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LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Easy access to guns should be concern for Columbia

Thursday, April 12, 2012 | 6:00 a.m. CDT

All of us are concerned about the violence that is taking the lives of young people here in Columbia. Citizens and local authorities are all working to find solutions to this tragic situation.

But nothing I have heard in the local media shows anyone trying to address a key component of the problem or even raising the question that's uppermost in my mind: Namely, why are the young people in Columbia regularly carrying guns around with them? Why is it so easy for them to get guns? If weapons are being obtained illegally, as surely many are, then what is being done to prevent that? Could part of the problem be the gun shows that regularly occur in our city?

I know this letter will generate the usual outcry that guns don't kill people, people kill people. To which I give the usual common sense answer that people with guns kill people. And when a bunch of those people are under 20 years of age, then it's time to make a priority of getting guns off the streets of Columbia.

Jean Blackwood is a Columbia resident.


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Comments

Jimmy Bearfield April 12, 2012 | 7:21 a.m.

You have a firm grasp of the obvious. So what's your solution?

(Report Comment)
frank christian April 12, 2012 | 9:06 a.m.

She has no solution. Never will have, until she as well as we embrace the real problem. As has been stated repeatedly, before 1960, anyone including our youth, wanting a firearm could own one for the price of purchase. Few, including our youth ever conceived the notion of harming another with firearms. Since the '60s our culture has progressively changed. UK and several other EU countries have banned weapons belonging to citizens. These are the results:
http://voices.yahoo.com/the-uk-gun-ban-3...

This elaborates on the changes we have experienced.
http://www.secularhumanism.org/index.php...

Religion has been successfully banned in our public educational system, top to bottom, "Biblical truths are nowhere to be found in modern schools. In contrast, the humanistic concepts of morality, naturalism, and the theory of evolution are treated as dogma." (creation wiki)

This, imo, is why our youth, having rationalized a need to carry a weapon also frequently imagine a need to use one.

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith April 12, 2012 | 9:33 a.m.

It's difficult not to notice that several aspects of American society began to "tank" in the 1960s. In fairness, the "tanking" may well have begun before that and the RESULTS only became apparent in the 1960s.

Good post, Frank.

Hitler claimed the United States would eventually tear itself apart due to racial and ethnic divisions. I'd hate to think he was correct.

(Report Comment)
Gary Straub April 12, 2012 | 10:02 a.m.

WE have the laws, what we don't have is the enforcement. Nobody seems to object when there is a check point for alcohol, why not have a few check points for illegal weapons. The problem is that would bring on a mass outcry of illegal search. The right to bear arms is part of our constitution and a cornerstone of our perception of freedom. I support that wholeheartedly, however the right to sell arms to anyone with the cash to buy should not exist. But it does...and that is the problem. Who is selling these weapons to our children, that needs to be identified and prosecuted firmly. Why wait until someone is shot to look for weapons?

(Report Comment)
Sally Willis April 12, 2012 | 10:38 a.m.

I agree our kids having guns is huge issue but ummm... what about the lack of parental supervision in general here? Our teenagers fourteen though eighteen are out running the streets all hours of the night. Am I the only one who sees that as a problem? Does our city not have a cerfew and if not why not? Let's get that ball rollin! It's 12:30 do you know where your kids are? What are kids doing at that hour besides gitting in trouble?

(Report Comment)
mike mentor April 12, 2012 | 11:05 a.m.

While I will respect FC's opinion, one could look to other things that have transpired over this same time period. Welfare communities...
Breakdown of families/no parenting going on...
(easy to have a baby if you know the gubment will feed it for you and give you the money...)

People can learn right from wrong by being raised right even if you don't put the fear of God in them.

_______________________________
_______________________________

My dear,

Contrary to belief, a religion does not require that it’s disciples bow down to someone, to go to a certain building once a week, or to self-inflict pain on oneself.

In fact, my religion asks none of this from me.

When I do good, I feel good; when I do bad, I feel bad, and that is my religion.

My religion is within me.

When I do wrong, I personally know and have to live with it. And when I do right, I also have to live with it, but in this case it’s a sort of inter-real happiness that I have to live with.

What would you rather live with, happiness or pain? And if happiness is found through good why do anything but?

