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Stop The Madness

July 20, 2016
by Dan Voigt , Emmetsburg News

The past few weeks in our nation have been tumultuous, to say the least, not only due to the ongoing deaths of people in police custody, but also from the shootings of law enforcement officers as well. Then add in the acrimonious tone of our upcoming Presidential elections, and it certainly seems like our country is mired in a loop of self-destruction.

With apologies to Susan Powder, the diet guru of the 1990's, "STOP?THE?MADNESS!"

It may be an oft-repeated plea, but stop and think about it, folks. We are a nation of people who come from different backgrounds, different ethnicities and different customs. But, if you go back to the original founding of this country, our forefathers came to the New World for freedom from oppression and persecution.

Sadly, look where we have gone. Now, we have people who, because they are angry, decide to play God and take the lives of whomever they choose, for their own satisfaction.

Look at the past history of mass killings in our country in the last 10 years - Sandy Hook Elementary - The Orlando Nightclub - Dallas and now Baton Rouge Police officers - For what reason? Someone was mad about something and took action.

Here in the Midwest, we seem to be somewhat insulated from these horrors, but not completely. Just last week, an angry man drove a truck into a crowd on a street in Nice, France, and pulled out a weapon and opened fire, killing over 80 people. A church school group from St. Edmond High School in Fort Dodge were in Nice on the night of this incident - a little close for comfort, in my opinion.

Of course there are those who blame guns. A gun is an inanimate object - it requires a human to operate it, aim it and load it. Legislation to keep guns out of the hands of people will never work - our nation tried to prohibit the sale and consumption of alcohol in the 1930's - that worked well, didn't it?

Our political candidates both try to blame each other's parties for the state of affairs, and their attacks are quite frankly disenchanting more and more of the population each day. Instead of coming up with answers, they only perpetuate the blame and avoid the root issue.

Quite simply, we as humans all need to stop, take a breath, and understand that we need to be tolerant. Judging people based on social position, race, religion, or sexual persuasion does not provide benefit to anyone at all.

To be a journalist, even at this local community level, in these times, is both challenging and yet, it is becoming more and more difficult when our world is filled with such hatred, division and apathy.

I was always told to put myself in someone else's shoes when I?wanted to understand an issue, and that's something I've tried to do many times. But, I have to say that I just can't imagine a hatred of my fellow humans that would drive me to take the lives of others just because I was angry.

And then look at it in another aspect - put yourself in the shoes of a police officer, sheriff's deputy, state trooper or any other public safety worker. You have taken an oath to protect and serve the public - to the extent of giving up your own life to save another.

Could you?

As was reported in Dallas that night when shots rang out, police officers didn't run and hide - they ran to the sound of the shots, covered innocent civilians with their own bodies to protect those they'd sworn to serve.

The same is true of firefighters - as people run from a burning building, firefighters run to the flames and into a burning structure to rescue a helpless child or elderly resident -

Could you?

When our country was founded, people worked together for their very survival. Ordinary citizens banded together to fight for independence against the British, dying for our freedom and our rights of free speech and assembly. People continue to die today for those same reasons, but too many times, the reason becomes one of hatred instead.

I don't have the answers - no one does. Is there an answer to this madness? I truly hope so, because our country cannot continue to suffer as it has. Every life matters to someone - especially our Creator.



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