Control: Are guns the concern, or who is getting their hands on them?
THUMBS DOWN: William Spengler's actions Monday further confirmed the need for this country to do something to make it as difficult as possible for people to get their hands on guns - of any kind, because right now, it's just too easy. We should find out next month what Congress intends to do about this troubling issue, but we hope our elected officials go all out to tighten our gun laws in respect not just to what guns are being sold, but who is purchasing them. The U.S. can and will continue to sell guns; we simply can't continue to put them in the wrong hands, and that starts with denying people with red flags the opportunity to buy a gun. If you don't have a criminal background, you'll have nothing to worry about when applying for a gun permit in the future. If you're mentally stable and are of sound mind, you shouldn't have a problem with getting evaluated before you're able to purchase a gun. If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear, and more than likely you'll get your gun. It's people like Spengler who should be concerned. He is the man who killed two volunteer firefighters and wounded two others on Christmas Eve; he was convicted of killing his grandmother in 1981 and wrote in a letter he left behind (he killed himself hours after the ambush) that he wanted to kill as many people as possible. Spengler, who was barred from possessing guns, likely got them long ago, but our government must act now and do everything to make sure the next Spengler, the next Adam Lanza can't get their hands on anything with a trigger. Hopefully in the future a person convicted of murder or manslaughter like Spengler was will never even have the chance to get his hands on a gun because he'll die in prison. Gerald Pickering, the police chief handling the Spengler case, said earlier this week he's "not sure we'll ever really know what was going through his mind." That statement alone should tell us we better know a person's state of mind before he's able to walk out of a store with his new weapon and boxes of ammo.
Happy trails - SW Minnesota matters
THUMBS UP: There's a distinct message hidden within the state's decision to award a $1.4 million grant for the 15-mile Marshall-to-Camden bike trail project: southwest Minnesota matters. Considering the DNR had plenty of projects to designate money to (grant requests from throughout the state hit the $47 million mark), the fact that $1.4 million of the $7.5 million available is going to this project says a lot about how southwest Minnesota is viewed from outside the region. Getting grant or bonding money funneled out here to the prairie is no easy task, and we look at this week's news as a major win for the city and county and can only hope the powers that be at the state Legislature are paying attention and help the region build a real winning streak by awarding bonding money for the sports complex and MERIT Training Center in 2013.