Abraham Lincoln

(Report Comment)
Jimmy Bearfield April 12, 2012 | 11:06 a.m.

@Sally: Day and night curfews have been proposed many times, but they've always been scuttled by groups such as the Columbia Black Round Table: www.connectmidmissouri.com/news/story.as...

(Report Comment)
Mark Flakne April 12, 2012 | 11:25 a.m.

What we are seeing is a symptom of drug prohibition. It is very similar to what was seen during alcohol prohibition, except that the war on drugs has been around for at least three times as long. Criminal gangs are funded and empowered by drug income and, due to the illicit nature of the business, are forced to protect their market by means outside the law; i.e. personal firearms.

While there will likely always be organized crime, we know that during alcohol's short prohibition, violent gang activity hit a new peak. We also know that once the prohibition on alcohol was lifted, organized gang activity took a big hit in income and numbers.

Imagine how ingrained into American society the black market for alcohol would have become had prohibition lasted 30 or 40 years. That is what we are seeing today after several decades of funding the futile War on Drugs. We spend $500 per second fighting this failed drug war and the same percentage of our population uses drugs, the same percentage of our population is addicted to drugs, and criminal gangs and the mentality they represent have grown exponentially from where they were prior to drug prohibition.

This gangland ethic has become a subculture. Vigilante, black market justice has become the norm. Kids shoot kids over turf or disrespect. It's all par for the course in a lucrative black market fueled by prohibition and the high profit prohibition creates.

Instead of creating another black market for illegal guns by imposing some sort of Orwellian government crackdown rife with disgusting checkpoints, unconstitutional searches, and general government thuggery, I propose we end drug prohibition and bring the market into the light of legal protection. This would do a great deal to curb the turf-war violence Columbia has seen as of late. After all, liquor store proprietors are not shooting at each other despite selling an addictive drug. It stands to reason that they would not shoot one another if they were legally selling cannabis or even heroin.

With that said, decriminalization is not legalization; there is a difference. Decriminalization merely turns a blind eye to the black market. While it may be a fiscal advantage to not waste police resources chasing cannabis users, decriminalization is not the answer to the bigger problem. Full legalization is the only rational answer. The empirical evidence backing up my stance is overwhelming. Unfortunately, many Americans are swayed by imaginary, anecdotal scenarios.

(Report Comment)
Jimmy Bearfield April 12, 2012 | 11:35 a.m.

I agree that the War on Drug is futile, just like the War on Poverty. But legalization won't do much about crime and guns because the people who deal drugs aren't suddenly going to go blue collar or white collar. Instead, they'll continue to commit crimes such as robbery simply because it's easier than a 9-to-5 job. Why put in 40 hours a week when you can stick up gas stations for at most a few hours a week?

(Report Comment)
Sally Willis April 12, 2012 | 11:46 a.m.

Mark, wow, no. I'm sorry I think drugs are too available as it is. Society doesn't need them to be any more accessible then they already are. I really don't want my kids being told by anyone else drugs are okay. Sorry I don't agree. What you do in your home I don't care, but I don't want to know and don't want people walking down the streets doing it. And drug addicts are robbing and killing to pay for their addictions. I've had to cut ties over drugs, life long friends and even a cousin steeling from me to fuel their habits. Even if we legalize drugs crime won't stop it might increase people will still have to pay for them!

(Report Comment)
Mark Flakne April 12, 2012 | 12:23 p.m.

Jimmy, empirical evidence shows that criminal activity rises during prohibition and drops when prohibition ends. It was true for alcohol prohibition and has been proven true in countries around the world.

Sally, people are doing drugs today at the same rate drugs were used prior to prohibition. Teenagers report that it is easier for them to buy drugs than to obtain alcohol. Empirical evidence in countries where drugs have been legalized shows that rates of use and abuse among teens drops when legalized, regulated and controlled. The proprietor of a legal business has a lot to lose by selling to a minor. Legalization means that drugs become less accessible to minors. I know this seems counter-intuitive, but the evidence more than suggests it is true. An illegal drug dealer has nothing to lose and everything to gain by selling to a minor.

