Our Potential – Editorial 1/9/12

I’m so tired of the constant negative clamor about, well, almost everything. Politics, for instance. We thought that when the presidential election was over, we would not have to endure the endless ads, the constant barrage of e-mails asking for money, the recounts on propositions that failed to pass. Now, we are coping with the fiscal cliff along with endless arguments and often hateful comments about gun control discussion.

I just want it to all stop. So, I tell myself, you stop. Just drop out of the conversation. Don’t start it. Don’t respond. Let it go. If only the gun nuts and the control freaks would just stop arguing. Don’t even remind people that the second amendment was written to ensure that there was an armed militia before there was an army to defend our nation.

But wait. Is that really what I want? Do I really want to go back to same old, same old until the next crisis?  I thought the only possibly positive result of the horrible events at Newtown, where 26 human beings were killed by a mentally troubled individual… 28 if you count his mother and the killer… would be a serious look at our gun laws and the types of weapons available. Maybe we would finally find some solutions to stop the carnage. Why do civilians need automatic weapons that fire hundreds of bullets?

Many gun owners and users seem to have the same attitude as those who think requiring people to use seatbelts in cars and wear helmets while riding motorcycles infringe on their freedom. I listen to them and wonder if they ever think about my freedom to not have to respond to another mangled, head injury on a mountain road or freeway. The same people who proclaim their freedom is being infringed on by the new healthcare program, are the ones who end up in hospitals where the rest of us pay their bills. What about my freedom to be responsible for myself and not have to worry about paying for their freedom?

I seem to have lost my way in this editorial. There are so many things going on today. The news is blasting report after report about an airline pilot who tested positive for alcohol and was arrested just prior to a flying out of an airport. There is a constant barrage of information, mostly geared toward negative reactions: Be fearful. Don’t trust anyone. The government is bad and guns are good. I get so tired of everyone shouting at each other. We all need to take a deep breath and re-think our priorities. What is life all about? What is really important. Owning a gun is not my priority. There is so much more to life. Happiness and joy. Being with a friend. Reading a book. Watching a movie. Playing bocce ball. Having a job. Feeding your family. Being able to share food, money and time with those less fortunate. Laughing, enjoying the sun, the snow and the rain.

We are so fortunate to have what we have that we forget how lucky we are to be Americans who live in a country that survived a civil war, two world wars, the great depression, racism and other issues that people around the world are still struggling with every day. We are human beings, able to be decent, loving, kind and noble.  Let’s live up to our potential.

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