Back in 1787, the Founding Fathers drafted a brilliant document that would become known as the Constitution of the United States. Unfortunately, they also made some mistakes, one that has cost hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions of lives, unnecessarily. You see, the nation was a fledgling, only a few years past gaining their independence from England after a bloody war that they damn near lost, so the framers of the document were leery that a foreign power might see the nation as vulnerable and try to take it while it was still learning to stand on its own. So, after ratifying the original document, they added a “Bill of Rights”, the 2nd Amendment of which gave citizens the “right to bear arms”. This, my friends, was a lethal mistake, one that every one of us have paid for in one way or another.
Now, the Founders figured the best way to protect the nation from foreign interference was to maintain a militia … everyday men … farmers, shopkeepers, etc., who could grab their rifle or musket and march off to defend and protect the nation if the need arose. Thus they wrote the Second Amendment:
“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.”
That’s it, folks, the entire text, all 27 words of it. Sadly, though, the Founders only familiarity with ‘arms’ were muskets and such … never in their wildest dreams could they have imagined AR-15s and AK-47s, weapons that can mow down hundreds of people in less time than it took me to write this sentence. And because of that lack of foresight, the U.S. Supreme Court has been trying ever since to define just what ‘arms’ are to be protected and to what extent.
Unfortunately, long ago common sense flew out the door of the Supreme Court and Congress when the word ‘gun’ is mentioned, and the elements that have determined the ‘law’, such as it is, are those with a vested interest in the weapons industry. Public safety is entirely overlooked in the debate over guns. The only consideration is … $$$$$$$$$$$$$$. I won’t bore you with the lengthy list of cases that have first teetered, then tottered, back and forth, regarding what, if any, regulations should be placed on who can own a gun, how many, what type, etc., but suffice it to say that the U.S. is the only nation on the globe where a person’s right to own a gun is more protected than his right to drive a car.
And as a result …
One week ago yesterday, on May 9th, a sunny afternoon in the small town of Griffin, Georgia, a 12-year-old boy was killed … shot dead by his 5-year-old brother who found a gun that had been tossed into the bushes the day before by three men eluding the police during a chase. According to neighbor Tom Whitehead …
“The little one found a gun, had to be right here… somewhere in these bushes he walked over here, found a gun. Turns around. Thinks he’s playing, says ‘bang bang’. It was loaded and killed him. Think about that mother. The next day, Mother’s Day, and one boy is dead by the hand of his younger brother.”
And as a result …
The total number of deaths by gun violence in the U.S. as of May 16th is 14,815 … a number that is sure to have already increased by the time you read this. 84 of that number were children under the age of 11, and 322 teens under the age of 18 are also included in the number.
And as a result …
In March 2017, a mother and her two-year-old toddler were sitting on the bed, while the nine-year-old was sitting on the floor, playing a video game. The mother had a loaded gun in her hand, but couldn’t find her holster, so she placed the gun (loaded with a round chambered) on the bed next to the two-year-old while she got up to look for her holster. The two-year-old then picked up the gun, pulled the trigger, shot and killed his nine-year-old brother. The mother had, in the past, allowed the toddler to pull the trigger on the gun when it was unloaded.
I could go on, but you get the picture … this is happening every day in the United States. Look at the chart above … already this year, not even five months into the year, we are on track to tie or beat previous years.
The gun culture in the U.S. is beyond crazy. This is not in any way, shape, or form what James Madison meant in 1791 when he proposed the Second Amendment as a way to empower state militias. Today, there are no state militias. None. There are juveniles in grown men’s bodies who believe that they must own a firearm in order to feel like a ‘man’, but these men do not belong to militias and they are doing not one damn thing to keep this country safe, but instead are making it the most dangerous nation in the industrialized world. People in other nations are aghast … “What are you Americans thinking???”, they ask. What are we thinking, indeed?
The wealthy arms manufacturers fund the National Rifle Association who in turn *buys our legislators, thereby ensuring that guns will continue to be a part of what they call “The American Way of Life”. What a joke! “The American Way of Death” would be more apt. And thus it happened that in March, while people were beginning to die by the thousands from the coronavirus, it was the single biggest month for gun sales. WHY??? WTF are people thinking? In April, gun lobbyists convinced the federal government to list gun shops as “essential services” so that while people in some states could not purchase a bottle of wine, or a pack of toilet paper, they could go out and buy a gun. Five states’ governors had the cojones to order gun shops closed anyway, but April’s total was still the fourth highest ever. In three of the five states where gun stores were supposed to be closed, the numbers were higher than they were in April of 2019.
The United States is facing more problems of a greater magnitude today than since the end of World War II, the coronavirus pandemic obviously being at the top of the immediate list. I would rank numbers two and three as racism and gun violence … problems that far outweigh even the sinking economy. And yet, Donald Trump wastes every waking minute ranting, calling out his imagined enemies, denigrating the press, dreaming up conspiracy theories, and patting himself on the back for successes that exist only in his own mind. We’re in trouble, people, and guns are not going to solve the problem, for they ARE a big part of the problem.
* Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has taken NRA donations of $1,267,139 during his congressional career, but the leader of the pack is Mitt Romney, who has taken $13,647,676 during his time in Congress. Interestingly, the 2nd highest in NRA donations is Senator Richard Burr, who is currently under investigation for insider trading violations. Senator Burr has collected a handy $6,987,380 in his twenty-five years in Congress. Source: Brady United Organization