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Opinion

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Obama showed the leadership the nation needed after Newtown shooting

I don't usually praise any man, nor do I play politics much, so I can honestly say that President Obama's address in Newtown, Conn., this week was truly genuine ("'We have wept with you,' Obama says," Dec. 17).

Many will say that his speech was a preface to more gun regulations, while others will call his prayer just amazing. Neither will be correct. What President Obama did that night wasn't just a speech or just a prayer. It was his true attempt to be the leader of our nation. He literally wanted to use his office for good.

It isn't disingenuous to quote the Bible. It isn't disingenuous to read the names of the beautiful children who lost their lives tragically. It truly was a speech/prayer to comfort the nation, to reach beyond politics, and to honestly bring up the subject of what we can or cannot do to try and protect our children from more gun violence.

There hasn't been such a tragedy or such an example of evil in my lifetime to match what the nation saw last Friday. I would never think such a young man would be capable of such a wicked crime. But he was.

My viewpoint is simple: Our society glorifies murder — in movies, in video games, in all its desensitizing entertainments. We invite people whom society has crushed and whose world is falling apart around them to just explode. Of course Adam Lanza is not a victim, he's a murderer. Nonetheless, our society helped create him.

One has to ask what if that disturbed young man did not have lethal firearms but only a knife or a bat or anything else: Could he as easily have killed those innocents? Could he have killed six adults before killing so many children?

As I sit here with tears in my eyes, the answer must be an emphatic "no!" — even though I'm a Second Amendment believing, card-carrying Republican and true traditionalist.

Our country was made free, and freedom must be preserved. The Second Amendment helps support that purpose for all the families across this great nation. But that young crazy man could never have killed his mother, those children and the adults who tried to stop him without the weapons that were sold to his mother.

Though in this current situation one might easily conclude that "fewer guns equals less crime," across America that just doesn't pan out. Take guns away fromlaw-abiding citizens in populated cities or isolated rural areas and criminals will feel no restraints from police who may take 5 to 10 minutes to respond.

It's human nature that the more you restrict somebody, the more they will rebel. Social liberals say legalize marijuana and you'll have less usage. Likewise, when we tried to prohibit alcohol look what happened. My point is that more restrictions and regulations generally don't lead people to do less of something, they just tempt more people to do it behind closed doors.

What President Obama tried to do this week was simply to comfort the victims of Newtown and beyond. But he must also lead the debate over what we can do to prevent such heinous crimes from occurring again.

Some will say "more guns" while others will say "less guns." But I'll say "can we just put all the rhetoric and political posturing aside and deal with what we all agree is important — protecting children from gun violence?"

We need an honest and truthful debate, and I hope President Obama will stay the course on this. Then perhaps his last four years in office will truly be better than the first regarding a president's most important role — leadership.

Adam Obest, Abingdon

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