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The Vault

Solutions and Legislators

So, President Obama has announced his intention to push a new assault weapons ban. This is hardly surprising – and if he succeeds it will do no more good than the previous ban did to prevent Columbine.

The only true way to prevent crimes like this, I believe, is to build community. No government solution can ever possibly prevent them, because government’s methods are all founded in punishment and suspicion. They can’t watch everyone all the time, and the more they try the more they will drive people – both nefarious and the good at heart – underground. What we need are communities in which people actually know each other. How many of us in suburban America have never spoken so much as a word to the people right across the street? I think suburban America today is a desert of loneliness and solitude, and that is a breeding ground for the sick and deranged. We think that between fast food and 911 and television we don’t need to both knowing real people around us.

I have spent time living out off the power grid, in a place where the population density is measured in single digits per square mile. Out there you need to know your neighbors, because the authorities aren’t going to show up to help you with anything. I not only know my neighbors out there – all of them – but I also know their dogs and their friends and relatives who occasionally visit. It is by far the most cohesive and supportive community I have ever had the privilege to be a part of, despite being composed of people from a wide variety of backgrounds and lifestyles. A tragedy like Sandy Hook will never happen out there despite the staggering number of guns scattered through the area because we know each other and we would have no trouble seeing it coming. Whether it is someone who is simply evil or someone with mental illness, that community knows its own and would have both the opportunity and initiative to either stop or help a would-be killer.

To pass more laws restricting weapons ownership or mandating mental health examinations or locking up schools is simply grasping at straws. It is the notion that we should all retreat yet further into our homes in fear of what our neighbor might be up to. It is surrendering our responsibility as social beings to some bureaucratic regime simply because we can’t put forth the effort to shoulder that responsibility ourselves. Do you want to prevent the next rampage? Then stop looking to legislators and start talking to the people around you.

31 comments to Solutions and Legislators

  • Jack

    Hear hear. Well put, especially that final paragraph. We are all our brothers’ keepers; there is no legislative substitution for shared humanity.

  • I spent half a life time serving as a Marine, as the tool of government to control people. That is what government is for, it is what it does. When “We, The People” rule over our government, and when we do so, following the “rule of law” which for our Nation is The U.S. Constitution, the government is a servant, which we fully rule over, and does our bidding.
    When we maintain our rule of law, our natural and complete authority over government, we have all our rights at hand, freedom to enjoy them, and the liberty to explore our chosen future. We have utterly disregarded every aspect of keeping charge of our “Sovereign Duties as Citizens”, we have allowed those we elected to serve to assume the role of master, before those unwilling to stand and be decision makers, responsible citizens, responsible for what goes right when we make good choices, and equally responsible for what goes wrong when we choose badly, while we live this way, those we elect choose to rule themselves.
    They choose who they would have rule, and offer us their choices to choose among, and deny our right to select our own. By dereliction, we allow servants, with bad evil attitudes, to assume the role of ruler, even to the point of selecting who we may select from, and they rule out all who would reverse this course.
    We have the single most criminal assemblage of government ever to rule over this Nation. Because of our failure to pull it down when we saw it criminal, and ignoring our demands, this regime has committed High Treason, violated international law with impunity, and established this Nation as a rogue, criminal nation, chargeable by the ICC, whether we are signed on or not.
    If we take a stand as Citizens, we shall be confronted with gun bans, and how they will be enacted will depend entirely on how active we are, and whether we simply refuse to allow our rights be trampled, or if we allow them be trod on, one square inch at a time.
    If we waiver an iota, we will be left to stand and fight, and we shall be called “enemies of the state” “domestic terrorists”, and a host of other things. We must take our stand as “Sovereign Citizens”, with the sole authority in this Nation, with our Endowed Rights prevailing over any claims of government, and its sole authority being our studied, considered consent. We must hold with the fact we have not only the right to withdraw this consent from any government, and especially from a criminal Treason Committing government, but we also have the moral obligation, the responsibility to “Posterity” to do so, as we have the responsibility of seeing our “Posterity” receive the same “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of happiness” we ourselves, were Blessed with because those things were maintained by our own fathers, and handed down to us.
    Have no doubt, the commander in chief who will run guns illegally into Mexico, to provide a picture of “evil guns”, the commander in chief who will violate all our law, all international law, and openly run guns and military munitions to the tune of 20 to 40 tons, to Al Quaida, the Muslim Brotherhood, and others for the proximate purpose of seeing the overthrow of the ally regime in Egypt, willfully breaks all law and protocol to invade Libya telling congress he has no need for their permission, he has received it from the U.N., and then goes forth sending munitions to aid the rebels against Syria, after former president Putin warned him, he was fomenting war against a Russian ally, this man in the president suit is more than willing to turn as much force as he can muster, directly against “The American People”, meaning the limits of what we face are controlled by who will refuse to fire on Americans.
    Consider who has just graduated his first session of domestic FEMA trainees, with his own protocols established for the program.
    I would rather waste words than chance any single person who would read this doesn’t realize it, but we stand dead firm, exactly on the Rights we have been Endowed by our Creator with, or the least “give” we allow will be the crack which will break wide open for them to pour in with the full intent of causing us to fear. We can win, but only if we are willing to pay the last full measure, which includes life its self.
    What we confront today is little different than our forefathers confronted 235 years ago, with one tiny difference; the British had to send ships across the Atlantic to occupy our homes, and to run us down like dogs. This government lives in and among us. If you don’t have the heart to live free, the opportunity to live with nanny government is at the door. Our choice entirely. We will never be able to say we were forced.
    May God Grace this Nation with a Judge to call us to His feet in repentance, and may God Bless us with the courage to answer his call, and perform our duty. You wouldn’t be on this forum if you didn’t know what “duty” is, and you are not an “American, if you don’t know Citizen Sovereignty means taking up the fight “to the pain”, not merely to the death. Dying is easy, it is choosing to continue to fight despite dying which is difficult, but generally the sole means of winning.
    This Nation was founded upon the Law of God, and by God’s good Grace. If it is to be saved, it will be by God’s select, choosing to uphold that which is God’s. I pray we remain sufficiently Godly to fulfill what this means.
    God Bless those Americans who live by this forum, may God Bless his own Nation, and may He Raise enough of his own, that We will carry His Name and Law, before us, against the enemy.
    Sincerely,
    Semper Fidelis,
    John McClain
    GySgt, USMC, ret.

