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Life, Liberty and MLK Jr.

Published: Monday, Jan. 28, 2013 12:03 p.m. CDT

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There were a few noteworthy occasions from this past legislative week that should be highlighted in this week’s column.  The first one, of course, was the observance of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday and his work as a leader in civil rights for all Americans.  The Monday holiday resulted in a shortened legislative week.  More on Dr. King’s legacy in a moment.

A second noteworthy occasion from this past week – and in my opinion, a black mark in the history of our country – was the 40th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Roe vs. Wade decision.  What a sad irony it is, that in the same week we celebrate one man’s triumph over injustice, we also commemorate a court decision that has resulted in the unjust death of 55 million Americans.

Visiting the Capitol this week was a lady by the name of Juda Myers with a very important story to tell.  You see, Ms. Myers was conceived by gang rape.  And while this may be a very uncomfortable story to hear, it is one with lessons that should be heeded.  I know that there are many reading this article who disagree with my position on rights for the unborn, but I would still implore you to visit Ms. Myer’s website (www.choices4life.org ) and listen to her testimony.

Much has been noted and celebrated about the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. this past week.  I don’t know that I can add anything more to the praise of a man who had the courage to stand strong for righteous convictions in the face of adversity and oppression.  However, I would like to draw everyone’s attention to a very important quote from Dr. King that he wrote from a jail cell in Birmingham, Alabama:

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.  We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny.  Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly…”

If only we could apply Dr. King’s wisdom to a culture that seems to ignore the rights of a silent, defenseless group of citizens: the unborn.  If only Dr. King were here in person to speak for the injustice they suffer.  Would we listen then?

While we House members are vigorously working through numerous bills in our respective committees, I sure appreciate hearing from those of you who have emailed or called.  Thank you for sharing your thoughts and concerns about the various issues we will be addressing this legislative session.

In my email inbox this week, there is one issue that stands head-and-shoulders above all the rest: gun ownership.  As a strong supporter of the U.S. Constitution (including the Second Amendment), I also share your concern for the Federal government’s numerous proposals to curtail – and in some cases eliminate – your right to keep and bear arms.

I am troubled by those who would exploit a tragedy by pushing an anti-gun agenda and essentially abrogating the letter and intent of our Second Amendment rights.  At the same time, I would also agree that we need to work hard to mitigate these various acts of senseless violence that is plaguing our nation.

For starters, we should re-evaluate the wisdom of so-called “gun free” zones.  The problem with establishing such a place, by law, is that only law-abiding citizens respect them.  “Gun free” zones serve as a billboard to criminals who wish carry out their destructive schemes with little or no resistance.  Be assured, I will be working hard to ensure that our Second Amendment and our children are safe.

As always, feel free to contact me with your issues or concerns as they arise either by phone (515-281-3221), email (greg.heartsill@legis.iowa.gov), or in person when visiting the Capitol.  Again, thank you for the honor of representing you in House District 28.  God bless!

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