The (Gun) Problem We All Live With
Well, we’re here again. Another terrible mass shooting. Another round of calls for action on guns. Another show of apathy on the part of lawmakers who could actually do something and another fit of screaming from “Patriotic” gun owners who are terrified they’ll lose their golden right to firearms.
There are so many aspects to this I don’t even know where to begin, but the worst part of all is, when you really think about it, do you know what will change as a result of this latest shooting.
My moral side wants to say that 600 Americans getting shot in a single incident ought to be enough to bring about SOME kind of change, but the realist in me is quick to slap down any such optimistic thinking.
For those of us who champion change, the realities are just not in our favor. Consider the facts:
- We have a group of people for whom even the mere mention of potential action on guns causes them to freak out about “tyrannical government”, “socialism” and “overregulation”.
- We have a media who seems terrifed to play hardball and actually stir the majority of the public to get on board and push for legislative change.
- We have an organization, the National Rifle Association, who practically owns an entire political party in this country. A party that currently holds the House of Representatives, the Senate, the Presidency AND the majority of state legislatures. A part y that has repeatedly and blatantly displayed an absolutely indifference to any kind of sensible action involving guns.
- Even if by some miracle, a common sense gun law does get signed into law, it will then almost certainly be challenged in the courts, where a Conservative leaning Supreme Court will be more than happy to strike it down and set things back exactly the way they were.
All these arguments, all this debate, all this anger and all this bloodshed over one single sentence:
“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”
The Second Amendment was written as such because the founders realized that America didn’t have a highly effectively national army at the time and it may be nessary to utilize citizen militias in order for their fledlgling nation to grow and prosper. Service in the militia was intended to be mandatory for men aged 16-60. Put simply: People could own guns in line with their responsibilities to the militia service.
Then there’s that whole “well regulated” part. You see, even the founders knew you shouldn’t be stupid when it comes to guns. They realized that, to be effective, the militias had to be more than just a bunch of country yahoos with muskets who barely knew what they were doing. They had to be trained, they had to be organized, they had to have oversight. Everything an established army needs. If the Second Amendmeny was purely for the intent of codifying the right of American citizens to own guns the first two parts of the sentence become completely unecessary. But there they are.
The founders never envisioned assault weapons that could fire 100 rounds in 9 seconds. They never envisioned high powered rifles that could take someone down from 100 yards away. They never envisioned handguns with high capacity clips.
The real discussion should be on what “the right of the people to keep and bear arms” actually means. If you limit a person to three Assault rifles, five shotguns and unlimited handguns, are you really infringing on their ability to bear arms? Put another way: You can eat perfectly well without having to buy out the whole grocery store.
The right ot have something doesn’t necessarily equate to the right to have as much of it as you want.
These are the common sense discussions we should be having. But we’re not.
Because one group of people doesn’t even want to sit down at the table.
And unfortunately that group holds the majority of the power.
When we can’t even, as a society, agree that it’s pretty reasonable that banning something as dangerous as “bump stocks” wouldn’t infringe anyones right to own weapons, we’ve completely lost this battle.
A classroom of dead children didn’t do it.
A dance club of dead partygoers didn’t do it.
And apparently, a massacre of concert fans, resulting in over 500 injuries and 60 deaths…didn’t do it.
All of this brings us to the darkest truth in America today.
As long as one group of people values their unfettered right to gun access more than human lives and common sense…nothing will do it.
And that’s a real sad statement for the self proclaimed “Greatest country in the world.”
America needs to be better or our children will never forgive us.