Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Defending the Indefensable

My gun-owning friends online here may have problems with this post. I'm going to spout my views and dues on the almighty firearm. In short, the right to bear arms is not absolute.

The Second Amendment states: 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.

Some folks have taken that to mean that they can own every type of weapon created by man, whether its a slingshot or a shoulder-fired Stinger missile. They claim that this Amendment, through its use of the phrase 'shall not be infringed' makes this law absolute. However, the Supreme Court has ruled that some laws can, in fact, encroach on these phrases. For example, though there is freedom of speech, you cannot slander someone; though you can own a pistol, you cannot own a nuclear weapon. (from the Constitution Library)

I don't begrudge folks from owning weapons to hunt game or protect oneself but there must be limits. The incidents in Pittsburgh, Binghamton, NY, the Unitarian church in Tennessee, starkly illustrate that point and the list is getting longer.

I have no problem with responsible use of firearms, there were guns in my family as I grew up. But when my grandfather died from a gunshot wound to the head, my parents decided it wasn't worth it any more. I've gone hunting with friends and learned to shoot in the military, but I still feel that there are some types of weapons that should never see the light of day in the civilian world.

Responsible use. That's a loaded statement. What actions do we consider responsible?

Scenes from the Real America
(from First Draft)

Is this the real America? Swap meet goons selling every kind of hate garbage, Hitler memorabilia, conspiracy theorists' wet dream bullshit. I grew up in a small town, rural and remote as all hell and I still didn't see this kind of shit. There were John Birchers, my barber was one.

There was a case of red baiting that happened in the mid 60's in my hometown that involved John Goldmark. He was a prominent local politician who's career was ended by a story in the newspaper that accused him of being a Communist. He won a libel case against them which set a precedent across the country.

Twenty years later in 1985, his son Charles, a well respected attorney for the Washington State Democratic Party and a delegate to the 1984 Democratic convention for Senator Gary Hart was violently killed along with his wife and two sons by a man who believed they were Communists.

Guns didn't kill Charles Goldmark but a crazy loon who believed the bullshit from folks like the John Birch Society did.

Here's the scoop... If we could ensure that only sane, responsible, law abiding people would own these assault weapons then the most generous interpretation of the Second Amendment would be valid. But we can never assume that no matter what the climate of society is. Given today's volatile atmosphere and the viral hate speech being spewed on television by Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, and Bill O'Reilly and on the radio by Rush Limbaugh, Hugh Hewitt, and Laura Ingraham; we have to realize that allowing these very dangerous weapons in society is a recipe for disaster.

We can't find all the nutcases, nor can we stop them all but we can take away some of the most violent weapons. We have to stop the flow of these weapons through our communities and into the hands of those who want to do us harm. Right now, the Mexican drug lords are using surrogates to purchase hundreds if not thousands of firearms from gun shows in Texas, California, and Arizona.

I don't have all the answers and many of you may think my reasons naive but something has to be done. The gun owning community has got to stop sticking its head in the sand and face the fact that their policies and agendas are putting Americans at risk. Where do we draw the line?

Should we just open the floodgates and allow all weapons to be owned? Could I just saunter down to the local gun shop and buy an Uzi, grenade launcher and a box of anti-personnel mines? Where is the line? Should we do away with background checks and waiting periods and let anyone own these weapons? Just served 15 years for a violent crime, here's your Uzi. Been away at the loony bin for being psychotic? No matter, here's an AK-47 with two boxes of ammo, have fun!

These sound ludicrous and far fetched but without restrictions they will be a reality. Going to the market will be like a scene from the OK corral. Gun rights advocates like the NRA fail to see these points because they will 'infringe' on their rights. Better to blind oneself to reality than to take responsibility for the consequences of their agendas.

To my friends in the blogosphere who may disagree with this, let me know where you would draw the line?
(photos from 'Scenes from the Real America' published by the Washington Independent)

So Mote It Be,
David A.


Grandpa Eddie said...

I agree with you totally and completely, David.

There are certain types of guns the citizenry just does not need to own.

Bustednuckles said...

I am just going to jump in and give you my opinion, with no apologies.
Yes, I see your point.
My opinion is, the reason for the second amendment was also to give the citizens a way to keep the government in check as was well documented.
No, I am not a gun nut, yes I have some, yes I have been on the wrong end of a couple.

