There was a time when book and movie ratings were intended to be cautionary. Now they are more of an invitation to view and hear “mature adult” sex, violence and language. Video games have followed suit and many sensationalize graphic violence and score the players by how much destruction and death can be racked up.

There also was a time when the early evening TV news shows were sponsored by headache medications. Now we get come-hither ads from the ED drug companies.

And there was a time when war meant temporarily taking tools we used for protection or providing food and using them to defend a country and way of life. When the conflict was over, those tools returned to their originally intended purpose.

The times really are changing. When the AR-15 rifle was developed in the early 1950s, it was not wanted by the U.S. military. The manufacturer was then allowed to remove the full-automatic firing option and sell it to the civilian population. Later in the 1960s the AR-15 became fully embraced by the military and renamed the M16. The U.S. military now had a firearm that was first championed by the civilian population. There is something wrong with this picture.

Wise men have said that he who fails to learn from history is doomed to repeat it. Let’s recall that the Roman Empire endured a long time, but eventually collapsed upon itself amidst growing decadence. Supposedly, Nero chose only to play a violin as Rome burned.

Here we are, with America nearly half way through its third century. Perhaps we are witnessing the early signs of our own nation’s demise. I don’t hear violins being played, however, many of our glassy-eyed elected leaders are waving copies of the U.S. Constitution as they spew sound bites about freedom of speech and expression, and protection of our Second Amendment rights. I also see an anything-goes society.

I have nightmares of our citizenry lurching toward one form or another of mutually assured destruction.

Carey R. Brier

Axtell Drive

Summerville