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My A to Z Theme for 2022 was My Vinyl Record Collection. For the 2023 Challenge I'll be doing something similar with my home book collection. Lots of book stuff from A to Z

Friday, January 11, 2013

How Far Should the U.S. Go with Gun Control?

Summer's End. Lexington Green, 11 September 20...
Summer's End. Lexington Green, 11 September 2002. Photo taken in Minute Man National Historical Park. Sculpture : "Minuteman" by sculptor Henry Hudson Kitson (1863-1947), dedicated April 19, 1900. Erected 1899 : SIRIS (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
The Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution

Everybody's Talking About Guns

        There's a rising furor regarding the issues of gun control since the December Newtown school shooting incident.  The Aurora theater massacre shooter is in the news of late with preliminary hearings underway.  Continued reports of gun violence in the United States have been hitting the news on a daily basis.

        The arguments for gun control and bans are one of the main media topics of the past month.   President Obama and VP Biden are telling Americans that the issue of stopping gun violence is of top priority.  The NRA lobby is on the defense while the anti-assault weapon soapbox is bubbling over with those who want to add their voice to the debate.

        Who is right?  What is the answer?  The Second Amendment is the most cited defense by gun advocates.   I think this might also be the most misunderstood and misinterpreted aspect of the argument on both sides.   

          In my post Should We Ban (Insert Topic Here)? I offered a brief overview of some of the topics that came to my mind because of the gun violence debate.   I plan to address as many of these as I can on Tossing It Out in the future.  In this current post the topic of guns themselves seems the best place to begin.

          I'm no expert on guns or the constitution, but I'll attempt to tackle this based on the way I read the amendment, what I understand about history, and my interpretation as reasoned out by sense of logic.  You experts can call me out on where I get it wrong.   I'm going to try to keep this bare bones simple and I'll leave it to you to make it as complex as you wish.  Don't worry if you disagree with what I say here.  I'm just tossing out some ideas for you readers to consider.  My own personal beliefs may not even be in agreement with what I say here so don't worry about offending me.  We're just talking and trying to figure things out, right?

 What Is the Second Amendment Saying?

           We often hear the argument that citizens have the right to own guns for hunting, recreational shooting, personal protection, or collecting.  In reality these are merely red herrings that have been added to confuse the original intent of the amendment.   These may all have legitimate merit as reasons to be permitted to own guns, but these should not be part of the Second Amendment argument.

           Let's dissect the amendment to see what it is saying:

           A well regulated Militia...   A militia is a regional defense force--a small army to be activated during emergencies.   This is separate from our standing federal military branches.   The militias consist of unpaid volunteers who assemble when regional defense in necessary, including incursion by foreign invaders, threats of local militant groups, or agents of an oppressive tyrannical government.      

          ...being necessary to the security of a free State...  The militias are for the protection of the citizenry.  The point of having a militia is to keep our institutions, our families, our communities, and our values safe from those--meaning anyone--who would take them away from us and threaten our way of life.  This threat can include our own United States federal government in extreme circumstances.

           ...the right of the people to keep and bear Arms... Citizens--the people who would constitute said militia--have the right to own and retain in their possessions weaponry that would be essential for maintaining a "well regulated Militia".   They have the right to carry these weapons as I would interpret this clause and the nature of these weapons is not specified.  If the federal army or invading alien forces have weapons, then the militia should have a reasonable amount of parity.  I would go so far to interpret this as including machine guns, grenades, and hand-held rocket launchers.  

               ...shall not be infringed.   Neither the United States government nor any other government body can take this right away from us if we are acting in a responsible manner with our arms.  Even the implicit threat in keeping a government registration or record of who owns guns and the history of the gun owners' affiliations might be questionable in that this knowledge could allow the government to impinge upon the rights and freedom of these individuals.  Background checks and felony reports, though possibly a good tool for keeping guns out of the wrong hands, could even be questionable in certain cases.  

Is The Second Amendment Outdated?

             Arguments have been made that the founding fathers would not have intended their amendment to include anything other than simple single shot firearms.   I would disagree.  After all, these guys were revolutionaries who had just violently overthrown what they considered to be a tyrannical oppressive government that had a well armed occupying military force.  The founders were aware of what means could be necessary to overthrow a government such as this and they understood the advantage of having a parity of power--that is, similar weapons as held by the enemies.  We should not be expected to be holding our own against modern weapons with outdated eighteenth century muskets.

             Another argument might be presented that we no longer need to worry about our government oppressing us.  There are checks and balances in place.  Our government will never turn on us and we will be protected by our government against any invaders.  Can we necessarily absolutely depend on this?

               Shouldn't we be able to keep arms of any sort just in case?  The unthinkable could happen.  But those who insist that since we are safe and that paranoid delusional fantasies will never happen, then what's the point of being armed and making preparations for such a thing.   These conspiratorial fears are so unlikely there is no reason to be worrying about them.

               Think about this:   According to all odds, most of us will never be involved in a serious automobile accident, yet we feel safer with seat belts, air bags, and auto insurance.  Even though there are a very small number of airplane crashes relative to the number of daily passenger flights, we feel much more secure knowing there are safety devices on board and plans of action in case of a flight emergency or disaster.  The likelihood of most public buildings catching fire is relatively rare, yet it's common practice and a matter of law that they have fire extinguishers, alarms, and escapes.

            The fact is that throughout many aspects of life we prepare ourselves for things that will probably never happen and we hope never will.   But since they could happen, we prepare and accept this as the proper thing to do.   Why shouldn't we be prepared for those long shot, but possible fears when it involves protection from the government or other potential threats?  After all, government is people and people have been known to do some very bad things.

            Even now, with the talk of bans, restrictions, and investigations, you should be paying close attention and thinking about who will protect you when the government starts taking away a freedom that you hold dear.   Executive order anyone?

           What freedoms are you willing to give up?   What freedom do you personally hold so dear that you would fight to keep it?   Is there anything worth fighting for?   Worth killing for?   Has any war been worth the cost?   



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  1. Guns are ok if they are kept for the purpose they were made and kept by people who are responsible adults.
    Of course guns in conflict are used
    but it would be a better world if all these conflicts ceased, but that's a tall order to ask for.


  2. We no longer need to worry about our government oppressing us - yeah, right! They do it now without most people even realizing it.
    If they t00k away guns now it would be like Prohibition - worse than ever. Worse than during the Wild West.
    I think Larry C. had the best comment here last time you brought this up. I never want a gun, but it would be scary if only our government was allowed to have them.

