With the exception of pregnant women, personal freedom is of paramount importance. Most especially when it comes to the right to arm oneself. Also, leave overtly religious people in the public square alone. And as of today, hands off the environment. ‘Live free or die’ and all.
By the number of people killed in Indianapolis. Or Boulder, or Atlanta, or Orange, or Rock Hill, or Essex, or Allen, or Muskogee, or Chicago, or Evanston.
I caught him on television yesterday, guess the channel, referring to the “so called mass shootings”. I repeat, “The so called mass shootings.” Let that sink in.
Like an automaton, he said the President can’t do anything about “the so called mass shootings because of the Second Amendment to the Constitution.”
Bill Bennett’s well-regulated Militia is working out fine for him.
He’s written a lot of books. At least one of which sold quite well. It’s called, “The Book of Virtues”.
How do all of the gun
g-ho pro-gunners who reflexively say America is the greatest country in the world interpret this data?
Most mind numbing of all, the gun
g-ho pro-gunners reflexively say America would be safer if more people carried guns. Every man, woman, child a gun?
Yesterday, before “Parkland”, I read this story. I can’t help but wonder how little the public probably knows about similar stories of averted shootings, meaning the problem is worse than we realize.
Related, sometimes the Onion isn’t funny, just damn perceptive. “No Way To Prevent This,” Says Only Nation Where This Regularly Happens.
Out of respect for the Parkland families, can we stop the “Make America Great Again” bullshit?
“From 1985 to 2004, the percentage of people who reported having at least one friend on whom they could rely and with whom they could discuss important matters dropped to 57 percent from 80 percent. Today, more than half of all Americans report feeling lonely, especially in their professional lives. But study after study has shown that those who are seen as grateful, warm and justifiably confident draw others to them. Because these emotions automatically make us less selfish, they help ensure we can form relationships with people who will be there to support us when we need it.”
“Admitting we have flaws just like anyone else keeps us connected to others.”
Brings to mind my favorite sentence of recent days, compliments of Jason Zweig, “If you think you’re the smartest person in the room, you must not have talked to everybody in the room yet.”
“Saving the lives of law enforcement and the abused is a nonpartisan issue. . . We can take reasonable steps to prevent deadly acts by people who already have a violent record with firearms.”
“I don’t feel like I’m living the American Dream, especially not here, in Southeast Arkansas, being a black female with a big mouth. You’re looked at funny when you want to be something more than just a wife one day and you live in Dumas. . . . If you have dreams beyond what other people feel like you should, you can’t live the American Dream in a place like this.”
What if we all adopt the same resolution for 2018, to support and cheer young, ambitious people.
Dreams by Langston Hughes
Hold fast to dreams For if dreams die Life is a broken-winged bird That cannot fly.
Hold fast to dreams For when dreams go Life is a barren field Frozen with snow.
My dream is that in my lifetime, the right to keep and bear Arms will be limited to “a well regulated Militia”. But maybe my future just holds broken-winged birds and barren fields frozen with snow.
Another high schooler takes a gun to school and uses it. Washington State voters consider an initiative to tighten gun ownership regulations. I still have no idea about how to talk about gun ownership.
One approach would be to study the historical context of the Second Amendment. For example, we could turn to Michael Waldman’s “biography” of the Second Amendment. Here’s an excerpt of a Mother Jones interview with Waldman.
MJ: What preconceived notions about the Second Amendment did the history that you uncovered confirm or debunk?
MW: There are surprises in this book for people who support gun control, and people who are for gun rights. When the Supreme Court ruled in Heller, Justice Scalia said he was following his doctrine of originalism. But when you actually go back and look at the debate that went into drafting of the amendment, you can squint and look really hard, but there’s simply no evidence of it being about individual gun ownership for self-protection or for hunting. Emphatically, the focus was on the militias. To the framers, that phrase “a well-regulated militia” was really critical. In the debates, in James Madison’s notes of the Constitutional Convention, on the floor of the House of Representatives as they wrote the Second Amendment, all the focus was about the militias. Now at the same time, those militias are not the National Guard. Every adult man, and eventually every adult white man, was required to be in the militias and was required to own a gun, and to bring it from home. So it was an individual right to fulfill the duty to serve in the militias.
MJ: You point out that the NRA has the Second Amendment inscribed in their lobby, but with the militia clause removed.
MW: Yes. That was first reported in an article inMother Jones in the ’90s. But I didn’t want to rely on just that, so one of my colleagues went out to the NRA headquarters to look at the lobby. And she had her picture taken in front of the sign so we could confirm that it was actually still there!
MJ: Based on the history you’ve uncovered, do you think the founders understood there to be an unwritten individual right to arms that they didn’t include in the Constitution?
