The following article has been re-posted by
permission from the National Rifle Association.
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Next Generation Is Our Hope but Must Understand Freedom
Despite the media's daily deliveries of doom and despair, the next
generation of American kids isn't the reckless, valueless band that the
networks' marketing moguls would have us fear. On the contrary, for the
first time in a long time, the next generation appears to be the next great
generation, who like those who won World War II, could spell the
salvation of freedom around the globe.
The key question is whether we give them the passion and the vision to
do so. Because if we fail, with freedom facing such grave new threats in
the international arena, the Millennial Generation could be the generation
that throws it all away.
As you may know, hundreds of anti-gun groups are now working within
the United Nations to impose a kind of "global gun control," not just in
war-torn countries overseas, but here within the United States.
They've been working behind closed doors on their schemes for years,
but this July, at the U.N. in New York City, they plan to convene a major
global summit on the "Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons."
For the first time in history, these international interlopers want to control
not just weapons owned by nations, but also firearms owned by honest,
lawful civilians. And they claim that because most illicit firearms start out
as legal firearms, the only way to control illegal guns is to restrict,
reduce and ultimately remove legally owned guns from law-abiding,
Against that backdrop, consider the next generation - those born after
1982. In their book "Millennials Rising," authors Neil Howe and William
Strauss call these kids "the next great generation."
They're optimistic and upbeat. Nine in 10 describe themselves as happy
and confident about the world they're inheriting. They're civic-minded
team players. Nine in 10 feel close to their parents. And half say they
trust government to do the right thing.
What's more, they're more conventional, law-abiding and respectful of
authority. During the past six years, the numbers of homicide, violent
crime, abortion and pregnancy among teens have dropped at the fastest
rates ever recorded. A teen-ager today is less likely to fall victim to
violent crime than at any time since Lyndon Johnson was president. And
despite all the hysteria, a teen is far more likely to be hit by a bolt of
lightning than be killed at school.
According to Howe and Strauss, they are the most ethnically diverse,
multicultural, least Caucasian, and first truly "global" generation. They're
more open to the fads, fashions and political philosophies of other
nations than earlier generations. And while they're probably less
prejudiced toward all things American than some earlier generations,
they're also probably less enamored and impassioned with what their
grandparents would have proudly proclaimed as "the American way."
So we have a double-edged sword: The Millennial Generation is active,
engaged and expects to play a leading role in the history of America and
the world. But their worldliness and sophistication could blind them to
the genuine miracles of human freedom that constitute America's
signature and singular, unsurpassed blessing.
Let's not tiptoe around this truth: America is the freest nation anywhere,
ever. No other country in history can claim the quality of life or degree of
liberty that many Americans today take for granted. We're right to be
self-righteous about that distinction. And we're right to guard it with the
most jealous and zealous attention.
Make no mistake: Unless we give this Millennial Generation a clear,
cause-and-effect understanding of what freedom is, how it works and
what it takes to protect it, then that uniquely American birthright could be
lost to history forever.
Whatever you do, don't shrug it off. The world has been relatively free
now for several decades of the tyranny and terror that faced the great
"G.I. Generation" of World War II. But sleeping giants inevitably awaken,
and the cycle of history never strays far from its orbit. Make sure the
next generation is prepared. Its children and grandchildren will thank God
Charlton Heston is president of National Rifle Association. This is his
column from the June issue of the magazine America's 1st Freedom.
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