Last updated: July 18. 2013 2:22PM - 267 Views
Ron Gregory
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Although it seems that guns will remain at the top of every news cycle for months, we will only touch on them briefly this week. Past columns have attempted to make it quite clear that I believe the demagoguery regarding the Second Amendment is just plain asinine. I suppose everyone is entitled to his or her opinion.

I am likewise pleased that so many readers in the Southern coalfields have chimed in with support for what I’ve written. Most “experts” would not believe there are that many common-sense folks in these parts. The fact is that there are.

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A friend of mine on Facebook bemoaned the deaths of parishioners at a mass last week. He ended it by saying something to the effect, “we may all have to start carrying guns to church!” I would have thought little of my friend’s comments. After all, he is a retired state policeman who ends his dialogue each night with, “lock and load, friends.”

As an aside (and you will find many asides here, Raamie), I have long wondered why the admonition is to “lock and load.” Should it not logically be “load and lock” instead? But I digress (for the folks in Hamlin that means I have strayed from my subject matter).

A few responses soon came to my friend’s comment about carrying a firearm to church. The one that grabbed my attention came from the “senior pastor” (I’d hate to meet the JUNIOR pastor, but I digress again) of a local church. He proudly informed the Facebook friend that “everyone is welcome to carry at ….” I’m leaving the church name out because Facebook is supposedly private conversation and in the insane hope that there are, in fact, otherwise sane people who are members of this congregation.

When I wrote a follow-up and noted that I strongly disagreed with “packing” into the church building, the senior pastor lectured and then seemed to feel sorry for me and my soul. He basically predicted my journey to the pits of Hell (in a kind, Christian way, of course). Then fellow Facebookers jumped to his defense and the pastor admitted that “at least six” of his parishioners carry guns to church every Sunday.

I attempted to joke it all away by saying I suppose the collection plate is fuller since the members know the preacher has a gun on them as they give. That made matters worse, as the preacher and his minions began to inform one and all of the obvious dangers that somebody could “steal the collection plate.”

My word! I basically dropped the discussion at that point, seeing there was no way of injecting common decency and Christian love into the equation. I do wonder, though, if the few hundred dollars that might be dropped into the plate is worth costing anyone his or her life. In my role as director of the Lights of Coonskin at Charleston’s Coonskin Park, I can assure you that we would let some looney steal the collection box for the night before we’d shoot him or her. It’s just not worth the loss of life.

Can anyone, in good conscience, defend this senior pastor? Or, better yet, can someone get help for his problem? And he definitely has a problem.

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I also did not mention the preacher’s name because the only place I have encountered it is on Facebook. But I have it for anyone interested.

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Staying on the subject that I’m going to quickly get away from, gun-lovers have trouble defending the five-year-old’s shooting of his two-year-old sister in Kentucky. One friend who supports carrying bazookas into the nearby supermarket, tells me she would NEVER allow a loaded gun access to either of her sons. When I pointed out the Kentucky shooting was another example of a child killing another with what was supposed to be an UNLOADED gun, she was not deterred. (For those in Hamlin, that means she was not swayed by my comment).

Unfortunately, in one of the saddest episodes I know about, this very friend attempted to take her own life with a gun some years ago. She is clearly better now and quite capable of caring deeply for her children. Still, the irony is obvious.

Guns do not kill, the National Rifle Association (NRA) says; people do. And to an extent that is true. But a gun in the hands of a five-year-old is never going to have a good result.

For any would-be robber who needs to know, I do not expect to ever have a gun in my house. I would not want any of my three grandsons to accidentally shoot someone. I will rely on police officers and the military for defense, thank you.

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And I continue to have trouble following the line of logic that the Logab Middle School eighth grader was perfectly within his “rights” when he defied his teacher and insisted on wearing an NRA shirt to class.

Did any of the right-wing, Bible-thumpers notice that it is the dreaded American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) that jumped to the boy’s defense? In many cases, that should tell the defenders all they need to know. Get this, folks. THE organization that wants to remove manger scenes from government buildings and schools in December supports this child’s right to wear an NRA shirt.

So, all you gun supporters should quickly sign up for membership in the ACLU. While you’re at it, perhaps join and get your children pro-Ku Klux Klan shirts. After all, there’s a group that supports gun rights all the way.

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Again for those in Hamlin, the previous paragraph was sarcasm. I do NOT advocate membership or support for the KKK.

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I found it interesting, by the way, that Howard Isaacs of Lincoln County asked for Divine intervention in the 2014 election cycle. Isaacs prayed that God would bring “victory” to Republican Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito and the GOP ticket next year. Generally, such invocations as the one given at the Logan Country Club two weeks ago, simply ask for God’s blessings. Begging for a win is kind of unusual, in my experience.

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The exciting news last week that Delegate Suzette Raines will run for the state senate in Kanawha County was a glimpse into an election cycle that is sure to be interesting. Kanawha State Senator Brooks McCabe is rumored by most insiders to be giving up his seat next year and Raines is an obviously rising star in the GOP. While Raines will not be just given the position, I would rate her as the early favorite from my vantage point.

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Is it possible that a former Boone County sheriff will challenge Delegate Josh-ua Nelson next year? That’s the story I have been hearing with greater volume lately.

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With Erik Wells of Kanawha stepping aside from any plans to run for congress from the Second District, Charleston lawyer Nick Casey appears stronger and stronger in his quest to replace Republican Capito, who is running for the U.S. Senate. One of Casey’s goals by announcing early is to dissuade other Democrats from seeking the job.

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State Republican leaders were quick to criticize Governor Earl Ray Tomblin’s plan last week to expand the reaches of Obamacare in the Mountain State. State GOP Chair Conrad Lucas came close to blasting Tomblin as an enemy for life when he issued a press release shortly after the governor’s announcement.

I quickly called Lucas to razz him about his ripping comments about the governor. I joked with Lucas that I guess we would have to mark him and state Republicans as “undecided” on Tomblin’s plan.

After a few chuckles, I reminded Lucas of the story about Kansas Republican Senator Bob Dole who once traveled in his then-congressional district, trying to judge whether he should run for the U.S. Senate.

Dole said he and an aide walked up to one farmer’s door. When the man came to the door, Dole introduced himself and said he was his congressman considering a run for the senate.

The farmer virtually exploded. “You are the nearest nothing we’ve ever had in congress,” he told Dole.”You’ve done nothing for the farmer; done nothing to help farm support. You’re just a loser. I wouldn’t vote for you if you was the only person on the ballot!”

The congressman thanked the farmer and he and the aide started back down the walkway. As they got to Dole’s car, he told his worker, “mark that one down as undecided.”

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With Bill Cole poised to unseat Democrat Congressman Nick Joe Rahall, I think the really vulnerable seat in congress belongs to First District Republican David McKinley. A solid Democrat candidate will retire McKinley next year.

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Keep the comments coming, either to my email address or to my cell, 304-533-5185.

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