April 12, 2008

2nd Amendment: A Rant

To some the 2nd Amendment is above all others in the constitution, even above the 1st. I didn't think the order made any other more important than another. Those who would argue that the 2nd Amendment is sacred would argue the uselessness of the 14th. Some think that the right to bear arms is a natural right and therefore should not have any law that prohibits or regulates this right. I have given these thoughts before, on another post recently. Since then another 3 year old has shot herself in the head, and a brother of my son's friend was killed today, just 18 years old. The latter I knew as a very small child and can't imagine his death. I don't have any details. I do know that there are other reasons why using a gun and murder is commonplace, but I do think having guns is not a natural right and some restriction would save lives. I also think the machismo and uber patriotism that is enmeshed in the defense of the 2nd Amendment, is part of the American myth, which would make any other point of view, harder to prevail.

These same people talk about responsibility; if they don't think they owe a responsibility to society to regulate their gun sellers or have other restrictions that might actually reduce the number of weapons on the street, then I think they should all live as hermits outside the society. There is a responsibility as a member to make society as viable as possible. We do have restriction on speech in certain circumstance, so why is liberty at the greatest risk, with restrictions on gun purchase. This is going to be the next battle; Pennsylvania, NRA and the City of Philadelphia. I think these people live in the 19th century and think there is some kind of Code of the West. They think their children are more mature to handle weapons than to handle sex and other children are just born thugs. I think some think that the more the other children murder each other; that it would be good riddance. They think the other children have superior prowess, because they always say that if they didn't have a gun they would kill with a knife. That's possible, but let get real; the probability of an ordinary child, unskilled in knife fighting, killing someone is much lower than with a gun.

You know, those same people think their weapon would solve the violence. If they lived where guns were sold out a trunk two blocks from they lived, I think they would live in so much fear that they would probable kill pre-emptively; Not in self defense, as it is so often depicted in their fantasy laden scenarios.

10 comments:

Erskine said...

Guns will get into the hands of those that will use them - there is nothing short of divine intervention that will prevent this.

Regulating gun ownership/merchanting has done/is doing/will do nothing to stop their illegal trade. If they are produced, those people who choose to use them will get them - by your example, from the trunk of a car.

Those individuals who choose gun violence will not be dissuaded by any external authority attempting to curtail their ability to enfranchise themselves with deadly force.

The issue is not about changing the status of guns in society - thie issue is changing the status of society about death.

Change the will of the hand, not its contents.

Hathor said...

erskine,

Many of those guns in the trunk of a car do not start out illegally. Adults, without any penchant for violence, will purchase these to sell illegally to make a buck. You see I think a minor should not be able to purchase a gun from the trunk of a car. I also do believe that every teenager or young person that kills is not that different than others and little kids hardly have the mind to understand what murder will do or how death effects families.

You see, you jumped immediately to the argument that all gun violence is a response of defective individuals. That argument is too old. You ignore the rate of accidents by young children and teenagers. Teenagers assuming the bravado of an adult, but with the stupidity of youth. Having raise a child, I can tell you that common sense or the known danger sometimes evaporates in their head. I am sure your mother has said, "What were you thinking?" If you ask any teenager anywhere in this country could they get a gun for you, I'll bet they are two degrees from getting one. Ask a young person you know? That two degrees will not be a Wal-Mart.

There have been more than a few people killed by stray bullets. This city has banned people from shooting in the air to celebrate the New Year! There are a lot of idiots out there with guns. How does society prevent idiocy. Some of those idiots are parents who have legal guns in their houses that their small children can find.

On thing people don't understand that the street dealer doesn't control the illegal gun market. I just wonder who would show up if you followed the money. I would venture to say that even the production of certain weapons are a response to the illegal trade and not for the average person or a collector.

In my post I did acknowledge that there are other problem associated with gun violence; but if you can't get a Cuban cigar, then you shouldn't be able to buy an illegal gun.

Erskine said...

Hathor,

"...those people who choose to use them (guns) will get them..."

Gun violence occurs by the usage of the tool - it is designed for only that function. You are the one who "jumped immediately to the argument" that I was only defining gun violence as thuggery perpetrated against others. It can also be self-directed, either by accident (a very small portion of the statistics) or by suicideal purpose (statistically speaking, there are more suicides by guns than murders or accidental shootings).

You seem to focus on the fact that the weapon is somehow culpable. It isn't - the user is. Education and resposibility are the key elements to reducing unintentional gun violence. Ignorance and apathy are the major causes of death and tragedy - with or without the usage of firearms.

Once again - change the will of the hand, not its contents.

Hathor said...

erskin,
If you read the link, I do think some of those steps would help.
I don't expect you to agree. I gave my reasons and I am not ignorant of the arguments. I am not
interest in doing so.

And do you know the individuals who choose gun violence. The assumption you have, makes it more probable that nothing would ever be done to engage society about gun violence.

I remember once reading an editorial by a minister about road rage, he wrote about his own transformation when he drove; how he changed into this aggressive and intolerant person when he got behind the wheel. His language became abusive and would easily flip the bird and curse at the other driver with the least transgression.

