In a well written and reasoned diary post cross posted to Crooks & Liars a KOSsack suggests its time for my American chums to sit down and have a sane and reasoned conversation about gun ownership and the 2nd Amendment. I sympathize and agree entirely with that sentiment. It is a process we Brits last went through after the hideous Dunblane Massacre that saw classes of schoolkids turned into targets for a crazed gun nut.
However, whilst I support and applaud her cry, I'm sorry to say that my pragmatic rationalist within is laughing at that idea, and pointing out its the same one that is raised after every other spree shooting attack in the US from the Clocktower Sniper to Columbine and onwards. It is, says that rationalist within, impossible for Americans to have what we Brits call an "adult" conversation.....because adults don't tend to ignore the massive whopping big grey elephant on the couch sitting smirking next to the 15 pound pile of dung on the carpet, and a whole bunch of his big fat grey mates sitting next to him.
So....if you REALLY want to have an adult conversation about the Second Amendment here is how you start.
LATE EDIT: That article I flag is by Darcy Burner and found here:http://www.dailykos.com/...
1) Its An Amendment Stupid!The clue is in the name. The Framers, having got the US kickstarted, realized that the original foundation contract between State and Citizen was inadequate and needed tweaking. That tells you that the Framers realized that the contract would need constant re-tweaks as time went on and things changed. They never intended that the Constitution would remain sacrosanct and carved on stone tablets forevermore. Having humility and reason they realized that they were imperfect.....so why the hell has the modern America deified this fallible contract?
2) Welcome to the New Millennium. The Framers wrote that great contract using a sharpened feather and iron filings ink on animal hide. The cutting edge gun technology was a Kentucky Long Rifle - a flintlock muzzle loading black powder gun capable in highly trained hands of shooting three times a minute, and with an accurate range of around 300 yards. Handguns were similar flintlock muzzle loaders with a similar rate of fire and an effective range of less than 50 yards. In the hands of joe shmo these weapons were hard to use, and hard to use accurately.
3) This is America!When the Framers wrote the Constitution and its Amendments he USA was a largely agrarian society of farmers and landworkers with no standing army to defend itself from the Damocles like threats beyond its borders. The citizenry had no police force to protect itself from criminals. So an armed citizenry able to serve as well regulated armed militias to protect the borders and its communities from crime made sense.
3) Regulation Regulation. See that phrase "WELL REGULATED MILITIA"? Well, given that in the 20C state and national police forces were established, and a standing army was in place, sane minds would point out that THEY were the Well Regulated Militia discussed in the Amendment. So if a private citizen buys a gun and is not a signed up member of a regulated citizen militia group how the hell does that Amendment make any sense? And who regulates the well regulated militia? There is also the possible discussion around how the hell a private citizen being able to buy 4 guns and 6000 rounds of ammo online via net stores and nobody thinking "Hang on...." classes in ANY way as falling into an acceptable definition of "well regulated". When any old joe can buy better weapons than the average Police officer responding to the incident is carrying that is NOT well regulated....its damn insanity.
4) I'm Purdey The Gunsmith. There's another thing about the Framers. NONE of them are known to have taken significant electioneering money off a gun manufacturer or lobby group of gun nutty gun nuts. Get that? NONE. Gun manufacturing was almost a cottage industry back then. And I don't recall reading how Adams, Jefferson, Franklin et al were score carded on their performances by Thee Ex Colonial Gunne Clubbe of America. How the hell can any modern US politician be seen to be able to have an impartial and fair analytical discussion of the gun issue when most are in the pay of gun manufacturers and have the NRA's swiftboat bayonet in the small of their backs?
There will be a lot of pearl wringing in the next days and weeks about the whys and wherefores of this tragedy. But at the end of the day it boils down to this:
It happened because in the USA it was legal for a totally unmonitored and unregulated normal militarily untrained citizen to buy 4 military grade weapons and wheelbarrows full of ammunition without any form of intervention or real control. It happened because he had guns and ammo rather than a baseball bat or a kitchen knife. Because he owned guns.
And if occasional localized voter fraud incidents happening less often than lightning strikes and shark attacks can be used to justify the mass disenfranchisement of potential voters, then this and the other spree shootings is more than enough justification to take away the right to own dangerous firearms.
please....the sane world, sick to the stomach of reading about these spree massacres two or three or more times every year, is begging you. Put down the gun, take off the rosy tinted David Barton glasses, and start a sane and adult conversation about whether having a population that owns more guns per head than Somalia is a good idea.
Start that conversation with "yeah the 2nd says that, but here is what it actually meant back then, and that was over 200 years ago. Its an Amendment...so lets damn well Amend it."
And like I said, when the argument is made that guns protect your freedoms and liberties, ask why one or two incidents of voter fraud can be used to justify taking away the freedom and liberty to vote, yet graveyards full of dead fathers, mothers, sons and daughters are not justification to take away the liberty of gun nuts to stockpile weapons of mass murder and why Joe The Plumber gets to own a rack of bigger better guns than Paul The Policeman sent to stop him shooting his neighbours.
Good luck my American chums, and my sympathy to all involved.