Trusted local news leader for Kingman, Arizona & Mohave County
Tue, May 21

Letter | Sharon Weber: It’s democracy or anarchy

This is regarding the “Second Amendment” article by Gianluca Zanna (March 7) and subsequent comments made by several residents pertaining to his piece.

First, I would like to say that Zanna is a citizen and certainly has a right to his opinions on the firearms issue the same as anyone born here.

I applaud immigration – I believe it provides the diversity necessary to the positive growth of a democracy. But I do not share his views for a number of reasons.

The Constitution was written to sustain a democratic republic. The separation of powers, and provisions for citizens to address grievances in the Bill of Rights and continuing amendments were explicitly designed to allow people to address their issues in a number of ways. Voting, the right to assemble (protest), freedom of speech, and the press are essentially tools to address express disagreement with the way Congress and the president are creating laws and policies.

The Founding Fathers also were explicit that this be a nation governed by law. The judicial system may have flaws, but it most certainly is better than lawlessness and anarchy.

We only have to look at some places around the world to see that we have a good system of law and justice here in America. Therein is my concern about the reason Zanna sfeels we need to have military grade weaponry to protect ourselves from the established government.

In the example he set out, one would think we were on the brink of armed revolution, but we are not. If you don’t like the laws, vote for someone who will work to change and amend them. You can also call and email your senators and representatives and let them know what you want and think. You would be surprised at the power that embodies, but getting a gun and taking the law into your own hands is a recipe for anarchy. It is a lose-lose, not a win.

For one thing, government has the armed forces, ours being the most formidable in the world. So it would be a poor choice to expect an armed conflict with our own government to be a fruitful way to create change.

Someone tried that once – it was called the Civil War. The South did not win and the toll in loss of life and destruction was huge. Perhaps Zanna was not yet living here in April of 1995, but that was the year of the Oklahoma City bombing, an event Kingman remembers well, in which the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City was bombed by Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols, killing 168 people, including 19 children, and injuring more than 500 people.

This was a government office that had many departments and a child-care facility on site. The workers there had literally nothing to do with the grievances regarding the Waco, Texas, and the Ruby Ridge shootouts, both of which were armed stand-offs with government agents over rights that the people involved believed they had to fight for.

They were both avoidable tragedies, as was Oklahoma City. The families of the dead still mourn.

If one looks at American history, one will notice these type of anti-government movements and their attempts to use violence to achieve their goals do not end well for either side. Ginning up fear of government conspiracies and the “deep state” is a dangerous and deadly game.

There are a growing number of patriot groups out there, both conservative and liberal. We need to remember that there is sometimes a fine line between self-defense and vigilante behavior. If we do not use the tools given us in the Constitution to resolve our issues, and choose armed conflict instead, the death tolls will go up, the quality of life will diminish, and we will certainly run the risk of losing the democracy we cherish. Think Mad Max – fun to watch, but do we want to live that way?

Unfortunately, we romanticize guns and shootouts in books and movies and on TV, but the reality of such a lifestyle is not so pretty. You will never have everyone agree on everything – that is life in a family, a relationship, or a member of any group. So sometimes we do have laws passed that we don’t like or agree with.

Get involved, stand up and speak your voice. But armed conflict is not the way. Lots of nice people can get hurt, and we really stand more of a chance of losing our freedoms to acts committed with computers and pens.

In closing, I would like to defend the concept of “government.” How many of you like your Social Security? And Medicare? How many readers out there have fallen on hard times and received assistance and food stamps in times of need? How about catastrophic illness?

They come from government. Who drove on a paved road today? Or had a fire in their homes or businesses? Or needed the police for something recently? Local, but still government.

Do your kids get to go to school? No government means everyone out for themselves – might work for some, but what about the rest of us?

I choose talking over shooting. I choose democracy over anarchy.

I chose lighting a candle instead of cursing the darkness.


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