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We are now seeing mass murder by gun on an ongoing and terrifying basis across these United States.

It is an unending panoply of violence and insanity and grief.

It is disturbing the daily lives of tens of thousands of American families, and disturbing the lives of far too many of them permanently, when one of the victims of these public slaughters is a member of their family.

We are, it appears, at one of those points in American history where we must choose between the past and what is and has been how we do things, and the future, where our outdated or anachronistic behavior is hurting too many of our fellow citizens.

These questions don't come along in the United States all that often, mostly I think because our living Constitution has been able to adapt to new eras via Amendments designed to more closely fit the words written in the 18th century to a form and structure which resonates more clearly in the 19th, 20th and now 21st century.

It happened during the 1860s, when the issue of Slavery nearly broke our Compact, costing the lives of nearly 2% of the American population. That was a question whose answer came only at the end of an armed conflict which pitted family members against each other in battle. The memory of that conflict lingers in our national psyche today, as it should.

It happened during the 1950s, during the McCarthy 'red scare' era. Legislators overran common sense and civil rights searching for 'commie sympathizers' in Hollywood and other parts of the nation, ending in scathing 'hearings' which were nothing less than public witch hunts designed to make those politicians look strong to their panic-driven electorate. It is a stain upon our Democracy, which I hope is not forgotten any time soon. I'd hate for us to repeat that particular episode of conservative crazy.

It happened during the civil rights movement of the 1960s. When, for the first time in the nation's history, white men found out that they were not the Masters of the Universe, at least not anymore. They were not happy and threw (sometimes violent) tantrums about it for quite some time. Some of them are still throwing those same tantrums, they've just ratcheted-up the volume since some crazy Americans somehow were brainwashed into electing a Black guy to the Office of the Presidency. By freaking landslide proportions. Twice.

So about half a century after those Civil Rights Movement victories, we find ourselves as a people, as a nation, mired in another of those Constitutional quandaries.

In particular, we live in an era where our Supreme Court has been in a 5-4 (conservative majority) format since the era of Ronald Reagan. What the conservative want, they've been getting. In particular, this John Roberts Court had presided over some of the most unique decisions: finding that speech and money are the same thing when it comes to politics; that rich people AND corporations have the Right to spend their speech money, and as much of it as they want, influencing elections; and in contrast to over 200 years of previous SCOTUS courts, they found that there is a personal Right to "keep and bear arms" irrespective of the person belonging to any well-regulated Militia.

It's bad enough when our highest Court tells us that money and speech are equivalent. When they tell us that wealthy individuals and groups like corporations and unions can spend as much of their money influencing our elections; even when regular folks have no hope of ever have such an 'loud' voice.

But when they tell us that anyone who wants one can have a gun or ten or a thousand of them? When these people can buy as much ammunition, in magazines or clips in such large volumes that a single crazy person can mow down up to dozens of their fellow citizens in mere moments? When our already nearly comatose Congress completely abdicates it's responsibility to legislate these weapons of death in such a way to ensure the "general Welfare" of the The People?

When year after year, month after month and lately day after day after day, our fellow innocent Americans are slaughtered by gunshots?

I think we've come to one of those moments in American history, when a meta question is before the American people to determine in which direction will the nation proceed. This time, the question has to be, "Which is more valuable, the Right to  Live or the Right to 'keep and bear arms'?".

Because that's where we are now. It's obvious to anyone who doesn't live in a cave that as more and more and more guns have been bought and/or brought into America, that more and more of our innocent fellow citizens have been slaughtered with them.

Gun nuts can spout their talking points until the end of time, but in the end, it IS guns which kill people. People just pull the trigger, the gun's ammunition does the killing.

Within the past couple of years alone we've seen a sitting Representative to the US House shot in the head at a street-side constituent meeting (Gabby Giffords), seen 20 five and six year old babies, really and seven adults horrifically slaughtered by multiple shots to nearly all victims in their school; gun attacks on Army bases and a Navy Shipyard and many such mass murders by gun on college and university campuses across the land.

There've been at least 70 mass shootings in the past three decades alone.

At it's heart, this question is about more than the 2nd Amendment, a lot more.

It's about what kind of people we Americans are going to be, going forward. About what sort of society we want our children and grandchildren (should we be lucky enough to have them) to live in.

I'm on the side that wants to choose Life. We've spent the wealth of our nation on a Department of Defense that could theoretically protect us from almost anything, saving an invasion by an advanced extraterrestrial species or perhaps a comet strike. I don't believe that under these circumstances that continuing to adhere to a rule our forebears wrote due to the circumstances of the world and the fledgling United States of America in the 1770-1790 era is either fitting or meet for the America of the 21st century.

We threw off the chains of Slavery and freed our brothers and sisters, though it cost us dearly.

