Guns, guns, guns


“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.”  2nd Amendment, United States Constitution.

“The Constitution shall never be construed to prevent the people of the United States who are peaceable citizens from keeping their own arms.”
Samuel Adams, Massachusetts Ratifying Convention, 1788

“The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.” Wayne LaPierre, Executive Vice President, National Rifle Association.

December 14, 2012. Newtown, Connecticut.  Twenty children, six adults killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School.  It was at this point in United States history that we, as a nation, decided that the lives of our children were less important that the cultural and political mores of the 18th century, or the profits of the firearm industry.  In order to protect the modern fantasy that citizen militiamen, armed with their own weapons, would stand ready to overthrow the United States government if called upon (by whom, one wonders), and that every person needs a gun to defend their home, family, and person, the NRA and it’s gun manufacturing overlords have manipulated the legislatures of many states, as well as Congress, to make further gun control impossible.  Despite popular support in the public, as well as from NRA members themselves, the gun pushers control the purse strings of elected officials, and stop every attempt (at least at the Federal level) to pursue reasonable regulations. (including regulations the NRA used to support, and even, on occasion, proposed) The people have decided not to change this situation.  Or perhaps more accurately, too many people have decided they cannot effect change, and have given up by not voting.  Either way, the deaths of twenty first and second graders were not enough to end that apathy.

Since Sandy Hook, there have been 1,044 mass (four or more victims) shootings in the United States, with at least 1,327 killed and 3,784 injured.  (this includes the San Bernardino shooting on December 2, 2015)

Now, because the actions of the authors (both Democrat and Republican) of our foreign policy blunders in the Middle East, the chickens have come home to roost, literally. We are dealing with the ability of people who are sympathetic with the grievances of terrorists to easily acquire weapons more suited to war than hunting or self-defense.

“For those concerned about terrorism, some might be aware of the fact that we have a no-fly list where people can’t get on planes, but those same people who we don’t allow to fly, can go into a store right now (to buy a gun) in the U.S. and there is nothing we can do to stop them. That is a law that needs to be changed.” President Barack Obama, to CBS News, December 2, 2015.

“Anyone can be arbitrarily placed on the no-fly list—in fact, that’s happened quite a bit. People have been arbitrarily placed on the no-fly list mistakenly, innocently… So with respect to the no-fly list, I think it’s very important to remember people have due process rights in this country and we can’t have some government official just arbitrarily put them on a list.” Speaker of the House of Representatives, Paul Ryan, on why the GOP will not support legislation to prevent individuals on the no-fly list from purchasing firearms. (although the Republicans also will not act to provide any easier means for individuals to appeal inclusion on the list.)

“I urge you to responsibly take advantage of your legal right to carry a firearm. To ensure the safety of yourself and others, make sure you are comfortable and proficient with your weapon, and knowledgeable of the laws in New York State with regards to carrying a weapon and when it is legal to use it.” Ulster County, New York, Sheriff Paul J. Van Blarcum, in remarks made after the San Bernardino shooting.

I don’t know how things work in Ultser County, New York, but I have been a law enforcement dispatcher in Tulare County for over 21 years.  Every time I’ve dispatched deputies or officers to a call where the reporting party has told me they have armed themselves with a gun, and I report that fact to responding units, I’m told to tell that person to secure the weapon when units arrive.  Every. Single. Time.  Law enforcement officers may publicly and privately support citizens owning and carrying firearms, but they do not want them unsecured when they arrive.  For some reason, more guns doesn’t seem to make them feel safer.  (yes, yes… I know, understand, and agree with the reasoning behind it.  It’s just an odd artifact of the illogical nature of gun “rights” in the United States.)

Between gang violence, domestic violence, suicides, accidents, crimes of passion, simple run-of-the-mill criminal activity, and now terrorism, we have handed the keys to the armory over to evil, and refuse to act to change that.

I suppose we should take some pride in our record.  Nobody else in the western world comes close to the United States in the number of mass shootings and murders by firearms.  Our love of guns is so pervasive, so deep, so historically ingrained in our national psyche, that we seem unable and unwilling to change that.  We will continue to kill each other to the tune of more than ten thousand a year, injure more than twenty four thousand a year, and line the pockets of gun makers and dealers.  Terrorists, whether home-grown or imported, will easily acquire the weapons of war, and use them and our laws against us.  “Bad guys” will continue to spray bullets indiscriminately in a drive-by or in retaliation for some imagined “disrespect” by some other “bad guy”.  Children will pick up a gun in their own home, and shoot themselves or someone else.  The burglar shot in the hallway will end up being a teenager trying to sneak into his bedroom at 2am.  The list is endless.  All in the name of the 2nd Amendment, freedom, and  ‘Murica.

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