I once engaged in an exercise in which I re-wrote the Constitution of the United States. No, it’s not as hubristic as it seems. I don’t hold myself some sort of intellectual genius or anything. I just did what Alexander Hamilton did when he came up with our economic system so long ago. He looked around, found ideas that worked well, dropped ideas that didn’t and pushed them together into something both familiar and yet new. So, while I believe some of the changes are my own, I don’t pretend I came up with anything. I accept the high likelihood that I’ve read this or that idea and just updated as needed.
When one undertakes such an exercise, one finds that, necessarily, one must consider the Second Amendment. As silly as the exercise seems, I took it seriously and gave much of it considerable thought. After really turning the Second Amendment around a couple of times, I decided to leave it just the way it was written originally. The reason? The Second says what it needs to say. It clearly gives government the right to regulate gun ownership, so long as said ownership is not denied entirely.
I hadn’t, at the time, realized just how easily the Second could be willfully misinterpreted by evil and/or ideologically driven people as has been done by the current Supremely Clownish Court of the US. It turns out, though, that if one just doesn’t look at the “well-regulated” part, one can decide that ANY crazy who wants a gun should, by all rights, have a gun. Before the court was corrupted, it had never once held anything near that interpretation…
These days, Gun Rights Advocates (GRAs) seem to be using the current interpretation of the Second Amendment as an excuse. We have NO choice, they insist, but to suffer the occasional – okay, regular – mass shooting because the Second says anybody who wants a gun gets a gun (it doesn’t). There is absolutely no “give” in their position. AND, absolutely no reason. So, we the people are left to watch, over and over, as our fellow Americans are massacred across this once-great nation. It feels worse when the victims are children, but even that hasn’t had any daunting effect on the GRAs. The result? I find my own position on guns…evolving.
The truth is, I have no problem with responsible gun owners and I believe the vast majority of gun owners are, in fact, responsible. I was recently asked in social media if I wanted to ban the Second Amendment. My answer as recently as a few days ago was no. I don’t want to ban the Second. I just want it interpreted honestly to include the “well-regulated” part. I’ve come to realize, though, that it doesn’t matter that most gun owners are responsible. Another truth is that society doesn’t work that way. We never, ever, get to react to what the best among us can do. We’re stuck living with what the least of us might do. Some terrible people will murder as many as possible in one event and other terrible people will step up to protect and defend…the murderers. THAT’S the basis from which we have to start because that’s where the basest among us dwell…
If it was up to me, at this point, the first thing I’d try is a ban on the sale and possession of semi-automatic weapons. Yes, ALL semi-automatic weapons. (That eliminates any nit-picking about which guns are affected and which are not.) Sound extreme? Yeah, I think so, too. But if Americans are to be held hostage by the Second Amendment, if it’s true we can’t stop people from buying guns no matter the circumstance, the very least we can do is slow their rate of fire. And I mean, that’s the very least we might do.
All this bullshit about hardening every public venue in the country and arming every last person flies in the face of reason and reality. Those who offer up those distracting smokescreens after each shooting are offering what I call philosophical positions. A philosophical position is one that may be correct, in theory, but which enjoys NO practical application. In short, a philosophical position is a waste of time.
Of course, that’s the goal. Waste time. Keep the debate from ever getting serious about true solutions. You see, they don’t have to win the argument. Fighting the outrage to a standstill is a win for the gun lobby. So, after each mass murder, they start throwing out anything – everything – that will muddy the waters of the debate. Oh, let’s get rid of doors. Tell the truth, isn’t that just about the stupidest “answer” you’ve ever heard anybody puke out of their mouths? Doesn’t matter. The idea isn’t about making sense or offering practical solutions. It’s about muddying the waters of the debate until the fervor passes.
There ARE, of course, better answers. We could – and should – provide mental health services to people in need. We should be doing that anyway. Unfortunately, that takes money and the only people who have any are the wage thieves who have made absolutely clear that under no circumstances will they part with any of the lucre they’ve worked so hard to steal. That leaves us, once again, treating the symptom, not the problem. So, I suggest slowing the rate of fire by eliminating semi-automatic weapons. Maybe by slowing the rate of fire, other people can find time to respond in a helpful way. Maybe cops won’t feel out-gunned and stand outside crying and shivering in fear because some crazy asshole is armed to the teeth and on a rampage.
Failing that? It turns out I WOULD be okay with repealing the Second Amendment entirely. I do not believe for even one second that the founders intended the Second as an excuse to justify murdering children. I do not accept that the intent was to allow people to amass huge arsenals of weapons capable of killing at such a rate. (A lot of people like to point out that guns back then were muskets but, to me, the more salient point is that guns cost a LOT and most Americans were dirt poor. It might take a year’s salary to buy a good gun. Back then, the vast majority of people were unable to amass huge arsenals. They didn’t have credit cards…) When all is said and done, I’m no longer willing to accept having the Second used as a shield to defend the actions of the least among us and if the gun lobby is going to remain intransigent to any and all reasonable efforts to protect society, I can see taking away the shield completely.
I’ll tell you this: I consider the lives of the children and other people being cut to ribbons almost daily to be far more important than your desire to pop off a few rounds for fun…