Sandy Hook Elementary

I’d like to pass on a few of the words David Frum wrote in the Newsweek weblog, The Daily Beast:

A permissive gun regime is not the only reason that the United States suffers so many atrocities like the one in Connecticut. An inadequate mental health system is surely at least as important a part of the answer, as are half a dozen other factors arising from some of the deepest wellsprings of American culture.

Nor can anybody promise that more rational gun laws would prevent each and every mass murder in this country. Gun killings do occur even in countries that restrict guns with maximum severity.

Assault Rifle

But we can say that if the United States worked harder to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people, there would be many, many fewer atrocities like the one in Connecticut.

And I’ll say: I’ll accept no lectures about “sensitivity” on days of tragedy like today from people who work the other 364 days of the year against any attempt to prevent such tragedies.

It’s bad enough to have a gun lobby. It’s the last straw when that lobby also sets up itself as the civility police. It may not be politically possible to do anything about the prevalence of weapons of mass murder. But it damn well ought to be possible to complain about them – and about the people who condone them.

I find myself once again flabbergasted (courtesy of the Boehner) that this country is so enamored with guns and violence. In an earlier post I wrote about my being born in the Twentieth Century saved me from the every-day fear of men roaming the streets with six-guns strapped to their hips. On television I almost never saw these guns used for anything other than killing people. But the irony is that now all fifty states allow the citizens to carry a firearm, ostensibly for protection. I guess I was wrong in thinking the country had matured and was no longer Dodge City or Tombstone.

There is a secondary problem with the current misguided view of guns in this country:  if I suggest that guns, like in most of the developed world, should be heavily controlled and eliminated wherever possible, what happens is that I am tagged as the problem. It’s un-American to suggest that people in Chicago or San Diego do not need to have a gun in their possession and it is inane to suggest the guns don’t kill, people do.

So I want to make a few suggestions which might improve the gun situation without harming the beloved Second Amendment. First, here is the wording of 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.

There is a great deal of controversy here but in some way it’s hard to argue that a “well regulated militia” is a part of the right to “keep and bear arms” statement. They cannot be separated because they are both part of the amendment. Today’s militia is the National Guard. Why not have gun ownership linked to enlistment in the National Guard. Most of the year gun owning citizens would continue to live the life they understand and enjoy, but a few times a year they will be obligated to attend National Guard meetings or training (and of course, they will be available for actions such as Iraq).

Then there is the argument I always hear about something not being specified in the Constitution or the Bill of Rights. It might surprise some people but there is nothing said in the Constitution relating to the private ownership of automatic weapons or assault weapons. Perhaps until the gun enthusiasts get the country to pass a new amendment that allows for more modern weapons we should restrict the gun rights to those guns known at the time of the signing of the Bill of Rights and not make the unfounded assumption that the founding fathers had envisioned automatic weapons that could be used to kill people in a kindergarten school room or a crowded theater or a place of worship.

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Another suggestion is to not implement gun control but instead to severely tax and control the ammunition and gear designed to manufacture ammunition. Gun ranges which provided ammunition for target practice would become very popular, albeit expensive. Japan, where gun deaths can be counted on your fingers, has strict legal responses to even the possession of bullets whether a gun is involved or not. Of course if gun owners were limited to black-powder muskets, there would be no bullets necessary and the future assassins of America would have to pause between shots to pour the correct amount of gun powder out of the flask, dribble the gun powder down the barrel of the musket, pack a lead ball down the muzzle, switch to the finer powder to prime the pan, pull back the hammer, and take aim. Yes, Eighteenth Century armaments might be the answer to the Second Amendment and gun control.

Finally I would like to interpret David Frum’s thesis to say that there is a connection between the many people who cry out for their guns, condone mass killings, and consider a government which tries to control guns as an enemy, and mental health in this country. Contrary to myths, not all Americans are looking to run around town with a loaded gun (or even to have one locked up in a high closet in the garage). Could it be that the need to own a gun is symptomatic of some personality problem or even a mental health problem. There have been years of study done to isolate physiological traits that might identify a criminal mind … why not look for gun owners?

One side effect of closing down guns and killing in this country is that the gun manufacturers and their political arm, the NRA, will one day be unable to purchase the political support of so many politicians and without the bribes from the gun industry, the Republican Party will have an even harder time surviving.

But let’s not blame just one party, despite its open love affair with the NRA:  all of the government is to blame, from the President on down. The gun industry must be regulated and our politicians must overcome greed and corruption and act like responsible Americans.

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You might wonder what Fox News had to say about the slaughter in Sandy Hook Elementary:  they blamed it on not allowing God to be present in the schools. So I suppose they are suggesting that the young children are to blame because they didn’t pray in school that morning? Where do they come up with such sick fucks to spread evil and call it news?

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