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Guest Editorial

This is a violent country.

Why are we surprised at the violence in Arizona? We are a violent country. When the first white man landed on this continent, gun in one hand, Bible in the other, they slaughtered the people who had lived on the land for centuries and moved westward, killing Indians and stealing their lands.

Even South Dakota has been touched by violence. In 1890, in the Wounded Knee massacre, an estimated 300 Sioux Indians were killed by U.S. troops. Many were women and children.

When our English colonies became a nation born in violence, their economy was based on cotton and the cruel slave trade. Since then, generation after generation, we were lied into wars, the greatest violence - some not to keep us safe, but to further the fortunes of the few.

How can we expect not to be violent when we have become a gigantic killing machine, when our decent young men and women are trained to be ruthless killers, when we spend trillions on war and let our education system fall apart?

We here on God's green prairies have, thankfully, escaped the worse. But there are those among us who could face danger every day, and these wear a badge. Give your local police officers a hug.

Only when we value peace more than profit, wisdom more than wealth, generosity more than greed, arts more than armaments, only when we cherish our children, care for our planet and people everywhere, will we begin to be free from violence.

Bill Kunkle

Harrisburg, Ore.