From My Own Little Corner
Well, here goes. I am sure that some reading this will have differing opinions, but I simply can't remain silent any longer, scared of the reaction of others.
I have been watching the coverage of the the shootings at the Gurdwara in Wisconsin and I am just devastated. I cannot believe that in this day and age, there are still people that think it is okay to go into a place of worship and open fire on a group of unarmed people. Why would that ever be acceptable? When did it become acceptable to just kill those that we disagree with about religion, or anything else for that matter? When did it become acceptable to go to a political event and start shooting the people there? Who decided that it is okay to burn down another's place of worship because it isn't the same as our Christian religion, as happened to a Mosque in Joplin yesterday. I know that there are people out there that are mentally ill, but I have to wonder why no one ever stands up and says, "Hey, wait a minute. Your hate, the hate that you speak, the hate that you tattoo all over your body, the hate that you sing about, simply isn't right!"? Obviously, we all have the freedom of speech in this country, and it is a right that I have always fiercely defended and that I cherish. But when it gets to the point that the words we are speaking are so filled with vitriol, hate, nastiness, lies, and hurt, that they infringe on the rights of others to pursue their God given rights of life, liberty, freedom, and happiness, isn't it our responsibility as citizens of this country, and of the world, to speak up? We simply cannot continue to hide behind that age old excuse that we all have the right to speak our mind, when there are people that are abusing that right and using it as an excuse to spout evil and hate!!! We have churches that are spreading messages of hate and intolerance, burning the holy books of other religions, picketing the funerals of soldier that are coming home in caskets, holding up signs that are filled with nasty, hurtful words. I doubt very seriously that when our bill of rights was written, our forefathers had hate speech in mind. They could never have foreseen how nasty a segment of this great country would someday become.
The same can be said for gun rights. Our preamble states, and I quote, "We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence (sic), promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America." Notice that phrase, "common defence" (sic)? I think they are referring to protecting our country from those that would invade, not those who live here and have a different opinion, religion, or political leaning! I am all for people having guns for hunting and even for protecting your family should the REAL NEED arise. But semi-automatic assault rifles which can be made fully automatic with a minimal amount of effort? Seriously? Yes, I know that making those semi-automatic weapons into fully automatic rifles is against the law, but so is going into a theater or Gurdwara or public political event and opening fire on a group of unsuspecting people. When the second amendment ("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.") was written, the most dangerous gun that anyone had was a musket! This amendment was meant to ensure that IF the time came when it was necessary to protect our country on it's own soil against foreign invaders, we would be able to do so. It's kind of hard to go on a killing spree when you have to stop and manually open a powder horn, pour gunpowder down the barrel of a rifle, place a ball with wadding around it in the same barrel, and then tamp it down with a ramrod, then aim, then shoot, the stop to reload. By the time that was done, any person who was bent on killing a large group of people would have been tackled, taken down, and hog-tied! The easy availability of guns and the advancement from single shot tools, for hunting and defending this country, into the instruments of mass destruction that we now have, is surely not the right that our forefathers were speaking of when they wrote that second amendment.
I have guns. I have a husband that is blind after being shot in the face, while with a group of teenagers that were not careful with their guns. I understand that accidents happen with guns, it is inevitable. However, the mass killings that are happening in today's world are not accidents. They are not due to lack of care. They are the result of a society that is growing less and less tolerant of those who are different, those who have different opinions, different lifestyle choices, different political leanings. A society that thinks that civility is a word best relegated to our not so distant past. A society that is afraid to stand up to those that are abusing their "God given rights" and in not standing up, are helping to breed a level of hate and intolerance that is rapidly approaching that of third world countries. You know the ones I mean...where they stone women for daring to show their face in public or for leaving the "safety" of their prisons...er, homes, without the accompaniment of a male...a male that must be a relative. Oh, and when that same male "protector" rapes that woman and she reports it, she is the one that is punished. Those countries where they poison the female children because they want to go to school. The places where those with differing religious and political ideologies are punished, most often by death. The places where civil rights are NOT given to the citizens and where anyone who dares to speak up against the atrocities they witness are most likely signing their own death warrant. Yes, those third world countries. If the intolerance and hate mongering in this country continues unabated, we WILL become one of those countries, the ones that we all sit around and shake our heads at, while clucking our tongues and asking "How could those people allow that to happen?". The question then becomes, how could we allow this to happen...here? In this great country, where we have a constitution that ensures the freedoms of all it's citizens? How can we allow the civil rights of some our citizens to be trampled upon? How can we sit by and say nothing? Isn't it our responsibility to say "enough" when things start getting out of hand? The discourse in this country is reaching a boiling point. Soon the violence and hate will begin to take over, and much like an aggressive cancer, the time to excise it will have passed, and it will become lethal. It is time for common sense to come back into style, rather than all the extremism that we are seeing in our public officials and our private sector. It is time for those that want a country where people are nice, where there can be civil discourse and we can disagree without being nasty, where we can have our opinions and not be afraid that voicing them will lead to someone walking up and screaming, hitting, or shooting us!
The New Colossus
Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand,
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightening, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon hand
Glows world wide welcome; her mild eyes command
the air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses, yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"
These are the words emblazoned on the Statue of Liberty...notice that word LIBERTY. What happened? We live in a country of diverse peoples. There are people from all countries, all religions, all economic classes, all heritages...we are all different, and the diversity of our populace is what helped make this country great! It's time to stand up and say "This hate that has become the new normal, is no longer acceptable." Thomas Jefferson said it best..." We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." I can only imagine how appalled he would be to see how so many have twisted the constitution and used it as an excuse to hate. So, I say, "ENOUGH! I have had enough!"
Well, that's my rant...if I have offended anyone, I am truly sorry.
No offence and no finger pointing are meant here. The words that I write come from the heart and are not written in anger, but in sadness. My heart hurts with the pain of seeing so many angry, intolerant, and hate filled people. I pray that God will bring them peace.
May God bless each and every one of you.