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Consider this quote from Abe Lincoln

"America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves."



Certainly the tragic events in Arizona this past weekend are enough to make any of us stop and reflect for a moment about the complete waste and anger that events like these bring into our lives. Instead of focusing on the tragedy of the lives lost, including those of an 8 year old girl who was of no offense to anyone, we will be bombarded by the rhetoric from both sides this week. The gun lobby will stand up and try to convince us all that the key to the continued safety of all Americans is for everyone of us, man, woman and child to carry around a weapon to “protect ourselves.” On the reverse side of the isle we’ll hear from those who want us to know how safe we would all be if the only people who had guns were law enforcement, (although it is quite apparent even in Iowa that we’ve been a little lax enforcing the gun laws within our own public safety sector), or the military and that had the right to arm oneself not been allowed to continue this tragic shooting would have never occurred.

The actual truth is it wouldn’t really make a whole lot of difference either way. If no one was allowed to carry a gun, it wouldn’t have stopped someone with the intent to take the life of another human being from having one now would it? And if we all carried firearms around just like cell phones, you can only imagine what would happen if someone cut you off in traffic, or in this case, if someone decided to take it upon themselves and shoot anyone displaying a fire arm. How would you pick out the bad guy?

When it boils right down to it, there are people in this world…many more than you might actually realize that struggle every day with delusions and mental illness. Granted the great majority of them aren’t so messed up that they are intent on seeking revenge on anyone, but that is one of the things we have to say is a necessary evil. To incarcerate or institutionalize everyone with some form of mental illness would make the individuals incarcerated for drug related crimes in this county look like the outfield at a White Sox game.

We mourn for those that are lost, in the same way we mourned for the two store clerks in Northwest Iowa who lost their lives, in the same way we mourned the death of Ed Thomas. There are countless other instances where it isn’t really about guns, or who can or can’t carry one in public. It’s about people who are living with a nightmare that most of us can’t imagine. The illnesses that haunt them, that send them to the edge of sanity aren’t always their own making, and just like an alcoholic most don’t even realize they have a problem until it’s too late.

We can only hope that we can find compassion for those who suffer, weather it be with a full blown “I’m gonna put a bullet in someone to make my point” hysteria, or those who deal with depression and other forms of mental illness. These aren’t made up diseases and they don’t just happen to “bad people”. In fact I would say it would be a good bet that you wouldn’t have to think too long to find someone you know, someone close to you who struggles in silence. It’s not the guns, it’s the people, and even those who suffer a small amount need our love, and compassion and respect, and maybe then, if we decide to not let them suffer alone; we can stop tragic instances like this one from happening again.

See you next week…Remember, we’re all in this together.