October 1, 2022

Op-Ed: Are We a Civilized Country?

Lest we forget … then Selectwoman Mary Jo Nosal  led a group of local citizens including former Old Lyme Selectman, the late Mervin Roberts (in foreground) to Newtown, Conn. to offer Old Lyme’s sympathies in respect of the 26 teachers and students killed Dec. 14, 2012, at Sandy Hook Elementary School. File photo published Dec. 2012.

Editor’s Note: Tom Soboleski of Ivoryton, Conn., submitted a powerful op-ed to LymeLine.com after the Sandy Hook massacre. We published ‘Proposed Path to a Safer Society’ on Dec. 20, 2012. In light of yesterday’s tragic events in Uvalde, Texas, Soboleski contacted us yesterday to ask if we would consider re-publishing it and we immediately agreed. He has added a new introduction.

Are We a Civilized Country?

Eighteen school children murdered in Texas. What kind of society do we live in? What kind of society tolerates school children being slaughtered; not to forget the hundreds of others in Buffalo and numerous other cities? Clearly we are an uncivilized society; one that is disintegrating more by the day.

Ten years ago I wrote the following in reaction Connecticut’s own incomprehensible nightmare.

Nothing has changed. We’ve become numb and routinely tolerate the slaughter of innocents. I stand by every word.

Proposed Path to a Safer Society
(First published on LymeLine.com Dec. 20, 2012)

Sandy Hook School is an earthquake that shakes the soul of human decency. My response:
I acknowledge the right to have a hunting rifle and a pistol for self-defense. The right to self-defense is a root of liberty. Equally important is a coincident right of people who choose not to own a gun: the right to live in a safe and secure society.
This right is an indisputable expectation.
While I realize this is an ideal that will be difficult to fulfill, we must, for the sake of human decency, respect, and compassion, strive to create such a society. To not strive for this goal is disrespectful and inconsiderate to all people who want to live in peace.
My proposal to create an environment that begins to lead our society down this path is as follows:
1. A gun is not sporting equipment. To equate a gun to sports is akin to saying it is no different than a tennis racquet or basketball. This is an insult to humanity. There is no comparison because their designed purposes are so different – fun and games versus a killing implement.
2. Any weapon that is capable of firing multiple rounds in rapid succession should be outlawed to anyone other than military, law enforcement or security personnel. No one in a civil society should have such a weapon, for its sole designed purpose is to kill. For hunting and self-defense, there should be no need for anything more than a single-shot pistol or rifle.
3. Any weapon that uses multiple round magazines or any type of device that loads more than six bullets at a time should be outlawed. Reasons stated in item 2.
4. Anyone caught in possession or ownership of these outlawed weapons and ammunition would be in violation of the law and should be punished with extensive community service or imprisonment.
5. Anyone who currently owns such weapons described in item 2 should be paid to turn them in. They should not be grandfathered.
6. Extensive background checks should apply to 100% of sales in any form for the purchase of legal pistols and rifles.
7. A permit is required to fish. A permit should be required to purchase ammunition.
8. Internet sale of any weapon and ammunition should be illegal.
I urge everyone with a strong opinion on this subject to voice their opinion to their representatives and senators. Time is of the essence. Do not let this moment and these memories fade.


  1. Jonathan B. Wilder says

    I agree with Tom Soboleski’s thoughts.No one in American society,with the exception of law enforcement and the government,should possess any sort of gun,period.There is no need to have them.Guns are not the deterrent to crime that the gun lobby propaganda machine has convinced people they are.Truthfully,they appeal to mens feelings of powerlessness and inadequacy.Some advertising for the AR-15 says “Get your man back”.Really?This is what life in America has come down to,needing to have a gun on oneself to feel manly?Gun rights people point to the constitution and go on about citizens needing firearms to fight tyranny.Another ridiculous argument.All of the states have well armed militias,they are called the National Guard.The west was tamed,the British went home,and our towns haven’t been raided by bands of native Americans in a very long time.Instead of arming ourselves to the teeth with semi-automatic weapons,street sweeper shotguns and other novelties,we need to direct our money and brainpower to solving the inequalities in society which lead to criminal acts in the first place.