  3. All that the banning on guns debate has caused is the sale of more guns. You cannot even purchase an AR15 here in Georgia because they are sold out. Of course, in Georgia it is easier to get a weapons permit than a marriage license. Um, I think there is a problem here. I have the right to own a weapon, but it should be more difficult to purchase one. IMHO.

  4. the rules are bendable when it's the government... they are just making this a point, because it is the public's eye... Just think we only hear about 911 near 911 or hear about shooting around those shooting dates.

    We never hear about the billions of dollars borrowed by China, no we are feeling the effects... never where the money went to.

    Guns should be used for their intent, we cannot stop people from killing with them, so taking them away from everyone... would leave this country defenseless. Does this mean no more hunting, police with whistles or grandma with a .45... no this means... stricter laws for those who want guns, what purpose...

  5. Too late to take away guns, we can only regulate. Then again, I may not want to own one, but I really don't want my government telling me I can't have one.

    The real problem is all of the mentally unbalanced people out there. All of the people with no morals. Where did all that go so wrong? And how can we fix it now?

  6. If the government can control the criminals getting guns, then perhaps I'd have faith in the government. Until then, leave my guns and constitution alone!

  7. A great topic for debate, but as far as I'm concerned it seems pretty moot.

    The government wants the guns out of the hands of the people. For more than a decade you had to sign up and put your name on 'the list' to purchase a gun, so they know where they are. Their current rhetoric, looks to me, like they're coming to collect SOON.

    The real question is what are the people going to do about that. Seems like we're coming closer and closer to the day when everyone will have to choose between 'what is right and what is easy'.

  8. Yvonne - It's nice to dream about peace and everybody being good, but it's not gonna happen.

    Alex -- Prohibition didn't work so well. Neither will banning guns.

    Ciara - I will address some of your point on upcoming posts. Yes, gun sales appear to be booming, but the government knows how to find most of them.

    Jeremy -- It comes down to who do we want owning guns and do we want the government to decide that?

    Diane -- You are correct: It's the old "It's not the guns, it's the people" conundrum"--how do we address that?

    Em -- And controlling the criminal possession is a big part of the equation. And what if some of those that the government labels "criminal" aren't really the bad guys?

    Faraway eyes-- You may be right about this and if it happens we're going to see some chaos. Remember Ruby Ridge and Waco?


    Oh, this was very, very good, Brother! I must confess that when you told me you’d be posting on this subject, I did not expect something this well thought-out and informed. Not that I don’t think highly of your ability to reason (I do!), but because I was not aware that you were this informed about the Constitution and the intent of our Founding Fathers when they drafted and approved our Second Amendment right.

    Bravo, Lee, BRAVO! Well done, sir,

    As my current blog bit Elmer Fuddism (Or… Heigh-Ho, Heigh-Ho, A-Hunting We Will Go states, this weekend (hopefully Saturday but no later than Sunday) I will be posting my own view on this controversial topic. I hope to see you there at some point, McBuddy.

    Your blog bit here has made me proud o’ ya, McPatriot. I gotta run off to work, but perhaps I’ll return with more commentary sometime later.

    ~ D-FensDogg
    ‘Loyal American Underground’

  10. Maybe I have no right to comment, as I'm a Brit. We have very strict gun controls - usually just rifles for sport or pest control or pistols for target shooting - even our police are not routinely armed, although there are specialist weapons divisions.

    I can understand the use/requirement of sports/pest control guns - but the kind of weapons we read of being used in the (all too frequent) shooting incidents in the US seem to have only one purpose - the taking of life.

    What concerns me, reading this post and comments, is the element of fear displayed by the NEED to bear arms - fear of your fellow man, but even more sinister: fear of your own government?

    Maybe I'm just naive, but I'm glad we don't have readily available firearms in my country.

  11. I am a liberal in favor of gun ownership, but just like driving a car it should be a privilege, not a right. There is absolutely no reason people can't wait a few days for a background check and if that's onerous to the sellers at gunshows and elsewhere I say, oh well. We need to keep guns out of the hands of those that would misuse them. And of course I'm not so naive as to think that background checks and waiting periods will eliminate gun violence but it just makes sense. They don't let crazy people and criminals into law enforcement for a good reason!

    As for this:
    "we no longer need to worry about our government oppressing us."
    I disagree. The Patriot Act made legal some pretty oppressive measures for US citizens that are merely suspected of terrorist activity - nevermind how we treat non-citizens which is just plain shameful. And even if you believe the Govt isn't oppressing us now, who's to say they won't in the future?

    Thanks but I'll keep my guns (not that I actually own one). Let's just do the best we can keeping them out of the hands of the bad guys.

    But hey, that's just my op :)

  12. This topic was all over the radio yesterday, specifically discussing the AR 15 and how it's not an automatic weapon and the language of different bans.

    Automatic weapons should be banned in my opinion. People should be able to purchase a gun if they really want one, but making the process a tad more difficult wouldn't hurt.

    The fact that so many people feel they need one is what troubles me.

  13. StMc -- Your endorsement on my post means a great deal to me as I think of you as one of the experts on constitutional issues. I should hope most Americans are at least as informed as I am, but sadly I don't think they are. Most live in an idealistic dream world that makes them believe that the government will always take care of us and never oppress up. I look forward to more from you.

    Sue H -- Time will tell what the future holds, but history tells us some of the things that have happened in the past. On Monday I plan to address some of this.

    Mshatch -- We've been very fortunate that the leadership of the U.S. has stayed pretty well in check, but the lethal possibilities of the wrong guys coming into power is one to keep in mind.


  14. Isis -- If the government forces have automatic weapons (and far worse) should they really be banned for those who could conceivably comprise a militia force. I still believe that our military are the good guys, but they take orders from the top and if the wrong people were at the top, that could mean trouble for the rest of us. Look at some of the oppressive governments throughout history. Look at what is happening in the world now. The potential for ugliness and evil is always lurking.


  15. When the constitution was made, the founding fathers were rightly angry at their previous treatment under Britain. Understandably, security against any potential attacks to freedom would be at the forefront to a new constitution.

