Friday, January 18, 2013

Gun Control?

There is a vivid dialogue currently being presented by many of my friends and relatives on Facebook.  The subject matter is gun control. 

I have spent my life doing my best to emulate the peacekeeping principles prescribed by Jesus Christ as recorded in the New Testament.  What that means to me is that I steer away from contentious dialogue.  I prefer to see the commonalities that exists among humanity rather than the differences.

On the other hand, I simply can't be silent on this issue anymore.  I have heard rhetoric explaining how the "Right to bear arms," made it possible for the Civil Rights Movement to exist...the blacks needed to have the power to defend themselves against the Klan and other bigoted groups, often including the law keepers of their towns.

I have heard many, MANY interpretations of the 2nd amendment.  I decided that instead of seeing the 2nd amendment of our constitution through the eyes of the NRA, or the counter arguments I would read the famous amendment for myself.

My husband Nyle used to say that the dialogue over "the right to bear arms," was misinterpreted constantly.  He was frustrated that such a short historical statement could be interpreted in so many different ways.

I feel that it's important to take a historical statement in the context of the time period that it was made.  So I decided to paste the actual 2nd amendment below so that as much as possible any discussion on this subject could start on a common ground.

To be clear I would like to have a healthy non-emotional discussion of these issues.  That means I would welcome comments and opinions of others, but NOT contentious, angry discussions.  I enjoy intellectual communicaton.  In this manner I gain knowledge.    

 Amendment II
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.

I wonder if those men that drafted this short amendment had any idea the furor that those simple words would cause over the history of our country.

Let's start by putting their words into a historical setting.  They had just fought a huge battle with England for the right to be their own country.  A militia was what we would now call "the military."  There was no Navy, Marines, Airforce, or Army.  There simply was a citizenry of patriots doing their best to defend home, religion, and country.

It WAS essential that this citizenry had the essential right to own a gun.  It was essential not only for defense, but also to procure food and protection for their individual families.

So to me the words "Being necessary to the security of a free State," defines a different time and place.  In this time and place we have police, we have a HUGE military organization or in the words of the 2nd amendment (militia).

Oh this is such a huge issue that my head aches from trying to tackle it.  Yet I wish to express MY point of view. 

In this country we have seen bloodbath after bloodbath caused by individuals who were mentally disturbed in one way or another.  In the wake of yet another horror (school in the East where a semi-automatic gun and far too much ammunition enabled a disturbed young man to slaughter innocent children) we all wish to find some peg on which to hang blame.

If the principle had a gun at school would he have been able to stop the madness?  How about the school teacher, should they have also had guns?  Do we now ascribe to the idea that if we ALL carry a gun we can ALL defend ourselves?  Are WE the militia that the founders of the Bill of Rights had in mind?  That asks the question DO we ALL have need of carrying guns to defend ourselves? 

The next peg I have often heard is that the senseless violence that has been perpetrated over and over again in the United States by these aforementioned disturbed individuals is a direct result of violent video games and violent movies.

Then the following question is, "Where are the parents?  Why are they allowing their children access to such disturbing material?

After incredible sorrow, the death of precious innocents in a world where we need all the innocence we can cling to, we all long to find some principle, some practice, some something to BLAME!  It's a natural part of the grief process.   So off we dash to point our fingers in the direction of whatever makes the most sense to us.

One other area that is my particular arena (I was violently bullied for all twelve years of my public education) is bullying.  So many, TOO MANY of these "disturbed individuals," have been the victims of ongoing, consistent in and out, five days a week.  In some instances that adds up from first grade through twelth.  

Psychology says that it takes around 4 positive statements to rub out the effects of one negative statement.  If that is true think of how many years it might take to rid the soul and being of a sensitive person from twelve hideous, frustrating, years of being bullied.  If you took the ratio literally that would mean twelve years times four which would give the amount of forty eight years.  That is assuming that the following forty-eight years you were filled with constant positive messages.   Forty eight years of living to cleanse your heart and soul from the conscious, and sub-conscious effects of daily, consistent, persistent sieges of attack from bullies.

This is an issue that our blaming finger is often pointed at.  If bullying were done away with these shootings would stop.  

Now next idea.  Did the framers of the constitution foresee semi-automatic and automatic weaponry?  Would they have seen the need for regular citizens to have carried such extreme firepower?  

If the latest perpetrator's mother had NOT had enormous quantities of guns and ammunition would this boy still be alive, as would the children, and his mother also?   

England and Canada have stringent laws against the ownership of such weapons.  They still have killings and violence, but in comparison to our own it's far smaller.

We often hear, "If guns are outlawed then only criminals will have guns."  Again, England and Canada with their strict gun laws don't face nearly the range of violent crime that we do in the United States.  So this concept does not seem true when looking at empirical evidence.

In summary, I feel that it is IMPERATIVE that we find ways to limit the purchase of large quantities of guns and ammunition in our country.  Are we all looking forward to a future when each city will  have the need for defense?  If that is the case gun laws will NOT matter.  In an apocalyptic world EVERYTHING will change.  The good news is that WE ARE NOT IN AN APOCALYPTIC world.  To protect ourselves from a world where anarchy reigns we need laws, rules, and regulations AND FAR FEWER GUNS!


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