The Constitution guarantees us many rights and privileges. It IS a living document. It is the duty of the courts to ensure that the changing times remain withing the framework of it. The Second Amendment, for example, was never intended to let us be a nation where all its citizens are armed to the teeth and scared spitless of one another. It's not as simple as that.
We of European descent took this country and the continent away from the original inhabitants by using, in part, the gun as the instrument of death and intimidation in order to get our way and "defend" ourselves against being killed by the previous owners. Subsequently, throughout our history we developed a couple hundred years of frontier mentality as part of our march westward to subjugate still more native Americans. We plastered nice labels on this like "Manifest Destiny", but it was still theft by gun.
Now we're in a societal jackpot where the gun rights advocates are clutching their guns and concepts of their rights ever tighter and becoming even more militant in the face of repeated horror shows like the one we saw in CT yesterday. O.K. That's their right. I actually don't have a problem with that. My problem with guns in our society is the way they are politicized and with law enforcement/non enforcement.
From our pioneer mentality to the dreadful wars we've fought during our entire history we've become very, very good at making instruments for killing other humans. Now, however, we've come up against the intellectual exercise of understanding what being civilized means. We make laws for registering and managing the distribution of handguns - instruments intended for only one purpose expressed gruesomely at Sandy Hook yesterday. We even pass laws in our moments of passion that seem to be preventing the tools of mass muder from landing in the hands of the deranged and the sociopaths only to have them "expire" without protest from the very people they are intended to protect. The Assault Rifle Ban is the case in point. There is no 15 round magazine handgun ban law to expire.
Every time one of these horror shows occurs there is a great hew and cry for more gun control laws. Somebody said that 70% of NRA members favor gun control. Great. Now, where are the legislators and representatives that have the guts to enact and enforce those laws? Even before Barack Obama was elected President and set off a gun buying spree unprecedented since the Civil War, polls showed that over 60% of our citizens desired strict gun control laws. The opposition carped that there were already plenty of laws in place. The argument went silent.
To solve the conundrum I suggest that the people of the United States start ignoring the intimidation, disinformation and fear mongering of the NRA and similar organizations that are really peddling fear and false manhood while threatening the careers of politicians who don't toe the line. I suggest we start electing those who are NOT afraid of the lies and the intimidation by the gun lobby. Boycott the gun lobbies. Let the gun people do whatever it is they do. But if somebody sells a gun to someone with psychological or social issues who ends up killing someone with that gun, the seller pays the price too. If the shooter kills himself, the seller gets life with no parole.
This essay will get flamed by all sides. I don't care. But something different must be done and understanding the roots of our culture without necessarily placing a value judegement on it is necessary if we intend to become more civilized and less brutal.