We wrought a new society a half century and more later, to require that polite society recognize the Rights of non-white Americans, to fully flesh out the Freedom granted them so many years before.

Why can't we, as a society and through our elected representatives to our Government, acknowledge that this modern century no longer requires the anachronistic 2nd Amendment and it's gift of weapons of death to all and sundry?

The cost of keeping it? It's too damned high.

#NotOneMore should be a logo on old faded t-shirts, which we have to explain to our grandchildren reminds us of a time when guns were everywhere in America and bad people used to kill other people with them all the time. Until enough of us spoke up, #StrongerTogether, and demanded our Government say #NotOneMore, too.

And then they did.

Originally posted to My .02¢ from The Other Washington on Mon Jun 09, 2014 at 01:26 AM PDT.

Also republished by Shut Down the NRA.

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Comment Preferences

  •  #NotOneMore Jar (34+ / 0-)

    Because I want to live in a civilized nation.

    This ain't it, not with #GunFAIL murdering my fellow Americans endlessly, it's not.


    "I like paying taxes...with them, I buy Civilization"

    by Angie in WA State on Mon Jun 09, 2014 at 01:26:23 AM PDT

  •  Angie - the Supreme Court case that (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Angie in WA State, a2nite

    equated speech and money was Buckley v Valeo (1969).

    Independent expenditures by individuals have never had a limit. Citizens United didn't change independent expenditures by individuals at all.

    Prior to US v Miller (1939) were there any other cases when the SCOTUS ruled specifically on the issue of an individual right to own firearms?

    "let's talk about that" uid 92953

    by VClib on Mon Jun 09, 2014 at 01:48:42 AM PDT

    •  see update to diary (5+ / 0-)

      Also, it seems I recall reading that the Heller decision was the first of any SCOTUS court's findings which determined that an individual right to keep and bear arms was not dependent upon any restriction, including membership or participation in a well-regulated militia.

      I never looked further into it, as I believe I read it in the discussion portion of Heller at Cornell Law.edu. They note there it's the first case in 69 years to address the 2nd Amendment.

      Thanks for the contribution.


      "I like paying taxes...with them, I buy Civilization"

      by Angie in WA State on Mon Jun 09, 2014 at 02:10:19 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  You're right. Heller is the first case to ... (0+ / 0-)

        ... squarely hold that the Second Amendment conveys an "individual" right, as opposed to a collective militia.

        A few cases preceded that were squirrelly, not at all as clear as J. Scalia's artfully "originalist" fabric-weaving opinion in D.C. v. Heller, which neatly sidestepped the documented drafting history of the Second Amendment. The most extreme gun advocates were not sure what the Second Anendment meant, either, and disagreed among themselves whether Heller was the right case to appeal! (The only other case was McDonald, two years after the Heller decision, that applied the Heller holding to the states.)

        And it's important to note that all Heller held was that the Second Amendment allows - with qualifications - an individual to keep a loaded and readily accessible handgun in his or her home for the purpose of self-defense. Period.

        SCOTUS has not taken another Second Amendment case for argument since, despite many cases being urged upon the Court by gun rights advocates over the years.

        It is not the Heller decision that is keeping legislators from acting to stanch the proliferation of dangerous weapons in America.

        2014 is HERE. Build up the Senate. Win back the House : 17 seats. Plus!

        by TRPChicago on Sun Jun 15, 2014 at 11:21:42 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Individuals could donate as much as they want, (8+ / 0-)

      so long as they don't donate more than (the amount has changed over time) $XX.xx to any single candidate.

      What Citizens United v FEC did was open the floodgate to allow unlimited spending to non-profits of the 501(c)4 type, by both individuals and groups (such as corporations and unions).

      Which in this era, is the way to contribute invisibly, due to IRS regulation of the 501(c) categories of status. Because the 501(c)4 types are not required to disclose the identity of any of their donors.

      It's a particularly pernicious allowance to the wealthy and is heinous in a democratic Republic which was founded in no small part on the rejection of corporate influence over government. The Boston Tea Party, after all, was not a protest against the British, but against the East India Corporation.


      "I like paying taxes...with them, I buy Civilization"

      by Angie in WA State on Mon Jun 09, 2014 at 02:18:54 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Angie - CU was about independent expenditures (0+ / 0-)

        by corporations and unions, and did not address contributions to campaigns. It changed no rules for individuals. It did make it easier for individuals to confidentially fund non-profits, as you note, who could then make independent expenditures.

        Just a nit, contributors to all 501s are disclosed to the IRS, regardless of whether they are tax deductible contributions, but not all are required to make a list of their donors public.

        "let's talk about that" uid 92953

        by VClib on Mon Jun 09, 2014 at 07:04:29 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Wrong, I think, how about a citation? (0+ / 0-)
          contributors to all 501s are disclosed to the IRS

          That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

          by enhydra lutris on Mon Jun 09, 2014 at 09:44:38 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  el - I don't have time to hunt down a cite (0+ / 0-)

            but it's true.

