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What Happened to Our Country?

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.

When people reminisce about what America used to be like, some act scornfully toward us. They say living in a Donna Reed world was great for a few, but that there were many suffering souls. The way our country is today makes some of us long for those days which seemed so innocent compared to the harsh, cruel, coarse, and sometimes murderous days we exist in today.


Yet most would argue that there were still injustices when we were growing up fifty years ago. Black people who had been freed a century before were still not treated equally in most parts of the country. Many women were limited in their businesses, political, and professional opportunities. And if they did enter any of those careers, they were capped as to what they could achieve. Few would want a return to those aspects of days past. Yet they would seem almost welcome compared to the experiences we have had in Newtown, Aurora and Tucson.

Even though now more than a month has passed, the pain of what happened in Sandy Hook Elementary school stills burns deeply in our hearts. There were some who started assigning blame for what happened within days which was clearly indecent during a national mourning period. Yes, we need to find paths to resolve the deep divisions that trouble this country. But will that really take us back to a simpler time? After all, the residents of Newtown likely lived there to avoid all this cultural degradation and live a “Leave It to Beaver” life where the biggest challenges were errant children chewing gum in class.

A yearning exists for the days when children rode their bikes to schools, which were open with flowing green fields where they frolicked under minimal supervision. Now children are escorted by grownups to their schools, which are fenced in and then locked down. Remember even at Sandy Hook the school was locked down at 9:30 each morning, just as almost all elementary schools are today.


What does it say to the children of our country that they have to be escorted everywhere they go? Are they left to think that wherever they go there are people in uniforms providing security and their parents are on a constant vigil watching them? What kind of country have we passed to them?

That we cannot as the grownups in this society come to some agreement of how to resolve this only makes matters worse. With every single massacre, we instantaneously divide into two camps. There are those who immediately shriek that it was the gun at fault, completely ignoring the other societal factors that brought a deranged madman to execute an unfathomable act. Then there are those who argue that there exists nothing that we can do to keep the means of mass murder out of the hands of these freaks.

Come on folks, we can do something about this, but the suggestion by Wayne LaPierre of the NRA to put armed guards on all campuses seems so distasteful. Already an estimated third of our children go to schools that have armed guards. We should not unreasonably restrict our Second Amendment rights because of these maniacs, but putting our kids on lock down would just make matters so much more obscene.

We have not yet had a coherent conversation about how to move forward. The people who want more gun control lurch into nonsensical talk about bazookas or tanks with very little knowledge of guns or how they function. People like the editor of the Journal News (Westchester area of New York), who listed the names and addresses of local gun owners in the newspaper, display to what extent the left will go to restrict gun ownership. They are scary as their actions are reminiscent of command and control countries that totally restrict gun rights.


Some people do not understand that there is a difference regarding gun owners. It is not like obtaining a driver’s license. That is a privilege. The right to own a gun is embedded in our Constitution. It is there for a reason. The unrepentant Caryn A. McBride, Editor of the Journal News which listed the home addresses of prison guards and district attorneys in her cause to restrict gun ownership, scares us and should scare you. It brings into question the rationale for a federal gun registry when ownership is a right not a privilege.

Yet, there are things that are just not going right. We have lost sight of the faith, family, and community that built this country. Our government has become too big yet cannot even confront the truly mentally ill among us. As Charles Murray taught us in his most recent book, Coming Apart, even our rock solid middle-class communities are falling apart. The amount of children being raised without proper parenting is just appalling. And when people do get married, far too many are getting divorced for their own selfish reasons while thinking their children will be just fine. Boys need fathers and not just as appendages.

Never being a fan of video games, we would just as soon trash them, but that would be a First Amendment problem. Yet, when politicians decry weapons, they should really assault the culture vultures who sell these games that desensitize young males. Our President booted this issue to be studied in his recent proposal. That means zero will happen on this aspect of the problem. Why do we have to hear this nonsense that only protects these products? Moral suasion still works as has been effective with cigarette smoking, so why can’t we do the same with these disgusting games? Why do parents acquiesce to allow the constant devolution of young male minds?


You may wonder why so many people bemoan our current culture and hark back to happier times. Maybe it is not as bucolic as we paint it, but our children certainly lived a more innocent existence. What our goal should be is to bring all children to those wonderful times instead of bringing every child down to the lowest common denominator. The innocence of childhood can never be devalued. It can only be lost. Let’s not have the innocence of another group of youngsters lost like we have at Sandy Hook. Let’s show some leadership.

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