At last, the great clash of ideas over guns in America has come to a cusp.
First, just the facts, ma’am (provided by my Japanese Bushido Sensei, Hiro Tanamachi – a gun control advocate):
“The USA leads the world in the percentage of households with handguns as well as the handgun murder rate. The USA is also the world leader in overall firearms possession with half of all households owning a firearm. These facts connote truly disastrous social consequences: In 1993, for example, the FBI counted 24,526 gun-caused deaths: 13,980 murders by handguns and 18,940 suicides by firearms. To place it in another perspective, every two years, more Americans die from firearm injuries than the total number of American soldiers killed during the eight-year Vietnam War ...”
Heretofore, prior to the massacres of theater-goers and school children, gun haters were chary to come out of the closet with so-to-speak “both guns blazing.” Now the debate is joined head on and we can expect, if not movement, at least clarity of the real issues.
I do not own a gun of any kind, have never owned a gun, and have no desire whatsoever of owning a gun. As a highly trained martial artist of some 50 years, I prefer my Judo and Kung Fu to something that can be slapped out of one’s hand, such as a gun or knife. So, “Carl Brown’s perspective” is free of personal bias (this time).
However, I am four-square in favor of the protections granted by the Second Amendment.
Frankly, space allowing, I have no philosophical problem with people parking tanks in their two-car garage.
Not long ago, The United States Supreme Court decided a case out of Chicago in which an African-American wanted to exercise his right to own a handgun despite a Chicago ordinance prohibiting same. The Supremes made it clear once and for all that the Second Amendment not only has to do with all that militia business, but concomitantly grants American citizens the right to bear arms as a method of personal self-defense.
This, however, in no way vitiates the right of the people to rise up and overthrow the government.
More on that later.
Now, the American debate over gun control centers around whether one should be able to have assault rifles like AK-47s and/or ammunition magazine clips exceeding 7-10 bullets.
I have a friend who likes to cut down trees with her AK-47 for sport. Who am I to begrudge her such a silly pastime?
Further, who am I to criticize the Korean store owners who defended their lives, businesses and property during the Rodney King riots/peoples’ uprising? They stood on their roof and fired into the rampaging mob.
Who am I to say that seven or 10 bullets will stop an eight-person gang like the one that beat up a man, an incident widely publicized not long ago?
And who the hell am I to advise some woman awakened in the middle of the night that she had best be an excellent shot when a rapist or robber tries to come through the window. A bad time to run out of bullets ...
Let our elected leaders in Congress answer such questions, please.
Now back to the Right of Revolution. One of my freshman writing assignments at Vanderbilt Law School gave me the opportunity to heavily research the Second Amendment and all its nuances. Undeniably, the Founding Fathers intended the Second Amendment to protect all the others. Without the freedom vouchsafed by the right to bear arms, freedom of speech, freedom to assemble, and due process are but mere words on paper.
Watching “V is for Vendetta” recently, I could not help but be impressed by the following quote: “The people should not be afraid of their government; the government should be afraid of their people.” This echoes the words of Thomas Jefferson: “When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty. “
I quite agree.
I don’t want the government to know who has guns, and I think it criminal for newspapers to publish the addresses of those who do. Like it or not, gun registration is the first step to living in a very dangerous place, a place called “Amerika.”
Additionally, the gun control debate touches on the issue of mental illness. The man who shot up the theatre, I understand, was a diagnosed schizophrenic, and the man who shot up the school was a diagnosed manic depressive (bipolar). The question is, were they taking their medicine? My favorite newscaster, Chris Wallace, is quick to say that the mentally ill are more likely to be victims than perpetrators of violence. Let me add that the incidence of violence among the mentally ill – about 2.3 percent – is nearly identical to that of the general population.
Further, should background checks permit a NON-VIOLENT felon from getting a gun for self-protection? And, as for “the mentally ill,” how ‘bout that little 19-year-old who was committed for depression? Is she to be denied a gun to protect herself when at age 27, after taking anti-depressants successfully for eight years, she wants to protect herself and her children? THESE ARE THE QUESTIONS CONGRESS MUST RAISE AND ANSWER.
I might further observe that all school children of this nation deserve the same protection as that provided to the children of President Barack Obama. It is my understanding that the legislation he proposes will do this very thing. If so, I applaud the measure. If not, I deplore it. What better way to promote employment than hiring veterans to protect our school children?
So, let our President and members of Congress take such matters into account during the ferocious debate, long overdue, on so-called “gun control.”
And all this time I thought gun control simply meant shooting straight.