Yes, drug addicts do rob and kill to pay for their addictions. That is because the black market drives up the price. Every time there is a major drug bust, the price goes up. It's simple supply and demand. Higher prices means more need to rob and kill. It's simple economics. When the price goes down, there is less need to rob and kill.

I would also argue that the $500 per second that we spend on the drug war is akin to flushing money down the toilet. If we spent $100 per second treating the illness of addiction and gave the other $400 per second back to the tax payers, our country would be a safer and generally better off.

Incarcerating non-violent drug offenders merely cements their need to engage in criminal enterprise. Felons struggle to find employment.

(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro April 12, 2012 | 12:26 p.m.

@Sally:
A proper, most politically correct, community-backed, non-criminal curfew program geared to protect let's say under 17 years of age from themselves and others might help send a message to parents and youngsters that when all unsupervised hell is breaking loose that teenagers need to be in safe places. Of course, the NAACP will call any curfew racist, as they keep quiet about all the teenage/dysfunctional adult sanctioned criminal behavior that many of these dysfunctional adults benefit from to supplement their family "welfare" benefits. Meanwhile the youngsters find purpose, meaning, false safety and belonging to something greater than themselves through their cliques or gang.
If Columbia Public Schools, the Interfaith Group of Churches, Columbia Police and our Juvie Court System developed a non-criminal parent/guardian accountable curfew partnership where during the day truant officers ensured students were in school, high schools had closed campus lunch periods and during hours past let's say 10pm (for starters), police had the authority to ask teenagers appearing under 17 years of age for their "variance to the ordinance" ID, then if the unsupervised minor does not have adult permission to be out and about during those hours the parent should be called and asked to pick up the teen from let's say a church volunteer staffed safety zone. If the minor's parent is uncooperative or incapacitated then perhaps the "abandoned by the parent" teen should spend the night away from home in some safe place, These ideas are just off the top of my head in response to your question about a community curfew. When unsupervised youth begin to hold a community hostage with gun activity, hold ups and murder, it's going to be one heck of a hot and dangerous summer, regardless of what any of us do. However, a curfew idea should be orchestrated into the most helpful and friendly manner before we have to implement a more criminally charged curfew program as they are currently doing elsewhere.
http://thedp.com/index.php/article/2011/...

(Report Comment)
Jimmy Bearfield April 12, 2012 | 12:39 p.m.

"Jimmy, empirical evidence shows that criminal activity rises during prohibition and drops when prohibition ends. It was true for alcohol prohibition and has been proven true in countries around the world."

It dropped, but it didn't go away. Why? Because many people still prefer to steal and commit other crimes rather than working.

"the NAACP will call any curfew racist"

One way to respond is to track down the phone numbers of those who object to a curfew. Then when there are youth-related problems, call those people, day or night, and tell them to deal with it.

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking April 12, 2012 | 1:16 p.m.

Mark Flakne wrote:

"The proprietor of a legal business has a lot to lose by selling to a minor."

In Columbia it just seems like a cost of doing business. I imagine bars and liquor stores make far more off underage drinkers than they pay in fines. I agree with the rest of your post, it's just that keeping alcohol or drugs out of the hands of underage users will take a lot better enforcement effort.

It may be time to try a curfew. Unfortunately most teens who might be out late are not in gangs and aren't out getting in trouble. It's the few that cause problems for the many, and I'm not sure a curfew would improve CPD's image among low-income residents. It's a classic tradeoff of liberty for security, and I don't think CPD needs another public relations issue right now.

DK

(Report Comment)
Chrissy King April 12, 2012 | 1:30 p.m.

"Could part of the problem be the gun shows that regularly occur in our city?"

Wow - really???? Yes, yes....that must be it (insert sarcasm).

"One way to respond is to track down the phone numbers of those who object to a curfew. Then when there are youth-related problems, call those people, day or night, and tell them to deal with it."

Sounds like a plan......

I don't know all the answers - but to place blame on the gun shows is a little ridiculous. And yes, I am a proud NRA member and guess what?? I even have a concealed carry permit. I've followed the rules and have obtained my firearms legally and I guarantee that no matter what happens - those that have illegal firearms will always have a way to get them. I have to agree with the above posts that the problems we have with the youth today start in the home. Parents need to step up. I'm definitely not a perfect parent - but my child had a strict curfew and knew the consequences of breaking it. Part of the youth violence, I think, is due to each and every one of them knowing they can get away with it. Principals can't paddle anymore, parents can't spank their children, parents allowing their children to show disrespect to them and other members of society......the list goes on. But part of the solution HAS to be that the parents need to be more involved. But placing blame on the gun shows is silly, start placing the blame where it truly belongs - AT HOME!

