I am becoming more libertarian in my beliefs as I get older and see beyond the filters people try to use to make black and white decisions on gray issues.
I am not a fan of sending young men and women into war zones. I'm that supporter of the military who doesn't want soldiers to become heroes by getting hurt, killed, or being changed forever by living in constant fear for their lives.
Sometimes war is necessary and the men and women of the armed forces take care of their business. I just never want to see dedicated people who would risk their lives for our freedom being used as pawns in a political game.
I'm also a guy who has never tasted alcohol, but would be in favor of legalizing marijuana. I don't think more people should smoke to get high. However, I can't rationalize how alcohol can be purchased at restaurants, convenience stores, and grocery stores but marijuana is somehow illegal.
I'm sure my opinion on that isn't very popular, but I get tired of seeing people advertise one addictive substance that destroys livers and leads to multiple deadly car accidents while another substance that is no more addictive or dangerous is the subject of drug busts.
When alcohol was banned, people still found a way to drink. It was just more clandestine and dangerous. How is that different than marijuana today?
The horrendous mass shooting in Las Vegas brought further proof of my failing faith in legislators and legislation to save the world.
My beliefs on gun control have been complicated and inconsistent in my adult life. When I worked as a night manager at a hotel, I carried a gun. I walked through the parking lot several times a night to make sure everything was safe. What was I supposed to do if I saw something bad happening, blow a whistle?
After I graduated from college and got married, I saw no use for having weapons around. I don't live in fear. The circumstances where I could get to a locked gun and have time to use it in a home invasion situation are actually pretty rare. Am I supposed to ask a burglar to hold on for a second while I retrieve my handgun?
I never wanted to openly carry a weapon. It just isn't me.
I get that a lot of people enjoy shooting for sport and hunting. I was never in favor of taking those guns. People have a right to own a weapon for self-defense, sport and hunting. I have always believed that some gun control measures that make sense should be implemented. I don't believe in slippery slope concerns. People with a background in domestic abuse, mental health issues and other problems that indicate a higher likelihood of using a gun to hurt themselves or others should never be able to own a gun.
However, I struggle with the fact that most mass shootings and even most murders happen when someone violates a law we already have.
How is gun control the answer? America seems to be a hotbed for mass murder even as the total number of homicides drops every year. Other countries tout gun control to explain how they prevent it.
But the guy shooting concert attendees in Las Vegas violated gun laws. Laws didn't stop him. You just can't prevent crazy by making it illegal.
I don't believe that more guns are necessarily better. But guns are here. Even a concentrated effort to get rid of them would leave plenty around for criminals.
Hillary Clinton and many Democratic legislators are quick to call for gun control to prevent future events like Sunday night's.
They say that "thoughts and prayers" and "warmest condolences" don't help. They are calling for action. I get that. We all want to do something to stop the madness.
I would be open to any idea that would prevent us from having to report that more people were shot today. I haven't seen the legislation that would do that, yet. Most of these horrible acts in the shooter's death by his own hand or a law enforcement officer. Prison sentences are rarely relevant to the situation.
I hate to resign myself to the constant possibility of an act terror. I understand the emotional reaction of the people who want to do something about guys with 10 guns and a suitcase full of ammunition opening fire on thousands of innocent people trying to enjoy themselves.
I don't have the answer. In my life, I have wavered from considering strict gun control to resigning myself to the fact that we have reached a point where truly preventative gun control may be impossible.
I wish I had a better answer. Unfortunately, the only answer may be to do more good to balance the scales.
Kent Bush is publisher of Shawnee (Oklahoma) News-Star and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org