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Villager Pledges Money to End Gun Violence with Students' Help

John Bykowsky will donate $1 for every Ridgewood student who walks 27 minutes at school on Friday.

Shaken by the , a Ridgewood man is pledging to donate big dollars – with the help of students – to end gun violence in America.

If John Bykowsky's vision comes to form, you'll see thousands of Ridgewood students walking around the schools on Friday as a loose extension of a national remembrance march for the 27 victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.

"Everytime I look at a six-year-old kid I see how tender they are, how beautiful they are," Bykowsky, a father of two, said. "The thought of shooting one is just devastating...I can't even fathom it. It's unbelievable."

The Ridgewood resident is pledging to donate $1 for every student who walks 27 minutes at their school on Friday, whether it be before, during or after school hours. The check will be issued to The Brady Center to End Gun Violence, a non-profit group with aims to create stricter gun control laws.

With roughly 5,900 students in the district, his check could be nearly $6,000. Students will tell the main office of their respective school if they've walked and Bykowsky will add the tally to determine the amount he donates, he said.

Bykowsky promised to donate $1,000 regardless of how many students walk. 

The villager does not know if his plan – hastily hatched and without any coordination with the schools – will be effective, but he feels compelled to send a message of unity with the children.

The events of Friday reinforce Bykowsky's belief that guns are far too accessible in the U.S. A line has to be drawn somewhere, he said.

"Right now it's the first real time I've sensed people willing to budge," he said Thursday. "There seems to be a bit more willingness to listen. It's like a watershed moment."