Don't ask me how to fix it though because I definitely don't know that answer.

(Report Comment)
frank christian April 12, 2012 | 1:40 p.m.

"People can learn right from wrong by being raised right even if you don't put the fear of God in them."

This is to ignore that knowledge of "right from wrong" came initially in our society from religion, tho it put "fear of God" in it's believers. I wonder how those "raising" us could now know right from wrong, without it? Fact is they couldn't and now can't. They have been denied access to those principles in our public education and thus, homes and for our children.

Great strides (if you want to call it that), have been made to eliminate religion, that puts "the fear of God" into our people and it is being replaced with,

"A conviction that dogmas, ideologies and traditions, whether religious, political or social, must be weighed and tested by each individual and not simply accepted on faith."

#1 for "elements and principles: of Secular Humanism and a license for any kid to decide that what is best for him is Right for him. "Welfare communities...
Breakdown of families/no parenting going on...", have accompanied Humanism as it has been foisted upon us.

(Report Comment)
Sally Willis April 12, 2012 | 1:44 p.m.

Chrissy I could not agree with you more, and thank you! It starts at home, it comes from home, and is at home! As a teenager my parents taught us right from wrong. We had respect and I teach my children respect. Even if the city doesn't have a cerfew you better believe my house does.

(Report Comment)
John Schultz April 12, 2012 | 2:27 p.m.

Frank, let me see if I can puzzle this out. You would be OK with public school teachers teaching students about religion, but not birth control and the birds and the bees? I see both of those topics as ones that are taught in my house, not the schoolhouse.

My family didn't regularly attend church until I was in my early teens, but somehow I knew what was wrong and right without religion being taught at my school with the exception of some carols in the Christmas pageant.

(Report Comment)
mike mentor April 12, 2012 | 2:50 p.m.

Many great Posts !
Mark Flakne, yours was best !!!
I can personally attest to the fact that many around me in high school smoked pot rather than drank liquor because it was easier to get, if anecdotal evidence from many, many years ago means anything…
The idea that marijuana will be more available to kids after legalization is ridiculous. Once it is legalized, the black market will disappear and kids will find it much more difficult to get. Yes, people still shoot each other over chicken McNuggets, so all drug violence won't end. (or do we outlaw McNuggets…)
I also have a problem with assuming that all drug dealers will turn to a life of robbery. I have read much on the parallels between alcohol and marijuana prohibition. I have never read anything that showed any evidence that the gangster's who were making money selling illegal liquor, turned to robbery. We survived legalizing liquor and the gangsters that were put out of a job. I think we can survive this one too. Being an illegal drug dealer carries plenty of risk with the job. Being a robber comes with exponentially more.
A lot has been written about the collateral damage from this war as well. One of the leading causes for the repeal of alcohol prohibition was that so many people drank liquor even though it was illegal, that the general respect for the law was fading. Children were being raised by and witnessing "criminal" behavior by their parents, by lawmen, by their teachers, etc. Why should they have to follow all the laws if no one else did???

(Report Comment)
Sally Willis April 12, 2012 | 3:03 p.m.

I was watching a piece on the news the other night about prescription pills (that are legal) and what the people addicted to them and those wanting the quick cash from selling them on the black market are doing to get them. Such as robbing pharmacies and attacking people leaving the drug stores. I'm also not just talking pot but where do you draw the line crack, meth?

(Report Comment)
Sally Willis April 12, 2012 | 3:08 p.m.

I will be in St. Louis for a few days I'll stay away from McNugetts.

(Report Comment)
frank christian April 12, 2012 | 3:28 p.m.

