The Sidney Sun-Telegraph - Serving proudly since 1873 as the beautiful Nebraska Panhandle's first newspaper

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By Forrest Hershberger
View from the Handlebars 

Collecting All the Pieces


I wonder if there’s been many studies on the psyche of society overall?

We, collectively, want freedom, but only if approved policies favor our perspective of life. Person X expects to have the freedom to do Activity Y. Resident B objects to Activity Y because it doesn’t line up with his or her views. Ironically, on some platforms Person X and Resident B are on a level playing field. They can turn off or walk away from the conflicting point of view.

Some of the conflict is the social viewpoint is put on society overall by our media entertainment venues. Critics close up and from the cheap seats remind us there is a reason television shows are historically called “programs;” they tend to program us.

I sometimes wonder where the line is between complete freedom and anarchy. We need to expect to not have complete freedom. Complete freedom would disregard the need for rules, laws and social expectations. It waves the flag of “I am free to do what pleases me.” The other side of the spectrum is a system so under authority the only difference between a dictatorship and the proverbial Shangri-La is the morals of the ruler, which also leads to the simple but direct thought of “Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

I’ve heard people debate, use in debate, “The Rule of Law.” I always found it entertaining the phrase is used like something more than the Holy Grail, like a block of granite with an engraving that cannot be questioned. Never mind that those words were written by men just as corrupt and fallible as we are. And the more awake people become, the less divine 16th Century thinkers were.

The Rule of Law traces its history to 16th Century Britain, before the urge for a separation between church and state. One source refers to the rule of law as “refers to a political situation, not to any specific rule,” and traced to Scottish theologian Samuel Rutherford who used the term to argue against the divine right of kings.

What if we redefine the phrase a little, and admit we need at least a basic framework of laws, a rule of necessary law, that are followed? The phrase “are followed” needs to be included. Rules or laws are often only as good as they are applied.

Take for example reports of court cases of men (mostly) who are arrested on felony charges and immediately dismissed. Meanwhile police are told in various areas of the country they “knew what they were getting into” when getting assaulted or shot. Then there is the store owner who who fought off an assailant, and the store owner gets charged. I’ve read people claim certain presidents, and their policies or ideals, are great for firearms marketing.

The reality is nationally we need to apply the laws we have, in a manner that is about safety of our residents. If we value personal crimes, assaults of various definitions, as little more than writing a check and paying a fine, the expectation is anything from entering a person’s home to murder really don’t have much value in society... which means out of personal protection more people will show interest in gun purchases. If lawmakers want to curb the appetite for weapons, start by reinstating the sense of safety in communities, including our metropolitan areas. Maybe we should value a father and mother in the same home while we’re at it.


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