URBANA — Representative Nino Vitale discussed controversial issues with Champaign County residents during a Thursday evening Town Hall meeting.
Vitale discussed a plethora of topics including Red Flag gun laws, the media and “the moral center of society.”
Vitale said he felt like society has lost what was once a general agreement about things in society.
This includes “what we think a family should be, whether we should have guns or not and whether we think abortion should be legal or not,” Vitale said.
“I don’t believe we have a moral center anymore,” he continued. “And we are getting further separated in general agreement … It’s fundamentally challenged.”
Some of this derives from what children are and are not taught both in schools and at home with their families, Vitale claimed.
Rick Zerkle said he “wholeheartedly agreed” with Vitale’s morality assessment.
“We’ve always had freedom with morality, but now freedom without morality is being pushed on us and it’ll never work,” he said. Rick Zerkle’s wife Jeanette Zerkle said the problem with morality is in the government.
“As far as morality, we set the people that we elect to a higher standard than we set somebody we don’t know on the street,” she said. “Yet we have people we have elected disrespecting everybody …
These are the people our children are supposed to look up to … We should at least start in our government — that’s where the morality needs to start.”
Vitale furthered Jeanette Zerkle’s sentiment by saying government is a reflection of society.
“We get the government of the society that we have,” he said. “It’s kind of a bottom-up thing.”
Nicholas Dugan questioned what Vitale thought about arming teachers in schools.
“As far as having armed guards in schools, that’s none of my dang business,” Vitale said. “I want people to do what’s best for them. I want the locals to decide what they think is best and keep me out of it.”
Dave Johnson said he had concerns about “irrational gun control.”
“With Red Flag laws, can they not be easily abused?” he questioned. Vitale said Red Flag laws are abused in other states, but the problem is actually with the media.
“One thing I would caution all of you on if you’re getting something from the media is to assume it’s wrong 99.99 percent of the time,” he said.
Vitale said his parting pieces of advice were as follows: “Contact your representative more. Don’t trust what the media is telling you — they don’t always read the bills. And work on the things that are closest to you that you can have a direct effect on.”