Violent video games or blood-thirsty Hollywood movies or psychotropic drugs or de-institutionalization of mentally ill people
Facts Another Fatality of Gun Violence Debate
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The first problem with the gun control debate is that it is riddled with emotion. Those on the Left feel that guns should be outlawed and those on the Right believe the right to keep and bear arms in the Second Amendment of the Constitution is unlimited.
The second problem is that in the United States we have never enjoyed great success eradicating societal problems so there is no reason to think that this time will be any different from attempts against drug use, promiscuity, or smoking, for example.
The third problem is that the American Founding Fathers lived in the 18th Century and are far removed from our world today. However, we have been entrusted with the legacy of their Bill of Rights, which includes the Second Amendment.
The fourth problem is that President Obama, who is trying to implement further gun restrictions, has no credibility with the gun-owning public.
On December 14, 2012, at Connecticut’s Sandy Hook Elementary, 20 school children were killed by a lone, crazed gunman in what is NOT the worst massacre of school children in American history. Which brings me to my first point: Only facts and reason and deliberation and thoughtful action can solve any problem, not snap decisions such as President Obama’s plan to seize weapons to somehow redeem the murdered children of Sandy Hook. According to the Internet encyclopedia Wikipedia, 38 children were killed in Bath, Michigan, in 1926 by a man who packed a school with explosives and detonated them. I’m sure that in 1926, nobody thought to ban explosives in this country after Bath, Michigan, and how many of us have actually heard of Bath, Michigan, the way we have heard of Sandy Hook?
While Sandy Hook makes the news and the headlines, far more Americans each year are killed by handguns than by assault-style rifles. Any attempt to ban assault weapons is dishonest and the actual intention is to ban all guns despite federal government protestations to the contrary.
The number of deaths by homicide in 2011 was 16,259 – a little more than five per 100,000 people. Interestingly, the murder rate in the United States has REMAINED CONSTANT for its entire history hovering between 5 and 9 per 100,000 people. So, right now, we are on the LOW SIDE of that average. That means despite our violent, dysfunctional society, murder is at an historical low.
By contrast, the number of people killed in 2011 by unintentional injury was 122,777. President Obama, how about an executive order outlawing unintentional injury? It’s preposterous, of course, but shows that the emotion of the gun deaths stunts reasonable discourse. Car deaths killed more than 54,000 Americans in 1972, a staggering 26 people out of every 100,000. Again, imagine if we had attempted to outlaw cars then, and in fact, no serious movement has arisen to seek such a measure. Add tobacco use and alcohol abuse to the litany of actions that produce considerably more deaths than guns each year. It’s not too hard to understand that although tragic, and unfortunate and wrenchingly sad, especially in this case with the Sandy Hook victims being innocent children, gun deaths are a sad fact of American life or in this case death.
It is wrong though to say, “Oh well, little children are going to have to die from gun deaths because we can’t do anything about it because of the Second Amendment.” I don’t think anyone is doing that on the Right. Nevertheless, we have to deal with why we have a Second Amendment and that is to defend ourselves from government tyranny. That’s the reason for it and that right in the Bill of Rights has to remain unlimited.
The first premise of the Continental Army of the American Colonies was that it would consist of “citizen soldiers.” They were “minutemen,” people who were ready to respond “in a minute” to perceived attacks on their liberty by the British. The American Revolution was precipitated when the British in 1775 marched on Concord, Massachusetts, in an attempt to confiscate the rifles housed in the arsenal there. The British did not want the colonists to have those weapons and they were determined to take them by force. In fact, all tyrants want to disarm the people as the Communists and the Nazis both did in the 20th Century leading to staggering numbers of millions murdered, including nearly six million Jews in Europe between 1941 and 1945 in the Holocaust.
It is important to note the exact wording of the Second Amendment: “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.” Clearly, the Founding Fathers saw the Second Amendment in the context of a “militia” and a “free State” and not independent of the right to bear arms. We do know from their writings that the Founding Fathers were concerned about government tyranny, but they could have constructed the Second Amendment to read like the First Amendment which said “Congress shall make no law … respecting the establishment of religion … or abridging freedom of speech, etc…” If they had, the Second Amendment might have read the following way: “Congress shall make no law to restrict the right of the people to acquire and bear arms.” But it is not written that way. It is clear that the right to keep and bear arms is written in the context of a militia and a free state. The Founding Fathers feared that a strong federal government would overwhelm the individual States, which in fact happened during the 1861 to 1865 War Between the States or as some have called it, the War of Northern Aggression. In other words, in the mind of the Founding Fathers, free peoples have militias and bear arms. But somehow we don’t think that way today or at least not enough of us do.
In modern America, we have many societal problems but they all pale in comparison to the severity of our federal deficit and national debt. President Obama, the most cynical, disingenuous president in U.S. history, has neither the credibility, nor the mandate to further regulate individual gun ownership. The only thing that has reduced fatalities from cars and smoking and alcohol has been education and cultural awakenings although laws followed encouraging Americans to use these products more safely.
Of course, President Obama places no blame on violent video games or blood-thirsty Hollywood movies or psychotropic drugs or de-institutionalization of mentally ill people as factors in these mass killings because that would entail considering all of the causes and conditions rather than dwelling on the deadly symptoms.
At the end of the day, guns are like anything else: they are tools that can be used skillfully for good purpose or not. We ought to return to the original intent of the Second Amendment and that is to have more citizens engage in military training. We need to establish those “well-regulated” militias and regulated does not mean “regulated” by government. What “well-regulated” meant in the 18th Century vernacular was that people trained capably in units and groups and acquired skills for national and personal defense. Militias are necessary because “two are better than one” and military units are better than “two” when it comes to defending yourself against government tyranny. We need town, county, city and state militia everywhere in the United States. More trained individuals ready to respond “in a minute” and guns should be under lock and key in schools ready to be utilized when madmen come to do mayhem.
In conclusion, we need many changes in this country, but perhaps none greater than stronger schools, both private and public, teaching American values so we can still have a future rather than the latest saga in the Obama presidential nightmare: a knee-jerk, gun-grabbing agenda.