    Arguing that they are there for personal security is equally justified - although on a day-to-day basis it is not so much security against a foreign invasion (or oppressive Government), but more so against the mentally insecure. Trying to defend the Second Amendment as a protection against a tyrannical Government is nonsense. There was no Government involvement in the Sandy Hook tragedy, but yet there was still a surge in weapon purchases afterwards.

    Arguing that carrying a gun is a human right is somewhat ambiguous. In the USA, yes, bearing arms is a right - it's clearly written in the Bill of Rights. In Britain, without a licence, carrying a gun is not a right. Another perspective on this - in many countries around the world suicide is a right. In that respect everyone should choose when they want to end their life. Is this right? Other people would disagree. If it is in their laws then yes, it is right. Equally, when Americans travel abroad, do they revoke their gun rights?

    Your comparison of guns with seatbelts I can understand too. Both provide a feeling of safety but there is a fundamental flaw to the argument - seatbelts weren't designed with anything other than protection in mind. The first gun was not designed to protect. Violent weapons are not designed to protect against violence.

    The pro-gun argument will always suggest that if knives are on sale, then so should guns be. Knives could be used to kill, and the argument makes sense in that point. Until we remove all need for knives from the kitchen though, by only selling liquidated foods, knives are a necessity to remain alive. In a day-to-day scenario, guns are not needed to remain alive.

    I agree that the founding fathers would have intended their amendment to include more than just simple single shot firearms. Even at the time, technology was racing along. What use would the amendment be if it stated exactly which type of musket had to be used when the 'enemy' had semi-automatics?

    The question is though - at what point does the right to bear arms become ludicrous? Hand gun? Machine gun? Rocket launcher? Home made explosives? In the latter scenario, how difficult would it be to police against suicide bombers on public transport?

    Finally, background checks are useless. We have similar "Criminal Rights Bureau" checks in the UK. They allow checking of criminal records, for example when working with children. The point is though, they are only valid on the day they are applied for. If someone with a clean record wishes to murder, they would have no difficulty in securing access to a gun.

    The fact is, that after more than 200 years, it would be difficult to revoke such a widely adopted right. Organising a gun amnesty would be like trying to stop a playground argument between 300,000,000 people - "everyone else has to give up their guns before I do". This, I'm afraid, is why America cannot change their constitution.

    To undermine everything I have just written - I am a Brit. I have no right to judge a foreign constitution and I don't protest to. My view is irrelevant. Equally, we would be horrendously under-prepared for a war at citizen level, but we have faith and trust in human nature that problems can be sorted before that. If not, then so be it, our time has come. I don't fancy sticking around for the war anyway.


    PS - apologies for deleting my earlier comment - I forgot to sign off!

  16. Wizzard-- Thank you for your extensive and contemplative comment. You make some good points, but you may want to consider the argument more from the side I have proposed. The U.S. Bill of Rights was taken from the English Bill of Rights of 1689. I'm not sure about the current status of Britain regarding this, but protect against tyranny is the gist of the 2nd Amendment and that argument is everything.

    You are correct that trying to rescind earlier rights could have devastating effects. The plain fact is that there are bad people in the world who will stop at nothing to get their ways and hopefully there are enough good people with a parity of weapons to stop them.

    Weapons can be used as a force of great evil, but they also serve for the purpose of defense. No matter how idealistic the dream is, I'd hate for the U.S. to decide to turn "nice" and get rid of all of their nuclear arsenal if certain other governments that would like to do us harm still have them. We have to continually try to stay on top to outgun the evil guys.

    Or, we can sacrifice everything and roll over to die or be oppressed. I'm not thrilled about this option and hope there are always those who will be willing to put up a fight to prevent this. It's been this way since the beginning of time or there would be no U.S. or U.K.


  17. "I'd hate for the U.S. to decide to turn "nice" and get rid of all of their nuclear arsenal if certain other governments that would like to do us harm still have them."
    --- Arlee Bird

    "I made one great mistake in my life — when I signed the letter to President Roosevelt recommending that atom bombs be made; but there was some justification — the danger that the Germans would make them..."
    --- Albert Einstein

    It's that thinking that means that guns cannot be removed from American society - and if guns cannot be removed from American society there will always be tragedies like Sandy Hook.

  18. I am a student of law as well as history and it is my considered opinion that we have never been under a greater threat of tyranny than we are today. The professional politicians have garnered popular support of the masses by transferring wealth to them. They are now inciting those masses to support them in their bid to remove our most basic freedoms: speech and self defense.

    I suppose at this point that many are dismissing me as a right wing crackpot conspiracy theorist. You're entitled. Although labeling me may help you dismiss my opinion without rational consideration, it will not in any way diminish the validity of my opinion. So, ignore me at your own risk. It won't be the first time that your rights and your freedom will be protected by others who are willing to face danger and drive back the tyrants.

    There is not space enough to defend my opinions or explain them in this comment. I have been doing that in my own blog for several months now and it didn't do any good. The tyrants were reelected and the assault on the Constitution continues unabated. The masses cheer their leaders knowing not where they are being led.

    We are about to enter "interesting" times...

  19. Wizzard -- It's unfortunate that we have to think that way, but without that thinking there might be no American or comparable society in the future. And the issue of murder is a moral issue that needs to be addressed within the society. This is the far bigger problem than the existence of guns and other weapons. How do we straighten out the minds of evil people?


  20. Lee-

    I only glanced at comments (working) but scanned enough to know that I am not the only one prepping a post on this topic.

    The one thing I would caution the people who advocate removing the guns.

    The second amendment is meant to protect the people from a strong Federal government gone berserk.

    Like our Federal government over the last couple of decades-each second-term president has usurped more and more power.

    Also, why didn't these shootings happen fifty years ago when there were no gun controls?

    Be careful what you wish for, America...


  21. Hold dear=My right to be me, Anishinabe Ikwe, the right to hunt, fish, gather in the ceded territory, rights under the treaties ratified by the U.S. government which are restricted-much land is private. I sometimes have a hard time not being cynical.

    My people's "right to bear arms" has always been a topic of debate. In 1924, after US citizenship, our rights were restricted-Wards of the federal government. Restrictions are a fact of life. My people pay close attention to rights and freedoms. We have, we will.

  22. Jack -- I think you are exactly right. Keep up your fight so a few may hear. Unfortunately the small blog voices are mostly drowned out by a more pervasive media that is back by the government and the moneyed powerful who dismiss those like you as paranoid crackpots. The truth rarely sounds as good as idealistic tinsel garnished claptrap.

