After watching too many reruns of “Gunfight at the OK Corral” and watching the Earps emerging victorious each time, the NRA decided to comment on the Newtown massacre.
“The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is with a good guy with a gun.” Wayne LaPierre, doing his best John Wayne impersonation, was the NRA speaker and he took no questions (or prisoners?) Why bother? He made his point. Arm the entire staff of every school with uzis and there will no more incidents like Columbine, Virginia Commonwealth, or Newtown.
Mike Quigley, Illinois Democrat in the House, cogently expressed the reactions of many citizens: “Anyone who thought the NRA was going to come out today and make a common-sense statement about meaningful reform and safety was kidding themselves. www.nytimes.com 12/22/12
On page 1 of the business section of the NY times on Saturday, there was an article on mental health reform. It states that 26% of adults experience a diagnosable mental disorder in any given year. Unfortunately, after being confronted by the NRA lobby, the article may possibly have omitted that the majority of those adults were NRA lifetime members.
This is not about new restrictive laws on assault weapons. This is about the NRAs total indifference to public sentiment after the tragedy in Newtown. This is about current gun owners running out this week to purchase new guns (many AR-15s) and to store up on ammunition to insure that any new legislation enacted by Washington will be too late to prevent them from pursuing their pastime/recreational hobby of treating assault weapons as “toys”.
We live in a violent society; no one is disputing that fact. If Hollywood decided to do a 2013 remake of “The Ten Commandments”, there is little doubt that Charlton Heston (former President of the NRA) would be taking on the Pharaoh with an AK-47 in lieu of the original “staff of God”. Texas school children are still taught “Remember the Alamo” before the Pledge of Allegiance. If they could get away with it, the NRA would be tearing down statues of George Washington in front of public schools and replacing them with statues of Rambo.
One can debate the original intent of the 2nd Amendment ad infinitum and never really know the full intent of the Founding Fathers in their inclusion of this in the Bill of Rights. But one can definitively state that Thomas Jefferson and his comrades could not have possibly foreseen the devastatingly powerful weapons developed in the 20th and 21st century, specifically assault-type weapons.
The NRA and the staunch right-wing Republics insist on proclaiming their perverted view of the 2nd Amendment to the Constitution. They would like everyone to believe that it is absolutely necessary for every American to own a gun in order to protect themselves from the potential tyranny of the federal government. The NRA cites the NSA, the CIA, DHS, TSA, and various other government agencies taking on more and more police powers and illegally collecting information on citizens, setting up massive databases. Even if they are right on some level, is the solution to arm the entire public with assault weapons. NOT!
Carl Bogus, a law professor at Roger Williams University School of Law, offers us a more historically correct point of view in his thesis published in the U.C. Davis Law Review, titled “The Hidden History of the Second Amendment”. Bogus’ arguments, if universally accepted, would alter the entire national interpretation of the Second Amendment. Bogus states that James Madison composed the 2nd Amendment to “assure the southern states that Congress would not undermine the slave system by disarming the militia, which were then the principal instruments of slave control throughout the South”.
If the Supreme Court were to consider Bogus’ hypothesis/view of history in future court decisions involving the Second Amendment, it potentially could alter the course of our future in terms of gun control for two important reasons: (1) It would “ support the view that the amendment does not grant individuals a right to keep and bear arms for their own purposes; rather it only protects the right to bear arms within the militia, as defined within the main body of the Constitution, under the joint control of the federal and state governments. At the time, the southern states extensively regulated their militias and prescribed their slave control responsibilities and (2) the hidden history is important because it fundamentally changes how we think about the right to keep and bear arms. The Second Amendment takes on an entirely different complexion when instead of being symbolized by a musket in the hands of the minutemen, it is associated with a musket in the hands of the slave holder”. www.vpc.org.
This thesis certainly would blow the lid off the long held contention by the ultra conservative Republicans and the NRA that the 2nd amendment was to allow citizens to protect themselves from tyranny. The author’s article is an outstanding example of insight into our history and it appears that his arguments are anything but “bogus”.
Since the Newtown Massacre, there has been a great deal of talk by President Obama and Congress about new legislation. Please forgive my cynicism for not believing. Until I see some action, I’m not ready to accept that anything will be done. And in the interim, the NRA will be pouring millions of lobbying dollars to insure that nothing significant will ever be passed. God Bless America and God Help Our Children!