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By Forrest Hershberger
View from the Handlebars 

Players vs The Game


January 26, 2022 | View PDF

The days of Andy Griffith and Mayberry RFD are gone. They are not a memory, except with previous generations. Even the scripts once seen as a distant dream are viewed humorously.

Don Knotts has gone on to the next life. Andy Griffith and the gang have moved on.

What’s left now decades later is a mentality even the writers of the show probably couldn’t have imagined. I was in a discussion recently when I was reminded we, this part of the country, is in a squeeze play. The West and East Coast populations are increasingly known for their dislike, conflict is being nice, with law enforcement.

How often have there been calls in major metro centers to defund police, only to months later see an organized city devolve into chaos that threatens life and property, followed by a call to reinstate law enforcement in one form or another. Meanwhile, we’re told police do not have the right or authority to stop in a lethal or non-lethal form someone who runs from an officer. An officer or a private citizen can be sued for enormous money if they protect their vehicle, while they’re in it. The structure of law is becoming weakened, almost inconsequential in some places.

Then comes the next chapter. Apparently, the only way to have a safe society is to have strict gun control measures, according to research published by CNN. A recent story cites areas with the lowest crime have the tightest gun controls. This particular research put accidental discharges, murders and suicides in one category. The implication is no gun, no violence.

No, I’m not a firearms expert. People who know me understand the humor in that sentence. However, studies like this need to be broken down. Of the accidental deaths, how many are because common safety rules were not followed?

Don’t point a gun at something or someone you’re not ready to live with the consequences if it discharges. Always know your surroundings, including the firearm you’re holding. Common sense… that is becoming less and less common.

What if the real issue is a decreasing value of human life? What if guns were kept put away safely except when in use, and properly checked when put away? What if some of the questions and underlying issues surrounding gun violence need to be confronted before we have a chance at moving forward?

The paradox is how do we arrive at the proverbial Shangri-La without a few busted knuckles and scraped knees climbing to the peak? How do we have a safe and organized society when police are told to stand down, court officials earn headlines for dismissing felony cases, and citizens are expected to view guns as the symbol of evil.

Several years ago I had a conversation with a young lady from a South American country, now living in the U.S. She said one of the obvious differences between there and here is the structure of law the U.S. has that her family’s home did not have. The challenge, she said, is to follow the law.

So maybe the real question should be is our problem starting with the law, or those who work within it? What if the structure of law is not working because society has changed, and the people working within the system have adopted a set of values contrary to the laws? Is the real problem the enforcer and administrator of the laws, or the law itself?

If we’re disarming police and the citizens, how do we address those who are bent on disrupting society, taking and destroying what they want for no more reason than desire? It really makes me wonder how many of these surveys ask why people own guns. Then again, some of the surveys

I’ve been urged to take part in were obviously geared in a specific direction. I shouldn’t be surprised if gun control research and surveys are likewise.

Several years ago, I was in a “police academy” for citizens. No comedy, no cheap script. This was an abbreviated course on how police officers are trained, why they do what they do.

Participants in the academy had the opportunity to experience a taser, see how an accident investigation takes place and simulated firearm use.

But above all that is the question that probably nags many people: why are some traffic stops so intense. Even the respect of traffic code shows a person’s respect for the law.

People are not perfect and therefore society is not perfect. The third link in the chain is we need to be very careful who we accept to lead us. They are likely just as corrupt, or more, than we are.

Be careful what you ask for. You might get it.


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