Letter: Children and guns

Sir: In the 1970s I taught at a secondary school in Essex. One night two angry and disaffected former pupils broke into the school. They destroyed or damaged walls, furniture and fittings in a wide area. In particular they attacked items which had been provided by the fund-raising of pupils and parents.

This caused much distress to pupils and staff. I can remember consoling fifteen-year-olds, who could not understand why such an attack had been made.

This morning I heard one of the senators from Colorado on the BBC's Today programme. It was his opinion that the tragedy of Littleton was due to the anger and violence that is the reaction of some young people to their problems, and not the American gun laws.

I think his conclusion is correct, but I thought back to the incident in Essex and was thankful that it happened in a society where the possession and use of guns is not accepted as part of everyday life.

American parents and educationalists will be looking for the causes of violence and disaffection. I hope that they will also look at the means used to express that disaffection and think of the bereaved parents of Littleton.