    I agree that we are about to embark upon "interesting times". George Orwell barely touched upon things to come.


  23. Larry -- Be careful indeed! Ignorance will only get us in trouble and then it may be too late to do anything. We are going to be hearing a lot about this topic I'm sure.

    Mildred -- In a civilized orderly society certain restrictions should be expected and are necessary, but also individual freedom is of utmost concern to us all. Our rights should not infringe upon those of others nor the good of society as a whole. The debates of rights and freedoms will be ongoing, but I hope in the direction that is most beneficial.


  24. Basically, what this is saying is that we have the right to our National Guards. The Guards are state (not State) run militias composed of regular citizens and do keep weapons that would be considered equivalent to what the federal government could bring to bear if there was some sort of oppression. And I am all for the National Guard.

    I think there's a division here that most people are unwilling to see.

    Here are my ideas for gun control:
    1. Require safety classes much as we do for driving before you can become licensed to own a firearm.
    2. Require a license to own a firearm.
    3. Require owners of firearms to have insurance against their weapons that cover any kind of shooting incident. If someone else is harmed or killed by a weapon the person owns or if the owner of a weapon harms or kills someone with a firearm, the insurance will cover the victim or survivors.

    I think those are a good place to start.

    However, there is no reason for anyone out in the public to have automatic weapons. Period.

  25. I'm of mixed thoughts when it comes to gun control but I'll make two comments on your post.

    You didn't say much about the "well regulated Militia". If all gun owners were required to be part of a Militia, wouldn't that "well regulated" factor be its own form of gun control?

    Re. the seatbelt argument. It is often noted that cars can kill but we don't blame the car, we blame the driver. True. But you have to take a driving test to get a license. Would it be so outrageous to require some sort of test to own a gun.

    Thanks for an interesting post.

  26. Andrew -- In theory the National Guard fulfills this militia clause, but in essence it is still a puppet of the State. The federal government still can call the reserves to act on their behalf and there is a very close interrelationship between reserve and standing federal forces. The National Guard can still be used to control the people in extreme cases. I too am for National Guard, but question it's reliability as a counter to potential oppression by an government not working in our own best interests. Safety classes and insurance are good measures, but I think the government having knowledge of who has how much of what could lead to a dangerous situation under the wrong ruling power.

    LD -- Your point on "well-regulated" is well taken. Some kind of testing and screening measure perhaps should be in place, but having a record? I think that creates some precarious possibilities.


  27. Except that the individual states are SO contentious that, well, I can't even imagine what it would take for the states to go along with Feds in an oppressive take over. Not all of them. The individual states actually give the Guard their orders, not the Feds, so the individual state always has the option of saying "screw you" the Feds if they try to give them orders.

    Besides, the right to own a gun does not give us the right to own a gun covertly. That was never the intent. I mean, at the time of the Bill of Rights, it was just expected that everyone owned a gun, so the government knew.

  28. I read an excellent article that sums up this problem very nicely. It isn't long and well worth the read. You can find it here:

    For anyone, who doesn't feel inspired to read the article in full, just ONE of the points that the writers makes is THIS: The number of people rounded up and exterminated in the 20th century as a direct result of gun control: 56 million.

    Our Founding Fathers knew of what they spoke. The wording in the 2nd Amendment is not coincidental, a mistake, or accidental. They just went head to head against a tyrannical government. They wanted to make sure that if ever the citizens were in the hands of a tyrannical government AGAIN they would be in a position to FIGHT BACK. And they would be able to do it with PARITY.

    It is not a fair fight if the government has automatic weapons and the people have bows and arrows. Or even rifles/pistols that are no longer magazine capable. Do not be fooled by what this is... this isn't about protecting the citizens. This is the first step to wiping out the 2nd Amendment. Once they take your guns, they can take all your freedoms and you cannot STOP them because you have NO LEVERAGE. You have a tyrannical government with unlimited power.

    It is the end of a democratic republic and the beginning of communism. Don't pretty up into something it isn't. Let's be honest and call a spade a spade.

    If this happens, Ben Franklin, Sam Adams, Paul Revere, and a host of others will roll over in their graves and shudder in horror. They were brave men who gave their all so that this country could have freedom. And I see us letting it go with not even a shout. It's more like a whimper. That has to hurt. This generation is the biggest embarrassment. If we let it happen, we deserve to lose our freedoms.

    Our Founding Fathers built a great nation and they DESERVED IT. I wish we could say the same.

    "Every country has the government it deserves." ~La Maistre

  29. It really is time that America stopped having the 'Wild West' mentality. Check worldwide stats where there is gun control.

    I found it horrifying that an undercover British TV documentary guy could go into a gun shop in America and purchase a gun so easily. As long as his charge card was okay, the gun shop owner was fine with selling him a gun.

    Look, we realise it wont stop all atrocities, but it's a start.

    Lee, you probably wont realise this, but two out of my last three postings have linked back to you or your A to Z challenge. You see, my friend, I work discreetly in the background in this sharing, caring community.

    Peace and goodwill,


  30. Andrew -- How much the government knows is my biggest concern. To think that the government expects that citizens own guns is a whole lot different than knowing specifically how many of what kind of weapons and how much ammunition they've purchased. The government already knows way too much about us and this knowledge is ideal for having an ability to control the populace. And re the National Guard--it is affiliated with the Federal Department of Defense. Much of the current force in Afghanistan was made up of reserve forces called to duty. And check out the federalization of Arkansas Guard units to enforce school integration. This went against the wishes of the state government at the time even though we might agree with the morality of the action now. It was still an act of federal involvement. It could still conceivable happen.

    Robin -- Very well said. "Leverage" is another good way of putting this. Parity in weaponry provides leverage for either side to be forced to come to some kind of terms. I'll check out the post you recommend.


  31. Yeah, but if you're actually worried about what people know about you, it's not the government you need to worry about. They actually know much less than you might think, because they don't really care that much. However, corporations do care and want to know as much about you as possible. In the future, it is not the government we need to fear, it's corporations, but we ignore that in favor of screaming about what the government wants to do with our toys while we let the corps seep more and more into our lives and take more and more control of them AND the government.
    I guarantee you, the big corporations are quite happy to let us get all riled up in a fight with the government over our "rights" while they siphon away more and more freedom.

