To The Editor:
The Old Lyme Board of Finance is expected to vote this Tuesday, March 28, on the Town’s capital budget, and money requested by the Town Police for weapons and ammunition. Initially budgeted for $32,500, this was modified by First Selectman Tim Griswold to $28,500.
The Old Lyme [OL] Board of Selectmen [BOS] has never taken a vote on approving or recommending this, and the discussion was tabled at their Feb. 24 meeting to seek input from Trooper Matt Weber to gain clarity on this topic. To my knowledge, this has not happened, and it is unclear if it is ever going to happen. The agenda for the [OL BOS] Special Meeting on Monday lists this only in generic terms, “[Discussion of …] Recommendations to the Board of Finance”.
The budget request includes purchase of military style assault rifles, weapons of mass destruction designed to kill as many people as possible, as quickly as possible. All this raises concerns for the militarization of our constabulary /police.
We are a contracted State Trooper town, and expend thousands for their trained officers and their military assault rifles to support us. Also this unsupported request leaves the Town open to significant costs associated with updating these weapons and safely disposing of retired weapons.
We, the people of OL, have not received any comprehensive explanation of the reason for and benefits of using our tax dollars to purchase weapons of mass destruction. Indeed, many residents probably do not know this is even being considered. If these purchases are being justified as protective for our school children, there is zero evidence for this. Also, can anyone remember a time in recent history that police with assault weapons were able to stop a shooter with an assault weapon? My research says no — [see this article]“He has a battle rifle”: Police feared Uvalde gunman’s AR-15
I would like to refer readers to the following LymeLine Op-Eds, as well as Letters to the Editor and reader comments, for background :
Peter Ewart 6/1/22 and Tom Soboleski 5/27/ 2022 (Op-Eds)
Betsy Groth 6/17/22 and 7/26/22 and Charlotte Scot 9/22//22 (Letters)
Editor’s Note: The author is a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner and Child Advocate, a Retired Lecturer at Yale School of Nursing, and a Member of CT Against Gun Violence.
Candace Fuchs says
For decades, the Plan of Conservation and Development has emphasized the commitment of our leadership to maintaining the small town charm of Old Lyme. Arming our small police force with seven assault rifles and twelve handguns does not seem to be in alignment with small town charm. As Ms Groth correctly points out, no good has come of escalation of the arms war.
Maureen Haseley-Jones says
I absolutely agree with you Candace, and as Betsy pointed out in her excellent article, no good has come and will ever come of escalating the arms of war.
Thomas D. Gotowka says
It is very sad and a little frightening that the day has come when we need to build an arsenal of weapons for OLPD.
Dwayne Basler says
Police officers are not the enemy. It’s disgraceful that anyone would suggest that they are. God bless the officers that bravely responded to yesterday’s Tennessee school shooting. Officers should be provided with all resources and training needed to ensure the safety of the community.
It would be great to see people with this law enforcement gun passion campaign for significantly reducing abortions. There are people in Old Lyme who claim to be Child Advocates that support politicians demanding a woman’s right to “abort a child” (President Biden’s words, May 2022). He was correct, it’s killing a child. As a starting point, can we all agree that abortion in the third trimester is killing a baby? At least Child Advocates should agree on this and support politicians who have similar principles.
Betsy Groth says
No one here has said the police are the enemy.
Baffling comment. It is very unclear if you read my letter.
We have a State Police barracks in OL, with officers highly trained in the use of automatic weapons
The town police does not need to use our tax dollars for assault weapons, further training and maintenance.
Nicholas Griffin says
Less guns, more butter, Please!
John Stratton says
Let us not forget, as we immerse ourselves in our suburban idyll, that Route 95 goes right through town and that we are part of all its connections.
Nick Griffin says
Please say more.
Daniel Montano says
Hate to remind everyone of this fact, but Sandy Hook School was also in a quiet small town, yes, larger than Old Lyme, but less than 30,000 people, so far from a city size, and in a suburb. I want the good guys to have the weapons to protect us, our children, and themselves. Recent events should tell us that no town is safe from mentally deranged individuals, And for those who do not know, an AR 15 is not a machine gun. Machine guns have been illegal for many years. The AR 15 allows for better aiming, not a bad idea against a mad man in a school, store or one holding a hostage. It seems irresponsible not to arm our police with these weapons.
