Madison County Opinion...

March 20, 2002


Column
By Frank Gillespie
The Madison County Journal
March 20, 2002

Frankly Speaking

The government’s welfare bureaucracy
“We the people” are making a big mistake. We apparently think that any problem we have can and ought to be solved by government. That decision is doing more to destroy our society than any other factor.
This nation was founded on the principal of self government. That begins at the individual level. In the America envisioned by our founders, each of us would be responsible for our own welfare. Government’s role was limited to assuring us an opportunity to take care of ourselves.
But today we have given government the power and responsibility to address personal problems. We turn to government to heat our homes, to educate our children, to pay our medical bills, to feed our elderly parents, and the list goes on. The results: we are becoming a weak, ignorant and dependent people who are no longer capable of personal responsibility.
That is the best formula for creating slaves. Slaves were not kept in bondage with ropes and chains. They were kept in slavery by keeping them ignorant and dependent.
Today we have millions of Americans who never finish school. They have no real employment skills. They never learn to take care of themselves or their children. They are totally dependent on government to do these things for them. They are slaves of the government’s welfare bureaucracy.
Although government makes big noises about reducing welfare and making people more independent, nothing changes. Take the example of food stamps. So-called food assistance programs are not part of the formal welfare system.
Government-financed food comes from the agriculture department. Most of those people who have officially been removed from welfare rolls are still getting free food and more (soft drinks, candy and water.).
Today, government issues “EBT” cards. These cards work like a credit card. People make their selection and present their card for payment. Payment for their purchases comes directly out of government coffers.
Since government has no independent source of income, these bills are paid by those of us who work for a living.
I am most concerned with the effect this kind of program has on the recipients. We are teaching people to take from society without giving anything back. We tell them that they don’t have to be responsible. We don’t teach them how to be responsible. We keep them ignorant and dependent. We make of them a whole new generation of slaves.
Today’s slaves are not forced to work. They are denied the opportunity to work. Their purpose is to justify the existence of massive government bureaucracies.
It is time to get government out of the welfare business. It is time to devote our resources to teaching these slaves to be self sufficient, productive members of society. When the modern welfare slaves start earning their own way, we will regain the freedom we all deserve.
Frank Gillispie is founder of The Madison County Journal. His web page can be accessed at www.mcga.net.

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Column
By Adam Fouche
The Madison County Journal
March 20, 2002

In The Meantime

Advocate gun safety, not gun control
Accidental shootings caused when children play with guns are horrible, senseless and simply appalling.
But in the aftermath of such events, emotions will often push a community to adopt an anti-gun sentiment, fueling the gun control fire.
However, these emotional responses cloud the real solution to the problem. Increasing restrictions on a law-abiding citizen’s right to own a gun does nothing but free a criminal from the worry of dealing with an armed victim. Thus, gun control could create a society in which armed criminals have the upper hand. But both sides of this argument have hashed it out before.
However, gun safety does not seem to get as much attention. The National Rifle Association has been pushing gun safety for years now and all gun owners should be quick to offer support.
Some counties have stumbled across an excellent way to combat gun control with gun safety—youth hunts.
The Georgia Department of Natural Resources hosts youth quota hunts periodically each year. The hunts give children a chance to handle firearms in a safe, controlled environment.
In fact, the state should expand on the youth hunts by offering youth range days during which parents can shoot targets with their children at a range.
Of course, gun-control advocates will be quick to chastise any attempts to allow children to be around firearms. And if you only think of these attempts as teaching children how to kill, then the argument seems logical.
However, I don’t think for a minute that allowing youth to operate firearms under close supervision in sport shooting and hunting situations creates young killers.
I feel strongly that a kid wants to play with a gun because of curiosity. He sees guns on TV. He sees dad cleaning them. And he hears stories from his friends about guns. Any kid is going to be curious.
However, I was raised around firearms. My grandfather took me hunting and we did a lot of sport shooting together. My exposure to guns with my grandfather’s supervision allowed me to explore my curiosity with firearms in a safe environment.
Therefore, I had no thoughts of sneaking any gun out of the closet or the gun cabinet to look at it. I knew what guns were capable of and I knew I would have the opportunity to fire a gun during our next shooting trip.
Certainly, allowing a child to have unsupervised access to a loaded gun is intolerable. The results of a child’s curiosity can be deadly.
But controlled access in a safe environment is healthy.
Therefore, we need more opportunities for families to safely enjoy sport shooting in Madison County. Only then can we educate the children of gun owners on safety, respect and proper handling of firearms while minimizing the chances of curiosity-caused accidental shootings.
And as a gun owner myself, it is my responsibility to know and practice safe firearm handling and to teach those around me how to safely handle a firearm.
Because if all gun owners will put a high priority on gun safety, then the incidence of accidental shootings will decline and the gun control fire will begin to burn out.
Adam Fouche is a reporter for MainStreet Newspapers. His email address is fouche@nbank.net.


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