  32. Gary-- Thanks for the A to Z posts. I've been meaning to make my way over to your place but recent illness and other things have put me quite behind.
    As far as the "wild west Mentality" I think I would prefer to call what I'm talking about in this post as a burning desire to retain our freedom and keep the peace here at home. Gun violence stats are one thing and they can be drastically skewed to prove one side, but all we have to do is look at what is going on in much of the world and consider that. Let's say think about what is happening in Syria. It's not a place or a situation that I care much for, but for the so called rebels there I guess they would have their arguments. That's kind of a bad example, but it's one place that comes to mind off hand.


  33. Andrew -- the government, the corporations, the powers that be, or whoever is controlling things in the current world, none of them should know more about me than I want them to know. But they will and they do. And in the end you're right--we're all screwed. Government and corporations are essentially partners in this world we live in and would prefer we bow to them rather than the Power that is greater than them all. In the meantime, I think we still need to fight for our individual freedoms.
    How would you answer my questions at the end of my post? Are there any reasonable answers that encompass all of us?


  34. Freedom of speech is the thing that I think is most important. It's the hinge upon which all else has happened. However, and this may be part of my problem with all of the furor over the gun thing, we seem rather complacent about that whole bit and let that freedom get whittled down and whittled down and no one says anything about it.
    Oh, but don't take away my guns!
    Or whatever toy it happens to be. The truth is that, other than as a means to kill each other, guns are completely inconsequential in our current world. The average citizen doesn't own tanks or fighter planes or helicopters, nor should they, but those things make guns superfluous, so all of this yelling about them is just pretense. They have nothing to do with the retention of our liberty. ONLY freedom of speech matters in regards to that, and we seem perfectly willing to allow that to be governed.

  35. Hey Lee,

    No worries about my site. The main thing is you don't put pressure on yourself and try to get yourself better.

    Stats may seem skewed, but check out what happened in Australia when they bought back guns after their last atrocity in the 1990's. Keeping the peace, one would like to think, doesn't need the necessity of having a gun.

    You take care, my friend.


  36. By the way, did you see my piece on the whole gun issue this week?

  37. I love this post Lee because it's really made me try to use my mind but at the end of the day there really is no proper answer for what to do, somebody is going to be upset no matter what happens but with all these deaths it seems that some kind of gun control is definitely becoming necessary.

  38. Andrew-- Freedom of speech is definitely a right that I'd hate to lose. That's a good choice. I'll have to check out your post on the gun issue.

    Gary -- Thank you for taking the time to stop by and chat.

    Yeamie-- I think controlling guns is important as controlling bad people.


  39. There are always so many perspectives to an issue like this. As a Canadian, I'm used to stricter gun laws than you have in the US (I think that's right...) and I wish ours were more strict. I don't have any issues with people using rifles for hunting as long as they store them properly but I just don't see a need for them otherwise. Luckily I live in a safe small city in Canada :)

  40. Heard a statistic this morning: 85% of all children killed by guns in the world occurs in the US. Guns are a symptom of a society that lives in a great deal of mistrust and fear. Maybe it's time to address the "disease" rather than the symptoms. Is it just coincidental that both Britain and Canada, countries with much tougher gun laws and many fewer guns are also countries of much less violence?

  41. Great Post History has taught us that when they take away a right, they will start taking others away as well. An example talk of the gun ban has been going on for a few weeks. I just read on Drudge Report the other day that
    they want to get rid of the 22nd Amendment now which states the term limit of our President. Through the years this country had great Presidents and bad Presidents. I feel the first year in office for any candidate they are getting their feet wet; after that opens the door for corruption. Which is why all political offices should only have two terms. WV is an example of career politicians. We have the worst stats in this country.
    The constitution was put into place for a reason by the forefathers. It was what they strove for to make this country great. Definitely enjoyed your post

  42. Wow, why didn't I read this blog sooner? I really like it. Now, for my two cents: I do agree with pretty much everything you said. As long as government is made of people, there will always be the potential for oppression, so I intend to do all I can to keep the 2nd alive. As far as the Constitution is concerned, the right to bear arms is given to the people, ion order to keep a free state, free.

  43. I usually stay away from these issues on blogs and Facebook. But I don;t like it when the government tries to take anything away from the citizenry. Money. Freedom. Guns. They belong to us the people.Not the government.

  44. I believe in the right to possess guns. Bearing arms will be left to the militia or a reasonable facsimile there of.

    My full diatribe on this, I have posted on my blog:

  45. Jemi -- Let's hope your town stays safe. I feel safe where I am in L.A., but I know violence is all around me and I don't blame guns for that.

    Christina -- I don't trust all of the statistics that I read or hear. And I would feel safer and prefer to live in the U.S. over 85% or more of the rest of the world.

    Gossip Girl -- I certainly trust the judgement of the wise men who founded this country over the dubious idiots who run things for the most part now. They're not all completely bad, but as they say "power corrupts".

    Alessandra -- Yeah, where ya been all my life. Glad you stopped by. I've learned over the years that a lot of people can't be trusted, especially when they land in the seat of power.

    Stephen Tremp --- They are issues worth discussing so we don't have to fight violently over them later. We're supposed to have a people's government in the U.S. and not tyrannical rule by a few in power.

    Chuck -- I will have to make a visit to see what you have to say.


  46. Hey Lee-

    A shout out to your readers (even those whose opinions I might not agree with) for the discussion-a pleasant surprise!

    If I may make a comment to Robin-I believe the founding fathers have been rolling in their graves for quite some time now!

    Hopefully everyone sends an e-mail to their congressmen and senators.

    This is NOT an issue of gun control-it's about PEOPLE CONTROL and it's time the people started to take control back!


  47. Part 1:

    LEE ~
    First thing I want to say is that you did an EXCELLENT job of defending your viewpoint on this topic. I applaud your willingness to answer commenters and explain the reasoning behind your positions. Very well done, Brother!

    Secondly, I was pleasantly surprised by a number of the remarks left by some of your readers. I think there were some good comments here, and if your comment section is any indication, it seems that despite tragedies like Columbine and Sandy Hook, a good number of Americans “get it”, even if they are not fully aware of just how grave the danger currently is to (what’s left of) our liberties.

    I want to single out Jack Durish for his excellent comment. This man knows his stuff and this is not the first time I have been impressed by a comment he’s left on your blog. I still remember he left a fine comment on my ‘Tossing It Out’ guest post, ‘Become An Educated American Patriot’. And he’s posted other spot-on comments as well. I think I’m gonna have to start ‘Following’ his blogging endeavors.

