There is much going on in our Tri-Lakes communities to assist our veterans and active-duty men and women in dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder and other stress-related issues for them and their families: reintegration into civilian jobs, training and education, as well as preparedness for those going on tour. Homeward Bound Adirondacks is at the forefront of scheduling the various retreats and activities and letting our communities know of the schedules for the various events. Veterans Administration and Department of Defense support and possible funding would help to get more support for those in need.
Unfortunately, there are a number of political issues regarding the First and Second amendments to the Constitution of the United States that many feel are negating the very principles that our men and women over the years have served to protect, and for which many made the ultimate sacrifice. Gun control legislation in Albany and Washington was proposed suddenly, following the incident at Sandy Hook - the goal, to prevent other such incidents? Many believe that in addition to impacting the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution, the gun legislation is not the answer. It will not result in the desired outcome. An oversimplification, perhaps, but "guns don't kill people; people kill people." And therein may be the better approach: stronger enforcement of gun crimes and treatment of people with mental or drug-related problems, and thorough background checks when a person applies for a gun permit, since that would not deal directly with the weapons or ammunition, and the Second Amendment's "right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed" would not be violated.
If the government is to be the only one with guns, where does that leave the people?
Over the years, thousands of men and women and, yes, children have fought at home and abroad to protect our rights contained in the Constitution and Bill of Rights, and many of them made the supreme sacrifice and continue to do so today. No governor and no president has the authority to void our First and Second Amendment rights. The manner in which it was done was a disgrace for our democratic nation and way of life. It would appear that they used a number of traumatic incidents to promote their political agenda. Does the root cause of these tragedies need addressing? Yes! Was the lack of stricter gun control legislation the cause? No! However, background checks and addressing individuals with serious mental or drug disorders are areas that need to be addressed, as well as previous records. Look to our Congressman Bill Owens at the national level and Assemblyman Dan Stec in the New York Assembly for responsible legislation in this regard. They certainly can use our support.
Our citizens should not be deprived of the right to bear arms for hunting, recreation, to put food on the table and, should the need arrive, to protect home and family.
The irony - during this time of year in the early 1800s, the battles of Plattsburgh and Ogdensburg had many of the civilian men and women supporting the militia to achieve the defeat of English forces invading the North Country. All of our nation's battles to secure our democracy and democratic rights have not been outside our continental USA and have involved the everyday citizens. That has not and will not change. It was repeated again in the Civil War in the 1860s and later.
The First Amendment of the Constitution, the foundation of the Bill of Rights, says, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceable to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances." Our federal government, through the provisions of Obamacare, are ordering nonprofits, businesses and individuals to affirmatively act in a way that violates their faith. Liberty Institute is currently involved in more than 40 cases before the courts involving religious freedoms. A person's so-called religious choice cannot, under our current Constitution, come to the loss of my or your rights. They should locate somewhere else.
We are giving our children and their children an awesome task of returning our nation and its government to what our Constitution and Bill of Rights meant it to be.
This, from a 15-year-old student, the "new" school prayer:
Now I sit me down in school
Where praying is against the rule.
For this great nation under God
finds mention of him very odd.
If Scripture now the class recites,
It violates the Bill of Rights.
And anytime my head I bow
Becomes a federal matter now.
Our hair can be purple, orange or green;
That's no offense; it's a freedom scene.
The law is specific; the law is precise.
Prayers spoken aloud are a serious vice.
For praying in the public hall
Might offend someone with no faith at all.
In silence alone we must meditate;
God's name is prohibited by the state.
We're allowed to cuss and dress like freaks,
And pierce our noses, tongues and cheeks.
They've outlawed guns, but FIRST the Bible.
To quote the Good Book makes me liable.
We can elect a pregnant Senior Queen
And the "unwed daddy," our Senior King.
It's "inappropriate" to teach right from wrong;
We're taught that such "judgments" do not belong.
We can get our condoms and birth controls,
Study witchcraft, vampires and totem poles,
But the Ten Commandments are not allowed.
No word of God must reach this crowd.
It's scary here, I must confess.
When chaos reigns, the school's a mess.
So Lord, this silent plea I make:
Should I be shot, my soul please take!
We've left our children and grandchildren an awesome task to fulfill in a nation where the elected representatives at all levels would actually represent their constituents and not the money of the giant corporations and special-interest groups.
We in the North Country are fortunate indeed and can serve as an example for those less fortunate throughout our state and nation. On the federal level, our Congressman Bill Owens (D) and Sen. Kristen Gillibrand (D) work with those across the aisle to benefit the people, and state representatives Sen. Betty Little (R), Assemblywoman Janet Duprey (R) and Assemblyman Dan Stec (R) do the same at the state level to benefit the people they represent.
At the conclusion of the Constitutional Convention in 1787, Benjamin Franklin was asked, "What have you wrought?" He answered, "A Republic, if you can keep it."
We MUST continue as communities to support the growth of our local businesses, workers and those in need, and continue this on to our state and nation to return to fulfill the pledge, "One nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."
LET US TAKE BACK OUR COUNTRY!
Frank Karl lives in Onchiota, is adjutant of VFW Post 3357 in Saranac Lake and is a veteran of the U.S. Air Force from 1950 to 1954.