  • Bart

    banning guns won’t work. here in belgium, owning a rifle is considered taboo and laws are very strict. you can simply not own any kind of automatic weapon. this none the less never stopped people like Kim De Gelder, who went on a killing spree with nothing more than a kitchen knife. you can ban guns, you can ban kitchen knives, but you can never ban the one factor no man can control or anticipate: insane idiots. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dendermonde_nursery_attack

  • Beautifully put, Ian. We do need community, but really functional communities don’t seem to scale up well. It’s odd: Scatter people to the tune of “single digits per square mile,” and they’ll reach out and take care of one another. Pile them up thousands per square mile and they won’t learn their next-door neighbor’s name. It’s a conundrum I’ve sometimes wondered about myself, though I’m afraid the real answer is that the ones who flee the cities and then set up actual functional communities are self-selecting groups and that simply wouldn’t work with any randomly-selected bunch of people.

    Either way, you’re right: If a spree killer showed up here there would indeed be a lot of gunfire, but maybe not the way the bad guy envisioned.

  • Clarence Long

    I agree with you.Now convince your average SUBURBAN HOUSEWIFE.

  • SmurfHunter

    I plan to email/FAX/hard copy via USPS this to all my state and federal reps. Feel free to borrow or modify if you like.

    Dear ,

    I felt compelled to share my perspective on new federal firearms legislation. I expect you’ve heard numerous logical arguments for and against banning specific firearm categories and features. Instead I’d like to make an emotional case as a husband, father and concerned citizen.

    Most of my close friends and family have spent the last several days trying to come to terms with the mass shooting at Sandy Hook elementary school. After the initial shock, and next learning about the true human cost, what haunts me is that evil clearly exists in this world.

    As time goes on, it seems we continually witness violent events more terrible than the last. These range from domestic violence to international terrorism. We address some of these threats with our military overseas, others with local legislation or policy. What I rarely hear mentioned, is empowering private citizens to protect one another.

    My wife and I are involved as much as possible in our community. We both volunteer with various youth organizations, give as charitably as we can, and make a point to meet with local business and political leaders when we get the opportunity. I mention these things not to boast, but to demonstrate that we, and many people like us are the good guys.