    As for the “non-sufficiently informed” comments . . . well, it’s your blog, so I’m gonna ‘play well with others’ and not name any names and not start any fights. (On my own blog it would be a very different story.) But I want to address a couple of things before I leave here and compose my own blog bit on this subject.

    I don’t doubt that some well-meaning, good-hearted people can “get it wrong”. Therefore, because I might vehemently disagree with someone’s comment(s) doesn’t mean I think the person is bad, evil, deranged, etc. But it’s important that people become informed and fully understand “the other side’s” views as well as their own. (And by “other side”, I most definitely do not mean “Republicans”.)

    If a person is getting the vast majority of their information from NPR, Time magazine, Newsweek, USA Today, and/or The New York Times, they are being exposed to and brainwashed by propaganda - just like those folks who are getting the vast majority of their information from Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and Glenn Beck. If it’s a “mainstream” source, it’s being controlled by wealthy, ‘Elite’ individuals.

    It’s important to seek out TRULY alternative news sources – especially those that are genuinely rooted in a ‘Founding Father’s Constitutionalist’ worldview.

    ~ God (Isaiah 5:13)

    ~ God (Hosea 4:6)

    Sadly, those observations are every bit as true for 2013 Americans as they were for the ancient Israelites.

    Continued Below . . .

  48. Part 2:

    Lee, one of your readers was very much off the mark in their arguments against your opinions. For one thing, the commenter made the common mistake of erroneously attempting to equate our modern-day National Guard with our Founding Father’s idea of a Militia. (In my own upcoming blog bit about Gun Rights and Gun Control, I will use multiple quotes from our Founding Fathers to completely dispel that argument.)

    The same commenter also wrongly tried to argue that the National Guard could not be used against We The People by the Federal Government because the Guard is under the control of the individual states.

    Your response to that statement was entirely correct. To your response I will simply add the following:


    June 11, 1963:
    JFK Faces Down Defiant Governor
    . . . Kennedy upped the pressure on [Governor George] Wallace, immediately issuing Presidential Proclamation 3542, which ordered the governor to comply, and authorizing the secretary of defense to call up the Alabama National Guard with Executive Order 11111.

    There is a whole lot more I was intending to post regarding presidential Executive Orders and why they would entirely nullify any concept of state-control over the various National Guard units, but I think your point, Lee, has already been sufficiently proven.

    Again, excellent blog bit and responses, McBuddy! You made me proud o’ ya!

    ~ D-FensDogg
    ‘Loyal American Underground’

  49. Larry -- I agree that it's been a wonderful discussion and that's the first step of moving toward action. If people are aware they are more apt to do something. Not only is it time for people to take control back but we must also control the loonies that make this world a more dangerous and difficult place to live.

    Stephen -- Thank you for your respect of my readers who take time to comment. Each side is attempting to "educate" the other with the way they see things and the facts and history help bring about better solutions. Hopefully, the parties from each side are listening carefully to all arguments and doing their own research to come to the correct conclusions. I appreciate your compliments for my post and I look forward to what you have to say on the matter. Actually there is more to all of this than any one, two, or ten blog posts could ever accomplish, otherwise I guess it all wouldn't be such a big debate.


  50. @Stephen: And I will use names, because it's rather disingenuous to say I'm not going to use names but then say, "That person that said..." Sorry, that was dumb and is not respectful at all.

    My comment about the National Guard was actually based off of Lee's comment about state militias. I did the research before I commented, so I'm not wrong about anything I said. I was talking at all about how they've been used but about their stated purpose which is as state militias. Under the definition that Lee gave, each state's National Guard fits that definition, which was my point. The Guard is the closest equivalent we have to a standing militia and is, actually, -supposed- to serve in that position.

  51. `
    >>... I'm not wrong about anything I said.

    ANDREW ~
    As I wrote above to Lee: "’s your blog, so I’m gonna ‘play well with others’ and not name any names and not start any fights."

    However, since you "outed" yourself... if you don't think you were wrong about anything you said, then I invite you to engage me in a discussion, debate, whatever, on my own blog once I get my installment pertaining to this topic composed and posted (sometime later this weekend).

    My political blog is 'Ferret-Faced Fascist Friends', and I will be more than happy to continue this discussion with you there, Bro.

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

  52. Playing well with other does not include pointing your finger and saying, "-That- person said..." Big deal if you left off the name. Pretending you're being anonymous at that point is exactly that, pretending.

  53. It's a smokescreen.
    Who controls the press and media?
    When the press points our attention in one direction, I'd say look in the opposite direction.
    There may be a big surprise in store.

  54. Andrew -- Since my goal is to encourage civil discourse on my site I am sorry if you felt insulted or anything negative. I realize that you and Stephen have some points of disagreement but I think you are both some pretty fine guys and can appreciate some of the points in common that you might share. I think all three of us enjoy a good constructive debate/discussion that can lead to greater understanding and hope that's where my blog will be leading readers. Andrew, I hope you will take Stephen up on his offer to check out his side of the argument in his upcoming post. He definitely has a style that may grate on some, but as one who has had a long standing relationship with StMc I have come to appreciate his sardonic style and sometime brusque approach. He can be fun and he is smart--his posts are usually very well researched and knowing you for the educated man that you are I think you might appreciate his writing for at least that.

    You may have visited his site before but in case you don't have a link: .

    Bless both of you--two of my favorite commenters who are generous with your time and knowledge. I value both of your friendships.


  55. StMc -- Hope you and Andrew will be willing to engage one another in good discussion. I realize that you and Andrew don't agree on a number of issues, but Andrew is a good guy and you do have a common ground on many other things. One thing you and he share is the smartness and willingness to engage in ongoing discussion (as you have noticed in this thread). You and I have discussed previously how difficult it is to keep a conversation going on these threads. Well, Andrew is one of those good guys who leaves a comment and then follows that discussion to come back to continue the thread as needed. If you haven't been to his blog then check out . At least he's willing to respond to a comment that is left on his site--something that we often don't get.

    With the highest admiration,
    your blog bud,

  56. Manzanita -- I love surprises. I hope it's a good one, but I'm not overly optimistic. Thanks for commenting.



    Thanks for your cool, peacemaking comments here. This will likely be my last post on this particular thread because I think I’ve said all I desire to say here on this topic. But I’m sure you know I did not intend to cause any bad feelings on YOUR blog. (I don’t much mind it on my own blog, but I try to be a respectful guest while on other people’s property.)