RidgewoodResident December 22, 2012 at 06:47 PM
Also, by that logic, we shouldn't arm police, Ridgewood Mom. However, the chances of a police office/security guard using their weapon to defend their clients is higher than the chances of them turning the gun on them, and a gun is a necessary tool of their job.
RidgewoodResident December 22, 2012 at 06:49 PM
You're assuming gun control works, RM. However it doesn't. Our government spends billions of dollars annually and can't even keep drugs off the street. And you think they can get rid of guns in a country of 300 million guns? With two open borders? Laws don't stop criminals. Jail cell bars or a bullet in the head do.
RidgewoodResident December 22, 2012 at 06:55 PM
The majority of crimes involving guns are committed using illegal guns. All gun control will do is control the guns that law-abiding citizens have, while allowing criminals to get any gun they want. Although many of shooters did buy their guns legally, that doesn't really prove much. They took the path of least resistance. The question is whether or not they STILL would have got the guns if gun laws were stricter. My bets are on yes. The government can't even keep teenagers from getting drugs. How can they stop criminal masterminds and psychos from getting guns? Controlling the supply isn't a viable solution. The solution is to control the criminal demand for guns. If shooters have to fear armed citizens or multiple trained, armed guards they are less likely to want to shoot up a school. If mentally ill individuals are treated, they might not have the urges to kill. People with criminal intent (even if they are not previously convicted criminals) will always find a way to get weapons. Law-abiding citizens need the tools to defend themselves.
RidgewoodResident December 22, 2012 at 07:00 PM
Well the courts have ruled that a ban on handguns is unconstitutional. The only gun in question is the Bushmaster .223. That's not a constitutionally-guaranteed weapon, but it's still legal because it's no more harmful than a semi-automatic hunting rifle with a longer barrel and higher caliber.
RidgewoodResident December 22, 2012 at 07:02 PM
That's a risk we run everyday, RM. Should we not arm the police, with your logic, because one might go rogue? I'm willing to bet that the need for police to be armed to deal with criminals outweighs the small risk that they might use their gun for illicit purposes. And the risk of their son gaining access to the gun can be reduced by keeping it in a safe until it is taken out for work everyday. Not that their son couldn't just get a weapon illegally if they had criminal intent...
RidgewoodResident December 22, 2012 at 07:15 PM
Nope: "The Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home" - Supreme Court, District of Columbia v. Heller The first clause expresses a purpose for the second: "A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state" ...but the second still stands on it's own, as an independent clause: "The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed." And it's not speculation, it's the result of a study conducted by the FBI and DOJ: http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/content/pub/ascii/fuo.txt
RidgewoodResident December 22, 2012 at 07:17 PM
Guns are designed to propel a projectile through the air in a straight motion. Whether you use it for self-defense, killing predators to protect livestock, hunting, sport/target shooting, collection, or criminal ends is up to you. One can only hope that if you use it for criminal ends, others with guns are there to stop you - police or armed citizens.
Ridgewood Mom December 22, 2012 at 08:06 PM
I've never heard of a safe gun RidgewoodResident. First off, if the argument in favor of allowing guns for private ownership is that they be used for self defense, then all of arguments to the effect that guns are only for hobby sport need to be dismissed. If private citizens are needing to have guns to protect themselves from bad guys, then those guns are specifically intended for the purpose of shooting people. A gun is not a necessary precaution in stopping school shootings. There are many possible precautions that can and would serve better. Indeed, considering guns broadly, they are the cause of the need to take precaution. Without them, there wouldn't be a problem to begin with. There is no connection in the logic that says that citizens should not have firearms with the idea that law enforcement shouldn't have them. We have no choice but to trust that our law enforcement officials to have greater means to force then private individuals, for if we can not trust such officials to act more responsibly as such then we can not count on the states ability to determine which of us as individuals can be responsible or irresponsible gun owners.
Ridgewood Mom December 22, 2012 at 08:09 PM
I should add a comment about the gun safe idea. Anecdotal evidence, based on the fact that there are school shootings involving legal guns that have not been properly locked up in gun safes, suggests that gun safes are not currently working as a means of stopping these sorts of events.
Ridgewood Mom December 22, 2012 at 08:17 PM
I have no need to assume that gun control works broadly RidgewoodResident. All I need to know is the simple fact that if just one particular mother had not legally ownd guns, last week, then twenty beautiful children would be celebrating the holidays with their families right now. Gun control would work, as an obvious matter of fact, each and every time that a legal gun is used to hurt someone. That means pretty much every single day in America.
Ridgewood Mom December 22, 2012 at 08:19 PM
RidgewoodResident: "Laws don't stop criminals." This statement makes absolutely no sense at all. What do you think is the purpose of laws if not to stop criminal behavior? Or are you simply expressing the tautology that a criminal is defined as someone who has not obeyed a law?
Ridgewood Mom December 22, 2012 at 08:35 PM
