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Wednesday, December 9, 2015
Today, I heard a man say that it's not Christians blowing people up. He could have added, we use guns instead. Memories are short: the single worst terror attack on record, not including 9-11, remains home grown Timothy McVee's bombing of the Federal Building in Oklahoma City. But the fear is up right now, fed hungrily by those who profess to wish to lead our nation. Donald Trump is the loudest and most extreme voice out there right now, but the sentiments of many Americans seem to be closely aligned to his. It feels ominous to listen, day after day, to the reactionary atmosphere that once again proves, all too sadly, that we as a nation and humanity as a species have made at best a fractional halting step to progress.
This great country was founded upon and has expanded on the concept of freedom. It has been a struggle, and from time to time people come along who want to restrict the freedoms earned by the blood of those who came before. We cannot allow that to happen, and it is easy enough to prevent. But silence is not the answer. Repeating the same steps over and over again, while expecting a different outcome, is certainly not the answer. And voting against your own best interests, or worse, not bothering to vote at all, is definitely not the answer. Accepting without question the lies and hate-filled rhetoric of a sadly growing minority is the answer only if you wish to give up who you are and revert to being someone else's puppet. That rhetoric states that only Muslims are the problem (read enemy). In fact it is the idealogs and the religious zealots of any faith or persuasion who, once radicalized, choose to terrorize us with bombs and guns and vile words.
We want to fight terror. We are fully engaged in a war against an emotional response to horrific events. Yet we indulge and ignore the real, daily terror on our streets. It is said, and said, and said, every time a multiple homicide makes the national news, that something must be done, yet the war on terror still ignores the Home Front. Eighty people die every day in America from gun-related incidents. Almost three thousand people lost their lives on 9-11. But every single month since, handguns and those who use them have taken ten 9-11's worth of lives, one by one, two by two, and sometimes in larger numbers. Every month. The tragedy in Paris equals a day and a half in America's normal. An American is about as likely to be killed with a gun as die in a car crash. Yet gun sales are on the rise.
Congress readily passes legislation to deepen the restrictions on foreign entry into America. Some would like to see it stopped altogether. The House of Representatives, on the basis of trying to stop abortions from happening, voted to defund Planned Parenthood even though not one penny of that funding goes to abortions. Yet the same Congress cannot strengthen existing gun regulations or enact new ones. If abortion is the premature termination of an existing life, then every gun death is an abortion. How can anyone be pro life and do nothing about the slaughter on our streets? Do these people really have our best interests at heart, whether it is on the issue of foreign visitors and immigrants, women's healthcare, or truly fighting terror, or any other number of important issues that affect us day to day or impact our future and our children's future? If you think they don't. tell them so with your vote.
I was born in Holland in 1950. My parents immigrated to the US when I was two. I have many close friends and family on both continents. My wife Diane and I have been happily married since 1974. I have four children and one grandchild (two more are on the way). I love writing and sharing what I wrote most of all..