    The thing is this: I have read a number of Andrew’s comments on your previous blog installments, and while I have often strongly disagreed with his viewpoints, I don’t recall ever having challenged them before – not wishing to “get into it” with someone else on YOUR blog.

    However, as you know, there are a few topics that have always been truly hot button issues for me. Number one, of course, is abortion. Not too far behind it are transgressions against our Constitutional rights by a tyrannical, out-of-control U.S. government, and the related continued assaults by Uncle Sam against our religious freedom in the public square (i.e., censoring Christian expression under that bogus “separation” principle.)

    As one who cherishes the First Amendment, I also recognize the importance of upholding the Second Amendment, without which there would BE NO First Amendment right. (The good people in Russia, China, Cambodia, et al., had no freedom of speech because they had no means by which to defend it against their dictators and tyrants who had authority over the military.) Lose the teeth in the 2nd Amendment and you’ve lost the tongue in the 1st Amendment – guaranteed! Lose the Second right and the First one will go ‘bye-‘bye very quickly.

    My problem here was: I wanted to specifically address the incorrect perception about the National Guard, and how do I approach that? There were only one of two ways that occurred to me. I could say “Andrew Leon said such and such”, or I could just leave his name out of it and say “Someone stated that such and such”.

    I chose the second approach, knowing full well that few commenters ever return to a comment section (like Andrew and I do), and even if one of them did, it was unlikely they’d go searching through the comments to see who it was I was referring to.

    But it seems I was in a no-win situation; whichever approach I selected, Door Number 1 or Door Number 2, I was going to be a rat.

    Anyway, you had done such a fine job of answering that National Guard point on your own that my additional input on it was probably not even necessary. Maybe I just should have selected what was behind Door Number 3 instead: Nothing.

    Great blog bit! Yak Later, Boidman.

    ~ D-FensDogg
    ‘Loyal American Underground’

  58. I just want to make clear that I am not offended/insulted by the disagreement. If you want to disagree with me, that's fine, but just say it. I did find the pretense insulting. Actually, that's just an insult to everyone's intelligence, because it comes with the assumption that no one will know who is being spoken of by just leaving out a person's name.

    And to clarify my statement about the National Guard: I made that statement in response to what you said about the militia. -You- were saying that individuals are not necessarily given the right to own guns, that what we are given by the 2nd amendment is the right to have a militia which bears our arms for us, in essence. My statement was meant solely in that -technically- that is what the National Guard does according to its -concept-.

    I was making no statement about how it is actually executed, only its intent of purpose. I am not wrong about that.

  59. Andrew and StMc -- Thank you my friends for taking a step in the right (or perhaps I should say correct) direction. With thoughtful engagement of different opinions comes some kind of enlightenment, and when I toss out ideas here it is to shed some light on them by exchanging ideas. Love both you guys for your contributions to my blog and for what you have to offer on your own.

    Let's keep talking and listening.


  60. This is heav v-v-v-vy. Wow

    All I know is that Sandy Hook is too close to home. My daughter's director is lucky in the sense that her daughter who goes to Sandy Hook was in a different part of the school when the gun man was in her class. She is saved, but the whole ordeal has left a lot of us shaken. One of the teachers who died was a friend of my daughter's class mate. The whole U-Conn community is still backed up in their schedules and finances etc. So what can I say.

  61. Quote I heard recently: "They want to ban guns so that people don't use them illegally? What a brilliant idea! We should do that with drugs."

    Banning guns is only taking them away from law-abiding citizens, not from those who would use them to the harm of others.

  62. Great, brave discussion. I have never had a problem with people owning guns. I do have a problem with people owning assault rifles. Just what are they expecting?

    My most important issues are keeping religion free and clear of government. It frightens me to no end that people vote based on religious beliefs. And I am horrified by clergymen who speak out on issues using their pulpits. This country needs to be completely secular. Too many people immediately view another religion or atheism as wrong. Look at how many people question President Obama's religion. Since when is being Christian a requirement for holding office? It's not, but many people act like it is.

    Marriage for all should be a federal law. No one should be denied the right to marry the person they love. Religion is one of the main roadblocks. You've got clergy telling their congregations that they will go to hell if they vote for someone's legal right to marry.

    Women's rights are sacrosanct. We should have access to abortions and other healthcare. You cannot tell a woman that she must carry what is essentially a parasite for nine months, then have it rip its way out of her body. You would never expect a man to do that, so why should a woman?

    People will probably come down on me and I'm sorry, but this is how I honestly feel.

  63. I'm not an American, so I don't have a real say in this.

    Other countries, in my experience, with much tighter gun restrictions, are doing perfectly fine. Their Govt hasn't taken all their powers yet.

    As an outsider, all I can see is that Americans are ready to pay for the freedom to own guns with the blood of innocent people.

    It is a cultural/ historical right for an American to own a gun, but should owning a gun be as easy as buying furniture, or ammunition be as accessible as candies? From what I see of the laws, a driving license is tougher to get than a gun license in the US.

    Does owning a gun mean that the owner, even a sane one, is always able to shoot with any accuracy? Does every gun owner train regularly, and show his/ her children the responsibilities of gun ownership?

    These are some questions Americans have to answer for themselves: but I don't find the idea of suffering terrible harm in the short term to protect oneself from some distant/ possibly unreal threat in the future terribly insightful.

    Something needs to be fixed, for sure. As to what, it is the people's choice.

  64. Melissa -- To put a twist on what Frank Zappa once said: We all have our religions that we're trying to push off on others and don't kid yourself that you're not.

    Logic and reason will out the false religions if one studies hard enough and is completely honest about it.


  65. Damyanti -- Bottom line that has been repeated throughout the comments and that will be explored in future blog episodes here is that the real problem is a people problem and has nothing to do with inanimate objects.


  66. Lee, You did an excellent job researching, and writing about such a controversial subject. I also feel that there should be much tighter gun restrictions, and agree that there is definitely a "people problem." I read a moving story about a woman who was terrified of her own son who had mental health problems. She said that she could still control his violent outbursts, but was fearful for when he would become fully grown and stronger than her. She wrote this as a plea to change mental health laws to give him, and other kids like him the help they need to prevent more acts of violence from occurring.

