Dec 18, 2012

Should it be a right?

I really haven't been following the news regarding Friday's tragedy. I know the basics of what happened, as do all of us, but getting into the details is highly uninteresting to me. I, like any rational human being, feel for the victims who have suffered so much, and will continue to do so, and hope that they find comfort and peace at some point in their lives.
But now, in the aftermath of such senselessness, every one's jumping on the political armchair bandwagon to discuss the politics of what's to come, namely how the Federal government can limit the sales and ownership of personal arms. It makes sense, as to many who experience grief largely because of a product, whether it be drugs, alcohol, tobacco, or in this case guns, the immediate reaction would be to ban it and hope the headlines will never have another massacre on this level ever again.
I can't really blame people for that line of thinking, however naive it may be. Historically banning a product in this country really hasn't gone well, but yet many will insist that a law limiting firearms ownership will be the exception, for reasons I still haven't understood. I still see their point though, at face value, the less guns we have the less school shootings there'll be, but rounding up all weapons seems about as practical as deporting all illegal immigrants. Plus, the deadliest school massacre in America didn't even involve a gun. The man used time bombs that killed 42 people, and it was something not even Ted Nugent could claim an adequate defense for.
I don't consider those who want tighter gun control as automatically wrong in their world view. I would like to see a world without guns, no seriously I would, and I would also like to see a world where vegetables taste like cheesecake. We already have a partial assault weapons ban and now it's cheaper to buy a Harley than own and operate an automatic weapon. You can spend more time in prison for purchasing one manufactured after 1986, or modifying an existing weapon into an automatic, than most pedophiles serve. Oddly, while there's still automatic firearms in existence, the ATF has reported that none of the legally registered automatic guns that comply have ever been used in violent crime. This is probably because of a monetary incentive though, and one could make a good argument that raising the prices on all weapons would limit gun violence. But do we allow the Feds to force gun retailers to raise their prices? What does constitute an assault weapon? I mean hell any gun can be used to assault someone.
I don't know that I'm comfortable with the idea of limiting a right because others misuse it. I mean since the WBC and other hate groups use the First Amendment to emotionally harm others while expressing themselves in manners most despicable, should we revoke our right to protest? Is the NRA just as responsible for gun violence as the ACLU is for hate speech?
I will never understand why gun crimes are so large in this country, even when compared to other countries that have similar gun ownership percentages and yet they have far less violence. Maybe it's because of the lack of cohesiveness America has, and largely embraces. Maybe it's due to the fact that we're a country founded in violence, and often times we celebrate and glamorize it. Maybe it's also due to the idea that we have a false sense of security, amongst those who are pro and anti gun alike. Gun nuts like to think themselves as protectors of their domain by carrying their weapons amongst them, even when in the face of evidence to the contrary, they insist that having projectile weapon will keep them and their loved ones secure. The anti-gun lobby will always tell you that banning a product will ensure no one has access to it, when history has proved them wrong over and over again. I truly believe that if you want to have Americans brush their teeth on a daily basis, make it illegal. I'm not sure why the United States has this attitude, but we do, and I think we always will.
What's really troubling is how most people are so quick to give a knee jerk emotional reaction to the device used to kill innocent children, which I guess includes me as well because I went on for a few paragraphs about it, and what's lacking in our dialogue is how we as a nation have failed to take mental illness seriously, passing it off as simple evil. I'd like to see our Federal government take another look at how we as a society should treat people with such illnesses, something Regan's administration butchered. That'll probably never happen when we're distracted with big scary guns. I wish the only weapon we could own and carry would be a lightsaber. But remember, if we ban all lightsabers, only Sith would own them.
"Laws that forbid the carrying of arms . . . disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes . . . Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man." - Thomas Jefferson

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