Driving around Wyoming, I felt a
bit out of place without a pickup truck with a gun rack in the back window. Not
that the folks were armed in fear and anger. Quite the opposite. Smiles were
everywhere, with guns insuring peace on earth and goodwill towards
The good folks of Sandy Hook would
disagree, and so Americans divide on yet another fault line, hurling insults
across the trenches. Curiously, I've traveled a country taking pride in the
diversity of its people, but not the diversity of the opinions of its people.
Elections are about which ideas will dominate and what laws will bring the
miscreants in line.
Thousands of miles ago, in a sleepy
farm house called Monticello, I heard of a remedy from hundreds of years ago.
Thomas Jefferson asked us not to look to the federal government as the solution
to our problems. He envisioned the feds inspiring, organizing, and empowering
us to solve our own problems.
Brought back today, he might have
approvingly noticed that states decide how we drive cars and towns decide how
we park them. He would've encouraged us to trust each other to do the same with
guns, and to accept the result to be a patchwork of laws that reflects our
The feds need not walk away from
the problem. They could do the analysis to compare the results, to release
reports of successes and failures, to weigh in with expert opinions, and even
use their pulpits to preach their opinions. But we the people would stop
waiting and hoping that someone far away would send the cavalry to sort out our
problems. We would view the feds as a clearinghouse of ideas and results, but
turn to our Congressmen and Councilmen to use from all that what will work for
That would put us closer to the
action, closer to where we as individuals could make a difference, close enough
to our neighbors to listen and tolerate.
Of course we have plenty of
national issues the feds have to decide, but what if abortion, gay marriage,
welfare, and so many other divisive issues were referred back to town meetings
to decide? Could we trust our fellow Americans?
Cheyenne's ancient monster
Medicine Bow National Forest
Trail of the long shadows
|For more pictures of Wyoming, click here.