Monday, February 15, 2010

Second Amendment Versus The Sixth Commandment

We have more than a passing interest in the recent tragedy in Alabama, having spent many a long hour in a room with over stressed faculty members. Now it seems in addition to worrying that the College of Arts and Letters guy will launch into one of his interminable disquisitions only marginally connected to the matter at hand, we have to wonder which of our colleagues is armed.

It seems we can’t pick up a paper, or watch the news for more than a few days without hearing about someone shooting someone else, usually a family member or co-worker. Sometimes both.

Each time yet another person or group of people are wounded or die because of gun violence the pro Second Amendment types fall out of the woodwork to announce that if there had only been more guns the massacre would have been averted, or at least minimized.


Are we supposed to believe that if all six of her colleagues had been armed at Amy Bishop’s tenure hearing the results would have been less tragic? Less bloody?

Of course not, yet we are forced to watch the NRA's little paranoid Kabuki over and over because the one group of people who could do something about it—politicians—have a vested interest in the status quo. Well, perhaps that’s too harsh. There may actually be politicians who understand that there is at least a correlation between the ease with which guns can be obtained in this country and the fact that America loses more of its citizens to gun violence each year than any other industrialized nation on the planet.

The problem is, like the rest of us, politicians have a gun to their heads, except theirs is a metaphorical gun held by the NRA which doesn’t shoot bullets, it shoots money. So while the rest of us are practicing duck and cover, or wondering if that guy down in accounting who got fired last week is going to come back guns a blazing, politicians paint the biggest target they can on their backs and give speeches making it seem like the Second Amendment came down from Jesus himself.

And you know the most ironic thing? When James Madison originally proposed the amendment, the anti-Federalists—proto NRA types—were against it, lead by none other than Patrick Henry, the give me liberty or give me death guy!

Today however if an elected official even gives the slightest indication that he or she might be thinking about possibly perhaps opening just a discussion around only the feasibility of perhaps accepting the premise—just for argument’s sake—that  guns might be a tad too easy for some unbalanced people to get their hands on some of the time the battle cry goes out: “You will pry my nine millimeter Viagra from my limp and flaccid hands.”

And so innocent people continue to die, their families and friends continue to suffer and politicians continue to sit down when the time comes to stand up.

One of the things even Madison and Henry would have agreed on is the first duty of government is to protect its citizens, even if that means protect them from each other.


Seeing Eye Chick said...

The Second Amendment Issue opens all kinds of cans of worms.

I get what you are saying, and I have had to work, wondering about that dude in accounting too. I have also dealt with stalkers, and just plain old criminals and gang members doing their version of patrolling the streets. I have also been very thankful a few times when I have been armed, because someone was attempting to violently enter my space for the purposes of some sort of criminal activity.

When you say, unbalanced people--what do you mean? Therein lies the rub. Where does mild depression end, and talking to your rice crispies {who answer begin}?

Depending on state laws, the professors at some colleges may well be within their rights to carry a liscensed concealed weapon. Even if the school denies them that right, they could conceivably fight it. Or they could carry some other kind of weapon, pepper spray, kubatons, tasers etc., You know as well as I do, that there are no shortage of whackadoos on campus.

There are times, when knowing people are armed can deter violence or in the very least squelch it. There are other times when all it does is escallate bad situations into catastrophic ones.

I tell people, when you think about the Right to Bear Arms, compare that with the privilege of driving a car. Now imagine every dumb ass, and every reckless driver or inattentive Mr or MRS McGoo with a Gun. How does that make you feel? I think this is a good way to start a discussion.

There are valid fears for the Second Amendment and there are valid fears of this inability of Americans to keep guns out of the hands of criminals, and out of the hands of the Violently, mentally ill.

Like everything else in this country, the sides of both discussions are so polarized, that no true dialogue can be initiated, not even hypothetically.

scripto said...

It would be nice if all the guns were gone. But I think the 2nd Ammendment is pretty clear on the issue and applies to individuals. The biggest fear around here between hippies and rednecks alike is that the government will take their guns away. Politically it would be almost impossible to enact stricter gun controls.
Of course, the whole armed citizen idea is bullshit. It's easy to get a carry permit here in PA. All you have to do is apply and not have a felony record or be under indictment or a PFA. But hardly anyone carries. Who wants to lug around a pistol all the time for the one in 5 lifetimes chance that you're going to run into a situation where it will do some good? It was bad enough being tied to cigarettes and a lighter in the old days. I'm armed at home but I don't know why I bother. I'm so paranoid about curious grandkids that I got the guns and ammo locked up so far away from each other that it would take me way too long to put it all together. Of course, it's Pennsylvania and you can buy all sorts of neat shit. No permit, no license, no safety course, no nothing. Well, not exactly everyone. There's an instant background check. You can be blind but not crazy or a convicted felon.

Seeing Eye Chick said...

Maybe its because I am female. But I am glad that I have had a gun when those lifetime confrontations happen. There have been a couple where I wasn't armed but wish I had been.

Carrying isn't bad. It just takes practice. As for safety. It amazes me that people who cannot afford a gun safe, don't just change the door knob on their closet so that it locks

Its not that hard. Wear the key around your neck--no more worrying about curious kids.