You just wrote basically what Mike M. wrote way back. "somehow I knew what was wrong and right without religion being taught at my school" Religion was taught only to my 5th grade class in Columbia Schools. I believe it was a pilot and don't recall another class as such. The principles of the Christian religion were sure enforced and I (again) wonder how you would somehow know "what was wrong and right", if your home had been in a place where the Christian Religion had never been? This is what is going on in our country now:
"Biblical truths are nowhere to be found in modern schools. In contrast, the humanistic concepts of morality, naturalism, and the theory of evolution are treated as dogma." (creation wiki) Kids in public schools now do not get Carols or Christmas pageants.

Mike wrote of his opposition to having the "fear of God" instilled in his children. In my case, at least and I'm sure in most, the only fear connected with our God that of being condemned to "Hell" upon committing a "mortal sin". Having been told about it as children places it in the thought process from then on whether it is "believed" or not. If that "fear" could sway a decision to kill, steal,cheat, etc. is it too big a burden for a human being to bear?

Imo, this is what is wrong in our city and country, today and for the past 30-40 years, when we noted things changing.

(Report Comment)
mike mentor April 12, 2012 | 3:30 p.m.

I agree that most of our problems start at HoME!

One could look at the attempted socialization of this Country as a cause. The biggest problem I have with the, "everybody gets a ribbon", mantra of the progressives is that it leads to a lack of accountability for the result. Suddenly, what you feel like is more important than the resulting behavior and the end result. I was down in Orlando the week after the Travon hit the fan. I was watching a local news broadcast where they were reporting on a brutal murder of a white lady by a black kid. They interviewed the kid that was charged from the jailhouse and he said, "I have been having problems with my thoughts and feelings for a while now. I don't know why I did it, I just did." He said this as nonchalantly as if he was telling us how to make a sandwich! I could almost hear his gubment paid for psych telling him that no one can take away your feelings. There are no wrong feelings. With the stuff you went through, I can understand your feelings...

We need to hold people accountable to results not tries. ("Do or do not, there is no try." Yoda)

We can set the bar much higher and demand more accountability from our children and they will respond.

We can demand much more accountability from our citizens and they will respond. The "safety net" that is welfare is basically a safety net for a lack of accountability.

What's that? You want to do what you want, when you want, and be reponsible to no one. You would rather sit at home and play video games all day than work?

O.k. We are not going to hold you responsible for your choices, we are going to pay you to keep making bad ones.
What the ...

Too bad the progressives are more interested in respecting everyone, whether they think like Charles Manson or Ghandi.

It would make a world of difference if we demanded accountability from everyone, not just the 1 percenters...

(Report Comment)
John Schultz April 12, 2012 | 3:42 p.m.

Frank, I had a heck of a lot more fear of my dad's whuppings and my mom's embarassment to keep me on the straight and narrow when I was growing up. I wasn't really concerned about God throwing me in a lake of fire at the time. People can raise good kids without religion, especially without religion in the schools. If you want religion in the school, send your kids to a private institution.

And you didn't address the other question I had. If it's OK to have schools teach kids what they don't learn at home (religion, in your view) is it OK for teachers to teach them about sex as well? Where do you draw the line?

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams April 12, 2012 | 4:07 p.m.

MikeM: Once it is legalized, the black market will disappear and kids will find it much more difficult to get.
_______________________

I think you just identified why a black market will continue to exist, even after legalization.
_________________________

You said, "I have never read anything that showed any evidence that the gangster's who were making money selling illegal liquor, turned to robbery."

You're right. Kinda-sorta. They were the big boys, and robbery of the local grocery was chump change. Prostitution and gambling and extortion nicely filled the gap, tho. I don't think anyone took a reduction in salary.

The point is this.....not many went "legit" and bought the local steel mills once prohibition ended. They might have bought the unions, but not the mills.

I'm firmly in the "legalize it, and the small dealers simply turn to other things....like robbery" camp. I'm unsure what the big boys will do, but I'm confident it won't involve legitimacy.

Legalize it and put-in-place punishments if it spills over and involves me and mine.

(Report Comment)
John Schultz April 12, 2012 | 4:13 p.m.

Mike, what are your thoughts on legalization keeping younguns from getting seduced by the easy profits by slinging drugs? Those already "in the life" might continue on, but we might keep future generations from thinking they can make easy money by selling dope.

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle April 12, 2012 | 4:42 p.m.

So, everyone here is OK with there being *SOME* laws limiting access to or possession of firearms?

