Gaylon on the Issues: Our Violent Country

In our column The Daily Dose we trot out a line after each mass shooting about merely cutting and pasting the last mass shooting column. It’s a sad commentary, of course, but an accurate one. Long ago the question went from if another mass shooting would occur, to merely when the next one would be. 

I‘ve always felt we have violent American citizens because we have a violent American government. Our nation has been at war every day since we invaded Panama in 1989 and a generation later we are feeling the effects. If America had been at peace every day since 1989 we wouldn’t be going through this. Among other things, the Twin Towers would still be standing, ISIS wouldn’t exist and mass shootings would be rare occurrences.

Violence has become the go-to reaction for our government, so it should be no surprise violence has become the go-to reaction for our citizens. I‘ve long said that we will not have a peaceful world without a peaceful America. Similarly, we will not have peaceful Americans without a peaceful American government.

Violence begets violence and the only dividend violence produces is more violence. As long as we have a violent American government we will violent American citizens. The carnage will not stop.

We deserve better. We deserve an America at peace with the rest of the world and with itself. But we must demand it at the ballot box this Election Day. If we re-elect the status quo nothing will change. The time has come for you and me – we the people – to demand better than what we have now.

So let’s go get the country we want this Election Day. I ‘m Gaylon Kent and I‘ll lead the charge.


Gaylon on the Issues: Let’s Stop Convicting the Innocent

I‘ll be honest, in past campaigns for the United States Senate and House of Representatives, I  didn’t find too much interest in this issue. Nobody asked me if I had a plan for getting the innocent out of jail or how I planned to stop having the innocent convicted in the first place. This is probably because this is not an issue that directly affects an awful lot of us.

It should interest every American, however, because we convict the innocent all the time. The long march of usually black men being freed from prison, and sometimes death row, is almost a revolving door and we are now seeing men released after 40 or more years behind bars for something they didn’t do. As I write this over 800 men have been released from prison for murders they did not commit and over 150 of them were released from death row. My own personal estimate, really nothing more than a somewhat uneducated guess, is that between ten and 15 percent of those currently incarcerated didn’t commit the crimes they were convicted of.

For a nation conceived in liberty, these numbers should cause all of us to go stand in the corner in shame. I don’t like crime any more than you do, but convicting the innocent in America is unacceptable. Even if we’re not in any immediate danger of being convicted of something we didn’t do ourselves, this is an issue we should all be concerned with.

We deserve better. We deserve an America that does not convict the innocent. We deserve an America we can be proud of.

So let’s demand better in November. The choice, as always, is ours: we can continue to accept the status quo or we can demand better.