Why should it matter whether or not the majority of gun crimes are committed with illegal weapons, as opposed to legal ones? All that should matter is that gun violence is being enacted that utilizes legally owned guns and that much of that violence can be stopped by that making making those guns illegal. One less child killed should be sufficient reason for changing our policy. It makes no sense to say that gun control will not simply get in the way of "law-abiding citizens." By definition, if guns are made illegal then citizens who have them will not be law abiding. The issue is whether or not laws designed to contain the amount of guns in society will result in a lessening of gun related violence. The answer is an obvious "yes." Simply put, if privately owned guns were made illegal then the entirety of current crimes involving the illegal usage of legally owned guns would be eradicated.
Ridgewood Mom December 22, 2012 at 08:37 PM
RidgewoodResident: "Well the courts have ruled that a ban on handguns is unconstitutional." That absurdity needs to be improved upon.
Ridgewood Mom December 22, 2012 at 08:46 PM
RidgewoodResident, That makes no sense as a reasonable interpretation of the constitution. Back to the point. If you are trying to use established legalities as a means of arguing the case for guns, then you are ignoring what we have been discussing. We have not been discussing whether or not private gun ownership is legal. We have been discussion whether or not private gun ownership should be legal. It is currently the case that citizens are legally allowed to own certain guns. The point is, and has been, that these legalities need to change.
Ridgewood Mom December 22, 2012 at 08:48 PM
Are you suggesting that private citizens ought have the same level of authority of force as ought law enforcement officers, for whom their function is explicitly the purpose of enFORCing the law?
Ridgewood Mom December 22, 2012 at 08:50 PM
No. The design intention of a gun, as a weapon, is to cause harm to others. Yes there is fantasy and role play. But that is a secondary imagining.
Macko D December 23, 2012 at 01:42 AM
If I could respectfully pose the question that I had posed in an earlier post: If your kid or loved one were at that school, and if anyone - custodian, cop, passerby, teacher, parent, hunter - used a firearm to stop this animal before he wiped out my child and 20 other innocents, would you be grateful to that person? Thank you - I have seen a lot of pro and con here...so, just a simple "yes" or "no" to my question... anyone?
paul smith December 23, 2012 at 03:52 AM
Yeah, just make the whole country an armed camp. I have no problem with rifles and basic handguns. But, why in hell does anyone need a glock or a 30 round magazine for an assault weapon. The gun lunatics spewing the second amendment should remember that our founding fathers envisioned single shot flintlocks, not rapid fire assault weapons. There were no violent games or movies in the 18th century. If these gentlemen were around today, they too would question the need for military technology being easily available with no background checks etc.
Glenn Hefferan December 23, 2012 at 03:59 AM
CRD.... Its not silly... isn't the issue keeping our kids safe from whatever dangers are lurking? "Free will", is an important issue in this entire discussion. Don't blame the NRA... they are doing their job... to be advocates for the wishes of their 4 million members. This is no different than unions and other organizations that back candidates that support their cause. Blame the ELECTED LEADERS. The pharmaceutical industry has a powerful lobby; in 2011 there were 37000 accidental overdoses, half from prescription pain pills., yet not a whimper from the media or public. But we have "a war on drugs" I do agree with you about commonsense gun laws; background checks, registration requirements, and I agree in closing the gun show loopholes. Adam Lanza was going to do something to leave his mark, if it wasn't the guns he used, it might have been something far worse. Why his mother, who was on the verge of committing her sick son, thought that it was still OK to keep weapons in her house defies logic. But we don't know the details...maybe they were secure and her son figured how to get at them. In all of this, my frustration is that the entire gun issue is what is front and center, but it should have as much relevance to the all the other issues; mental health, school security, etc. But we will pass another assault weapons ban AGAIN, and we will have more tragedy at a school and we will wonder why this 14 to 20 year old male went off the rails and killed more kids.
Glenn Hefferan December 23, 2012 at 04:20 AM
Not sure where your getting your information; that they have the data and won't release it? FOIA - http://www.sec.gov/foia/nfoia.htm has 9 exemptions and I don't see how these stats are shielded from FOIA. This I know; there are 87 deaths daily from guns; 56 of those gun deaths, are self-inflicted, leaving 31 deaths due to crime. 55% of these deaths were from handguns. David Hinkley shot off 6 rounds in less than 2 seconds, it hit 4 people including the most heavily guarded person in the world; POTUS - Reagan. It was a .22 caliber. Point here; nothing will ever be 100% From that point, we've had "a war on guns"; ie. James Brady Foundation; we implemented a ban on Assault Weapons, passed by a democrat controlled House and Senate, and President Clinton.... but they included a 10 year sunset clause. Why? I think most Americans believe we need to address the guns laws... but do it without the "Michael Moore" vitriol and bring all the issues of school safety to the table for discussion.
Glenn Hefferan December 23, 2012 at 04:25 AM
Michael.... without question, I think anyone would be grateful. As I said in another post, we might have a different outcome if that principal went after Lanza and had a gun in her hand. Its strange... no one mentions that we have armed police at our high school football games. How would it be so bad if they were in our schools?
Concerned Ridgewood Dad December 23, 2012 at 04:43 AM
