Ed.: 022018 – Words: 1875 – Audio: N/A
Post Introduction –
As the title above lightly suggests, as a nation we spend a lot of time bemoaning the effects of the Second Amendment to the point you’d think it was the only amendment that mattered. Yet that is only one of the ten Bill of Rights… and quite honestly, when it comes to our freedoms we exercise daily as Americans, the Second is the least applied as we go about our daily business. Personally I think the First Amendment, the one that bothers Trump so much, freedom of speech and the press, is far more important.
In order to try and figure out how to fix this mass shooter problem we indeed need to know and understand the motivations of those who seem so steadfast against seeing any sort of gun control, even if such control does absolutely nothing toward the Constitutional right to own guns. We have a president that wants to control what the media says about him and that is far more scary to me and part of reality I am concerned about as an American.
But be that as it may, there is a segment of our population that believes…. well, let me put it this way. A number of years ago I was watching a news segment somewhere that was covering a large NRA convention and guest speaker (and known gun rights and NRA supporter when not acting), Charlton Heston. He walked to the podium carrying an old flintlock musket from the Revolutionary War era… held it high into the air and loudly proclaimed in his distinctive and religiously authoritarian voice, “From my cold, dead hands!”, which absolutely brought the house down with screams and cheers. He certainly earned his “Guns & Moses” nickname that night. My point here is that there is an almost fanatical devotion by right wing, and mostly far right wing folks toward this amendment, which is represented by some powerful interest groups to the point that they will be difficult to attempt a compromise… which is what I am presenting here.
The underlying argument by gun rights conservatism is entirely based on some fear that government is going to turn into some fascist state that will goose-step into their homes and take their guns… and from that the ability of the populace to rise up and overthrow the nasty government will be lost. Of course, those inside the government desiring this outcome are….. those nasty liberals who have formed some secret handshake deep state (and of course Trump’s obsessively favorite nemesis, Obama, and his sidekick… Hillary and her -damn- 30,000 emails.)
Two points I want to make regarding this nonsense obsession that firearm ownership is necessary to keep government in line.
First – Look… if you like guns “just because”, and you like to blow up targets, do hunting, entertain the ballistic science of it all, be a collector, have one (or more) for legitimate home protection for that possible home invader, you’re a survivalist, or even feel like carrying one in public for defense when you go to Walmart, that’s all cool to me. Hell, that’s what I like. I owned lots of guns myself back in the day and I was a member of the NRA. But to profess some higher concept of needing 50 guns and assault weapons to defend yourself from a renegade government, or overthrow an authoritarian government in a grand revolution or a foreign invasion is a bit much. In fact, I will go so far as to suggest that if your ONLY reason you defend so vehemently gun rights is that you don’t trust the U.S. government, Washington politicians, or our democracy… then do yourself a favor and find a more acceptable country in which to live; why put up with the stress. In 250 years there’s been not one iota of evidence to suggest our government is on some edge of turning into some dictatorship to the point where you think you can change that with your gun.
Second – Let’s assume for the sake of some wild “Red Dawn” scenario (which in itself has the “enemy” being an improbable assault from Nicaragua in one version, and North Korea in another version???) or even D.C. turns into a renegade government that needs to be overthrown (even the two “White House assault” films had American thugs/mercenaries for hire for a revenge thing, and the other was, again, those nasty North Koreans). I can only see marginal value in the idea that you owning guns is going to make the country safer against an organized opposing enemy. For one thing, most of the millions of guns in private hands in this country have owners all wanting to kick an enemy’s ass in their own way. No one will be organized, no one making strategic field decisions on targets, no one in position of adequate command-and-control because everyone wants to fight in their own way, and pull their own trigger when they damn well want. Everyone wants to be in a guerilla army so they don’t have to take orders from too many people. If you are basing your right to own and bear arms on some idea that if the government doesn’t perform in a manner you want that you will be ready for battle… or you have some off-the-grid mentality that you will go down fighting like those folks at Ruby Ridge or Waco (“..from my cold, dead hands!”)… you need to get off the medical marijuana and think again.