    Like all law abiding citizens, we are guaranteed the inalienable right to the best possible means to defend ourselves, our families, our communities and our nation from evil. That could mean a home defense shotgun, a concealed handgun or a semi-automatic carbine similar to what our local police department uses.

    Until the day when we can legislate away evil inspired violence, we need to empower vigilant citizens to fight against it. Please vote against new gun control that disarms citizens.

    Thank you for your time and service.
    Regards,

    • Earl Liew

      SmurfHunter, you haven’t made an emotional case of this ( as intended ) so much as a rather good and logically sensible approach to the issue.

  • Sturmovik

    Unfortunately more community based approaches aren’t always practical in urban or suburban settings with high population densities as it is often impractical and usually not desirable to keep tabs on your neighbors. This shows why this sort of issue needs to be handled on a state by state basis because just as New York shouldn’t try to tell Montana which guns they should be allowed to keep, Montana shouldn’t try to tell New York what sort of society is good and proper. Let states choose their individual stance on firearms and let people choose which state they prefer to live in.

  • What Guns

    I hope the feds try and confiscate assault weapons. Then I hope to see 100 dead federal agents for every day said ban and confiscation takes place. Sounds crazy I know but that is what its going to take to put this issue to bed once and for all. Im not advocating murder but every day it becomes more apparent to me that the only thing that will stop the hijacking of our country by leftist morons is violence. Till then call your congressman and senators tell them to grow a pair and stand tall against this onslaught of lunacy.

    • Keith

      Apparently, one way to spot an agent provocateur, is to look for the character who’s advocating firing on Fort Sumpter.

      The Current US president’s favourite predecessor is said to be Lincoln.

      The goddess of unintended consequences is an evil bitch, so be very careful what you wish for.

      • What Guns

        Doesnt matter what i wish for it will come either way. Since you bring it up I wish for peace, justice and for our god given rights to be left alone. You need to study up on your English before you levy accusations such as that. No where did i say i wished for violence just that it is getting to the point that reason is no longer an option. When the day they confiscate comes the only ones still wearing their uniforms will deserve nothing more as the good ones will have quit.

      • Earl Liew

        Wise words, Keith, and a good pro-active call for common sense and reason to prevail versus the consequences of hotheaded reactivity.

        • What Guns

          Please tell me Earl just how long do you wait before you react. Remember im talking about confiscation that many are advocating not the likely 94 style ban. I ask you just how do you react after you have been turned into a criminal and and the gun grabbers are fixin to bust your door in and steal your belongings. Its a cancer and when and if that day comes we will have to operate early on to keep it from spreading metaphorically speaking or you will not last long.

          I guess what im saying is go ahead and ban em. Ive got enough to last a lifetime and then some so why do I care. Start taking them and I would rather die like a man tha live on my knees and if you dont think thats right then you need to grow a pair to.

          • Earl Liew

            What Guns, while I respect your opinions and the obviously sincere passions that have given rise to them, I simply cannot agree entirely with what you have said. As a long-time veteran and registered gun owner, I have certainly never been “turned into a criminal” nor been made at any time to feel like one. I am not advocating a ban on firearms in any way, shape or form, and I personally have enough to last me several lifetimes and more. I am simply saying that somewhere between the two opposing viewpoints, there is a practical and reasonable solution. I will definitely never live on my knees subject to the opinions of the Government or anyone else for that matter — yours, the NRA’s , and others — included.

            As for the bit about needing to “grow a pair too”, be advised that you do not know me or my background and are in no position to tell me how I should think or act, let alone tell me what “manly” actions I need to take.

        • Keith

          Thanks,
          I hope I haven’t just spoiled them.

          ;-)

    • Keith

      What Guns,

      What measures do you propose to take to prevent the situation developing into violence?

      Don’t answer; THINK

      Think clearly and think logically;

      What do you want to achieve?

      What is the least costly way of achieving that end?

      What part can you play in achieving that?

      I don’t think that you lying dead surrounded by heaps of corpses clad in tax funded ninja costumes and all of the fashionable accessories that go with them, is going to achieve what most here hope for

      Quite the contrary, when the TV is filled with pictures of thousands of the colleagues attending the funerals of those “brave protectors of the weak, mown down by a lone extremist”, the weeping wives and children, the message from the president, the hours of talking heads “analysing” the atrocity, and all the usual characters saying;

      “This is terrible, something must be done – This is something, therefore it must be done”

      Regardless of what kitten stomping wife beating, child raping, tax guzzling monsters some of those goons in blue may have been, the leviathan feeds on crises (you need to read, Robert Higgs book, Crisis & the Leviathan)

      and crisis is just what your hopes will provide it with.

