direct impingement gas system. In order decrease cost on the original design both the dust cover or forward assist were omitted. These rifles were initially produced for S&W by Stag Arms, but marked and marketed under the Smith & Wesson name.[5] Currently, Smith & Wesson makes the lower receiver in-house, while the barrel is supplied by Thompson/Center Arms, an S&W company acquired in 2007.

                So there you have it–a weapon of mass destruction that has no value to most. It quickly kills anyone that unfortunately is in its path and should be the most difficult rifle for anyone to purchase. The purchase of bullets should be regulated and limited. Instead, in Florida, it is easier to buy than a handgun. Simply ridiculous.

              • Russell Gontar

                As Mr. Shuldman notes below, there is no practical difference between these two weapons. Both are intended to destroy human flesh as quickly as possible.

                For the record, and without venturing into the dark web (or FoxNews), all sources cite the weapon as an AR-15. Please cite your source for the assertion that an M&P 15 was used. Until then, I’ll assume you got your information from Foxnews, Breitbart, infowars, alex jones, or, you simply pulled it out of your…alternative facts.

          • Mea culpa. It was a typo. I meant AR-15.

  18. just saw an instagram of yesterday’s high school shooter wearing a MAGA hat ! he is a Trumper !
    a friend from Canada sent it to me, as it has been deleted from Mr.
    Cruz’s instagram here in the good ole USA. guess Little Don didn’t
    want his subjects to see that murderer wearing a Little Don hat.

    • Mary Cookman Schmerker SHS '58

      Just saw the picture on CNN…so the word is out…..

    • And the Washington Navy Yard shooter who gunned down 12 people was an Obama supporter…and we all know what that means!!
      Actually, I have no idea what it means, but you seem to, so I was hoping you could tell me.

      • And the Orlando nightclub shooter was reportedly a gay, Muslim, Democrat. So there you are; make of that what you will.

      • Mary Cookman Schmerker Staples '58

        Sorry, I have no idea either. My reply to Buell was simply meant that the picture was not being hidden. I agreed with your earlier comment that the problem is deep. We need gun control. We need identification of and help for those who have mental health problems. Oddly, it seems that those issues are not the complete answers. The problem is deeper and wider than just those issues as serious as they are by themselves. We need to hold our elected leaders accountable and we need to hold ourselves accountable to keep looking for and working on solutions.

  19. Why is this now a pivot to a conversation about any branch of the Federal Government? Westport can put armed trained SRO officers in the schools with out an act of congress, or executive order. Again, get our priorities straight. Dont politicize and take the first, best, quickest step to the taks at hand. Protect out kids. Any politicizing by either side is just noise

    • Then everyone wonders why nothing gets done. You’re dead right Adam. This should NOT be a political discussion or inane back and forth why someone (who has no need to know) doesn’t know the difference between weapon type or automatic versus semi-automatic. This is about the lives of our children and school staff. We need to take the best, quickest course of action NOW, the SROs. Then you can all feel free to flap your gums about gun control, philosophy, lament Congressional inaction, the NRA, etc., etc. The only fact is WE have to do something for ourselves NOW. There is a potential perpetrator sitting out there envisioning the splash she/he can make becoming the next “professional school shooter” by hitting a school in Westport. At present he/she knows he/she only faces a well-meaning, unarmed rent-a-cop, minimal entry barriers and enough of a response time by police to do real damage. Let’s make that person think twice about his chances of success facing one of Westport’s finest and let’s send a very public message that we do not intend on being the next target. Let’s also help administration address drugs, alcohol, bullying and harassment with professional education and relationship building with law enforcement. Tell everyone NOT ON MY WATCH. Support Dr. Palmer.

  20. If anyone is interested in joining, local gun control advocate Nancy Lefkowitz has pulled together a gun violence discussion/forum this Thursday in Fairfield. It will take place Thursday, 2/22 at 7:30 p.m. at Greenfield Hill Congregational Church (though not a church event – that is just the space being used). You can RSVP here:

  21. Read: Connecticut voters stood up to the gun lobby and won. The rest of America can, too.
    50 States of Blue
    The images from Parkland, Florida — students and teachers running for their lives, worried parents, heartbroken friends and families — are all too familiar to Connecticut residents. It is impossible to look at the horrific scenes from Marjory Stoneman Douglas and not see echoes of the violence that ended the lives of 26 people, most… Read the full story

  22. Bonnie Bradley

    When election time comes, we need to remember our two U.S. Senators, who have never failed to champion strong gun control: be sure to vote for Blumenthal & Murphy.

  23. Sorry for the duplicate but I didn’t want this to get lost by being further up in the chain:

    Then everyone wonders why nothing gets done. You’re dead right Adam. This should NOT be a political discussion or inane back and forth why someone (who has no need to know) doesn’t know the difference between weapon type or automatic versus semi-automatic. This is about the lives of our children and school staff. We need to take the best, quickest course of action NOW, the SROs. Then you can all feel free to flap your gums about gun control, philosophy, lament Congressional inaction, the NRA, etc., etc. The only fact is WE have to do something for ourselves NOW. There is a potential perpetrator sitting out there envisioning the splash she/he can make becoming the next “professional school shooter” by hitting a school in Westport. At present he/she knows he/she only faces a well-meaning, unarmed rent-a-cop, minimal entry barriers and enough of a response time by police to do real damage. Let’s make that person think twice about his chances of success facing one of Westport’s finest and let’s send a very public message that we do not intend on being the next target. Let’s also help administration address drugs, alcohol, bullying and harassment with professional education and relationship building with law enforcement. Tell everyone NOT ON MY WATCH. Support Dr. Palmer.

