Ann Bednarski: Whoa! Calm down
February 2, 2013
We live in difficult and very scary times. – If ever in my lifetime I strongly desired to get involved and equally encourage others to do so too, it is now. We need our voices heard because what’s happening in D.C. is egregious. Logic and rational thinking are required; reading all bills is imperative. Character is far more important than political power. It affects decisions.I watched Mark Mattioli’s testimony; James, his 6-year-old son, was murdered at Sandy Hook School. Mattioli made a very heartfelt, strong case not against guns, but for civility. What struck me about this video was this man lost his son in a murderous rampage at a school he described as one that “cultivates character.” He mentioned the violence on TV and in movies and the general “lack of civility” we see every day. He sees parenting as vital.No one will ever forget that horrible massacre of children. The question is, “What can and should we do to ensure this never happens again?” Every time I watch the news I hear some other knee-jerk, emotional suggestions about guns. They are dangerous; but logically, we all know the bad guys already have their illegal weapons; therefore keeping law-abiding citizens from owning a firearm for their protection is not the solution.I heard the news that “officials” are going to confiscate guns and immediately thought about the history of countries taken over by Communism. Increasingly our government is stripping away our privacy and our rights as citizens at a fast-paced rate. Take the word “infringe”, add to it the word “privacy.” I like my privacy. When I see it being taken away, I worry. These two words together destroy our inalienable rights: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. It has to stop.We are lax in our values and systematically relinquish what is inherently ours to agencies and bureaucrats that only see us as numbers and not as individuals. We must appreciate our freedoms, assertively protecting them. Apathy makes us vulnerable; it is a weak position. We all can be vigilant in improving our personal safety, no matter where we are. We need to live by values, not exploit them, becoming more responsible by working together for everyone’s well-being.Children exposed to violence on TV at a very early age become insensitive to it. Years ago I was a news writer on a 24-hour news radio station. Every day there was a murder and we were required to write eight versions of each one, as well as all the other things in the news. It was a very fast-paced job; I soon learned to focus on writing the facts and not react to the newsworthy event. It did not take long to become detached from someone being murdered. One day I knew there was a murder but could not learn any details by the deadline for the news package. My boss commented about me missing the facts about the murder. I responded, now with the facts, “It was only a homeless guy.” I immediately had a sick feeling because with those words I realized I had lost the value of life. I was desensitized and it made me ill. So did the recent sloughing off of murders because of a failure to act. It does make a difference.The Sandy Hook School victims only spent about 2,190 days on this earth. It is those little ones who survived that have to now process what happened. I pray for them every day. We expose children to heinous, hedonistic behavior far too often. Children learn what they live. Emphasizing kindness, integrity, sharing, and most of all, responsibility would yield a more tolerant society. Teach children to be aware of their surroundings, encouraging them to think. Many are like sheep and are overly influenced by peer pressure. We already have too many laws; good examples work much better.Tuning in to several TV channels I learned violence and immoral behavior is out there and available 24-7. My news anchor friend commented about a movie that was extremely violent stating, “This is called comedy. Everything is a comedy today. Society is sick.” I strongly agree.Our country is speeding in the wrong direction with little consideration for unintended consequences. Terrorists and radicals are systematically destroying each other all around the world. We are shocked yet, billions of tax dollars are sent to them and often the attacks are conducted with weapons we provided. Our power is shrinking. Is this not a paradox of values? This absurd rush to enacting gun control laws should be revisited and rationally discussed. Let’s all calm down, evoke reason instead of rhetoric before we take action. • Ann Bednarski of Carson City is a career educator and journalist.