Last week I wrote about the Florida mom who was arrested for letting her 7-year-old son walk to the park by himself. Not everyone agreed with my assessment and someone asked me if I would let my grandchildren walk to the park without supervision. That was a very valid question and a good point.
My reply was that I wouldn’t personally let my grandchildren walk to a park by themselves but that should be my decision. The real point I was trying to make in this situation was the overreach of the government in arresting the mother. If the police had came to her house and asked her about the situation and maybe even cautioned her then that would be a totally different scenario. Instead they arrested her on the spot.
We live in a strange and twisted society and it’s sad that we can’t trust our kids to walk in their own neighborhoods. But, by the same token, we cannot allow the government to dictate literally ever action of our lives.
Unfortunately we are getting dangerously close now because we haven’t had the gumption to say enough is enough and I fear that we are pretty close to a point of losing the freedoms that so many have sacrificed so much to preserve.
I understand that not every parent is responsible enough to do the right thing and there does need to be times where society has to protect our kids. But, there is also a line that shouldn’t be crossed and unfortunately that line keeps moving away from the family and toward the government. I don’t have a good answer but I do know that we have to be ever vigilant to insure that government serves us and not the other way around.
Now I want to jump to another issue and ask you to do something for me. If you read my column on a regular basis you know that I have traveled to Africa on two different occasions with the Open Door Foundation of Neosho. For many years the foundation has ran a medical clinic in the Casamance region of Senegal, West Africa.
As of now, I don’t know if they will be able to make the trip this year. I’m sure that most of you are acutely aware of the Ebola epidemic that is spreading across several countries in West Africa. This most recent attack of the deadly virus apparently started in the nation of Guinea, which is very close to the area where the clinic is held each year. In fact, I’m pretty sure that we had people travel from that country to come to the clinic for treatment.
Obviously, it’s been long enough since we came back home that none of us are in danger of having been exposed to the virus. But the same cannot be said for our African brothers and sisters that we have come to love. They are very much in harm’s way if this virus decides to spread farther west. And, with the limited medical facilities that they have available to them exposure will mean certain death for a great many of them.
My request is that you keep them in your thoughts and prayers. In just two short trips, I have made friendships that will last a lifetime and I worry about them and the struggles they face on a daily basis. People have questioned why I would go to such a place when I could volunteer my time here in the United States.
My reply is that even the poorest of citizens in this country still have access to world-class medical facilities. The same cannot be said for the people of West Africa. Oftentimes the only real doctor they see is in our clinic once a year. And, many people travel for days on foot just to see a doctor for ailments that we would consider routine.
Most Americans do not truly appreciate the resources we have available to us on a moment’s notice here in this country. The people of Senegal don’t have those resources and I worry that we won’t be able to provide them even our limited treatments this year. For some that will mean suffering with illnesses for months that many of us would not tolerate for even a week without seeking medical treatment. That’s why I have made the trip twice and why some volunteers have gone for many years.
Many in this country worry that the virus may somehow make the leap to the United States and that is a valid concern. But if it does, then we at least have access to quality medical care which will give us a fighting chance to survive. The people of West Africa don’t have that access so please at least say a prayer and keep them in your thoughts. It might seem like a small thing but when prayer is involved miracles do happen and protection is provided.
Kevin Wilson writes a weekly column for the Daily News.