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, the foundation for all of them is a little further on.
A friend said to me this week, in other words: If I wanted 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 it’s exactly those type of off-the-point comments and arguments made about our violent culture or that guns are tools (like knives or heavy stones), which slides our focus from assault/automatic weapons.
True, at times, we are a violent culture.
What does that have to do with these weapons?
It’s only 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, 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 we’ve moved on from that beginning, the overarching theme that began civilization?
Everything has simplicity. See it, understand it, or not, it’s there. The evil illness, that consumed the Connecticut shooter, would’ve chosen the best tool available for the task it felt necessary. Yes, simple truth. But, can we then all say that’s an intelligent argument for proliferating these weapons, whose only purpose is to end large quantities of human life?
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 the host of issues. I’ll leave it to you to fill in the blanks and explain my reasoning for all.
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 them all, 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 member’s responsibility is not only to themselves but to every other citizen they’re bound. 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 hide from it, we can’t wash our hands of it or call it someone else’s, the responsibility doesn’t go away. Most importantly, we can’t selfishly choose which rights, based on the personal cost, we’re going to support.
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 every one of those rights.
As for the primary issue; gun control. 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. Because, by law each State can form defense forces completely independent from the federal government, I believe that our laws cover our responsibility to the Second Amendment and to our unalienable right to National and State 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, endangering our security.
This perversion, based on tradition and the efforts of a well-funded lobbying group, has absolutely nothing to do with the Bill of Rights or any basic human right, except where the right to own 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.