One Week Thinking About Last Friday

I tried to focus on gun control. There are a host of issues surrounding the massacre last week and I’ll get to what I believe is their foundation a little further on.

A friend said to me this week, in other words; if I were to find the real problem, I’d have to dig a lot further than assault/automatic weapons. Because, not only does the US lead the world in school shootings, the US comes close to or leads the world in every kind of violent crime, even where weapons aren’t used at all.

I believe that it’s exactly that point made about violence, which blurs our focus. At times, we are a violent culture, nothing but truth there! So what? What does that have to do with assault/automatic weapons?

It’s a small part of our population that feels the need for these weapons and that need sickens me. Death isn’t the answer to anything, life is. These tools, as some call them, are instruments of death, nothing else. Sharp and blunt instruments or even high explosives have the blessing of other purposes.

The hunter-gatherer that we came from can’t be exorcised from our evolutionary history, but if we are to move on, don’t we have to come to grips with the fact that we aren’t them any longer? Or, at least, decide whether we want to be or not? Isn’t the idea that as a nation we have moved on from that beginning, the overarching theme that began civilization?

Everything has simplicity. See it, understand it, or not, it’s there. The illness, that consumed the Connecticut shooter, would’ve chosen the best tool available for the evil task it felt necessary to fulfill. Can we then all say that’s an intelligent argument for the proliferation of these weapons?

Could our healthcare and judicial systems have stopped or greatly reduced the violent manifestation of mental illness last week? Would not having these weapons at his disposal prevented, at least the scope of, the tragedy last week? The simple answer to both is yes and it leads me to ask. Why don’t we?

There is an answer and it brings with it more difficult questions. Just because they’re more difficult doesn’t mean we should stop asking and trying to answer. At this point logic gets muddied by a host of issues. I’ll jump ahead to the foundation cause for all of them because it’ll take too much time explaining each point. I’ll leave it to you to fill in the blanks.

If in fact there are such things as basic and unalienable human rights and that our government uses that premise as its starting point, I believe it is our government’s responsibility to ensure all of them, for all citizens, and it’s the responsibility of every citizen to ensure government enacts and enforces laws to that end.

It makes no difference if we talk about one huge government of ten-billion citizens or a million governments of ten-thousand. Each citizen’s responsibility is not only to themselves but with each and every other citizen they’re bound together. Or, not. There are no half measures. Government binds us all or eventually none of us.

I know its cliché, but with power come responsibilities and in a representative republic each citizen has power. We can’t complain about it or hide from it and the responsibility doesn’t go away. We can’t just wash our hands of it or call it someone else’s or worse selfishly choose with what rights we’re going to be responsible for or not.

I said there are no half measures and I believe that with everything I am. I have the same rights as every other person and we all need to fight for and on occasion sacrifice our convenience for all of each other’s rights.

As for the primary issue; I’m not a constitutional scholar, but I believe the Second Amendment is speaking to the nation’s security. I would even agree, if someone said it spoke to the security of States. By law each State can form defense forces completely independent from the federal government. And therefore, I believe that our laws cover our responsibility to the Second Amendment and to our unalienable right to national security.

But, even if you believe as the conservative Supreme Court did that the second amendment gives people the right to defend themselves with guns, it still doesn’t allow for assault/automatic weapons. Allowing citizens to own these weapons perverts the Second Amendment, turning a privilege into a right. In other words, we change the right of the state to security, into the right of unorganized people to roam the land with these weapons and endanger our security.

This perversion is based on tradition and the efforts of a well-funded lobbying group and has absolutely nothing to do with the Bill of Rights or any basic human right, except for the part where the right to have these weapons takes away the right of countless people to life.

We may never purge the need some of us have for violence, and the evil of mental illnesses may always look for death, but I know for a fact that it’s not a basic or unalienable human right to make it easier for either.



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