Saturday, January 19, 2013

Trigger Finger Randomness



This gun debate is making me crazy.  Why is it always about the extremes?  Yes, Americans have the right to own guns but no civilian needs assault weapons or high-capacity ammunition clips. Who are they trying to defend themselves against?  A responsible gun owner with children living in the house will have big guns locked up in a gun safe.  If a home invasion occurs, by the time the gun-owning homeowner gets the assault rifle out of the locked cabinet, they are dead. 

The school safety issue … having armed guards at schools might increase safety but it might not.  That proposed solution is not completely clear. Teachers carrying guns around at school is not the answer either.  Most teachers, even if trained in the proper use of firearms, are not trained or experienced in high-intensity active shooting situations.  It is entirely possible they may kill a kid rather than stop the shooter.

Two people who are close to me (a friend from high school and my sister) are teachers … and gun-owners.  I don’t believe either brings a gun to work. 

Can you imagine if a very young student knew their teacher carried a gun in a purse or jacket and that kid found that gun and that gun was loaded … I can’t finish this sentence.
  
The only thing worse that sensationalist entertainers like Hannity, Rush and Fox News repeating the term ‘gun grab’ in reference to the President’s actions is that some well-intentioned citizens actually believe that crap.  There is NOTHING in any of Obama’s executive orders or proposals for Congress that will result in anybody’s guns being taken away.

The public face of the NRA … smug, self-righteous hypocrites.  I know a couple of NRA members.  They do not fit that profile.  The NRA leaders are just as bad as politicians.

Many of the extreme gun advocates in this debate hold up Ronald Reagan as a shining defender of the Constitution and Obama as someone who is destroying it, all because of this gun issue.  Some statistics:  As California Governor in 1967, Reagan signed a law making it illegal to carry firearms in public.  As President in 1986 he signed the Firearms Owners Protection Act, banning fully automatic weapons.  In 1991 he spoke out in favor of the Brady Act.  The point is this: even Mr. Conservative Small Government Constitution Man thought ‘sensible’ gun laws are needed.  The ‘all or nothing’ approach of extremists on both sides of the debate will keep that from happening.

Many people in this debate refer to the wisdom of the ‘Founding Fathers’ and claim to know what those men were thinking when they wrote the Constitution and the subsequent amendments.  One argument I heard this week pointed out that the right to bear arms is the Second Amendment, meaning is was extremely important.  It was passed in 1789. While it might be hard to disagree with the importance of the 2nd and the other nine that form the Bill of Rights, just remember that those truly visionary men still allowed slavery and barred women from voting.  Slavery wasn’t abolished till 1865 with the 13th Amendment; and women weren’t allowed to vote until 1920 with the 19th Amendment.  Is the right to own a gun more important than the rights of slaves and women?  Don’t we have to consider the Constitution and many of its Amendments in the context in which they were written? Do you really believe you know what the Founding Fathers were thinking?  Were you there?  Ask yourself those questions before speaking too loudly about firearms and other Constitutional issues.

“Paranoia runs deep.  Into your life it will creep.”  Singer Steven Stills’ lyrics from another era resonate a little today too, don’t they?

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