      What can you do to avoid it coming to that?

      Go out and buy guns, ammo, big mags and reloading supplies, as much as you can afford, and some more.

      That sends a very clear message, such guns are not being bought to be handed in. How many of those guns would be pointed at jack booted thugs, if the situation arose? is a question which will be occupying many minds, as they try to get to sleep.

      The demand, pushes up the price of guns in the US, that draws imports in, it delays exports (they’re worth more at home now and that’s where they’ll stay), it also attracts and encourages guns to be procured from less conventional sources (if there’s money to be made, supplies will come in).

      Do an internet search for the word “agorist” find out what it means and what “agorist” action consists of; think about it.

      Take a look at some of the excellent work which is being done to expose the rule of terror which already exists in the US; check out David Codrea’s excellent “only ones” posts, read some of William N Grigg’s posts at his “pro Libertate” blog, check out the “raid maps” that the Cato institute is compiling on armed raids, click the bubbles, to read the pathetic stories of small children being threatened, of old ladies being thrown around at gun point, of incendiary grenade being thrown into teenage girl’s bedrooms at the wrong address.

      Subtly mention some of the examples to your friends and work colleagues; these are not the helpful caring cops of the past (if such ever existed) they’re paramilitary thugs, above the law.

      Should raids for guns ever start, you will have inoculated your friends against the propaganda they’ll be exposed to, the “terrorist” was likely a regular family man, and husband and father, the “arsenal” was nothing of the sort, some of the stuff was likely planted.

      Take a none shooting friend shooting (look at some of Breda’s blogs for examples of how to do it, she got all of her female friends and relations shooting.
      cont

      • Keith

        Once someone has enjoyed shooting (keep it light and keep it enjoyable) gently suggest that they do a course for concealed carry, even if all cops were good and caring, they still can’t be everywhere at once, but a concealed carry piece can be…

        you’ve made a new gunny.

        Got a friend or a relative who’s a fudd? take them for some fun with a semi auto.

        What if registration comes?

        have you read Joseph Heller’s “Catch 22″?

        Plenty of people will not be declaring all or any of their guns – that was the experience in Britain, the former west Germany, and in Canada with the Long gun registry.

        Also in Canada, some people filled in all of the paperwork and sent the registration fee off, with someone else’s name and address on it, others registered fictitious guns to fictitious people.

        The data input clerks messed up too

        The registers are therefore worse than worthless

        I’m not suggesting that you go against the letter of the law, Heller will suggest ways you can achieve all sorts of fun, while obeying every single letter of the law.

        Oh,
        assuming that you aren’t an agent provocateur, you need to learn how to debate logically; that means using words in their generally accepted meanings, or explaining exactly what meaning you are attaching to them if you’re going to use an unusual meaning.

        Try to avoid “appeals to”
        They’re logical fallacies, they do not make something true
        This explains the subject:
        http://www.nizkor.org/features/fallacies/

        Lighten up too,

        The regime is in serious crap, all the money they’re printing will, keep the recession crisis going indefinitely, and that newly printed money will soon start leaking out to create inflation

        In the Keynesian system, unemployment and inflation are supposed to be mutually exclusive, that provides a very strong empirical refutation of the current Keynesian policies, Check out some of the Austrian School economics sites to find out why.

        The regime cannot keep adding to its deficit – it is already far too big for you the tax payers to ever pay back through tax (if it tried to raise those taxes there’d be an immediate revolution), it will have to default sooner or later, and at that point, it cannot afford to make its payroll, it will have to sack federal employees by the million.

        They won’t have the goons in blue to go on raids.

  • MG

    I think that it ought to be remembered in all this that the current world record holder in the “lone nutter” category is Anders Breivik, and he managed that with a Ruger Mini-14 and a Glock pistol. He had unsuccessfully tried to buy black-market “assault weapons”, but it turned out he didn’t really need them. Marc Lepine in Montreal killed 14 with a Mini-14 and a hunting knife. Thomas Hamilton killed 18 in Scotland using Browning HP pistols and Smith and Wesson revolvers. Just how you decide from that list what is a “bad gun” and what is a “good gun” is not readily evident to me.

