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After 239 years, I can't believe we're going to throw our rights away

To The Daily Sun,

For the last 239 years, this nation has fought tooth and nail for our freedoms. Millions of Americans have shed blood to protect these rights, rights deemed inherent and unalienable in all people created equally under God. Granted by revolutionaries who sacrificed lives, family, and fortune to the future of this nation.

A nation where we can freely criticize our government without fear of persecution, where we can pray to whichever God we believe in without being forced to conform to a national standard, where we have the right to protect our family, property, and rise up to rebel against corruption in higher office, a nation where one is considered innocent until proven guilty.

I can't believe that 239 years later we are willing to throw it all away because of enemies foreign and domestic. Throw it all away because we as a nation are too apathetic to participate in the process of governing ourselves. Throw it all away because fear mongering politicians manipulating voters into race-bating hatred out of fear for our safety, in order to gain power. Throw it all away because it's too difficult to fathom or figure out an alternative.

We didn't back down when the best navy in the world landed on our doorstep in the 1770s, and again when England burned down the White House in 1814. We didn't cower and hide when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. We didn't run scared on 9/11 when 3000 people died just trying to go to work on a Thursday.

We stood up, looked our enemies right in the eye, and fought back with all we got. Every time.

So now, after 239 years, we're just going to give away our right to bear arms just because of two people in San Bernardino? That's it? We're going to allow a shady government list without due process or judicial oversight to determine who is allowed constitutional rights? We're going to allow fear and terror to weaken us as a nation? To weaken our core principles, abandoning our centuries long battle for equality and freedom over two terrorists?

We're better than that.

This problem isn't an easy one to fix, but we're not one to back down from a fight.

Both sides of the gun control debate will have you believe that we only have choice between doing nothing or banning everything. That's not true. I truly believe that a war on guns will play out exactly like the war on drugs: costly, ineffective, and just adding unnecessary burden to our justice system without any measurable progress in the reduction of gun related crimes.

There is a way to have both your Second Amendment rights uninfringed and drop the number of mass shootings. It won't be easy or cheap, but it will be effective at minimizing the effect of the lone wolf shooter.

1. Increased security at soft targets. Any building with more than a certain number of people should have adequate safety measures in place to protect citizens and deter being chosen as a target.

2. Increased resources for those with mental illness. We as a society cannot afford to be cheap and not provide access for those who are struggling with mental illnesses the care they properly need to be a functional human being. It's just not right to allow people to suffer because we're too frugal to fund treatment for depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, substance abuse, etc. These people will pay back the cost of treatment by being better members of society and contributing to the economy with better jobs and better quality of life.

3. We need to have a national conversation about the stigma of mental illness in our society. Having chemical imbalances and physical ailments are not signs of weakness and can be treated. A heightened awareness, increased empathy and a diligent population willing to get people the help their fellow humans need will save lives. Suicide rates, especially among teens will drop, the risk of being ostracized by others in their social group will minimize the risk of an active shooter retaliation scenario. Students need resources to seek treatment and faculty need to be diligent in case the family isn't attuned (or to be frank, the cause of) their psychological issues.

These ideas will not be easy or cheap to implement, but I truly believe that a common sense strike at the root cause of these shootings, mental disorders, will be the long term solution to many of our societal ills. There will be many challenges along the way. There will be plenty of you who disagree with me. That's fine. The discussion is necessary and the debate is highly needed.

I know we as a nation, as independent New Hampshire citizens, can come together and find a way to address these issues, because that's what we Americans do. We face adversity head on like we have for the last 239 years.

Brian Shields
Ashland

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Sled dog club has many to thank for success of annual auction

To The Daily Sun,
On December 3, the Lakes Region Sled Dog Club held its 16th annual auction to raise funds for the World Championship Sled Dog Derby, scheduled for February 12, 13, 14, 2016. This derby holds the distinction of being the longest running sled dog race in the world. It is with the generous support of the citizens of the Lakes Region and patrons of our auction that we are able to keep sled dog racing alive in Laconia.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank all of you who made our auction such a great event and we appreciate your help in keeping the "Greatest Show on Snow" running.

Contributors were: Shea Concrete, Stamping Technologies, Inn Season Resorts, Devin Jewelers, Inc., Curt's Caterers, Norvik Kennels, Del R. Gilbert & Son Block Co., John H. Lyman and Sons, Inc., Lahey Landscaping, Ambrose Bros., Fashion Forward Salon, Greg Miner, Belknap Tire & Auto Repair, Bank of NH, Watermark Marine Systems, Amoskeag Beverages, Jackie's Boutique, Fisher Auto Parts-Laconia, MB Tractor & Equipment, Cybertron, Water Industries, Sanel Auto Parts-Laconia, George's Diner, Airport Country Store & Deli, Jordan Equipment, Pheasant Ridge Golf Club, Eileen & David Burnell, Mill Falls at the Lake, Gunstock Mountain Resort, Winnipesaukee Truck, Repair Service of New England, Lowes Home Improvement, Fairfield Inn by Marriot-Concord, Christmas Island Steakhouse, Sidney Frank Importing Co., All Brite Cleaning & Restoration, E.J Prescott-NH, The Local Eatery, Piche's Ski & Sport, Smoke N' Barley, Mill Street Meat Market, Gilford Hills Tennis & Fitness Club, Granite State Glass, Fratello's Italian Grille-Laconia, Michie Corp, Nutter Enterprises, Inc., Center Harbor Diner, Patrick's Pub & Eatery, Terry Wilson USPTA, Boulia Gorrell Lumber Co., HK Powersports, His & Her Hair Company, LLC, Laconia Car Wash, Stafford Oil Company, Trustworthy Hardware, Back Bay Clothing, Hart's Turkey Farm Restaurant, Winni Paw Station, Winni Girl, King Of Klean, J.P. China Restaurant, No Weare Else Jewelry, Water Street Café, Auctioneer: Jessie Thompson, Runners/Volunteers: Ashley Conrad, Alicia Lyman, Abigail Lyman, Chrissy Green, Heather Mather, Libby Winn, LuAnn Walsh, Gem Parsons, Katt Stewart, Peter Colbath, Mona Hafner, & Sue Magnuson.

Thank you to ALL the volunteer members of LRSDC.

Jennifer Hollows

Lakes Region Sled Dog Club

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