Bottom line… conservatives of this ilk hold onto some firm idea that “liberals” are out to take away the Constitution and subsequently our democratic freedoms. It’s these right wing folks who will not care one bit for any sort of a compromise regarding gun control…. even if said controls have no impact whatsoever on the basic pretext of the Second Amendment. Well, let’s for a moment entertain their obsession…. we leave any sort of “gun control” out of the picture; are these folks going to totally support.. and I mean actively support, a national mental health plan? Nope.. they will just sit home on their recliners, in their wife beater tees, swilling beer and dry firing their weapon at the TV (btw.. that’s my stereotype that I favor; I am sure there are successful rich people that are this obsessive as well.. duh).
Wording of the Second Amendment…
I’m not going to spend copious amounts of time on debating/explaining my opinion on the wording; we can do that all day long. But at the end of the day we accept the amendment not so much “as it was written” but rather “as it has been interpreted” by the Supreme Court over the years of our history. That makes it law and hence becomes the Constitution I will defend. I personally think the amendment needs to be re-written for clarity, with an addition toward the management of future weaponry given this misguided idea that gun ownership needs to keep up with military technology (ray guns, etc. that will cause catastrophic damage; ). But we all know an amendment re-write will never happen for many various reasons.
[If the reader wishes to read my broader explanation and opinion on this amendment’s wording I suggest going to my former blog HERE.]
The greater concern with this “demographic of the obsessive” as it relates to gun-ownership-meaning-no-gun-control-because-it-chips-away-at-the-Second-Amendment.. is that their cause is enhanced by the gun manufacturers and mostly the NRA. The gun lobby has been the greatest influence in feeding the fear that government is risky and liberals want to eliminate the Second Amendment.. both idiotic assumptions. We will discuss the NRA and gun brokers in another post. They may be the target to fight to pass any sort of gun control.. but oddly they are not an “enemy”; they are legitimate enterprises.
THE TAKEAWAY OF THIS POST –
As we try to understand the roadblocks with proposing any sort of gun control we can TRY to make proposals that answers all needs. The idea is that gun ownership shall not be infringed but the possibility of “you can’t own THAT specific gun” may have to take precedent (when the military comes out with ray guns do we permit the public to own those too?) for the public good.. like restricting assault weapons in some form.
I am favoring an intense application of mental health screening as the greater solution to mass shootings. But that will take a while, and I will discuss that detail in the next post.
I recommend assault weapon restrictions (which I leave for others to define the degree) for a period of time, as a kind of immediate “cooling off period” for the nation (to try and contain future shootings), to maybe extend for two years… until a mental health screening program can be developed. Trump could very likely just sign an emergency declaration given the country has experienced 18 school shootings this year so far. He obviously will not do it, so it will be up to Congress, and likely they will have to override his veto. The question is, will Congress do it? We may have to wait until the mid-term election changes things at the end of the year. That would be unfortunate for the nation, but in the current political climate, very possible.
This “two year moratorium” on whatever restrictions are put in place will buy the nation time to develop a mental health screening process, assure the public that something with some teeth is addressing the immediate problem, and assure the Second Amendment protectors that this bill, in whatever form and restrictions are implemented, terminates in two years. This is a logical compromise. Yes, I know, some conservative skeptics will still think that giving Congress a temporary “inch” will make Congress want to remove the entire amendment. entirely down the line. Well, there’s no evidence of that ever happening. Honestly, if you feel Congress will betray you down the line if you give an inch under a compromise, then maybe you are in the wrong country if you have no faith in the system. There’s also one other realization to point out. Conservatives paint liberals with a broad political brush and presume they are all marching to the same drummer. There are over 300 million guns in this country and not all are owned by conservatives. The right wing needs to get over this conspiracy fiction they perceive with all liberals. Conservatives love the Second Amendment and the liberals I see around me love the Bill of Rights. A win-win for both sides.
My “solution” here brings the emphasis to mental health problems.. exactly what Conservatives want. Is seems to me it would behoove the gun lobby to start spending some money to lobby for a comprehensive national mental health policy instead of waiting for the next mass shooting, and having to defend yet again, against gun controls amid the screams of the anguished parents and outraged public. In other words, the gun lobby needs to have a much larger stake in solving this problem. The old adage applies.. if you’re not part of the solution then you are part of the problem.