The next great American war has started.
That’s what we get for living in an age of extremes, where only the loud voices on the fringes are heard.
Twenty children were killed in a classroom and the sabers started rattling. And the opening rounds in the fight portend a long, loud fight ahead.
Let’s just get this out of the way at the start: The right to bear arms is something that should be protected. I have no problem with it.
But can anyone tell me in all seriousness that it should include private citizens (trained or untrained) owning a weapon of mass destruction that can fire off somewhere in the neighborhood of 30 rounds a minute?
Look, I get it. It’s part of your unalienable rights as an American to bear arms. But at what point does your right to bear arms outrank my right to not want to die because someone without a care in the world is able to get his hands on a weapon that can randomly spray death in a matter of seconds?
But that’s where we are in this country, an age where we prefer the clumsy, quick and random rather than civilized. Just grab a gun and fire, innocent victims be damned. It’s easy and quick. And it doesn’t matter what training you have.
It. Just. Doesn’t. Matter.
The NRA’s talking point – the only way to fight guns is with more guns – is just begging for many more innocent victims to be injured or killed.
And armed guards outside schools? How many guards do you need per school? My son’s school has three gates open before class starts. Do we get one per gate? Districts already have enough troubles paying their bills and educating our children. And giving schools a jail-like atmosphere will just do wonders for providing a positive learning environment.
You have to remember that the Constitution is a living, breathing document. It was created with the ability to amend it at times deemed necessary. In fact, it was amended as recently as 1992 (which was news to me, because I don’t remember hearing much about it – but it has been 20 years).
And, the second amendment was written in a different time. When bearing arms meant firing one shot at a time. In an era when there wasn’t a national Army, Navy, Air Force or Marines to protect our country’s interest.
Again, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have the right to own firearms. You want something to protect you at your home – great. You want a rifle for hunting – fabulous. In each of those cases, however, I don’t think you need something that fires off 30 bullets in a minute – and if you do, then you’re doing it wrong.
There’s a reason why these semi-automatic (and fully automatic) weapons are called “assault” rifles – because they’re used in an assault. By trained personnel. In war zones.
And for those folks who complain that the people who have armed guards are the people who want to take away your rights – get over yourself. First off, this call is not “just” coming from the politicians. It’s coming from the people who elect the politicians. And second, really? You think that if someone comes out and kills you that your death won’t be anything more than a statistic to the rest of the country? You’re not president, senator, Pope or even a CEO. The moment you’re ready to step into the glare of the public spotlight, you too can have 24-hour police protection.
What solutions are there? There are plenty of ideas. But some of the best include stricter licensing requirements and, dare I say, taxes on gun and ammo purchases. The bigger, badder the gun, the more you have to pay in taxes.
Why not? You want to own the gun and ammo? Pay for it, and let’s use the money to fund the programs that might help the people who need it. And if you’re a hunter or sportsman, after you undergo a vigorous background check, pay a yearly license fee, and we can work out a deal on your yearly needs. But you can only buy what you’re going to use – no stockpiling.
Will any of these completely stop gun violence? Of course not. It’s like using spitballs to put out a brush fire.
The battle this country is about to have is going to be nasty. So nasty that it’s going to make the presidential campaign look like a child’s tea party.
But one thing’s for sure – it’s time to stop ignoring the problem and actually get on with making changes. Because it may be people (and not guns) killing people, but it sure as heck is getting easier for the people holding the guns to kill a lot of innocents too quickly. And to hide behind the second amendment is too ignorant and downright uncivilized.