  67. Bravo Melissa and Damyanti! We need a balance of opinions here.

    With all this controversy, I'm sure the amount of guns going out of gun stores in the US is phenomenal.

  68. Holy crap! I know I'm late to this discussion...I am Canadian, so I don't know how any of you will take anything I have to say on the subject. When I hear, and see all these Americans on tv insisting that they have the 'right' to own a weapon like the one used to massacre 20 little children in a few seconds it fills me with sadness and a part of me gives up hope for the human race. In the face of the recent mass killings in your country, I think it's a little insulting to the victims to insist that you have the 'right' to own such a weapon. And to live in fear that your own government will turn against you?? sounds like a lot of paranoia to me....and anyways, if your government ever was to turn against you, I'm quite sure that they have enough fire power to make whatever kind of gun you have inconsquential...American culture seems to be steeped in gun violence and it's really upsetting to think that the best answer some Americans have is more gun violence.
    In Canada we have strict gun control. I actually wish it was a little stricter. I just really don't understand how this is such a divisive political issue ...seems to me like everyone should be on the side of public safety, no matter what colour they are politically. I would be frightened enough to move out of the neighbourhood if I knew my neighbour had a killing machine like that in his house.
    I think Andrew Leon makes some excellent points about what should be required to buy a gun...licenses, safety classes, insurance, etc...I could never live in a society where I knew everyone was armed and's a bad combination.
    Like Jemi Fraser, I'm so thankful to be Canadian and live in a small Canadian community...American society looks demented and bloodsoaked to a lot of us looking at it from the outside.

  69. @Eve: It looks that way to a lot of us looking at from the inside, too.

  70. Julie -- I think the mental health issues are one of the most important aspects of this debate. In most cases I think these mass shooters are just trying to cry out "Will somebody please just listen to me!" but use inappropriate actions in their attempts to be heard.

    DG -- The reason that I toss ideas out for debate is to hear many sides. This has been a good discussion I think.

    Eve-- I think much of the perception of American violence is the result of misguided propaganda campaigns and overly violent entertainment. Some careful thought and reasoning from the standpoint of the sane Americans makes it easier to understand the concept of rights of ownership. Listening to some of the wackos on the gun ownership side will certainly distort the issues. Likewise, focusing on the paranoid rants of the anti-gun side makes the gun rights crowd look totally loony. I cast my vote for solid reasoning and letting go of the emotional pleas. Rights to own assault weapons and such? Well, I'll just pose the questions: Do the police and military have the right to have these weapons? If so, why? By the way, you're never too late to come to the table at Tossing It Out. I've gotten comments on posts a year or two after the fact--always a cool surprise. I'm listening no matter how long it takes for someone to comment.

    Andrew -- You amaze me in the way you follow these discussions where you have left a comment. Why can't all commenters check the follow up box to be part of an actual discussion? It sure makes posting something more worthwhile. Thanks!


  71. Other countries, without guns, have the same video games and movies, and they don't have these problems. It seems to me that most of the emotion is on the side of the people grasping their weapons with both hands and spitting venomously, "You can't have my gun!" Just like a kid who doesn't want his toy taken away.

    As for following comments, most people just want to leave their comment and move on, not be part of a discussion. It's kind of too bad, but it's how people are, especially since a lot of people are only leaving comments to keep traffic coming to their own blogs. I think there's actually less that can be done about this than the whole gun control issue.

  72. Just as Alex Cavanaugh said, we are already bleeding away our rights. It has been so gradual and under such circumstances that we either did not notice it, or we felt it was justified.

    Gun control or gun safety? Mental health education/help or government health program monitoring? No good or easy answer.

  73. Andrew -- Let's keep spreading the word to encourage comment conversations. I try to post something about it periodically, hopefully without running it into the ground.

    Susan -- More attention needs to be given to mental health issues and keeping people more mentally sound.


  74. once again I find myself agreeing with Andrew Leon. As a Canadian I can tell you that we watch most of the same movies and tv shows that you do, we play the same video games..hell, we probably even have about the same percentage of mentally ill people, (and the mentally ill are, for the most part, not potential killers).. we live in very close proximity to your country, but as a society I think we are very different. The most glaring difference is that our gun murder rate is a fraction of what yours is...and I know the reason for that is that we don't have millions and millions of guns on our streets. We don't have the 'right' to own an assault rifle, or any other gun..of course there are Canadians who own guns for hunting and whatnot, but its not considered an absolute right. My father had a 44 magnum in our house, as he was in the RCMP. It seems like in America babies are assigned a gun when they're born..(Happy Birthday, here's your glock.).. the fanatical emotion is coming from the "You'll never get my gun" crowd...I just don't understand this level of violent thinking in otherwise seemingly decent people..what's the problem? Is everyone so paranoid that they think they just might have to kill a guy on the way to the store? ...why is it that we never hear of anyone actually thwarting some even more heinous crime by killing someone in the street? You never hear that. But what we do hear is that some older guy felt 'threatened' by a young black kid armed with skittles. Result? Young black kid is dead. I will never understand this part of American culture, but I'm so glad that not everyone down there thinks like that.

  75. Eve-- I have heard of some of the cases of gun possession being useful. But really now, who wants to hear about that? I think the nature of the media is to report the worst and sensationalize everything we hear. They often report on stupid trivialized garbage of little import to most of us other than to satisfy our more salacious interests. Americans are very uninformed by the issues and what we hear is typically skewed by media. The world isn't all that interested in good news and the media and government don't want the masses to know a lot of what is really going on. We are a spoon fed society, complacent and lazy.


  76. That's just a dodge, Lee. You can't say that the only reason we don't hear about that stuff is because the media doesn't report it. That's just not true. In our society, -everything- is reported. The reason you don't hear about it is because it just doesn't happen. The number is so low as to be inconsequential. Trust me, if someone shot and killed someone else to prevent a crime, it would make the news.

  77. Andrew -- Not a dodge, but a small portion of an answer to a much bigger question and a myriad of issues. Too much to respond to in a comment this morning. I think I might have something related to this topic lined up in my queue of posts for later. That line up is getting longer and longer so I'm not sure when I'll address this. The bottom line is that, yes, we live in a pretty transparent society where media can provide a good window to the world. The problem is that the window is so mucked up with garbage and diversions that we often miss the important things that are on the other side of the glass or see the image in a distorted way.



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