April 9, 2014

“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.”

Recognize those 27 words? Yes, you just read the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

The goofy far Right people dominate the comments from the pro-gun side. That’s Mike Huckabee, Ann Coulter, Rep. Louis Goemert, etc. Intermingled with that crowd, though, we get sage wisdom from the water carriers for American business and the Establishment. They tell us why gun control doesn’t work, and why freedom and the Constitution must be respected. And, and this is the one that really drives me nuts, they tell us we can’t overreact.

We can’t overreact? Why not? The same crowd that tells us we can’t overreact supported the Patriot Act and everything else that flowed from 9/11. (Every year, and for many, many years, more than 3X people in America die from gunshots than died on 9/11/2001.) Their predecessors overreacted to a perceived Communist threat in the late 1940s and in the 1920s. For more than century these people have overreacted to foreigners with bad immigration laws.

So let’s do overreact! Let’s overreact on the side of our own safety. Try something like, oh, I don’t know, an amendment to the Constitution that rewrites the Second Amendment. Treat sellers of assault weapons like we would treat people who shout fire in a crowded theater. (The First Amendment respects free speech, but not speech that threatens public safety.) This is not my area, so I know there are other ideas out there … and yes, I know a Constitutional Amendment won’t pass and be ratified, but this is a fight for life and nothing should be left on the table.

We’ve let a poorly written sentence tie us up in knots, and people are dying on account of it! In the wealthiest, mightiest nation ever! We can’t do any better? Really? We need a goal—fewer guns, and no guns in the hands of the wrong people—and a plan for accomplishing the goal.

We were behind the rest of the developed world on health care for all. While we haven’t solved the problem by any means, the country took a chance on a new program that, unlike whatever its opponents offered, has a worthy goal and a plan for accomplishing it. Now, we have millions more people covered by their employers, through exchanges, and via Medicaid. We can actually do things!

So let’s get moving!

P.S. I was with a friend today. He calls himself a moderate on Second Amendment issues. That means—his terms—he owns plenty of guns and he thinks the Second Amendment needs to be respected, but it also means he doesn’t give money to the NRA. (That’s moderation?) Anyway, walking back from lunch he called to my attention a man sitting on a planter near a corner, holstered pistol at his side. My friend told me he finds seeing that sight uncomfortable. Well, yah!

P.P.S. Here’s a link to NJ Man Accidentally Shot Himself At An NRA Event, the latest story about a gun owner who shot himself.

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