It's not the Constitution. It's in the Declaration of Independence. Yet the latter document captures the essence of why being free mattered so much to the original Patriots.
Notice what comes first - not our pleasure. Not even our liberty. Our lives.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness
And not just our lives: those of the children, the America that will be.
You've all seen the news. Not just "yet another school shooting" but an especially horrible one. 27 dead as of this posting. It will probably be more by the time I hit "publish". More by the time you read this.
Keeping our guns safer than our kids completely defeats the stated purpose of guns: to keep our kids safe. What's doubly frustrating is 27-and-counting is a SLOW day in U.S. Gun Death World. It takes a particularly high body count to get our attention.
How many die of gunshots? Roughly 30,000 a year. Let's put that another way: That's TEN 9/11s, or FIVE Iraq Wars a year (U.S. casualties only). It's about par with annual traffic fatalities.
In other words, it's become the price of freedom to some - a price they don't want to talk about. More, they don't want anyone else talking about it, either. Only themselves.
Part of me thinks nothing but natural selection will solve this - and by this I mean behavioral selection. Societies are like people. They have behaviors. Some help them thrive, some not so much. Public policy choices like handgun policy, for example- are a relevant subclass of behaviors.
As a society, we are at risk because we keep our guns safer than our kids. We chose this course long ago.
Some say that days like today aren't the point. They posit that the net value of easy access to handguns - weapons that have the status purpose of protecting lives and property - is more life and liberty and happiness, not less.
They may be right.
They will also be keeping their heads down, walking by quickly and avoiding eye contact to duck today's conversations.
Because, sorry. I don't think they're right at all.
Because, last I heard, the police had guns. And they responded quickly.
And they arrived 27+ victims too late.
That's how much safer our guns are than our kids.