Michael N. Searles



Reason is the capacity of consciously applying logic by drawing conclusions from new or existing information, with the aim of seeking the truth. For many folks the phrase “common sense” speaks plainly as sound and prudent judgment based on a simple perception of the situation or facts.

We live our lives for the most part as reasonable thinking creatures doing what satisfies us and society. However, it seems to take only a little encouragement to fall off the wagon down a deep rabbit hole.

In a 50 state survey conducted by the Washington based Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI), it was found that 15% or roughly 31 million Americans believe that the government, media, and financial worlds in the U.S. are controlled by a group of Satan worshipping pedophiles who run a global child sex trafficking operation. Another 5% or 11 million people believe that a storm is coming soon that will sweep way the elites in power and restore the rightful leaders.

This is the world we inhabit with a significant number of Americans. Voltaire, a French Enlightenment writer, historian, and philosopher known for his advocacy of freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and separation of church and state once said, “If we believe absurdities, we shall commit atrocities.” Believing the unbelievable can lead us to dark places. We do not need to be conspiracy advocates to hold beliefs that lead us to have a dysfunctional government.

In Georgia in an average year, 1,543 people die by guns with a rate of 14.8 deaths per 100,000 people. Georgia has the 17th highest rate of gun deaths in the United States with 57% of those deaths being suicides and 40% homicides. A Georgia citizen 21 years of age (or 18 if a member of the military) who legally wishes to carry a concealed gun now will be able to do so without any requirements. The recently passed Constitutional Carry bill by the Georgia legislature and signed by Governor Kemp has become the law in Georgia.

Some believe a fully armed citizenry will make us a safer society; however, most law enforcement associations strongly disagree. If that were the case, police officers who are armed rarely would be shot and killed in the line of duty. A person armed with a weapon creates fear on the part of other citizens and potentially endangers himself. How is a law enforcement officer to know if the person with a weapon is a friend or foe?

There are instances where shoppers have left a store when an average citizen was observed wearing a weapon. We all know individuals whose temperament, mental condition, and tendencies towards violence make them poor candidates for owning or carrying a gun. There are reasons that laws requiring licenses to carry a gun were enacted in the first place. A personally armed society will only lead to more senseless deaths.

Recently, six people were killed and 12 wounded as multiple shooters opened fire in downtown Sacramento, California. Police Chief Katherine Lester was shocked and heartbroken by the tragedy but promised to secure justice for the victims and their families. California Gov. Gavin Newsom said, “What we do know at this point is that another mass casualty shooting has occurred, leaving families with lost loved ones, multiple individuals injured and a community in grief.” Last year, Savannah’s Police Chief Roy Minter expressed a similar message when eight people in his city were shot and one killed ranging in age from 18 months to 33 years old.

In a recent Atlanta Journal Constitution poll, 70% of Georgia voters were opposed to the Constitutional Carry concealed gun law. We live under a system where elected officials do not have to ask the people how they feel; they only have to appeal to the most conservative element of their district and avoid a contested primary election. We would be a much better society if we had more plowshares and pruning hooks than guns. The people of our state and democracy suffer when reason is abandoned and common sense is an old fashioned and antiquated notion.

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