Guest Column: Let's start by being less afraid

Cagle Cartoons

Cagle Cartoons

You know me. I'm always on the side of controlling guns. If no one had guns and couldn't get any, the next weapon of choice would be knives. And since you have to get close and personal in a knife fight, there'd be far less bloody violence and death. It's just too easy to kill by pointing a gun and pulling the trigger.

I'm in agreement with everything Alan Choate said in his common-sense editorial about this very emotional issue. I'm beginning to think people are right about "gun free zones." With so much gun violence, I've watched the aftermath on the news and when the shooters lived, their demeanor indicated that even though insane during the shooting spree, they still had enough common sense to choose a place where the likelihood of return fire was absent. It makes no sense to advertise there are no guns on the property.

If your doctor doesn't want a weapon carried in his office, the individual can be told privately rather than posting a No Weapons Allowed sign on the door.

Notwithstanding the careless, most gun owners I've met are responsible adults. Most of my friends own weapons and are no threat at all - and none of them carry as a matter of daily practice. I trust those who have a valid reason to be weaponized are also trained how to behave in public when armed.

The ones who worry me most are the mentally ill who have managed to avoid government radar due to the 1980s Supreme Court decision that no person can be held against his or her will except for criminal prosecution and punishment. This forced mental health hospitals to set free a lot of people who could not take care of themselves and who had been hospitalized for their own benefit and that of society.

Granted, there was a lot of abuse in some mental health facilities, but this is one instance where I don't think the Supreme Court thought through the issue sufficiently. Perhaps we may soon be asking SCOTUS to take another look at that case, and define a basis whereby society may take proper care of individuals who might be on a path to public destruction. I believe this would result in a huge reduction in a growing collection of mass murders.

The only ones left are those I personally fear, the ones who are afraid themselves. I'm talking about people with guns who fear government confiscation, or foreign or alien invasion, or who fear society is breaking down and Armageddon is coming. There are a panopoly of such fears hyped every day by those making profit from fear. The vast majority of us don't take much stock in such events, but the ones who do are still citizens and deserving of the same rights, benefits and considerations as the rest of us.

It's clear these folks are not likely to be talked out of their beliefs, so the only alternative is to alleviate the fear hiding behind these beliefs. Fear is the only thing we have to fear, but that's the snake biting its own tail thinking it has a meal. A good start might be to stop those peddling fear for money or power like the talking heads on the tube and in the pulpits.

There is enough tension in the world due to the astounding pace of change we are experiencing. We need to calm down because no one can act rationally when they are afraid.