    • In the past,the elected officials of Westport passed on the opportunity to have armed guards in the schools. A number of them went so far as to say that they would NEVER allowed armed guards in Westport schools. They are on the record; their remarks were made at public forums like RTM meetings, which were broadcast for all to see. Now, years later their positions might change; they are after all political animals. If you think your children will be safer in schools in which their are armed guards, you will need many of the same people who voted “no” in the past to vote “yes” now. Activism on the local level, might work.

      • Michael-politician animals? Really? People can have different opinions or sometimes change their opinions. Your insult is over the top. Please stop.

        • No insult. Watch the RTM discussions yourself. Then compare what was said then with

          what is being said now.
          If I were a parent of a student in Westport public schools, I would ask for an explanation. BTW if you run for an elected office you are a politician.

  24. Thank you, Phil for the above. Bonnie, Respectfully. Please. Stop. Unless Senators B or M are packing heat, on guard watch, on school property, your comment, and strong control sounding words on comprehensive gun law paper, does absolutely nothing, zero, nada, to protect the kids Monday morning from assault rifles, handguns, bb guns, sharp pointy objects, bare hands, long sharp filthy fingernails, or “anything weapon”. Either you folks sadly don’t understand, or you do, and politically, are motivated elsewhere, choosing to ignore, which is worse, and frankly, infuriating.

  25. Bonnie Bradley

    That’s ok Adam: I support your points wholeheartedly. (Once apon a time I had 3 children who attended Westport’s schools, K thru graduation from Staples.). All your ideas are excellent – mine was just an add-on. I agree absolutely that armed SRO officers are needed in our schools. After Sandy Hook (I live 10 minutes away from that school) it became clear that our children desperately need trained, alert, armed protectors.
    However, eventually sensible gun control should be enforced everywhere in our country. And, it seems that too many elected representatives do not acknowledge this, nor will they vote for reform. The ultimate solution will come from federal law. CT’s 2 Senators are stalwart in their defense of gun control. Let’s support the good guys when we can – let’s do it all; local, statewide, federal. I’m actually one of “you folks” who’s on your side.

    • How about a common sense approach?
      1.- Assault weapon and high capacity magazine federal definition and complete ban
      2.- Gun licensing ONLY at the Federal level, not state by state so everyone who desires a firearm passes the same common sense qualifications and there is ONE database of gun owners and one category of license. The states will cry because of lost revenue but let them get a percentage of the fee paid by a licensee who resides in their state from the Federal government
      3.- Full background, mental health checks, waiting period and interview
      4.- By 2020 require ALL guns to be biometrically coded to their owner; i.e. fingerprint coded so only the licensed owner can fire them (save a few hundred kid’s lives who mistakenly get hold of a gun each year). Tamper proof so gun is rendered useless if stolen and attempted modification made. Tax gun manufacturers to develop the technology.
      Of course as long as one side says no guns at all and the other refuses any restrictions whatsoever, common sense cannot prevail.

      While we’re at it: Make acts of domestic terrorism, i.e. causing mass injury or death in a public place, educational institution, transportation facility, or other place of congregation, or injury to or murder of a minor, punishable by Federal mandatory life in prison with no chance of parole.

  26. Thanks, Bonnie. It’s challenging to refrain from, or perceived as caustic on this text based platform. Suggest we take this group over to the Black Duck very soon, discover common ground (more than meets the eye), and effectively lever our power-in-numbers for the sake of our children, and country.
    Nobody will convince me of the need for an assault rifle for sporting purposes.
    On the other hand, somewhere between that ~ “line in the sand”, and not being allowed to own a military tank with live shells, lies the answer to begin the long process of solving this bloody, pathetic, multi-tentacled predicament.

  27. Bonnie Bradley

    Well, Adam… It takes me an hour plus (+++ presumed downtown Westport – Saugatuck traffic) to get to the ‘Duck’ so you’ll have to carry on without me on this one. But, I’ll be at Dan’s Compo Beach party this summer… karma and the spirits willing. Look forward to meeting & talking then. Meanwhile, keep up the good work for all us ex-pats: I support you and your efforts.

  28. Dan, have you privately asked the many commenters above to stop beating a dead horse? Or, is that decision purely subjective?

    This topic has no solution. The culture is ingrained.

  29. I get that we live in a country with a gun culture and the Second Amendment. And I respect the people who are enthusiast sportsmen and those who carry for defense. I have met people from around the country who proudly carry guns for those purposes. What I don’t get is the total blockage of regulations to prevent deranged people from purchasing deadly weapons. How can an 18 year old, who cannot even buy a beer in this country, and with a troubled disciplinary past, purchase an assualt weapon? About one year ago, a bill was signed into law rolling back regulations that make it harder for people with mental illnesses to purchase a gun. The NRA’s lobbying to increase gun accessibility to people with mental illness is equivalent to the AAA lobbying to allow drunk driving. This is truly a sick state of affairs.

  30. With all the back and forth I have to wonder if anyone is truly interested in doing something about protecting our schools. Talk is cheap but action speaks volumes. Continue to debate gun control but why not take preventative steps to mitigate the chances of a disaster while doing so? I beg you, please copy the link below into your browser, read the petition and sign it! Doesn’t cost anything (don’t contribute anything to the website) and most importantly it may save lives. Anyone who wants further descriptive information about the SRO position before making up your mind, feel free to email me and I will gladly send along. Thanks for putting the safety of our children and school staff ahead of politics.