Effingham Daily News, Effingham, IL


December 14, 2012

Show support for the change you want

EFFINGHAM — When I went to Boy Scout camp as a kid outside of Lewistown, the range was nothing but a source of unending anxiety. Set up next to the archery station, a series of small targets, guns and ammo tempted my fellow scouts with dreams of bullseyes and badges but I couldn't deal with it. I couldn't hit a target, couldn't steady my hand and couldn't shake the unending chant of "you'll shoot your eye out."

I think it's probably clear that I wasn't the ideal scout or shooter but I've never forgotten the fear I felt with a BB gun in the crook of my arm. It certainly isn't my most irrational fear, with someone sneaking onto my second floor apartment balcony taking the cake in that department, but guns fundamentally frighten me. Making matters worse, now they could be on any person at nearly any time.

On Tuesday, a federal appeals court struck down Illinois' long-standing concealed carry ban, giving lawmakers 180 days to come up with a law allowing gun owners to carry firearms on the street. Dave Sigale, an attorney who represented the Second Amendment Foundation in the lawsuit, was quoted in the Chicago Tribune saying, "the  right of self-defense doesn't end at your front door."

It always feels strange when this kind of thing passes in Illinois. We live in one of the bluest states in the country, but Illinois has long been paralyzed by the thought of progress. For the state that gave Barrack Obama's political career a start, we've long been stoically against change.

Really, the overturning of the concealed carry ban is an appeal to our basest instincts. We're scared. We're all very scared. With a crumbling economy, a global political landscape passing the United States by and nuclear tensions not seen since the Cold War, we're all seeking some measure of personal control.

But that's the thing. We can't control any of that. We're vastly alone, dealing with our anxieties, our problems and our fears and a loaded gun tucked under your shoulder isn't going to fix that.

In January, Illinois legislators will have a chance to truly make a difference. During the Lame Duck session, notoriously controversial bills see the light of day as some legislators prepare to leave their seats. It's one of the few times in federal politics where change is truly possible and lawmakers are making the most of it.

Gay marriage, medical marijuana, plans to fix the pension system, providing driver's licenses to immigrants and plans to close budget shortfalls are all on the agenda and are all ideas that the state should pursue more doggedly than the fear mongering and stagnation we're used to.

Where the concealed carry ban continues to show the statewide fear which grips citizens, January is giving lawmakers a real opportunity to do something right, to change the state and the culture for the better. Illinois could very well be the 10th state to allow gay marriage, finally giving an often abused demographic the basic human right it deserves. However, there are still groups, not just in Springfield but statewide, who are afraid, afraid of what the right to love could do.

It's time to deal with our fear, not with rhetoric, talking points or a warm gun but with a true and honest voice. Write to legislators, show your support for the change you want to see. There's no reason to let a gun, hidden or not, do the talking in Illinois any more.

Jackson Adams can be reached at 217-347-7151, ext. 131, or jackson.adams@effinghamdailynews.com.

Text Only
  • Doctors to rate cost effectiveness of expensive cancer drugs

    The world's largest organization of cancer doctors plans to rate the cost effectiveness of expensive oncology drugs, and will urge physicians to use the ratings to discuss the costs with their patients.

    April 17, 2014

  • treadmill-very-fast.jpg Tax deduction for a gym membership?

    April marks another tax season when millions of Americans will deduct expenses related to home ownership, children and education from their annual tax bill. These deductions exist because of their perceived value to society; they encourage behaviors that keep the wheels of the economy turning. So why shouldn't the tax code be revised to reward preventive health?

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • To sleep well, you may need to adjust what you eat and when

    Sleep.  Oh, to sleep.  A good night's sleep is often a struggle for more than half of American adults.  And for occasional insomnia, there are good reasons to avoid using medications, whether over-the-counter or prescription.

    April 16, 2014

  • Why Facebook is getting into the banking game

    Who would want to use Facebook as a bank? That's the question that immediately arises from news that the social network intends to get into the electronic money business.

    April 14, 2014

  • DayCareCosts.jpg Day care's cost can exceed college tuition in some states

    Most parents will deal with an even larger kid-related expense long before college, and it's a cost that very few of them are as prepared for: day care.

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Boston doctors can now prescribe you a bike

    The City of Boston this week is rolling out a new program that's whimsically known as "Prescribe-a-Bike." Part medicine, part welfare, the initiative allows doctors at Boston Medical Center to write "prescriptions" for low-income patients to get yearlong memberships to Hubway, the city's bike-share system, for only $5.

    April 10, 2014

  • 10 tips for surviving a severe allergy season

    My colleague Brady Dennis reported recently that the arrival of warmer weather will soon unleash a pollen tsunami in parts of the country where the winter has been especially long and cold. Here are some survival tips from Clifford W. Bassett, an allergy specialist and assistant clinical professor of medicine at the New York University School of Medicine.

    April 9, 2014

  • Screen Shot 2014-04-08 at 2.16.35 PM.png Are Americans smart to stop drinking diet sodas?

    Recent data from Beverage Digest suggest many are cutting back on diet sodas. Consumption of diet sodas fell more than that of sugary sodas in 2013. This raises two questions: Why is total consumption declining, and is drinking diet soda harmful to health?

    April 9, 2014 1 Photo

  • To get quality care, it helps to be the right kind of patient

    I am a family physician. Sometimes I must step out of the comfort of my clinical role and into that of patient or family caregiver. Generally, these trips to the other side of the exam table inspire a fair amount of anxiety.

    April 9, 2014

  • news_twitter.jpg Travelers fly on Air Twitter

    The enlightened age of social media has dawned over the airline industry, casting shadows over telephone call centers and on-site agents. Facebook and Twitter are racking up the friends and followers while the hold music plays on.

    April 8, 2014 1 Photo

AP Video

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.