Now he was the kind of person that recognized that in himself and found ways from becoming this other person. Most of us, in the first instance, do not recognize we have any problem at all.

Rethabile said...

"You seem to focus on the fact that the weapon is somehow culpable. It isn't - the user is."

We're talking guns, here. What, "guns don't kill people, people do?" That's a bit old fashioned as a 21st century line of argument, no?

I'm an African living in Europe who studied in the United States. And I'll tell you, I don't think you want to place needles and vials of heroine within arms' reach of drug addicts, because they will use them. Even if the truth is that those addicts need counselling. What you want to do is counsel them, but without syringes and powder in the vicinity.

It is the same with guns. The history of America is charges with gunnery, and while it is people who pull the trigger (pierce the vein and inject a drug), they wouldn't be able to do so if the gun wasn't so easy to get.

Or am I wrong?

Hathor said...

rethabile,
Well said.

Mister.44 said...

Sorry, I am going to have to disagree with you on this.

A gun is a tool. You mention that you were in the Army, so I imagine you have passed at least basic marksmanship. Having that rifle didn't turn you into a criminal or a murder. It was a tool to protect your nation and your fellow soldiers.

First off - there ARE very reasonable gun laws in place:
No one under 18 may buy a gun, and in most states no one under 21 may buy a pistol.

No one with a felony conviction may buy or even OWN a gun.

If bought from a gun dealer, they have to pass a basic background check that looks at their arrest record, purchasing habits, and if they are earmarked for mental issues.

Since the 1930s with the passing of the NFA (National Fire Arms Act) certain types of fire arms are restricted. These are either outlawed in some states, or they require a $200 tax to buy and a 1-3 month wait for the ATF to do all the paper work, and some times a sign off from the Sheriffs office. This includes Full Auto weapons, short barreled rifles, and sound suppressors. (Furthermore, full autos made after 1986 may not be sold to citizens - thus via supply and demand only the rich can really afford them.)

The people who are committing crimes with firearms are already breaking existing laws. What will additional laws do? Nothing. England and Australia are two countries that have cracked down on guns and they have utterly failed. Not only has gun crime gone up, but so has violent crime.

You see, guns STOP crime as well. Many times guns stop crime with out a single shot being fired. Right now if 2-3 guys bust down my door while I am sleeping, armed with bats or knives, they will be met with a 12 gauge shot gun. They have two choices, run or die.

If I lived in the UK and the same situation happened, I would have two choices, run (if I can) or be at the mercy of these evil men.

Estimates vary, but 2 million + Americans use a fire arm to stop a crime from happening to them. From home invasion to robbery to rape. A snub nosed .38 special is what makes a 100lb woman equal to a 200lb man.

Finally, guns are often demonized, unfairly. Sure, they are dangerous and require caution - but so does a lot of things in the world. Children under 2 are more likely to be poisoned by chemicals in the home than a firearm. People who own pools are more likely to have an accidental death than those having firearms in the home. Cars kill many more people than guns. etc etc etc. You mention that if we stabbed people with knives it would be less lethal. I disagree. I am sure you know how hard it can be to hit your target in the best of situations with training. Untrained youths with adrenaline dumping don't make the best shots. If they are close enough to use a knife - they will find a target. Knives are much wider than bullets, more likely to hit something vital or nick an artery. If used as a slashing weapon it can gash arteries in several spots with a few slashes. Both are deadly - but believing we would be safer with knives is naive.

Crime sucks. Violence by youth is tragic. But the fact is guns are not the problem - the social ills of our black urban communities are. Teenage pregnancy, fatherless children, and the glorification of crime by our 'role models' all contribute to turning our children into criminals. That and the fact that pop culture tells them that their only options are to be athletes, rappers, or pimps and drug dealers. We need to fix our social ills and do right by our children and much of this problem will fix itself.

Finally - do a google search for 'gun control is racist' - you will find compelling evidence that it often is.

Hathor said...

mister .44,
I was in the Army before the volunteer Army, in which it was forbidden for WACs to to learn anything about or fire weapons as part of your military training. You could learn on your private time. Interestingly, it was required as part of my job.

I guess my answer to you would be the same as I gave Erskine.

Not all states or localities have the same gun laws. I am not necessarily saying we need new laws, but they should be enforced as merciless as the possession of marijuana.

I know that there has been some thought that black people don't own guns legally, because of the gun laws. I think that is an error. There is another thought that if they had been armed during Jim Crow they would have been treated differently. Blacks did own guns, but the psychology of fear and reality kept them from using them. Knowing that if a white man was raping his wife in his own bed and he killed him, he would still be convicted of murder or lynched before it got to trial.
Years later when I heard the complete story of Emmett Till's abduction, I thought of the fear his adult cousins had, to allow a child to be taken out of their house. At that time black folk had no fear of killing each other.

Emil said...

It is a devastating refelection on our moral health that guns are not rarer than gold, and harder to find than peace in the present gun infested misery of the world.

Hathor said...

emil,
It is unfortunate that here the 2nd Amendment is considered a moral value.