Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Deadwood Culture in America




"The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun."
Wayne LaPierre, CEO National Rifle Association

There have been many articles written this week about renewed efforts to control firearms among the people.  Spurred on by public horror of the Sandy Hook elementary being turned into an abattoir by an enraged twenty year old, the U.S. Congress is possibly springing to action in time to lock the barn doors, once again, too late.  Such incompetence is entirely reminiscent of a bad play; we squirm in our proverbial seats until the dreadful last act has been agonizingly concluded.   Will the fiscal cliff be averted?  Will congress pass tax reform?  Will assault weapons be banned or controlled?
Will we survive their ineptitude?

The United States is, in many ways, the victim of its own constitution.  A document written in the 18th century the second amendment of which, ratified in 1791, has been subject to interpretation involving the placement of a comma is just one ludicrous example of its ossification.  That second amendment, writ large in the time when people carried muzzle loaded muskets, is simply an invitation for boneheaded senators and even more dimwitted congressmen to hawk (no pun intended) their hunting skills and present advertisements of them shooting in some forest in order to impress their gun-toting constituents, who fear that "big government" will revoke their license to shoot whatever or whomever they please.  And, of course, the American notion that our freedom will somehow disappear to tyrants should there be some more legislation restricting gun availability,  this logic stemming from a mentality of frontier justice that is no longer relevant.

 In this case, innocent, tender aged schoolgirls and schoolboys whose misfortune is now engraved in the tears of a generation of parents and grandparents, as well as anyone in America whose sensitivity quotient rises above that of a polar bear.  The victims childish images stare out balefully from our televisions in a horrifying reminder that they now inhabit the crypt, the victims of Scalia-like logic who is probably right now murmuring, "get over it," as he did when interviewed about throwing the election of 2000 to George W. Bush.
 
United States Constitution
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."

Interpretation of this amendment has been the subject of rigorous debate among constitutional scholars, the United States Supreme Court and others.
Does the amendment mean that the militia shall bear arms or that the people shall bear arms individually?   Do individuals really stand a chance against an army?  Do homicidal lunatics who die in a shootout render sufficient testimony to the folly of such privilege?  It seems that they always die in the end, after a shoot out with the cops or by their own hand, but only after visiting their terror upon innocents.  How then, are we safer, because a madman has access to a Bushmaster military weapon?
Perhaps the debate is no longer relevant, since the second amendment was written at a time when slaves were commonplace, women could not vote, and weapons were far more primitive and could not, by hair trigger, slaughter 30 children and their teachers in a matter of seconds. Adam and Mrs. Lanza's legacy should be not a "prepper"(we have to defend ourselves because our government will not) mentality, but laws that will reduce the incidences of this type of grotesquerie.  These events can never be eliminated completely, but they certainly can be reduced by appropriate legislation and if a troglodyte Supreme Court does not declare that legislation unconstitutional.  Justice Scalia, an avid hunter and Dick Cheney amigo, hunts ducks.  Using an assault weapon designed to kill humans has no place in a modern civil society.

Arguments that the teachers should be armed and that everyone should tote a weapon ring hallow; the converse to that argument being that we are less free to speak because we fear that someone may easily shoot us for expressing our opinion that may not coincide with theirs.
The gun enthusiasts and the prayer in the schools promulgators share the same religious zeal and inhabit the same universe.  How would Jesus feel about killing innocent children with a rapid fire Bushmaster?