By Tom Kollenborn
The recent headlines that illustrated the danger of being a correspondent, columnist or employee of a newspaper were really a reminder and struck home for me.
I have never really considered myself a correspondent, but maybe a storyteller of history and legend. When I read the news about the massacre at The Capital in Annapolis, Maryland, I couldn’t help but have part of my heart and soul torn from my body.
During the past fifty years, I have worked with many news correspondents from all over these United States and the World talking about Superstition Mountain, its history and legend. Now I wonder what has happened to America after this tragedy. We, as a nation, must wake up. We are not conservatives, independents or liberals—we are Americans first. We all bled the same color on many battlefields, no matter our race, religion or politics.
We are all Americans who believe in the Bill of Rights and the first ten amendments of the United States Constitution, which protects those rights.
Each and every one of us should know them by heart. Today, the First Amendment protects our religion from government persecution, gives us the freedom of speech, freedom to peacefully assemble, freedom of the press and separates the government from any control or form of religion.
First of all, and most important, we are all Americans. Americans have the right to disagree; but to take our disagreements to a violent level—we do not have that right. Too often these disagreements lead to violent altercations that end in death.
What has changed in America during the past fifty years? Have we become so dangerous in our interactions with others today that we are all at risk?
Freedom of Press is one of the most important parts of a free and open society. Reporters try to report the news by interviews and research. Most newspeople do their very best to report the news accurately with interviews and photographs.
Anytime a government tries to censor the freedom of the press, they are moving toward a dictatorship or an authoritarian type of government where the Bill of Rights is no longer part of that government.
If you don’t remember the Bill of Rights, you should take the time to review it on your phone or computer, or go to the library and read it.
Today, many people talk about the Second Amendment as the only amendment of the Bill of Rights. I am also a strong advocate of the 2nd Amendment, but some people should not have firearms in our society today.
They claim that without arms, we would have no rights. Of course that depends on who has the arms. There are many dictatorships in Central and South American controlled by those who have the guns. There are many people in our country today that would suspend the Bill of Rights if they could.
One of the most important rights is the Freedom of the Press. This is the right to know what is going on, from the White House to down the street. Transparency is important in government, so Americans know what is going on in their country. This information is supplied by those who work for the various news agencies, and these are the eyes and ears of America, not social media as many people think. More phony news comes from social media than anywhere else. Yes, some news sources are biased, but we as Americans have a choice and selection of our source of news. This country is being torn apart by extremist and phony politicians. Somebody needs to stand up and say, “We are all Americans.” It is most important that we are Americans and believe in the “Constitution” of the United States of America. “United we stand, divided we fall.”
With all my heart and soul, I want to believe those staff members of The Capital did not die in vain for doing their jobs of reporting the news.
Photo above: A special flag that had been draped over the coffin of a World War II veteran buried at Arlington National Cemetery was flown atop Superstition Mountain each Memorial Day from 1982 to 1992.