THE STAKES ARE HIGH
So here we are again, another mass murder, just another bad day in the life. Why just another bad day? Because we know nothing is going to change. Today’s narrative is, “Today is not a day to talk about gun control, it’s about coming together, and it’s about healing.” We will hear how, “guns don’t kill people, people kill people”. They will tell us that “stricter gun control laws won’t stop people who want to do things like this”. There will be talk of our founding fathers and the second amendment right to bear arms. I’ve heard it all before and I’m done. I’m done with healing. I’m done seeing news coverage of the latest shooting spree, I’m done with the killing.
Does this latest incident surprise me? No.
Do I expect change? No.
Why not? Because in 2012, in a small Connecticut town named Newtown, at an elementary school called Sandy Hook, a lone gunmen with an assault rifle walked in and fatally shot 20 young children. The most heinous act imaginable. The killing of our most prized possessions, the one thing as a nation, and as parents we are suppose to protect above all others: our children. Yet did we get the sweeping gun law changes they deserved? Did we as a nation in the famous words of Abraham Lincoln “take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion”? Did we “highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain”? No, we as a nation accepted OPEN SEASON on our children. We decided that an antiquated Constitutional Amendment from 1791 meant more than our children’s lives. We instead got locked schools and buzzers to get in, we got lock-down training in our schools. But not gun control. So let’s be realistic; if we didn’t get it then, Sunday is going to go down in history as just another bad day.
I don’t get it. I grew up on Long Island, New York, not what one might call a gun culture. I didn’t grow up with them in my life. I admit I feel uneasy when I just see one. Yet, I understand that here, it’s a rite of passage. Fathers take sons and sometimes daughters hunting. Friends go hunting together; there is a bond. All of these things I can understand. Maybe you feel you need a handgun for protection, and again I can understand that. My disconnect is with military assault weapons. These guns are not designed for hunting, or even home protection; these guns are made for one thing and that is to kill your enemy on the battlefield. They are designed to kill fast, and effectively, and in my opinion, DO NOT belong in the hands of average citizens.
Now, my second amendment friends will argue that I’m infringing on their right to bear arms. So let’s take a look at the key player, our Second Amendment, and try to put it in historical context.
"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."
Remember, it’s 1791, and the nation was suspicious of a standing army, which at the time was close to nonexistent. The militia was the meat and potatoes of both our national and state defense. We had just fought a war from what many saw as a tyrannical government in England, and the flintlock musket was the weapon of choice. So yes, our founding fathers bestowed on its citizens the right to bear arms. Guns were used to put food on the table, and when needed, were used on the frontier as protection. The militia could be gathered when needed and neither the states nor the federal government needed to provide weapons; you brought your own, and if the government turned tyrannical they could be used to revolt. My argument is that our founding fathers could not foresee the country we live in now. They could not see a country where we have the most powerful military in the world. They could not have dreamed of a country without a frontier. They could not have predicted local police forces with more firepower than any nation in the world that they knew at that time. Most importantly, they couldn’t have fathomed the killing power of one fully automatic assault rifle. No, I believe if they could have looked into a crystal ball and seen those things, they would have taken more time with the second amendment,and they would have put more thought into the single 27 word sentence. However, I don’t think they are to blame. We are, because we blindly believe in the infallibility of that one sentence.
People might point out I said fully automatic assault rifle, and tell me that those are illegal to buy in our country, and I will agree. Yet, due to a loophole, it’s not illegal to buy a conversion kit that can turn it into what for all intents and purposes is a fully automatic weapon. The gun is legal, the conversion kit is legal too, but if you put them together, it becomes illegal. Now would I be out of line to believe that anyone who purchases a conversion kit, also intends to make their gun fully automatic? Just listen to the gun fire on Sunday night, and it’s hard to believe it’s one man. It sounded more like a war zone, and unfortunately for those there it was. Another argument I’ve heard in the past, is why go after assault rifles, when handguns account for more deaths each year. Although that is true, it’s the assault rifle attacks that live in infamy. We can all remember, Sandy Hook, the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, and now Vegas. They are etched in our memory, for the sheer volume of carnage in such a short period of time. They have happened in places we all have been: at a school, or a nightclub, or a concert. In all those cases had it been a handgun or a rifle the death toll would have been so much less. Yes, it’s sad to think in those terms, that the best we could expect to do, is limit the killing, but we have to start to draw a line somewhere.
Hey, I understand that there is a thrill in shooting a gun with that kind of power, and I’m not saying a gun enthusiast shouldn’t have an opportunity to try one. So hypothetically, why not allow gun ranges to keep a small number on hand, that can be rented at the range to use. Yes those guns would have to be kept safe, in a vault if you will, after hours. I haven’t researched the pros and cons of this idea, but it you don’t have bad intentions, why not?
Finally, we have our revolutionaries, you know, the people who believe because the U.S. Declaration of Independence states that "when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government" I say to them, stop! This government has run this country for over 200 years, it has a standing army, heavy tanks, drones, an air force, so you and your stockpile of assault weapons are not going to take down this government. You want a revolution? You want things to change? Then do what I’m doing, and you work within the system. You join your local party, you become active, you find groups with similar beliefs, you look for candidates who support your beliefs. If you want to make that change happen, help become that change, get a clipboard, get signatures and run for office yourself. You change the system with words, ideas, and passion, not with an assault rifle.