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle April 12, 2012 | 4:43 p.m.

I wonder where youth got the idea that using guns was the way to manage their problems?

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle April 12, 2012 | 4:50 p.m.

Here's the solution to the gun problem: redirect all the investigative, law enforcement, and SWAT raids away from finding and confiscating illegal drugs, and have all those resources and action directed towards finding and confiscating illegally possessed weapons, instead.

(I posted this same thing on Karl's article yesterday, BTW. Prescient, I am)

(Report Comment)
Mark Flakne April 12, 2012 | 4:56 p.m.

Derrick: No, not really, unless those same laws apply to the weaponry the government can own and carry for use against its citizens. I should have the right to protect myself, my family and my property against tyranny at the hands of the government.

Children get the idea from a couple of sources. First and foremost, America has been perpetually at war since WWII and arguably for longer than that. The warmongers who lead us, like Bush and Obama, have set a clear example for or kids. Disarm and be overthrown, i.e. Lybia, Iraq, etc. Or if you have something we want, we have big guns and will take it.

They also get the idea from the War on Drugs and the black market it creates. Gun-toting gangsters are romanticized. MP5-toting, kevlar ninja suit-wearing SWAT cops are romanticized. The whole thing stinks.

Violence begets violence. The War on Drugs and the War on Terror are to blame.

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams April 12, 2012 | 5:08 p.m.

DerrickF asks, "I wonder where youth got the idea that using guns was the way to manage their problems?"
_________________

I dunno. I grew up in an era of the "bad" influence of shoot-em-up cowboy shows/movies and The Three Stooges, but it would have never occurred to me to use a gun/knife instead of my fists. I think I turned out ok since I've never poked the eyes of anyone with my two fingers. In my circles such a thing was taboo, although the Civella mob in KCMO didn't mind much. Even the violence of today's movies don't make me want to play shoot-em-up. But, I can remember no time in my life where I didn't believe in using a gun to protect myself/home from serious threat.

I can't identify a specific cause....only impressions that involve a very looooonnnnnng slippery slope which somehow involves loss of shame, loss of traditional values, erosion of intact families, the late '60s, the early '70s, music that degraded women, loss of religious taboos and values, a gain of entitlements, a rise in "macho" thought, staying inside with computers/games instead of being scared by a preying mantis, disrespect for and towards...anything, legal decisions that eroded school/teacher authority, the decade of pity for imprisoned violent criminals, the lies of Vietnam, Nixon, etc.

None of the things in this list seem to have much to do with using guns first, but somehow it all links mentally to some sort of eroding disrespect for human life.
______________

As for access to guns....yes, I would have restrictions. The only ones that come to mind for me are (1) an age restriction for ownership, and (2) felons (violent history). There are probably more that I can't think of right now. But, mainly I support better use of our existing laws against illegal use of a gun. Personally, I think any person using a gun during commission of a crime is a person that needs to be separated permanently from the rest of us. I think we have that right and expectation. Death or permanent incarceration are on the table for me.

(Report Comment)
leigh Hollinger April 12, 2012 | 5:31 p.m.

Here is a quote from Bryan's dad regarding teen violence as reported by KMIZ-17. "Many kids bully others and feel like they need to prove themselves by acting violent. This stems from a lack of good role models and a lack of productive things to occupy their time," Rankin Sr. said,

What I learn from MR. Rankin, SR is the reason for his son's death is 1. no good role models - he as the father could be one, and 2 a lack of productive things to occupy his children' time- again as a father he could be providing these activities for his children.

I also hear he takes no responsibility for his child getting involved with the 'wrong' crowd. So who is to blame..."blame the community". And this has been said before.

It angers me as a parent that Bryan's dad says he is not his son role model and he didn't participate in his son's activities or pursuit of activities to make him a better person.

In short, until parents of violent teens or at risk teens decide to parent their kids. Be the role model in their kids life that they so desperately want society to provide and become active in their kid's school, church, activities, etc. instead of waiting for some organization to build a place where kids can go for 'entertainment' while mom and dad aren't parenting.... Columbia's teen violence will just keep escalating.

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle April 12, 2012 | 5:53 p.m.

And the definition of "crime" comes from... where?

