Blood, sweat and tears
By Trent Loos
If you were one of the poor saps who were banking on the Mayans to bail you out of a jam you were in and you are now reading this, I am sorry about that. It appears that 2013 will come swiftly.
As I look to the New Year, I am very loudly and more frequently calling for a great sense of self-responsibility. Someone posted a great Ronald Reagan quote on my Facebook page that I think is so fitting for the times we are living in. Strangely enough, as I researched its authenticity I learned that it is nearly as old as I am.
On July 31, 1968 Reagan said, "We must reject the idea that every time a law's broken, society is guilty rather than the lawbreaker. It is time to restore the American precept that each individual is accountable for his actions."
Since that time people have used it to explain mass killings and I would subscribe to that theory. However, I do find it interesting the actual context in which he made the statement.
While campaigning for Richard Nixon in his race against Hubert Humphrey, Reagan made his remarks in the middle of a debate over the urban riots that had swept the nation in the aftermath of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.
Here is the other part of the statement made by Reagan that day that gets very little attention but is worthy of re-examining.
"It is too simple to trace all crime to poverty or color. There is a crime problem in the suburbs as well as in the slums and the minority communities are victims of crime out of all proportion to their numbers. Criminals are not bigoted and they are not color blind; they rob and maim and murder without reference to race, religion or neighborhood boundaries."
So 40 plus years later, what has really changed? A series of mentally disturbed individuals have acted out this past year to destroy the lives of others and what have we done to change anything from crimes of the past?
Here is where the typical rhetoric fits into the thought process of "it isn't the gun that kills people, people kill people." That may be a true story and one that I fully agree with but it is falling on deaf ears.
Here is where we should re-ask the question Ronald Reagan was asking that I don't hear anybody asking today. We don't have any more criminals than we did back then. In fact, statistics show that violent crime is down significantly.
I want a healthy discussion about why people are so willing to cave to social pressures. I want to know why average Americans are so willing to give up the basic rights that our founding fathers held so dear. I want to know why people so easily fall prey to misinformation believing that our monsters will go away if we limit their weapons.
I completely agree with what Reagan said 40 years ago: We MUST reject the idea that every time a law is broken we must change our society. But I also think that "society" needs to grow a pair and realize that our great nation did not just happen. It was built with honest blood, sweat and tears in an effort to get away from the very tyranny that we are heading toward by sacrificing our rights in the false hope that someone else will take care of us.
Let's resolve in 2013 to continue the work of our founding fathers as they sacrificed to offer all Americans the chance for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
Editor's note: Trent Loos is a sixth generation United States farmer, host of the daily radio show, Loos Tales, and founder of Faces of Agriculture, a non-profit organization putting the human element back into the production of food. Get more information at www.FacesOfAg.com, or email Trent at firstname.lastname@example.org.