MW: Yes. And that might be noteworthy for some. There were plenty of guns. There was the right to defend yourself, which was part of English common law handed down from England. But there were also gun restrictions at the same time. There were many. There were limits, for example, on where you could store gunpowder. You couldn’t have a loaded gun in your house in Boston. There were lots of limits on who could own guns for all different kinds of reasons. There was an expectation that you should be able to own a gun. But they didn’t think they were writing that expectation into the Constitution with the Second Amendment.
MJ: So then why focus on the Second Amendment and not the English Bill of Rights or other things the framers drew on that more clearly address individual gun ownership?
MW: We are not governed today, in 2014, by British common law. Law evolved, the country evolved. It was a very rural place. There were no cities. There were no police forces. It was a completely different way of living. So gun rights activists turned this into a constitutional crusade. Those who want more guns and fewer restrictions realized they could gain some higher ground if they claimed the Constitution.
When I learn about the historical context of the Second Amendment, the question I’m left with is this: Is the threat of a federal government take-over at the hands of anti-American insurrectionists so great that local police, state troopers, and the National Guard can’t be expected to repel it?
But no matter how reasonably the “historical context” argument is made, the pro-gunners will never accept Waldman-like interpretations of the amendment because doing so would impose limits on gun ownership and that is an anathema to them. Making that approach a complete dead-end.
What about appealing to safety in public spaces? Also a dead-end. Most pro-gunners believe school cafeterias, legislative buildings, movie theaters become safer as a greater percentage of people in those places carry licensed guns. The thinking being upstanding private citizens will gun down the evil ones perpetrating acts of violence on innocent bystanders before authorities are able to respond.
For example, if the food service workers in the Marysville High School cafeteria were carrying, one of them could have killed the shooter from across the cafeteria before he had the opportunity to kill and injure any of his classmates. I guess we’re supposed to assume that she hits the perp, but no other students because she regularly receives expert firearm training.
What about pointing out the loopholes in gun ownership laws, the propensity of some parents not to hide or lock their guns, the uneven training gun owners undergo, and the number of mentally ill people that manage to get ahold of guns. Dead-end. The pro-gunners think that if they give into any tightening of gun ownership requirements it will lead to more, and eventually, the confiscation of their guns.
What about comforting those most afraid of dying at the hands of violent criminals with what we know about how most people die?
Number of deaths for leading causes of death—2011 (Center for Disease Control)
- Heart disease: 596,577
- Cancer: 576,691
- Chronic lower respiratory diseases: 142,943
- Stroke (cerebrovascular diseases): 128,932
- Accidents (unintentional injuries): 126,438 (1. poisoning; 2. car accidents; 3. gun violence)
- Alzheimer’s disease: 84,974
- Diabetes: 73,831
- Influenza and Pneumonia: 53,826
- Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome, and nephrosis: 45,591
- Intentional self-harm (suicide): 39,518
A dead-end too because pro-gunners will argue that if you’re more likely to die while driving than at the hands of violent criminals, it’s proof that the status quo of relatively uninhibited gun ownership is working. My reading of those statistics is that no amount of weaponry will protect the mostly sedentary masses from what and how much they eat.
One dead-end after another.
The “Washington sniper” has been executed and Fort Hood’s Hasan is probably next. IF I understand correctly, here’s what the right would have us believe about these heinous crimes and how best to prevent future tragedies of their ilk. Mental illness is an excuse concocted by public defenders simply trying to save the lives of their clients. We’d greatly reduce violent crimes if we’d apply the second amendment right to bear arms so that private citizens (or members of the military on bases) can defend themselves from criminals who carry high powered guns. For every violent criminal there would be thousands of private citizens capable of shooting them dead in their tracks at the first signs of their weapons. We’d further reduce violent crimes (and save money and provide relief to the victim’s families) if we’d put these violent criminals to death more often. Increase executions and make violent criminals think twice before they kill innocent people.
Polling shows U.S. citizens are almost equally divided on the death penalty. I can’t imagine any scenario in which the “right to bear arms/death penalty hawks” are going to convince the “gun control/life in prison doves” to alter their thinking and vice-versa.
What to do?
Maybe we should just divide the country into 25 “hawk” and 25 “dove” states. Pick one representative of each view and have them take turns picking states for everyone else. Since I disagree with almost everything in paragraph one, I nominate myself for the doves, and my first pick is Washington State. Clint Eastwood, representing the Hawks, will no doubt take California which I’m not happy about at all. My second pick, Oregon.
For practical reasons, residents of hawk and dove states will be allowed to travel freely into ideological enemy territory; however, they will have to agree to adapt to life in ideological enemy territory. For example, Clint will have to leave his gun at home when he flies to Seattle and I will have to avoid committing a violent crime when visiting California lest I be fired upon by private citizens and/or executed by Ahrnold. Social scientists can do longitudinal studies on the quality of life in each set of states.
Problem solved. Happy to help.