Sunday, August 05, 2012

At What Point Can We Have an Honest Debate About Guns?

There has been another mass shooting, this time at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin.  Seven dead reported for now.

Can we finally, please for the Love of God, discuss the possibility that the Second Amendment - written in an era when there was no standing army, when it took days to travel from one end of a state to another, when the frontier was open and the need for immediate local responses were higher, when state-formed militias made sense - is an outdated amendment that needs revision and recognize that the need for civilian-owned firearms isn't there anymore?

We've got closed borders now.  We've got 24/7 police and law enforcement service.  If we're gonna get invaded by Aruba our military response will be in minutes, not weeks.  The need for "well-regulated militias" isn't there anymore.  The fantasy of needing civilian soldiers against some nefarious government plot of epic doom is just that: a FUCKING fantasy.  The right of an individual to own a firearm needs to be balanced with everyone else's right TO NOT GET SHOT AT.

The NRA and gun nuts out there are gonna scream and kick and throw tantrums and whatnot to make sure we don't even have a goddamn discussion about this.  And even though we're not in a warzone, we're gonna have a body count in the United States about as bad as some war-torn Third World nation.  All because a small, very vocal minority of citizens worship some hunks of metals more than they care about peoples' lives.

We have sensible restrictions on a lot of things that can hurt people.  We restrict car ownership and driver's licenses with regard to public safety.  But the automobile came after the Constitution and Bill of Rights were written, so the car doesn't have an amendment allowing its free open use for any drunken incompetent who could plow into a school bus full of kids.  Yes, that still happens anyway with car accidents, but at least we have laws and a method of enforcement to reduce such a deadly risk.  We can't for guns.

And innocent people get shot because we DARE NOT consider even the slight possibility that we don't need a Second Amendment to protect the frontier anymore.


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