Applaud Pinelands

Mar 21, 2018

To the Editor:

I could not disagree more with the letter “Stifling Democracy” (3/14). Freedom of speech is not freedom from consequences. Just ask Muhammad Ali, Martin Luther King and countless others who took principled stands knowing full well they would face consequences. 

As a former commodity broker for large Wall Street firms, I knew full well that exercising my freedom of speech in certain ways could easily result in my dismissal – rightfully so if that speech was on company time or had a negative effect on the firm. I send my children to school to attend their classes. 

I am the father of three grown, successful college graduates and currently a single father raising my 10- and 12-year-old children alone. I have taught all of them to develop opinions and stand for what they believe in. I’ve also taught them that those opinions and stands are irrelevant if they do not educate themselves enough to defend them with substance.  

There are now countless stories of students being bullied and pressured by both fellow students and teachers to participate. This is despicable. I do not teach my children to go along with the mob and I do not appreciate people in authority doing so.

Can we dispel the myth that this was an organic student-led event? This was initiated and supported by adults with an agenda. Students were made to basically announce when and where they would be presenting themselves as open targets. This necessitated local police assets being deployed to those schools and away from their other important duties. Has anyone tabulated the cost across the country?  

I applaud Pinelands’ decision to protect my children. Those students are free to express themselves on their own free time. I, too, hate guns and hope I never have a need for one. But that is a right I choose not to exercise. I would still defend that right and the Second Amendment with my life. 

To call this a gun control issue is simplistic. The worst school massacre in our history occurred over 100 years ago and the tool was a bomb. The true crazies will always find a tool. 

Let’s put simplistic agendas aside and work to find true solutions. Volunteer-trained teachers and administrators given the ability to confront these threats would be a great first step and deterrent. I would sure feel better sending my little ones to school every day.

Thomas Silk





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