A short piece in the USA Today about 10 days ago caught my eye and gave me one more reason to doubt the shared values of all Americans. Without recounting the entire article, it noted that besides disinfectant and toilet paper there’s another few items Americans are evidently hoarding: Guns and ammunition. Asked why one of the people interviewed said, “you’ve got to protect your own.” Really? Is that what 244 years of shared history and overcoming hard times has taught those of you who are diehard 2nd Amendment rights advocates?
Who exactly is it you expect to protect “your own” from ... your fellow United States citizens? Do you honestly expect fellow Americans to get so desperate that they’d break and enter your home to steal toilet paper and disinfectant? If that’s your theory then the people who’d be attempting to rob you of such valuable goods would most likely be – wait for it – your fellow gun owners! Come on people. Think like Americans, not a bunch of radical religious maniacs like ISIS. We’re talking toilet paper here, not gold and silver.
Another thing — I’ve always had a problem with the NRA’s trite and thoroughly primary school response to gun control, i.e. “If you want my gun you’ll have to pry it from my cold dead fingers.” So let me get this straight – you are willing to murder a government official if and when he/she comes to collect a gun you might own illegally (as in after you’ve committed a felony), or if you are considered at risk for harming yourself or others? What reading of American history and our most treasured documents have you done to come to such an outrageous conclusion?
This movement to create “sanctuary cities” for 2nd Amendment protections also puzzles me. The NRA puppet masters – and by the way if you are an NRA member you are a puppet – have long held to the flawed notion that “guns don’t kill people, people kill people.” If that is so they would be very on board with Red Flag laws which seek to take guns away from dangerous people. If people kill people then guns should be kept from their dangerous hands. In America there are more privately held guns than guns owned by the combined armed forces. For every 100 Americans there are 120 privately owned guns. And out of all the countries similar to ours in government and economy, we have the highest rate of death by firearms.
The 2nd Amendment reads: “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.” It’s a very important piece, if not crystal clear in terms of its meaning, of American history and law. However does the 2nd Amendment carry more weight than any of the following American precepts?
“We holds these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
“We, therefore ... solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States ... “
“WE THE PEOPLE of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people to peaceably assemble, and petition the government for a redress of grievances.” (Which by the way is the 1st Amendment and precedes the 2nd in importance and supersedes it in terms of direct language and enforcement.)
“Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.”
“The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.”
“The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any State on account of sex.”
“The right of citizens of the United States, who are eighteen years of age or older, to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any State on account of age.”
It is obvious to any person with a modicum of education and some ability in reading comprehension that the 2nd Amendment is not the lynchpin upon which the Constitution and entire U.S. government rests. It may be an important piece of our legal framework, it is not even close to being the entire legal framework. So to create a “sanctuary” for the preservation of the 2nd Amendment is flawed. First of all, it begins with “A well regulated militia.” Another word for regulated or regulation – law. So laws can be made which regulate the right to bear arms without infringing on the right to bear arms. Secondly, we don’t rely on a militia for the common defense – we rely on a standing army, today totally made up of volunteers.
It would not only be a shame if during this pandemic one American shoots and kills another to protect their own, it would be a shame as well as one more step toward the creeping threat of authoritarianism we’ve faced for the last several years. I hope we’re all better than that.