Taking a knee; pain and suffering in Las Vegas

By Reade Brower | Oct 05, 2017

“When I despair, I remember that all through history, the way of truth and love has always won. There have been murderers and tyrants, and for a time they can seem invincible. But in the end they always fall. Think of it, always.”

— Mohandas Ghandi (1869-1948)

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Taking a knee in the NFL during pre-game festivities has created discord for a country already divided. The question; why is this important — or is it?

To many, it seems like a distraction from the real issues and highlights the disunity in our country. Taking a knee is undoubtedly a political statement, but reading into it is an art.

In the NFL, a knee is taken many times when a player, either from your team or the opposition, gets badly injured. As the cart comes on the field, both teams take a knee and bow their heads out of what seems to be a simple act of respect. One also takes a knee when they are conceding the play; taking a knee means you surrender and your opponent respects the fact they can’t tackle or touch you.

When we want to marry, it is common to take a knee and ask for the hand of your beloved for eternity; that knee kneeling seen as an act of love.

I often took to my right knee early in my business when asking someone to go outside the norm to help the company; I would be on a knee at their desk in a subservient position, respecting the fact I was about to ask (not tell) for help.

I have never seen the knee symbolizing dislike for my country, the flag, or the military. The NFL players have been quick and clear to say that this is not about disrespecting anyone; rather it is about unity (the linked arms have also been a part of the pre-game demonstrations) and equality.

Some say that NFL players are “on the clock” and that their employers should demand they save their protests for when they are off-duty. That is a fair argument; employers have a right to dictate that. Whether they should, or not, seems like an individual decision; not one mandated by public opinion or tweets from our POTUS.

Instead of incendiary tweets, which just riles things up, how about diffusing it by encouraging conversation about what they are doing, and why. How about some questions and answers, rather than accusations and innuendo.

Common sense says that’s the way to go; the reality suggests this is just another diversion and deflection — a pivot to keep us a nation divided and away from real issues of the day like the Korean nuclear threat or Russian meddling, or our health care challenges and tax reform.

The point is, taking a knee means different things to different people, in different circumstances; do we need to politicize it?

If you take it at face value, what the players are saying is that this is not about disrespecting our military, or not loving our country. What I understand from them is this is a protest against racial inequality. We are a nation divided and the unity the players are showing might instead be seen as inspiring. After all, you are either part of the problem or you are part of the solution. They at least want to be part of the solution.

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As I write, the Las Vegas massacre occurred hours ago; by the time you read this, more information will be available.

What is known is that this is the largest mass shooting in United States history; and follows other recent attacks in San Bernardino and Orlando.

What is also known is the gunman, 64-year-old Stephen Paddock, comes from a history of mental illness; his father was a bank robber who was on the FBI’s “Most Wanted" list for eight years, diagnosed as psychopathic with suicidal tendencies, known to be armed and dangerous while on the lam.

None of these attacks have to do with terrorists or immigrants or any negative impact they have on our safety. With 20 or more weapons reportedly found at the site, at least one was an automatic that allowed Paddock to gun down over 50 people in cold blood and injure over 500.

More guns, more violence; an endless, vicious cycle. After an incident like this, historically, a bump in gun sales occurs over concerns that a deadly event could lead to stricter gun-control, as well as the rush by many to defend themselves against future attacks. Indeed, the stock market for gun manufacturers is up today.

What makes sense is to look at this for what it is, and ban automatic weapons while creating stricter gun control (not eliminate the right to bear arms, just create pathways and safety checks) to keep them out of the hands of psychopaths.

It is not a slippery slope to ban assault weapons or keep guns away from the mentally ill; it is simply a good start.

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Onward! …… TURN THE PAGE…… Read, Write, and Respond!

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Bring the discussion to Village Soup online. Reade Brower can be reached at: reade@freepressonline.com.

Disclosure: Reade Brower is owner of these newspapers. The opinions expressed in his columns are his own, and do not represent the newspapers, or their editorial board.

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