    Ian comes across as a fairly calm and rational individual, even if many people would consider his interests to be somewhat eccentric. I doubt that many people are worried about what he might do with his personal “arsenal of democracy”.

    However, quite a few of the more vocal American “gun rights” commentators will write long, rambling and generally incomprehensible treatises about the need to arm themselves against UN conspiracies and Muslim plots, and how they need to stand ready to overthrow their own government. It’s people like this whom the majority are worried about whether they are one bad day at work away from an atrocity.

    I don’t have a “solution” to the problem in question, and I honestly don’t think there is one. And to be honest, I’m a lot more worried about people talking on their cell phones while driving a car than I am about lone nutters with guns. But I think that Ian’s approach to the discussion may be a lot more productive than coming across as exactly the sort of person that everyone else is worried about.

    • Earl Liew

      MG, you hit the nail on the head, dead-center. Reason, level-headed sensibility and calm logic are what should drive a discussion and any resulting courses of action thereof, not emotions and personal belief systems encompassing a singular world view — and that includes both sides.

  • Robert

    Ian, again, thanks for having such a awesome web-site.
    Like Ian, I also live in a “single digits per square mile” area. And his words do ring true. Having traveled the world numerous times and seen the various forms of “gun control”, the thoughts of a new weapons ban here saddens me. And not just due to being a collector and gunsmith. Bans of this type don’t work. Statistics show they don’t. But facts will have nothing to do this. Emotions and media will.

  • Dean

    We need to pray for God’s mercy on our nation.
    Dean

  • Cyrus

    Ian, that was all brilliant. That last paragraph is especially good. It’s a challenge for those of us living in suburbia and the cities, but it’s what we have to do.

  • John D.

    The NRA warned us about President Obama’s second term and they certainly were prescient in their prediction.

    The Connecticut shooter went crazy when his mother sought to take legal custody of him through the Connecticut court system. This was the first step required under law for her to commit him involuntarily to an institution for mental health care. He apparently figured this out by tapping into her eMail or other correspondence with her lawyers. He killed the first graders at this school because his mother had volunteered in the kindergarden at Sandy Hook during the last school year. The shooter believed that his mother loved these (now) first graders more than him. He was clearly mentally ill and a danger to society.

    The real issue in this incident is how difficult it is in the USA to commit a seriously mentally ill person, against their will, to intensive mental health care. I have been involved in three such efforts, two in the USA and one overseas. The U.S. efforts took eight and fourteen months. The foreigh effort, in Poland, took 36 hours.

    This situation is a direct result of the ‘deinstitutionalization’ of mental health patients in the USA, in the 1970′s. The ‘progressives’ behind this policy change were emphatic that the mentally ill were only a threat to themselves. They lied and now people are dying.

  • Mike D.

    I would like to add my “two cents”. Another approach,a small part of the discussion/argument,albeit a difficult one, is to actively and without fail correct the language. For example,I constantly hear some on our side referring to semi-auto rifles as “assault weapons”. All terms used by the left and their minions concerning firearms and gun rights are pejorative in tone (by design) and are usually technically wrong. This misleading, either by design, or out of total ignorance, is tailor made to “fuel the fires” of support for these idiotic gun control/ban schemes.I also hear the terms “ammunition clips” or “bullet clips” to describe, I suppose a magazine. I am also now hearing the term “war weapons” used, I wonder if research shows that “assault weapon” as a fear term is wearing thin? Like to see the Obama regime/media talking points on that one. Anyway something to think about.

  • Earl Liew

    Ian, Jack, Bart, Joel, SmurfHunter, Sturmovik, Keith, Robert, Cyrus, John D. and Mike D. — You are all correct in the various aspects of your individual analyses. One common thread I have found in what all of you have had to say is the presence of reason and common sense undistorted by emotion and dogma.