            "let's talk about that" uid 92953

            by VClib on Mon Jun 09, 2014 at 10:11:51 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I think not. I know folks who filed (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Angie in WA State, Penny GC

              returns for 501(c)(3)s and they say they never submitted such information and I have never heard of it needing to be done. Perhaps on audit, or their might be a threshhold dollar limit, but I would really need to see a citation before I bought the idea that all 501 annually submit lists of all donors.

              I checked with those people because I know for a fact that such information isn't always collected. Think about it - you go to a street fair and all those organizations have donation jars out, and they don't keep track of who puts what in them. Donation boxes at museums and interpretive centers, drop off boxes and the like. I volunteered for an exempt org and when folks tendered us some cash, we'd ask if they wanted a receipt, but if they didn't, we took no information.

              Political orgainizations might have such a requirement., but not 501s per se.

              That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

              by enhydra lutris on Mon Jun 09, 2014 at 10:50:26 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  el - donations under $200 never have to be (0+ / 0-)

                reported and we are talking about contributions to groups that are politically oriented and those contributions are never tax deductible. All 501s report donors, above a certain threshold, to the IRS. Some are required to make those contributions public, and some 501s can keep them in confidence, but the IRS does have the information which it too is required to keep confidential.

                "let's talk about that" uid 92953

                by VClib on Mon Jun 09, 2014 at 10:55:02 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  For clarification, the $200 limit is for all (3+ / 0-)

                  donations to a candidate during an election cycle.  

                  The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

                  by nextstep on Mon Jun 09, 2014 at 11:08:34 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  Again, for Political organizations there (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Angie in WA State

                  are probably separate rules, but for ordinary 501s I think not unless there is a pretty high threshold.

                  Donors giving over 250 (once 200) must obtain a receipt from the donee, but the donees re not required to keep a copy or to submit it to the IRS, for example. (Again, ordinary non-political 501s)

                  That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

                  by enhydra lutris on Mon Jun 09, 2014 at 11:29:02 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  OK, I just re-read this and see that you (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Penny GC, VClib

                  are using "501s" to mean certain political organizations. That is where my confusion started, because there are a myriad of non-political 501 organizations and the rules for political organizations do not apply to them.

                  That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

                  by enhydra lutris on Mon Jun 09, 2014 at 11:31:53 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

  •  let's start with large magazines (11+ / 0-)

    I own 2 rifles and 2 shotguns.  In 40 years of deer hunting I have only shot twice once.  Let's limit magazines to 5 rounds.

    Let's also stop selling handguns and offer a reward for turning on handguns to the police.

    As Lynnyrd Skynnyrd said,
    "Handguns are made for killing
    Ain't no good for nothing else"

    We kidnap. We torture. It's our policy. Embrace it or end it!

    by Mosquito Pilot on Mon Jun 09, 2014 at 04:06:46 AM PDT

  •  The trouble with gun nuts is that they are nuts (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Angie in WA State, amyzex, Penny GC

    and they have guns.

    Ultimately, the resolution to this issue will be a Constitutional Amendment. Right now, we haven't the political will to register guns like we do automobiles, and limit gun ownership to sane non-criminals - much less Amend the Constitution. But we are getting there. It'll take a while, and meantime many more will die, a tragedy.

    Water is the oil of the 21st Century. -Jerry McNerney (D-CA09)

    by JohnMac on Mon Jun 09, 2014 at 05:02:31 AM PDT

    •  We don't need an amendment to limit guns. (0+ / 0-)

      It would be fine, but the gun rights advocates very deliberately blow the Heller decision way out of proportion, conflating it to mean Everything Guns. That case is limited to having a handgun accessible in one's home for self-defense.

      It doesn't cover carry, concealed or open. It doesn't cover brandishing guns or parading with them in rallies, malls or other public venues. It does not require anything about Stand Your Ground laws, prevent background checks at gun shows or for private sales, nor limit in any way a national registry of guns or gun owners.

      (A few lower Federal court cases have ruled on carry issues. The 7th Circuit read 2A to allow concealed carry of a handgun for self-defense, so that is the law prevailing in the Midwestern states within that circuit. However, most courts that have taken up 2A cases have not extended SCOTUS's decision in Heller.)

      We. Do. Not. Need ... to amend the Second Amendment in order to address most of the tragedies of gun violence in America or to stanch the flood of weapons on the streets.

      We need legislators willing to do EVERYthing they can to stop gun violence in America. Before more deaths by gun.

      2014 is HERE. Build up the Senate. Win back the House : 17 seats. Plus!

      by TRPChicago on Sun Jun 15, 2014 at 12:13:47 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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