I can't agree that the average citizen needs an anti tank weapon, that is ludicrous.
On the other hand, only being allowed by the government to own a black powder, single shot muzzle loader is hardly a deterrent to a government which now has thermal weapons, microwave weapons and mobile weapons platforms that are capable of shooting a half a million shells in two minutes.

The average .AR 15 is a very primitive deterrent for such things but that is all we are allowed to own.
By the way, I don't have one, they are too expensive and I figure If it came to that point, I would just be a statistic anyway.
Go ahead and load up a sling shot against the average police force, let alone our own military.
Like I said, I am not a gun nut but I do have my reasons for allowing us peons access to some repellent fire power.
The fact that all of these abhorrent mass killings have happened recently is heart breaking, but could also be used as an argument for open carry.
One would think twice about opening up on the general public if one knew they would shoot back immediately.

I know, I just came across as a right wing gun nut, what can I say?
It is my opinion.

David Aquarius said...

I see your point, BK and I don't consider you a gun nut. I wrote this to give folks like you and Monkeyfister an opportunity to express your views as they pertain to mine.

the problem I have with your premise is that the government will suddenly turn on its populace. People are armed, even if they are hand guns and rifles. Any attempt by the government to subdue a section of the population by force with result in a great loss of life. Unless they controlled the press, this will resonate across the world.

That scenario is unlikely in my view, especially with the new administration. Bush and Cheney were a different matter. I do find one part of this scenario much more likely and that's groups of militias. They are more likely, in my view, to incite violence.

Those people, the ones in the photos I linked to, are the ones drinking the koolade mixed up by Glenn Beck, Hannity, and Limbaugh. They live for the hate, nourish themselves on the fear and ignorance of the nutjobs running the Right.

It's a shame that we have to consider carrying high powered weapons as we go about our every day life because of the legacy of the Bush years.

Anonymous said...

I think you make some valid points - and I agree with some of them. The problem(s) I have with your post (and many others just like it) are these:
1) You use ambiguous labels
like "assault weapons" but
don't tell us what you
consider to be such.
2) You demand action to take
away some of the most
violent weapons and don't
specify exactly which ones
you want taken away.
3) You present an open
question: "What actions do
we consider responsible?"
and don't bother telling
us what you would accept
as such.
4) Your statement that the
"gun owning community" has
its head in the sand and is
putting Americans at risk
both untrue and
inflammatory. The gun
owning community has no
control over wacked out
individuals. As to putting
Americans at risk, I direct
your attention to cars,
several fatal diseases,
meth and crack, and lack of
health care - all of which
kill more folks in America
than do guns.
Unfortunately, your post proposes no valid solutions and serves no purpose other than to incite. To a large number of gun owners, it could easily be called "hate speech"
and contains elements that promote fear: "Going to the market will be like a scene from the OK corral." That one
maxes out my BS meter.

If you think a post like yours will promote rational discourse, I'm afraid you're on the wrong track. You sound too much like a right wing repug attacking a dem.

I would enjoy discussing specific issues of gun ownership without the emotional spice. I know you can do better.

David Aquarius said...

Well, jeg... here it is.

We should return the assault weapon ban to the same level it was before Bush let it slide. If you legally able to own a weapon and had purchased a one that would now be considered illegal under the new law, you should be able to keep it without penalty. However, it's yours and yours alone. You would not be able to sell it. If the weapon is used in a crime, the criminal gets a multiplier applied to his time in jail. If your weapon is stolen and used in a crime, you would receive fair compensation from the government for its destruction.

Now, I'm just a simple liberal who really could care less about owning a gun but acknowledge that others may wish to have them.

No problem, but it is on the heads of the gun owners to devise a way to keep guns out of the hands of those who would use them for criminal means. Otherwise, we will be having this discussion every day and more and more innocent people will be getting killed by guns.

Anonymous said...

". . . but it is on the heads of the gun owners to devise a way to keep guns out of the hands of those who would use them for criminal means."

Come on, David. You're all over the place. Don't nibble around the edges. Just say right out that you'd prefer an outright gun ban, and be done with it.