Betsy Groth says
We have a State police barracks in Old Lyme.
And in CT, we now have stricter gun laws which makes it harder for the shooter and his mother to obtain an weapon of mass destruction . No one besides military and LE should have these weapons. The highly trained State police in the Old Lyme barracks have these weapons. The Old Lyme Police do not need automatic weapons. And I would bet well informed OL taxpayers do not want to pay for this redundancy.
I am sure the Nashville shooter found it easy to purchase the automatic weapons.
Tony Verillo says
The writer that keeps referring to the AR-15 as a “weapon of mass destruction’” should really get your facts straight. As defined, a WOMD is … a chemical, biological or radioactive weapon capable of causing widespread death and destruction.. Certainly, the town is not proposing to purchase such equipment for the police. It appears that you are using those words to fan the flames an instill fear in the people that do not know better. Same as you are doing with the phrase “ military assault rifle.” They may look similar in style but they do not function the same. As a previous individual noted, the rifles issued to officers are semi automatic and are not capable of firing unlimited rounds with one press of the trigger. You are entitled to your opinion but please share it with factual information only so that all readers can be accurately informed.
Charlotte Scot says
When the AR was used in 11 out of the last 18 mass shootings in this country, I think it qualifies as a weapon of mass destruction.
George cole says
We should not expect our officers to face off against an AR15 with a handgun. This is what JusT happened in BrisTol.?..
Charlotte Scot says
Old Lyme is NOT Bristol and we don’t need police armed with “eviscerators.” The idea of scaring people into buying more and more and more military weapons is repulsive. What next German Leopard Tanks?
Tony Verillo says
How dare you downplay the tragedy in Bristol just because it’s not a sleepy little town like OL. Before speaking out you should know the facts of exactly what happened and fully understand the depth of that tragedy. Unless you were on-scene to see the horrific destruction caused by the perpetrator, you could never feel the pain that the surviving police officers felt. The suffering the families went through and are still going through everyday. The sense of loss in that community. Police officers are just normal people trying to do a job most other people are afraid to do. They just want to go home to their families every night. The events of Bristol (more recently in Nashville, TN) and the weapon used by the perpetrators is exactly why police officers need to be properly armed, regardless of the size of the town. “Eviscerators”? I have yet to see a police officer carrying one of those. Just another tactic to instill fear in those that don’t know better.
Charlotte Scot says
I’m sorry that you did not understand what I said. I am sorry that you presumed I did not feel pain for the people and officers of Bristol. But, to conflate my words with your opinions won’t work. I was a reporter for many years and witnessed many crime scenes. I have seen bodies floating in streams, I’ve seen bloodied bodies in the snow. Have you seen what an AR does to a human or animal? Read the following: https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/interactive/2023/ar-15-damage-to-human-body/ It is an extremely thorough and accurate report. Anyone who buys one of this weapons or plans on using one should be forced to read this article aloud and show the graphics to their loved ones.
Police should always use force as a LAST RESORT. I want my police to be safe…but the fact is while 59 police officers were killed in the line of duty from January 1, 2021, to September 30, 2021, 238 civilians were killed by the police during that same period of time.
To arm my local police force with these dreadful military weapons is unnerving and unnecessary. I’d love to have a discussion once you’ve read the article I attached.
Charlotte Scot says
It makes about as much sense as proposing to buy Maseratis for cops because there are fast cars on our streets. A well-trained officer can still take down a shooter with an AR with one bullet..
Jonnie Marks says
I am sick and tired of these arguments about semantics I don’t care what someone calls AR-15s and similar weapons, though if you’ve seen what they do to a human body, “eviscerator” might be too mild. Bottom line: They should be banned .
as they were until the ban expired. Lives have been lost needlessly as a consequence. (,Look it up.).
Our local police do not need them. The potential for tragic unintended consequences is too high and as others noted, arming the local police with these weapons would be an unnecessary redundancy. This arms race is madness. Where will it end?