The latest "third rail" of politics - Gun Control
Gun control. A taboo subject, apparently on both sides of the political spectrum. Republicans won't hear of it. And Democrats are afraid to mention it. Let me get this out of the way right off the bat... I'm for it.
That's right folks; I'm one of those lily-livered pinko commies who want to take your guns away. And guess what? I still believe in the second amendment. Problem is, nobody every seems to take the time to READ the second amendment:
"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."
Republicans conveniently ignore the first four words. Democrats simply ignore the issue because of the baggage & political risk that comes with it. Yet it hangs like an albatross around the neck of our "supposedly" civil society.
Yes, of course I'm bringing this issue up in light of the tragedy in Aurora, CO. And I recognize that a very disturbed individual pulled the trigger, more than 70 times. The guns didn't fire all by themselves. And while nothing we say or do regarding access to guns will bring back those who were lost on that tragic day, or heal the wounds, both mental and physical; of the survivors.
But we desperately need to have a conversation in this country about gun control. Smart gun control. Effective gun control. Gun control that still maintains the rights guaranteed by the second amendment.
So why don't we start there - Let's take a closer look at the second amendment...
Our founding fathers, the architects of our Constitution were very wise wordsmiths. The wording of our Constitution was very specific, as was the wording of the bill of rights. And I find it quite telling that they chose "A well regulated militia" as the first four words of the second amendment. I don't think this placement was by chance. They felt those words were important to the meaning of the amendment.
They weren't indicating that citizens could own as many guns as they wanted, with whatever destructive power that entailed. Why would they have qualified it if this was the case? No, they were indicating, in my opinion, that such possession of arms were to be in the context of a citizen's militia, much like the militias that came together to defeat the British in the Revolutionary War. That context is really the only way the wording makes sense.
Likewise, the words "being necessary to the security of a free State" were chosen very specifically. Many have postulated that this was an indication that the founding fathers wanted us to be able to defend ourselves, not only against civilian threats to our safety; but against our own government, if preserving our freedom necessitated such action. And personally, I'm in agreement with that interpretation.
So if those of you who want to defend gun ownership at all costs are arguing for that aspect of this freedom, hey, I'm right there with you - Let's storm the Bastille. Preferably starting with Congress. But that's not really what the "don't take my damn guns away" fringe is all about, is it? No, I'm afraid those folks just like the idea of owning any damn gun they want, the more the firepower, the better.
And that I just can't get behind. I simply can't interpret the second amendment to say "I should be able to have enough firepower to slaughter an entire village." I just can't get there.
And it certainly can't be about hunting. I mean really, do you seriously need a clip that holds 100 rounds to kill Bambi. Are you really that bad of a shot? Maybe you should try another hobby. Just sayin'.
For me, the bottom line is this... We need to put measures in place so that a tragedy such as the one that occurred in Aurora is much less likely to happen. And like it or not, gun control has to be part of that equation. Sensible gun control. And we need it right now.
There are 88 guns per every 100 people in America today. Our closest competition, when it comes to civilian arsenals, is Yemen at 54 per 100 citizens. The likes of Serbia and Iraq are in the top 10 as well on this statistic. We're not keeping very good company, if you ask me.
Something needs to change. And it needs to start now, before more innocent Americans pay the price for our nation's inaction on this important issue.