  • Storm

    Looking upon things Ian presents us here and in the way of his writings and thoughts, I can only see very intelligent and tolerant young man, and I hope that these feats will help him to accomplish even more in this firearm community.
    On the other end, people tend to forgot that USA is a country of over 300 million people, and that isolated incidents like these statistically could happen from time to time. For example, I’ve heard of spree killing in China, where similar madman assaulted children school with knives, killing dozens of children -interestingly there was just small article in newspapers, nobody talked about it. So, it is always the problem in the people, and advocating to ban the guns is just doing another, much greater evil than the one that was commited- makes me think about somebody who is eager to lie and commit atrocities in the name of “fixing” some past wrongdoings. Of course, politicians in the end do not care for this at all, since they and their children are safely sheltered in private schools and wealthy, closed down neighborhoods, far away from the “jungle of people” out there, so they can carelessly throw the bones to that very same people they despise and watch how they fight around them.

  • Annika

    Ian you’ve written succinctly what I’ve only been able to ramble about. Well put.

  • Earl Liew

    Ian, I do largely agree with what you have to say about the real need for community and knowing one another as neighbours and as human beings. I myself grew up at various times in the countryside on a farm and in a small town, where this sort of socialization occurs naturally and easily. I currently live in a wonderful small town in a mostly rural coastal county here in Florida, where respect for, and non-judgemental acceptance of, others is the norm and a lot of people still don’t lock their doors or cars, so I feel very fortunate to be able to continue with the same. I would also add that a large proportion of the population are responsible gun owners and enthusiasts, that we have an incredibly well-integrated and supportive Police Department that is clearly a part of the community, and that the crime rate is near-zero and usually confined to minor disturbances such as youngsters having too much of a good time on Saturday night. The few major crimes that have occurred in the last several years have been attempted by outsiders from other states and/or counties who were passing through and probably thought that robbing a bank in our little town would be easy to carry off (big mistake — none of them reckoned with the efficiency of our Police Department!).

    Having said that, I have lived in big cities on and off over the years and can fully understand why so many of your contributors have expressed concern that large cities and suburbia mostly do not have this sort of social cohesiveness. The very nature of these communities, and the pressure they bring to bear upon their citizens, often results in the sort of isolation and divisiveness you mentioned. So, we then have to deal with a very different sort of social inertia engendered by the sheer scale and exigencies of urban/suburban existence. Perhaps one solution is to organize at the local neighbourhood level to form a more integrated community, then expanding upon this to create real inclusiveness at the district, township or even city-wide levels. This method has been tried with considerable success in Singapore, where it has been of paramount importance to the well-being of the nation as a whole to fully integrate the hugely-diverse population. The politics of modern Singapore are very different from the politics of even just ten years ago ; the political scenario is much more open than before, and progressively becoming more so with the passage of time. The opposition now has a firm foothold and is recognized as being a good counter-balance to the dominance of the PAP (the ruling majority party), and what is more important is that the PAP itself has recognized this. At any rate, the Singaporean method has been to concentrate strongly on community centers and activities, then expanding upon that at ever-higher levels so that at least almost everyone feels included and not disenfranchised. It also enables people to identify with one another and recognize problems before they occur. I know that this method has been tried with varying degrees of success, or non-success, in the United Stares at some local levels, but one salient feature of our efforts has nearly always been insufficient sustainability due to lack of long-term funding, too many unnecessary add-ons, a lack of political will or consistency, and an inability to maintain long-term interest or put long-term effort into the process. This cannot happen if we expect to achieve any degree of permanent success. There is no substitute for sustained hard work and perseverance.

    While this is certainly not the the be-all nor the end-all to the myriad reasons as to why terrible crimes such as the Newtown massacre occurred, it may be one of several solutions, that — if used simultaneously, consistently, continuously and as part of a coordinated, no-frills overall programme — will prevent such events from happening again. Mental health programmes, poverty reduction, social inclusion, education, civics, ethics, etc., etc. must all be part and parcel of this wholistic approach It will go a long way towards helping to identify and nullify potential offenders before they reach the point of no return. And this, in turn, will also help to protect our rights as private citizens to bear and keep arms, because the anti-gun lobby will no longer be able to directly associate firearms incidents of this nature with gun ownership. As a society, we have become too conditioned to always looking for a one-shot solution (no pun intended), the so-called “silver bullet”, when in reality the real resolution lies in a series of sensible, properly-integrated and tangible measures that require a lot of hard work and unrelenting effort. I would hate to think that we are no longer capable of this level of endeavour — or have we become so accustomed to taking the cheap, easy and ultimately self-defeating way out that we are no longer capable of real solutions to real problems?

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