One flag, two nations

October 15, 2017

Arriving in my inbox Monday morning was a most gracious email from a reader of this column.  The subject was last Sunday’s column the Las Vegas horror and the 2nd Amendment.

While it was nice to know that there are indeed other Americans who understand that there will always be evil in this world and no amount of laws will ever stop it, what was most special was her sharing of the personal.

The telling of a father who served in World War II, of a husband who served when his time came, and the priceless memories of her and her husband quail and pheasant hunting with their beloved four legged friend Ricky.  A widow now, she’s glad that as she faces the world alone she knows how to use those guns should the need ever arise.

I don’t know if she’s a member of the National Rifle Association, but from her email she certainly could be.  Just like the other millions of average Americans who belong, she too was unwilling to give up her freedoms for a false promise of government safety.  An American who realizes it’s not the gun, it’s the person.  That in her words: “We are always going to have evil in this world and no matter what we do it will exist.  Criminals always find a way to get a weapon of some kind if they want one.”

Her tone was not “right wing nut job” or the “gun nut crazy” as today’s media narrative so desperately tries to paint.  It was reasoned, measured and realistic.  Acknowledgement of the world as it is, accepting that life can’t always be controlled.

But it was the last two sentences of the paragraph that got me: “It makes me feel safer when I do see a gentleman packing his pistol on his side.  He just might be the one guy that can save you or someone you love in a tense situation.”

Unlike so many others, she does not see a man with a gun and scream in fear, she sees a deterrent to that which would harm.  That behind the vilification of the over 300 million guns in America by the gun control lobby, is the fact that as gun ownership has climbed, overall homicide numbers have actually declined.

Full disclosure, I personally am a life member of the NRA and proud of it.  The work it does on gun safety and responsible gun ownership is first rate and we need more, not fewer, organizations just like it.  Yet there are millions of Americans right now today who at just hearing the name, have visions of SS storm troopers and jack booted thugs.

Why?  Because that’s what they’ve been told.  Told by virtually every media outlet across the country and by all but a handful of Hollywood celebrities that if it only wasn’t for the NRA, at last Utopia would be upon us.

That every morning would dawn in peace and love, lunch would be endless milk and honey, and we’d all lay down at night in meadows lush green.

It couldn’t be further from the truth but truth ran for the hills years ago.  Feelings and emotions are what matter today.  Facts don’t budge, but feelings, those oh so flexible feelings can be shaped and molded as needed.  And if there’s one thing the left does well, it’s manipulating minds to dutifully fall into ideological line.

Whether its guns, healthcare, taxes, opioids or any one of a number of others, this nation has real issues that need real debate. Yet that debate will never happened as long as facts and reason stand on one side, feelings and emotion on the other, and a political chasm between them that makes the Grand Canyon look like but a crack in the driveway.

America today, for all practical purposes, is two countries under one flag.

On one side, the Founding Fathers, limited government and maximum liberty; on the other a “living” Constitution, a “caring” government, and rights allotted on an “as needed” basis by that same government.

The next generation of Americans will either be governed by facts and the rule of law, or feelings and the emotion of the day; one will win, one will lose.  The only thing we don’t know is how long the battle and which side the victor.

Like it or not, the time for compromise has passed. (At least that’s how I feel about it anyway.)

PUBLISHER’s NOTE: A version of this column first appeared in the Sunday print edition of the Joplin Globe.

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