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What’s missing most

WES WALDRON

Trout Run

In my senior years I often find myself thinking about how the world around me has changed from when I was a youth growing up in a small town. Like many from that period of time there are things that I miss, like nickel soft drinks, penny candy, and twenty-cent movies. However, once I reached retirement age, and since, the things I am missing are of a more serious matter to me, and the time that has passed since they were lost has been uncomfortably short.

It has been almost 18-years since the terrorist attacks that destroyed the towers of New York City’s World Trade Center, at a cost of 2,606 lives. An additional 125 lives were lost when the Pentagon was struck as part of the same attack, and although passengers managed to foil the plans of the attackers on another plane, it went down with forty additional lives lost.

After 9-11 this country exhibited a huge display of patriotism, and American flags appeared everywhere on billboards, houses, buildings, and the bumpers of vehicles. People wore flag pins, flag hats, flag patches, and the country vowed never to forget.

But now, we can’t raise an American flag or say the Pledge of Allegiance without offending someone. We learned about Islamic extremists and terrorism, but we can no longer mention those words without being accused of bigotry and hatred. Guess we have forgotten, and I miss that.

Our country has always welcomed immigrants looking to better their lives and partake in the American dream, and we supported those willing to go through the legal processes to become citizens, assimilate into our society, and accept our laws. Now however, legal immigrants, and a flood of illegals, are demanding that we educate them in their own language, accept and cater to their laws, and provide them with benefits that many Americans have yet to obtain. If we complain about this, even mention it, we are suddenly categorized as racist and xenophobic. In the past, most immigrants to this country worked hard to make a life here, including my own ancestors, and they respected our laws and our country. I miss that.

After 9-11 even the liberal in this country recognized that terrorism was suddenly a real threat to the lives of our friends and family, our society, and our way of life. Now, less than 20-years later, those who support increased and thorough vetting of those individuals are howled-down as racist profilers.

I sympathize with those who have lost loved ones at the hands of deranged and disgruntled shooters, but now the firearm is being demonized and the rights of law abiding firearms owners are being threatened while the root problems continue to be ignored and unaddressed. Until this country chooses to face the facts that creating “gun free” zones provide an open killing field for those intent on these heinous acts, and continue to ignore and underfund mental health care in this country, no amount of gun control can guarantee that the killing of innocents will not continue. We once protected our children, with a show of force if necessary, I miss that.

Prohibition may have banned alcohol but it closed American businesses, put people out of work, and created a whole new area for organized crime. And while booze may have become illegal it was soon available almost everywhere. Australia’s 1996 gun ban saw over 650,000 firearms confiscated from Australian citizens in an attempt to reduce violent crimes. According to the Australian government’s own statistics, serious crimes such as manslaughter, sexual assault, kidnapping, armed and unarmed robbery peaked within several years of the gun ban. A ban in this country may well result in law abiding citizens turning them in, you had best believe criminal elements will not. We once embraced our citizen’s rights to protect themselves. I miss that.

None can argue that slavery occurred, nor that with the end of the Civil War the lives of Black Americans, overall, changed very little, but no amount of statue or flag removal will erase the fact that slavery and racism existed. The Civil War and slavery are as much a part of our history as the religious persecution that drove many of our ancestors to these shores, many of whom perpetuated that persecution once they were established here. These are dark parts of our history to be sure, but we cannot erase it by removing statues and flags. What happened to tolerance and forgiveness? I miss that.

I do not condone police brutality, but I am tired of seeing the Black and Hispanic communities, as well as the media, immediately vilify the officer(s) involved before an official investigation even begins. How do drug dealers, felons, and gang members suddenly become choir boys after a shooting or arrest in which they obviously refused to comply with an officer’s request? There was once community pride and a willingness to keep it a clean, healthful and a safe place to live. I miss that.

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