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News & Editorials


By Dr. Bill Rogers


The wise old man wrote:

When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. ~~ Paul nee Saul of Tarsus to the Christians at Corinth

Email brought us together.

After years of living far from home, sometimes in primitive places that had no telephones, I relished the idea of communicating with my mother and brother and sister using instant letters and notes, complete with pictures, interesting clippings, and clever little .wav files. Like everyone else who first starts using online computer services, I fell in love with America On Line.

My God! Even the name calls out to a veteran come home at last: AMERICA is finally ON LINE! And Iím American, by jiminy, and now Iím ON LINE!

There were books and tapes and classes available to show the novice how to use this wonderful ON LINE service. But after a few late night key strokes, one didnít really need the formal stuff. It was all soÖintuitive. The HELP menus popped right down to provide the answer to almost any question the novice could devise. Once I got so turned around I had to call the 1-800 HELP line. A very friendly fellow told me what I needed to know, but he reminded me (after he had solved my problem) that I could have typed in the AOL KEYWORD and the information I needed would have jumped onto my screen without that awful 15 minute wait, which he apologized tremendously for having made me endure.

He was so kind.

Of course there were many other ways to get on the internet. Scary sounding places like MSN and Prodigy kept trying to get my business. Cates was nice. He was AMERICAN. Who the hell knew what this Gates fellow with his NETWORK was all about? I didnít want to be in a NETWORK like some kind of faceless, nameless insect. AMERICA for me. The rest of you can have the NETWORK. Iím a veteran. Iím AMERICANÖand Iím ON LINE!

Suddenly we were swimming in ISPís. BIGPLANET, JUNO, and on and on and on. But AOL was home. AMERICA ON LINE.

"WELCOME" the voice said. "YOUíVE GOT MAIL!" The latter giving rise to visions of cutesy Meg Ryan and stalwart Tom Hanks. (These were the "young Hanks" days, after "Joe VS the Volcano" but before the horrible spit-spit-spit of bullets in the sand of the neo-Omaha Beach and the missing Private Ryan.)

Thatís all over now.

Iíve encountered two major problems over the past year. The first is the way my lifelong, beloved United Methodist Church has let me down with its declaration that all private ownership of handguns must ultimately be curtailed. God in Heaven! The leadership (read that: "servantship") of the church passed a resolution stating as much at the General Conference last year. How "they" came up with that resolution I will never really know, but I do know that like many organizations I used to belong to (such as the American Medical Association and the American Psychiatric Association), the United Methodist "leaders" certainly didnít ask the membership what they preferred. I never got to vote on it! In fact, Iíve never met anyone that did get to vote on it. It just happened.

Policy statements happen.

Surprise, secret votes by unknown people happen.

The midnight demise of values happen.

Cattle cars happen.

The second problem was with AMERICA ON LINE. Bad business decisions happen even in businesses that are making enormous amounts of money. The volume of business and the profits generated by AOL are so huge that what little amount will be lost by the companyís declaration that the U.S. Constitution doesnít really mean what it says it means will probably not even be noticedÖthis year. Perhaps not even next year. And, after all, AOL is in good company with the United States Federal Government, Janet Reno and the Department of Justice having openly declared their "ruling" (as if they were empowered to "rule" over anything!) that the citizens of this great country do not have the individual right to keep and bear arms.

Well Iíve got news for the United Methodist Church (and the Presbyterian, Episcopal and Catholic Churches as well) and for the executive management of AMERICA ON LINE.

If you people are successful at disarming your fellow citizens, there will be no more America. There will be no more prosperous churches couched in a somnolent fog of pseudo-peace. There will be no free market enterprise to foster the dreams of an entrepreneur like Steve Cates.

But, there will be cattle cars, and there will be camps.

And the grandchildren of American Patriots who fought on the real Omaha Beach will spill their blood and yours, for they are not the kind of people who will live in slavery.

Dr. Bill Rogers is the director of Doctors for Sensible Gun Laws, found at He has no immediate local connection to the internet service provided by, and until that becomes available, he can be reached at via the free email service which he accesses through his newly acquired connection with Prodigy Internet Services - unless they do something stupid like AOL has been doing.


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