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We are meant to live in community, be good neighbors, not be armed to kill

Recent articles about mass shootings, gun control and attitudes of U.S. people about both have set me thinking.  Several reports say Americans own many more guns per capita than do people in any other part of the world.

Sholeh Patrick, columnist for The Coeur d’Alene Press, recently observed, “It’s our attitude.  Americans in the U.S. prioritize personal freedom, while other places prioritize the common good.”

Suddenly, it popped into my mind that the same people who are so caught up in concern about protecting personal freedom are those who pride themselves on their Christian values and hold up the Ten Commandments as bedrock.

As I understand it, Moses went up on the mountain to receive the Ten Commandments from God as a way of forming a loosely connected bunch of Hebrew people into a nation. 

In order to do that, the Creator gave them a set of rules for how to interrelate with one another, holding the common good to be paramount if they were to live together peaceably.

Don’t murder.  Don’t steal.  Don’t covet.  There was nothing there about personal freedom.  There was everything about treating others with respect and justice, that they might live in peaceful relationship.

Once upon a time, when I was much younger, I believed that we as a culture needed to recognize the individual and her or his needs more fully than we did.  It felt like our worrying about what our neighbors would think was stifling us.

Now, I think the pendulum has swung too far in that direction and needs to shift directions, not so that we get hung up about what our neighbors think, but that we care about what is good for our neighbor, not just ourselves. 

We are meant to live in community.  We cannot do that when we’re busy defending our own personal freedoms.

This is especially true with regard to gun laws.  We need stronger regulations in order to stop the senseless killing of which we’ve seen much too many in the past year.  I find myself wondering where is next, when something like the Las Vegas massacre is going to make its way to Coeur d’Alene, this idyllic resort community, or to neighboring Spokane.

It’s time for our legislators to take the responsibility to stop this!  The lives and the peaceful coexistence of all of us in this country we call home are far more important than the rights of individuals to have the right to own absolutely any type of firearm that’s out there.

Kaye Hult - Contributing Editor

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