Ready, Aim, Fire!
by Ed Klein, Peoria, IL
The history of the United States is, in one sense, a history of guns … from the matchlocks of the Pilgrims to the rapid firing heavy caliber assault rifles of today. And the right to bear and use those guns has long been the subject of a long standing controversy. Gun enthusiasts maintain that buying and owning guns is one of our fundamental rights as set forth in the Second Amendment. Opponents say yes, but only in context of an organized militia. But whatever side of the controversy one is on, we must remember that rights and freedoms, no matter how precious, require some limitations and restrictions based on common sense.
Illinois will soon join the rest of the states to legalize concealed carry. And about that, I have mixed emotions. As a gun owner for most of my life I have encountered situations where having a gun handy – in my home, car, or on my person – provided a sense of safety and peace of mind, and in some cases quite likely prevented some ugly situations from developing. But then, there are those mixed emotions I can’t ignore. And I ask myself, what kind of country do we live in that necessitates an armed citizenry? Do we so mistrust our law enforcement agencies that every citizen must possess the means to act – in some cases as judge, jury and executioner?
I imagine that most gun owners fantasize about how they would whip out their piece and blow away the crazed gunman barging into a restaurant, place of business or school with murder and mayhem in mind. But how often has that happened? The American Rifle Association magazine contains a page devoted to cases where gun owners have defended themselves and their families with their weapons. But in every case that I’ve read, the action took place in their homes or on their property, and not with a concealed gun.
Contrary to what many gun enthusiasts claim, the present administration has not posed any threat to gun owners and their right to buy and possess firearms. In fact, it has said very little on the subject. I would share their concerns if I thought such a threat existed. But no one I know of has threatened to outlaw shotguns, rifles, or handguns. What can one say about high-powered, rapid firing assault rifles? Or sawed off shotguns? And especially those .50 caliber rifles used in the military by snipers … weapons that can shoot through brick walls at a distance of a mile or more, and bring down an airliner? Does anyone use these weapons for hunting or target shooting? Not likely! Is it possible that those who want that kind of firepower feel they would like to change our government by using bullets instead of ballots?
I recall watching a TV program several years ago that put policemen in virtual shoot or no shoot situations. In some cases the policeman held his fire because his quick eye caught children or other obstacles in the background that were in his line of fire. But, in other situations where the officer was too quick on the trigger, his bullets would have placed innocent people in jeopardy. What it came down to was both training and a well-developed sense of judgment. If an experienced policeman’s judgment can fail under stressful circumstances, can we trust that armed citizen’s judgment in a moment of intense excitement? That, my friends, is where the danger lies – the excitement of the moment when cool judgment, for most of us, is temporarily abandoned.
Criminals and those unstable individuals inclined to violence will carry a gun illegally and not hesitate to use it to intimidate or murder their victims. One reason advanced for concealed carry is that the criminal will hesitate to attack if he thinks his intended victim may also be packing heat. I would like to think that a legally armed citizenry really would act as a powerful deterrent to crime, but would it? Crime has fallen, we are told, in states where concealed carry is legal. And that lives have been saved by citizens carrying guns. Perhaps, but one seldom hears of instances where an armed citizen gets the drop on a criminal. So it’s fair to ask. Will the proliferation of guns make us safer? Or will it result in more deaths, unintended or not? I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.
“I Remember Where I was on …”
by Dolores M. Klein, Peoria, IL
We all, of my generation, recall where we were on the day Pearl Harbor was attacked; when J.F.K. was assassinated, or when Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King were shot, or George Wallace. And as May and June approach, some of us recall the days in Springfield in 1982, watching the legislature play politics with the Ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment. Beginning that May, seven women began a 37 day religious custom, an ancient highly-regarded custom. Is it to be written somewhere in history that, at that time, it was the longest Fast since Gandhi’s for a cause, for a belief.
Those of us who went down to support Sister Maureen Fiedler, and the Mormon woman excommunicated for her public support for E.R.A. Sonis Johnson, recall the anti-E.R.A. supporters nastily strolling in front of the women fasters, chewing on apples, etc. And, now at a War on Women is being pointed out during this election, we also remember Monica Faith Stewart’s famous speech telling the politicians, recalling a saying from school days: “We’ll meet you outside after 3:15. Women represent the majority of people on this planet!” The upcoming elections will see the result of women demanding justice.
Heartline & Heart House Celebration
by Trixie Jones, Executive Director, Eureka, IL
It was thirty years ago, that a distinct group of Godly men and women began building the foundation for an organization that has served the on-going and ever-changing needs of countless individuals and families throughout Woodford County. We have indeed faced everything from adverse economies to overwhelming challenges, but together, we have maintained our priority to protect and nurture the great commission God has laid before us. Over the past thirty years, the Heartline and Heart House staff, board of directors, volunteers and donors have remained sincere in our efforts to keep our eyes on Christ as to not miss HIS promptings and nudging to help us fulfill HIS ultimate will for our organization.
Woven throughout the great history of our organization, you will find HIS-story. Not too long ago, I read a simple quote from an unknown author that truly captures Heartline and Heart House: “Behind every bit of good we do, there is a story of what made it possible.” In the time I have had the pleasure of serving as the Director of Heartline and Heart House, I could write a book on the amazing stories of how God’s ultimate hand has been actively at work in so many of our stories and testimonies.
The 2012 recipient of the MARVIN CHENEY ACHIEVEMENT AWARD and the HEARTLINE AND HEART HOUSE VOLUNTEER OF THE YEAR AWARD was announced on April 27th.. Tickets are $15 and are available at the Heartline Administrative Office, Eureka/Roanoke/Minonk/Washburn/Spring Bay Community Banks, Metamora Commerce Bank and the El Paso Flanagan State Bank.
American Red Cross Volunteers
by Ann M. Fox, Chief Executive Officer - Central IL Chapter
Volunteers are the American Red Cross. They are a part of everything that happens here. Their power is immeasurable; their value, incalculable. Without them, the symbol of the Red Cross would be just a hollow shape. They are the heart and hands of our organization and they give the Red Cross meaning and reach.
When a disaster strikes, you see our volunteers in action. They bring comfort and hope to those who find themselves with nowhere to go and nowhere to turn. In the recent tornadoes that struck the South and Midwest, one disaster victim told us, “The Red Cross is always there when these things happen… they are always there”.
Multiply the contributions of any one of the 515 local volunteers by our half-a-million Red Cross volunteers across the country. It lifts the heart and boggles the mind to realize the strength of service the Red Cross can provide through this cadre of volunteers.
April 15 through April 21 was National Volunteers week. It is a time where the Red Cross recognizes those individuals who accomplish our mission in central Illinois. Their selflessness and dedication make us who we are and help us to reach thousands of people right here at home with lifesaving and life changing services.
To all of our volunteers, I say thank you… Thank you for your sacrifice, your passion and your drive to reach out a hand of compassion to those who need the Red Cross. You are my inspiration, and make me proud to be part of the American Red Cross.