(Report Comment)
frank christian April 12, 2012 | 6:07 p.m.

John - This is hard for you. My point is and has been, where do you suppose your mom and dad got the principals that you were required to adhere to? You surely are not going to give us "somehow they knew". The way we all "knew" was because the principles of the 10 Commandments were accepted by such a large majority, in our country from the it's beginning, that they were adhered to and taught to us all whether by parents, public schools or just imitation of another doing a good thing.

Whether you will admit it or not, this good "mantra" has been challenged, not by our people, but, since 1947 by "Americans United for the Separation of Church and State", their head person, Barry Lynn, the ACLU and progressives in our Democratic party. You must have some knowledge of this.

I stated I had experienced 1hr of Christian teaching, I'm sure it was not every day, in the 5th grade at Benton school. I did Not experience the ridicule, disgust and hatred of the religion, we all now hear about every day. This is the problem we are faced with and the subject of this thread, concerns the society we have created with the actions by those people.

I feel no need to teach religion in public educational places. It need not and should not be erased!

"The ages for compulsory education vary by state. It begins from ages five to eight and ends from ages fourteen to eighteen." This refers to sex education in the U.S. We have a Supreme Ct. Justice D-R. Ginsburg promoting age of sexuality as 12. Imo, the consequences should be taught after age 8. How to do it safely should not be taught.

(Report Comment)
frank christian April 12, 2012 | 6:13 p.m.

"DerrickF asks, "I wonder where youth got the idea that using guns was the way to manage their problems?"

I just told him. ""A conviction that dogmas, ideologies and traditions, whether religious, political or social, must be weighed and tested by each individual and not simply accepted on faith."

#1 for "elements and principles: of Secular Humanism"

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams April 12, 2012 | 6:23 p.m.

DerrickF asks, "And the definition of "crime" comes from... where?"
__________________

Well, mine's mainly religious-based.

I don't know about you.

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams April 12, 2012 | 6:24 p.m.

It's probably all Bush's fault, anyway.

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle April 12, 2012 | 7:01 p.m.

My "religion" is Hacky Sack. Like you, my definition of crime does not emanate from government laws or police activity (and we wonder why other people don't "follow the law," eh?). Jesus was one of humanity's greatest peace and human rights activists, so yes, I try to follow the example he set.

But I don't, and never did, need any teachings from any specific religion for me to understand that hurting other people is wrong. Even primates display care and empathy for one another. To be convinced that can only come from some external source is really shortchanging oneself.

(Report Comment)
frank christian April 12, 2012 | 7:11 p.m.

"http://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2012/02/good-grief-obama-blames-the-founding-fathers-for-his-failures-video/

This time it was not Bush's fault.

(Report Comment)
frank christian April 12, 2012 | 7:17 p.m.

"Jesus was one of humanity's greatest peace and human rights activists, so yes, I try to follow the example he set.

But I don't, and never did, need any teachings from any specific religion for me to understand that hurting other people is wrong."

But, what if one had never heard of Jesus of Nazareth?

"Even primates display care and empathy for one another." Some primates eat their young.

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams April 12, 2012 | 7:21 p.m.

Derrick: Even primates display care and empathy for one another.
________________________

I'd be careful with that analogy. Primates are opportunistic carnivores. They eat other primates when they can, and they do so cooperatively. I don't know if they are cannibals of their own kind, but they are quite discriminatory against others. I don't know if they cry afterwards, tho.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KTPkmH4hW...

(Report Comment)
frank christian April 12, 2012 | 8:29 p.m.

Try this one for Obama and founders.

http://theobamafile.websitetoolbox.com/p...

"I don't know if they are cannibals of their own kind," The male lion is the one I had read about. Then there is: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Infanticide...

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams April 12, 2012 | 9:49 p.m.

Derrick: But I don't, and never did, need any teachings from any specific religion for me to understand that hurting other people is wrong.
________________________

There are many cultures in the world that disagree with you. For example, female circumcision, infanticide of girl fetuses post-amniocentesis, cutting tattoos, etc. These are "true believers". Are you (or me) the arbiter/referee? If so, why? If not, who is?

How far should tolerance for multiculturalism extend?

(Report Comment)

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