When this outdoor column was born some 16 years ago, I swore it would only and always be about the outdoors; on rare occasions an outdoor topic or adventure from another state, but the outdoors none-the-less.


My wife has often suggested I venture into other genres, but I have resisted. Here in the waning days of an absolutely tumultuous year 2020, I find myself needing badly to say some things that will deviate from the outdoors, and hoping that after 16 years you readers will allow me this detour.


Besides, I fear if I don’t say them soon, I’ll explode, then there will be no more outdoor columns for sure. Plus, unless the USA "rights our ship" soon, all our campgrounds and woods may be camped full of people fleeing burning cities. I see three specific things, that if corrected soon, might save our bacon.


First and foremost, as a country and as a people we need God back in our lives. We have succeeded in pushing God out of our homes, our schools, our government and I fear He is barely welcome in some churches anymore.


Now, don’t read into this more than I intend. I’m not blaming all this unrest and devastation on God, suggesting He brought it on us or is allowing it to happen, although I believe that is a distinct possibility.


What I am suggesting is that the only way for us as a nation to conquer all this turmoil is through a personal relationship with Jesus and by allowing God to be the God of the USA again. And by the way, without God there would be no Kansas Outdoors to write about.


Secondly, we as a nation must regain a respect for authority. I see a tremendous lack of respect in our country for authority figures, parents, school teachers, coaches, work supervisors, law enforcement officers and even government officials and our president. Now I can hear the argument already "if those in authority respect me, I’ll respect them."


No, that’s not how this works. You can use that excuse with your siblings, your coworkers and your friends, but not with those in authority over you. Yes, it’s wonderful to have authority figures who are kind and also give us respect, but those in authority over us are due our respect even if it’s only for the position.


Being a person of authority is not a popularity contest, nor are they there to be your best friend.


Thirdly, we as a people need to begin making decisions and forming opinions based on facts. Today in our world, far too many decisions are made and opinions formed based on emotions alone.


Yes, there is a place for emotions in that process, but factual information needs to be the driving force.


Today’s media plays on our emotions and makes it terribly hard to stick to the facts. I can hardly stand to watch the commercials showing dogs that are skin and bones anchored to a tree with a log chain.


The facts are that its extremely rare to find dogs like that; the vast majority of dogs in our nation are treated as well or better than some humans.


But those pictures make the viewer tear-up and reach for their wallet to contribute to their cause. These tactics are used by organizations in all walks of life to get us to throw facts to the wind and go full-tilt ahead based on our emotions alone.


I don’t mean to make this all sound over-simplistic, and while changing the latter two will have a profound effect on the attitudes and demeanors of us as United States citizens, it will probably do little to cease the wildfires and calm the hurricanes.


But renewing or establishing a personal relationship with Jesus and making God the God of the USA again, will humble us before Him and invite Him to heal our land. See you again next week from the Kansas Outdoors!


Steve can be contacted by email at stevenrgilliland@gmail.com