Guns And Civility In Cedar County

cedar countyRegarding the Cedar County Democrats Central Committee February meeting on Feb 12:

Thank you to Larry Hodgden and Sheriff Wethington for working together to provide a community forum about gun issues.  There was a good turnout.I thank the Sheriff for his technical information on the various guns, and the audience for their civility throughout the presentation and questions.

We live in a unique country.  We have many things to treasure about this land, and we all focus on our favorites.  We are made up of people with many backgrounds and experiences.   Even the original documents  outlining our philosophies and legal theories were the result of many hours of discussion and compromises, not easily reached unanimous decisions.   In the country’s “marriage” of so many differing views,  input needs to be offered and received civilly, and discussed from a “bigger picture” point of view.

The Bill of Rights was added to our constitution after the fact, by men who spent a lot of time deliberating the wording.  What then, do we make of their decision to begin the 2nd amendment with the militia clause?   We do have a lot of personal and community heartache caused by the use of guns.  If we rule out doing nothing to change that as one of our options,  where do we start?  How can those who wish to use guns for law-abiding purposes help their own interests by keeping guns out of the hands  of “bad people?”

Guns are a unique tool.   One can certainly use a car to kill people, but almost no one buys a car for that purpose.  One cannot use a gun for transportation.   One can definitely use a hammer to kill a person, but nearly all hammers are purchased to repair or build things.  One cannot use a gun to build a house. One can use knives to kill people, but most knives are not bought with that in mind.  I use mine for slicing bread, vegetables and baling twine.  Guns can’t do any of that.

What guns do well is to frighten or kill people.  They can do this from a distance, through doors, past other obstacles that would keep you safe from someone with a knife. Guns, as a unique tool, require unique circumstances in our legal system.The American attitude of self-reliance, taking care of one’s  self made our country what it is today. Who could have conquered the West with a different attitude?   We no longer have any “west” left to conquer.  We have finite borders, many more people, roads and communication systems undreamed of by our ancestors.    We have become a very complex society.

Should we work on improving our ‘rule of law’ system by properly funding law enforcement, or scrap it in favor of every man for himself?  Should we throw all the blame on “evil” people, or change  our attitudes about mental illness, and work at providing appropriate medical help for people with problems?

What changes would you suggest?  Requiring licensing and liability policies as we do with cars? Could law-abiding gun owners be more vocal about advocating the responsibilities of gun-ownership? Changing our cultural attitudes about what defines the balance between using the gun as a last resort, versus using it anytime someone startles you?

Perhaps you have heard the saying, “the only constant in life is change.”  Our culture changes daily in tiny ways and occasionally in big bursts.  What we cannot do is pick a time in history and remain there. All of our rights, God-given and otherwise, bump up against the rights of others.

When and where do we place the boundaries?

Laura Twing lives in Cedar county, with her husband and various animal companions.

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1 Response to Guns And Civility In Cedar County

  1. Donna VanZandt says:

    Over half the people in Iowa prisons are mentally ill. When they are picked up for minor infractions there is no where to take most of them since many are homeless. Funding is slashed to nothing. The suicide rate is very high. Sadly, our state is not taking care of the most vulnerable. Ten thousand or so veterans have no health insurance. We need background checks on all gunsales. The checks need to include mental health information but that is impossible in Iowa because the doctors time is so short it means simply writing a prescription. Vera French funding is a joke. The funding for Iowa City is a joke. The answer people get is bring the person each day and we will keep trying to get them help. We should hang our heads with shame.


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