George Washington was born February 22, 1732. On February 18 we observed the official Federal Holiday “Washington’s Birthday”. The holiday shows up on calendars and in the media as “President’s Day”. The State of South Carolina uses the name “George Washington’s Birthday/President’s Day” on the official State Holiday Schedule. To be clear, though, the national February 18, 2013 (this year) holiday is officially “Washington’s Birthday.” It was our first holiday honoring a citizen.
George Washington, even while alive, was called the “Father of His Country”. That can hardly be questioned after a brief or a lifetime of study of his life and that of the country that he loved. The nation’s capital fittingly bears his name, and his monument there stands above all else, with the apex inscribed, in Latin “Laus Deo” meaning Praise be to God.
“First in War - First in Peace - First in the hearts of his countrymen” — those words began the eulogy for George Washington in 1799. After leading the Revolution and leading the creation of our Constitution and Republic, then serving for two terms as our first President — elected by unanimous electoral vote — he insisted on retiring to Mount Vernon in 1797, delivering his Farewell Address as one of his last and finest acts. His retirement would be brief — only two years — his last words, at ten in the evening of December 14, 1799 being, “ ‘tis well.” He was 67.
Of course, our Georgetown is named for another George (the Prince – later King George II); his son, George III came to acknowledge that George Washington was “the greatest character of the age,” one of the great understatements in history.
It is fitting that, on February 18 and again today, February 22, that we take the time to reflect on George Washington – the Father of his Country, and how his life, as an example, applies in today’s world.
The “anti-gun” crowd is acting disingenuous towards the American citizenry regarding “gun control” in the wake of the recent mass gun violence tragedies. The “anti-gun” crowd's solution to this very serious problem is to pass laws that impose stricter gun control regulations and restrictions on law-abiding gun owners.
As usual, the “anti-gun” crowd has plans that are well-intentioned, but never quite solve the origins of mass gun violence crimes and in the end may worsen this serious problem. The answer to the following question is debatable: how can the “anti-gun” crowd explain why the City of Chicago has some of the strongest gun bans, laws, ordinances, and restrictions on the books, but cannot curb a wave of gun violence that contributed to more than 500 homicides last year and over 40 killings already in 2013?
The subject of “gun crimes” in our beloved nation is incredibly complex. The “anti-gun” crowd incorrectly compares our nation to Western European nations as if we are equals. Yes, the United States is a “Western” nation but equating our nation with England, France, Sweden, or other Western European countries is absurd.
The United States has a document that none of the Western European nations possesses; it is called the Constitution with its 2nd Amendment. None of the Western European nations has a stratified population of 310 million people. We are a nation whose population is ethnically, racially, culturally, and historically diverse. The growth of gang activity in our cities has been followed by wide spread gun violence. The United States, for better or worse, is a melting pot of both the good and the bad that the world offers. It is the bad, drawing closer together into conflict, which often leads to violence. These factors lead to some of the causes of gun-violence facing our nation.
Another possible cause of gun violence is mentally ill individuals that may steal a gun from a law-abiding gun owner, can easily purchase a weapon, or have easy access to carelessly unlocked guns at home.
If we look back in time to a previous generation, such as the 1960s, there was little gun regulation and gun crime was a rare incident.
The Community Mental Health Act (1963) mandated the closing of state mental institutions. In its place, mood-altering drugs are prescribed for the treatment of mentally ill patients that are now freely roaming the streets. Has this situation ushered in unforeseen side effects on the mentally ill in our society? Why doesn't the “anti-gun” crowd that is so eager to pass stricter gun control regulations on law-abiding gun owners determine if there is a high positive correlation between mood-altering drugs used for treating those who suffer from mental illness and those who commit mass shooting crimes? After mass shooting incidents, it has been reported that some of the shooters were under treatment with psychoactive drugs.
The “anti-gun” crowd fails to understand the tremendous good that guns do for self-defense. Unfortunately, sometimes we confront dangerous situations in our daily lives. Realistically, citizens cannot expect police to provide personal protection 24/7 and to be honest they are not legally obligated to do so. Gun control proponents are unwilling to admit that law-abiding gun owners sometimes are forced to use a weapon against a criminal. The “anti-gun” crowd also is unwilling to admit that when a gun-owner is able to shoot an attacker or hold a robber until the police arrive, it is likely that more than one crime has been averted because if the criminal had not been stopped, he would have committed another crime in the future.
Gun control is a virtuous concept, but it is really about political power of the left-leaning Democrat/Progressives. The left-leaning “anti-gun” crowd all hate that the Constitution because the Amendments in that unique document protect the rights of individuals and it protects individuals from an oppressive government. The “anti-gun” crowd believes that they know better than we do what is good for us. The “anti-gun” crowd believes that they deserve the power to determine if law-abiding gun owners have the right to carry a personal weapon to protect their families and themselves.
Let the opposition opinion letters begin.
Opinions that appear on this page in Letters to the Editor or in columns do not necessarily reflect the opinions of this newspaper.
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