Michael J-D With all due respect, you "ask" an absolutely absurd and disingenuous question. The bottom line is this: without an assault rifle, Adam Lanza would never have been able to murder as many people as he did. YES, he would have killed some, but certainly not 26. More guns is NOT the answer. Compared to other industrialized nations like Australia, Japan, Germany, the US has exponentially greater deaths from gun violence, be it murder, suicide, or accident than america. Is this because we have too few guns? I'm sorry, but you can't answer yes to this question with a straight face. Please take your NRA propaganda to another site - reasonable americans aren't going to buy that any longer... & Thank God for that! Michael J-D, "simple yes or no question" for you... if i exorcized my 2nd amendment right and accidentally blew your head off with my 50 caliber sniper rifle would you be "grateful" to me or not..."Thank you - I have seen a lot of pro and con here...so, just a simple "yes" or "no" to my question... anyone"?
Macko D December 23, 2012 at 04:06 PM
Dear Concerned Ridgewood Dad, I'm not sure that I have ever heard that accidentally blowing someone's head off is a constitutional right... so I'll answer without hesitation : "no". If the the question that you dismiss is so absolutely "absurd", then why can't you - and so many others who seem to think that guns are intrinsically evil - just answer "no"? . The reason that you cannot answer "no" is simple - if it were YOUR loved one in that school, one more gun would indeed be the answer if it saved that loved one's life. And you can't admit that - because it would undermine your stance, despite all the statistics that you quote. But deep in all our hearts, we know that we would welcome the use of a firearm if it saved our loved one against a murderer...because no one has the right to take your loved one's innocent life.
dst December 23, 2012 at 07:28 PM
Perhaps it is the Pollyanna in me, but why can't EVERYONE...Federal/State/Local Govs, mental health professionals, video game makers, movie makers, song writers, churches, families, gun-lovers, gun-haters AND the NRA do what they can to make a change. I know, I know, this is incredibly simplistic. But how can every one of us not - Do. What. We. Can. Stop pointing fingers or, worse yet, turning a blind eye and start asking "what can I do, how can I help"...
Concerned Ridgewood Dad December 23, 2012 at 07:48 PM
Michael J-D I do not think guns are inherently evil. I think NRA nuts like Wayne Lapiere who claim that the answer to gun violence is simply more guns are evil. The NRA has become the mouth piece for the gun industry who want to protect their profits. Unfortunately for society, the most profitable guns happen to be assault weapons. Something I just learned today... apparently there was an armed security guard at Columbine High School during the 1999 mass shooting. What does this prove? I don't know if it proves anything other than having armed guards at schools is no guarantee of safety. The only way to guarantee that a mass shooting such as Columbine, Sandy Hook or Virginia Tech don't happen again is to outlaw the ownership of assault weapons and high capacity ammunition clips by civilians. You can't hide behind the first amendment and yell "fire" in a crowded movie theater. Likewise you shouldn't be able to hind behind the second amendment and own assault weapons. They have no place in our society. If you want to join the militia and stock your home full of muskets, cotton balls and lead marbles not your self out.
Concerned Ridgewood Dad December 23, 2012 at 08:46 PM
Michael J-D Let's take your line of reasoning further... why stop at armed guards in schools? Why not just allow any person over 18 years of age to have any type of assulat weapon (shy of fully automatic machine guns) they please on their person at all times? Sure they'll need a symbolic "background check" but for the most part anyone could get a gun. They could conceal it if they choose or proudly wear it slung over their shoulder. Little league games, no problem. Ben & Jerry's, sure - why not? Subway or bus? yup & yup. Church? Absolutely. Now, what happens when some deranged nut like Adam Lanza starts shooting up 5th Ave while thousands of people are window shopping around Christmas time? The NRA would have you believe that one of the hundreds of law abiding citizens who's packing their AR-15 right around Lanza "blows is head clean off" with one shot and saves the day. Reality would probably be much different. A dozen wood be Dirty Harry's start firing in the general direction of Lanza, perhaps taking him out, perhaps not. In the confusion, nobody knows who's the bad guy who started firing first which leads to a chain reaction of more people shooting more guns at more people. Where does it stop? How could it stop? It wouldn't...just imagine the terror of that scene. I've said it before and I'll repeat it again. This country needs comprehensive - no loophole gun control laws NOW, not more guns.
Ridgewood Mom December 23, 2012 at 09:51 PM
Michael J-D, If if it were MY loved one in that school, a couple of fewer guns would have been the answer that would have saved that loved one's life. That's right, a few less of the legal kind of guns that only "responsible" gun owners are supposed to get to have. The one's that crazy people aren't supposed to get.
Glenn Hefferan December 23, 2012 at 10:56 PM
dat.... yes, simplistic and a great way to fix it.... problems is, it doesn't create enough drama and conflict. What would the headlines be: "People from all corners got together and worked out a great solution" That's no fun for the partisans the people that want us divided.
Glenn Hefferan December 23, 2012 at 11:29 PM
I guess no one saw the riot that occurred in Chino, CA at a youth football game, where the police had to show up in riot gear. Again, we need to first stop pointing at inanimate objects... and start with our own behavior. Getting rid of the assault weapons will not guarantee against mass school shootings; all it will guarantee is that LAW ABIDING CITIZENS will no longer have assault weapons. Any weapons can be modified after the fact. The kids at RHS play Dart Wars and modify their dart guns... you are deluding yourself if think someone bent on evil and murder can't or won't modify their weapons of choice to be capable of the most destruction. Amazingly, everyone seem to think it was a great idea to have police in school, when President Clinton suggested it after Columbine. Gun laws does not address human behavior.
dst December 23, 2012 at 11:52 PM
There WERE armed guards @ Columbine in 1999...


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