Saturday, August 13, 2022

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Guest Commentary

The honest problem of gun control


“Tin soldiers and Nixon’s comin.’ We’re finally on our own. This summer I hear the drummin,’ four dead in Ohio.”

Those of us of a certain age might know these lyrics to the song “Ohio” by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young written in 1970. It was a very emotional time for some of us, myself included. It was the first time, at least in our view of current history, that American soldiers actually killed innocent, peaceful protesters who were American citizens on American soil — a shocking revelation about the potential of our government that has only sharpened as we have aged.                

Now our country is polarized and paralyzed by the debate of gun ownership. But this great viciousness is focusing on the minutia and not the true, honest reason. We argue freedom of ownership vs. safety of children. We argue banning everything vs. arming everyone. All of that is smoke. We are not being honest — with each other if not ourselves. The issue is the need to keep guns in our homes to protect us from our own government, not for sport or protection from burglars, for compromise could be found to protect those issues. The anger and vitriol is a true guttural fear of the very people who are supposed to protect us. If we do not address this issue, we will constantly live in the smoky diversion that the gun argument has become.                

I get the question. Sadly, I believe it is true. Four dead in Ohio taught us that it is very, very possible to be at war with your own government. We don’t see it in the mainstream media, but the Internet — even discounting the crackpots — gives enough plausible information to show us the question is valid. (Google the words “Building 7” if you doubt this.) Or go ahead and doubt it, but know that there is a large segment of our population that won’t voice the words in favor of the aforementioned smoke. They don’t want to be called “wingnuts,” knowing the derision that creates. Look at the poll percentages, and then try to tell me it is a small segment of our population that is suspicious.                

Of course, the other side of the barricade isn’t without self-deception either. Is looking at the “trees” of specific shootings, regardless of motive, the same as ignoring the “forest” of legitimate fear of a police state?                

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Here I am, the anti-gun pacifist. It is idiotic to have all the guns flying around for random, opportunistic, troubled people. But there are a lot of people on the other side. A LOT. Let’s get past the smoke, and address the real issue. Are they right? I fear, yes. Personally, I cannot see myself taking to the streets in camouflage with gun to protest the latest crazy addition to the Patriot Act. That crazy addition hasn’t been enacted yet, but I can see it from here.                

Where do we go from here? Both sides are right. Neither side is wrong. Both sides appear incompatible with the other. Us or them.               

Where do we go from here?                

All I can think of is to fix the distrust of the government. All of it — legislative, executive, judicial (the third would certainly take some time) — and the changes would require a mini-revolution in itself against the “Powers That Were.”                

1. No re-election for any office-holders and no pay for service. For example, one four-year term for the House, eight years for Senate and six for the President. It is an honor to serve our country… and then go back home. So for each term many have to learn the system for the first time. Good. Then they can fix traditions that don’t work.               

2. No appointed positions, such as Treasury, may be filled by people from the industry being policed, and once out of office, may not enter that industry for five years.                

3. Here’s a novel thought: No political parties. Have national and state office-holders simply be people from the community, consciously representing their constituents, just the way cities make it work now.                

4. Break up the giant corporations which have too much power, and which actively state that their goal is not the betterment of society but the accumulation of profits. They are not people; they are not accountable. No new corporation may be created unless it can justify its existence as for the betterment of society.               

But all of these are pipe dreams, which leads me to the only thing I personally can do: Visualize the world I want. Back in the 1930s, Napoleon Hill wrote a book called “Think and Grow Rich.” His advice was to visualize the business or job that you want, and it will come about if you do it right. There are currently many, many other, modern books in the business section of bookstores that give the same philosophy, so it must be working.                

In the metaphysical/spiritual world, this is called the Law of Attraction: “That which is like unto itself is drawn.” What you think about, you will experience. You can even find adult education classes that teach the principles of this. Everything in the universe is energy, and a thought is merely focused energy. Sufficient focused energy actually results in physical changes in the world.                

I believe this works. It has for me, when I don’t sabotage myself with negative or contrary thoughts. When we learn to focus, we change the universe. Sometimes it is only our own lives that change, but common thought affects all of society. Common thought of fighting against the other side of the gun argument will only bring more fighting to you.                

I hereby quit that battle. Pollyanna-fruitcake that I am, I will visualize the peaceful, cooperative world that I want with governance we can trust, right next to the world you want for yourself, for we don’t have to have the same thing. I wish you joy and happiness, if that is what you want. I choose joy. CV                

Stephen L. Stone is a pension consultant from Ankeny. He’s also a freelance writer, and “a guy who likes to read Cityview, and who thinks about stuff.”

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