We couldn't help but appreciate John W. Whitehead's guest editorial in the Bluff Country Reader that focused on the issue of guns and violence in America with a broader beam of light that exposes the current, and recalls the historical, reality of this country's national employment of guns and violence to accomplish its goals from birth.

Mr. Whitehead's reminder of our violence-reliant foreign policy and world leading arms sales business resurrects for us memories of Eisenhower's warnings about the growing military industrial complex and, for those whose knowledge reaches back further, the warnings of WWI Major General Smedley D. Butler who wrote the book, "War is a Racket." Further, Whitehead's detailing of the emerging police state here is another societal change we've observed; with alarm!

We broaden the scope of Whitehead's spotlight to see the role of violence and guns at all levels of our society as both a symptom and tool of fear. Fear is a purposeful base emotion rooted in our survival instinct but, it is primal! It centers on the unknown, in any form. In healthy surroundings we learn throughout life to dispel fears through the nurturing received from family and community; we become self-assured.

Key characteristics of such maturity are: Care! Love! Brotherhood! When fearless we can face problems forthrightly. However, a harsh reality in our egocentric society is that problems equal profits and profits rely on sales. Sales require "yeses." A "yes" is often leveraged through fear.

"God forbid," "While they last," "Before the price changes" and more are classic fear-oriented pitches. Fear is a longstanding method to control another's actions and it works by moving them from a learned state of confident resistance to a pliable state of uncertainty. We comply to regain our "security," be it physical, social or mental, and this trait has been used by individuals, institutions and government to the users' advantage throughout time.

We are a nation of fearful people and we are fed a diet of fear so that others can herd us through doorways of their choice, not ours! Whether a product, a service or a war we "buy" from a position of insecurity; fear. Resentment, shame, desperation often follows resulting in violent lashing out.

With a gun, such actions become lethal. Thus, more death, more fear. This depicts a chaotic society relating as predator and prey, not a more perfect union supporting liberty and justice for all. Like it or not, this scenario is often about money or power!

Insecure and fearful people will hand over almost anything to gain back their security. Consumers hand over money, citizens their freedom and soldiers hand over their lives. Look at the collective rights we've forfeited since Sept. 11, 2001. Look at the NRA's response to Newtown. Buy more guns. Put armed guards in schools. They represent gun manufacturers. This is about selling guns, which generates more fear and more sales!

We don't have to accept this paradigm. We are better than this. We are obliged to ourselves and our children to never offer our dignity or integrity on a platter of fear to unscrupulous manipulators. Renounce the primitive self!

Our true security lies in the spirit of our humanity and in community. Light up the darkness! Learn, so there is less unknown. Follow the money for motive. Live the teachings of faith founded on love and brotherhood, which transcend fear and profit only the soul, the eternal you.

Robert and Monica Hatch,

Lanesboro