My Opinion–No–I am just going to put it out there. My opinion is an emphatic NO. This is my opinion.
When this country was founded over 200 years ago, after the Constitution was written, Congress saw fit to add to it 10 Amendments on December 15, 1791. That was a mere 15 years after the Congress took the bold step of Declaring its Independence from a tyrannical government from overseas. These 10 amendments, The Bill of Rights, as it became known, were articulated on paper and made known to the world. These rights were the ones that were regularly tread on by the mother country leading to both colonization and then ultimately forming the American Nation.
Flash forward 200 years or so…
Retired Supreme Court Justice, John Paul Stevens suggests that the 2nd amendment be repealed. His reasoning is articulated in line with one of two schools of thought regarding the Constitution. Is the Constitution to be taken literally for all time, or is it a living document that must adjust with the times? Well, if you carry a constitution with you and you can read, you should be able to decide for yourselves…but you can’t…(more later on that).
I, for one, have carried a copy with me for my entire teaching career. I have focused on one particular amendment in the Bill of Rights and that is why I always had it handy…not so I could say…”see, I told you”…but to provoke thought. Just for fun…lets provoke a little thought.
I like Law and Order…not the concept although I like that too. It’s the TV Show. I love it when Jack McCoy and the defense attorney’s tussle over things that relate to the rights of the accused. You hear a lot about search and seizure (4), witness against oneself (5), and right to a speedy trial(6). You hardly ever hear of a jury being empaneled for a small claims action even though they are universally for more than $20 and the 7th amendment should be enforced. It is specific. Amendment 3 has not been violated too much in my lifetime, but it stands to reason that it could be.
If the 2nd amendment should be repealed, shouldn’t these others also be considered. And what about the 1st Amendment.
I have been a music teacher all of my life. I have always struggled with the ideal delivery of a vocal music education which included works of the masters with no consideration for the fact that it may have a “sacred text”. Students and parents, however, were sometimes surprised to see this music being performed in a public school. Sometimes, there would be complaints, controversy, and yes, even lawsuits. They cried “separation of church and state”, which is not in the 1st amendment, not a title to the 1st amendment, but used as a metaphor relating to the actual text of the 1st amendment and articulated by James Madison. That became the de facto title, then a rallying cry and then it was put into the hands of great thinkers…The Supreme Court of the United States. These guys and gals if I may be so politically incorrect should always get it right…then why is it not unanimous? The truth is that they all suffer from the affliction of bias and that is an affliction of humanity.
The history of my bias (aka confirmation bias)
I was born in Philadelphia PA. I moved with my family at the age of 5 to Marlton, NJ where I attended public school until I was 18. I went to college at TSC met my wife and became a music teacher and taught for 26 years in the public schools of NJ. I never hunted. I never knew crime. I had no connection with guns. My family, particularly my mom put the fear of God into me with relation to guns.
I was also bullied mercilessly from grade 6 through grade 12. I lived in constant fear that I was going to be beaten up or even killed from people who now to this very day I consider the excrement of the world. As a teacher, when I saw bullying, I went into such an internal rage that my clothing was soaked in sweat and I literally had the shakes. I confronted the bully and made sure that they knew I wouldn’t tolerate it.
In school as a student, it was fear. Shaking quivering fear. As a teacher…it was rage. Oh, did I mention the lack of gun thing? Yes. I’m sure I did. In school, as a student, if I had access to a gun, I probably wouldn’t have done anything since fear…of literally everything ran my life. What about rage? How about rage? I just don’t know. Who does?
This is my story. This is my position of bias. When facing the issue of guns, it could very easily be a confirmation bias. Confirmation bias is when you consider only those points that seem to confirm your position that you have already decided on a particular issue. There are other points of view and other “evidences” but they are dismissed because they don’t fit our point of view. I do it. You do it. SCOTUS does it. So, what can we do? We acknowledge that we have biases and attempt to think beyond the biases.
Here are my thoughts.
The 2nd Amendment, the entire Bill of Rights in fact, should be left alone. The Bill of Rights is in our DNA. It has many little brothers and sisters in Medicine (Patients Bill of Rights), Air Travel (Passengers Bill of Rights), and I am sure many others currently around or in the future. The repeal of the 2nd amendment will have very little effect on guns since 44 states have this right in their own constitution. Besides, we wouldn’t have a nation if the 2nd amendment wasn’t there and ascribed to because in 1812, Britain tried to take back the treasonous colonies while we were still yet in a colonial period. We owe a lot to the 2nd amendment. We owe a lot to gun owners. That leaves us with an enormous problem. If we attempt to regulate guns, how do we do it? (Of course, I mean all of us in we…both sides of the issue.)
In colonial times, the gun was used to protect the home. This need still exists today. People could come into our homes to rob us or harm us and we see this on the news everyday. If you live in certain neighborhoods, you may need that protection at home. Females in fear of attackers who choose to protect themselves with a gun should be allowed to qualify for a carry permit.
Hunting and shooting clay pigeons are sports and activities that have been around for years. Taking these guns is just plain silly.
Weapons of war, where the likelihood of collateral damage is great when the weapon is discharged, is another story altogether. How many times have we seen policemen “empty a clip” on an unarmed person because they ran or hid in the shadows? Even in the right hands, we’ve seen deadly consequences. People who think, really think, know that something has to be done…but what? What is the right answer? In light of the fact that there are groups that are so fringe that they are an enemy militia being bread in our midst…along with, and no I don’t understand the love of this shooting…but honest law abiding individuals who own and want to shoot their automatic weapons.
Checking my bias as much as I can, I say that if the NRA put as much money into creating facilities and strategies for these law abiding citizens to safely own and shoot these weapons as they do in buying congressional votes, maybe everyone could be made happy and even a new cottage industry could be born. I mean if there was a way to own your big gun and keep it where you can shoot it and enjoy it among like minded people, then you are similar to my neighbor who has a boat bigger than my house who has to sacrifice his fun when it’s not in the water because it just doesn’t go fast out of the water.
If lawmakers stopped being owned by the gun companies then they could spend some serious time “thinking” and identifying those weapons that should be kept out of the civilian households and tightened up interstate controls instead of trying to trip up the public with their stupid questions about details of “what is an automatic weapon”?, then maybe we would make progress.
If the general public weren’t so afraid to confront the issue and attempt to set aside their own biases even for a short period of time, they would be less likely to be led down the garden path from extremists on both sides and start a real dialog. It is much easier to scroll…and share…and not give it a second thought.
On December 14, 2012, there were two major school attacks in the news. One was here in the United States at Sandy Hook Elementary School where 26 people were killed including 20 children between the ages of 6 and 7. The other in Chenpeng Village Primary School in Henan province, China. At this school, 22 students were attacked with a large knife. No one died.
It’s been 10 years since then. The 2nd Amendment of the Constitution of the United States admonishes the law makers to regulate the “rights of the people to keep and bear arms.” It’s time to start regulating.