Opinion: Are We Headed to Open Range?


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In the 2004 movie, “Open Range” starring Robert Duvall and Kevin Costner, the heroes are two cattlemen who seek justice for their friend’s killing at the hands of a local land owner, bully, and tyrant. Their alleged crime is crossing through his ‘open range’ with their cattle.

The two men seeking justice end up in what some believe is the best movie gunfight scene of all time. The cinematography and sound effects are excellent. Instead of the old cowboy western ricochet sounds, we get the sound of splintering wood as a shot from the distance crashes into the simple wooden walls of the young prairie town before the gunshot itself is heard, right next to our heroes’ heads.

In this particular story, while there is a local sheriff, he is worthless, as he is a man under the thumb of the tyrant. The two cowboys must stand up to the tyrant and all his henchmen on their own. Even the townsfolk who are subjected to the tyrant’s rants are reluctant to get involved.

Even though the movie is nearly 20 years old, it is an old story and even rings true today. As we’ve been told for generations – bad things only stop when good people stand up to bad people, especially bad, powerful people.

If we stop and think, this battle goes on every day but perhaps not at a level with such dramatic and bloody results. It happens in school. It happens at work. It happens to retired people. It happens to everyone in some form or another every day. Someone does or says something that is not right and someone else has to make the decision to stand up or walk away.

In many cases, one of the parties believes the issue is a big deal, at least to them. When the other party believes that the fight is not worth fighting or is fearful of the encounter, they back off. This is a correct move when the issue is not worth the time, effort, or future hassle.

But when the issue is one that is worth the time, effort, or future hassle, we have to have the courage to stand up to unacceptable behavior. Read the daily news and you have your choice of topics to choose from.

As a “sophisticated and civilized society” we have chosen to resolve our differences according to laws, we say, we all will abide by. We turn over our natural right (e.g., of self-defense, except in some circumstances) to the laws of the state and its enforcement officers.

Recently, however, in some parts of our nation we are experiencing unprecedented attitudes that tie the hands of law enforcement to provide the protection we have expected and have paid for through our taxes.

The recent attitudes are the result of who was elected to office. Voting matters. Voting well matters even more. If we want to return to justice as dished out 150 years ago, keep voting for those who are shifting enforcing these laws away from protecting the citizens and in favor of the alleged perpetrators. But our country has not gotten to be the most vaunted nation on earth because we have gone backwards, it is because we have gone forward working hard to solve our problems. Returning to Open Range justice will have us heading towards anarchy. That is probably what some people want.

We must have the courage to make ourselves a “more perfect union” and stand up to those who want to tear down our nation.  Your most valuable tool to defend our nation, one that doesn’t cost you anything, is your vote.  If we are to progress past these times successfully, we will need to evaluate those who purport to lead us and scrutinize their motives. Let everyone vote to live in safety knowing that those who choose to live outside the law will be handled justly.

Make sure you are informed and know who you are voting for.

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R Reason
R Reason
19 days ago

Given the gun violence epidemic in this country, I find it a shameful disgrace that anyone, even an irresponsible, fake-news site like this one, would allow publication of such backwards-looking, political, gutter-float.  I think Americans are tired of the same old death-script…it’s time for progress.

March For Our Lives
Saturday,  March 25, 2023 12-2 pm
State Capitol, Austin, TX

Reply to  R Reason
9 days ago

There is no such thing as “ gun violence “… there is criminal violence and and leftist apologists for their actions. When laws are enforced and the public is protected the need for further action will abate. As long as criminals go free, crime goes unpunished, and victims become blamed there will be a move to retaliate against the system and those responsible.

Reply to  R Reason
6 days ago

By progress you mean gun confiscation of law abiding citizens? We have enough gun laws on the books. The problem is they do not get enforced. The old saying if guns are outlawed only outlaws will have them is true. Criminals do not care what laws you pass they are not going to obey them. ESPECIALLY when they are not held accountable for their criminal actions.