I wrote most of this post in 2013, after the LAX shooting. I updated it again in 2016.
That was right after NPR informed me that another shooting happened in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Yes, Kalamazoo. A mid-sized college town. Not too far from the home of Post Toasties and Tony the Tiger (Kellogg.)
Now, in mind-blowing succession, more shootings in Buffalo New York, Uvalde Texas, and Tulsa Oklahoma. There have been 233 mass shootings this year.
Except for the place and perhaps an update to the statistics, the story remains the same. Will the story it ever change?
“We live in a schizophrenic world,” I say. “The very states that want to protect the unborn before it even implants in the uterus, want fewer controls over assault weapons.
“We want our guns, all our guns, but we don’t want to worry about being shot,” chimes in Loved-One.
I know, I know. People kill each other with baseball bats and fists and knives, and cross-bows. Someone can, in a fit of rage, bludgeon or stab someone to death. Even a narwhal horn can become a lethal weapon. Still, the chances of killing someone with one bullet are much greater. And being killed by a stray bullet is much greater than being killed by a wild punch. Assault weapons and guns can wound and maim many people before the perpetrator is stopped. Most of the other ways people attack each other do not have the same power. More murders in the USA involve firearms than any other means.
I Understand, it’s our 2nd Amendment right: “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.” The origin of the Second Amendment is from British common law, as it supports the “natural rights of self-defense, resistance to oppression, and the civic duty to act in concert in defense of the state.”
I saw this salient rebuttal on FaceBook:
We do not live in the same world as the Second Amendment writers. Privately owned hand-guns, rifles, and assault weapons may prove about as effective as baseball bats, fists, and knives against military oppression. We live in an era of video surveillance, cyber-spying, and drone crime-fighting. Our private arsenals don’t stand a chance against the resources the government-run military has at hand.
No amount of security can prevent someone from entering a public place with a weapon. We do have the right, and perhaps an obligation, “to act in concert in defense of country.” I believe that means coming together and supporting bans on assault weapons, and implementing stricter licensing requirements.
I realize that Americans’ right to bear arms is fundamental to our collective identity. Are we willing to live in a vigilante, gun-toting world for the sake of that identity? Or are we ready to adopt a new identity? Is there a way to maintain our “natural rights of self-defense, resistance to oppression, and the civic duty to act in concert in defense of the state,” without the fear of being shot?
Let’s say YES.