A conversation has been going back and forth on Facebook. It relates to a post on this site concerning this country’s remarkable rate of gun-related tragedies. Here’s the gist:
John Blanton We need to hear both sides. There are many who will contend we should accept the collateral damage. The problem is getting them to make that statement.
Daniel G. Kuttner I’ll say something like what you’re fishing for, John:
In a free society, bad things will happen.
It is a pipe dream to believe one can regulate and legislate utopia. Quite the opposite is the result.
Using government to take away “their” rights results in powers which later on will be used to take awy your own.
John Blanton My position is that you are giving an honest answer. Instead of saying we are safer having a proliferation of guns in society, you are saying that all these deaths represent acceptable collateral damage.
Daniel G. Kuttner Again you misrepresent what I said.
“Unavoidable” is not the same as “acceptable” in my dictionary.
I still await your statement of your position.
John Blanton My position is, given the proliferation of guns in society, the consequences are unavoidable. Since it is unavoidable, it must be acceptable to those who insist upon a proliferation of guns in society.
Daniel G. Kuttner John: (I think you know) I meant your position on “keeping and bearing” arms. That is, the right (or not) of self-protection.
Just please don’t mislabel my position as “insisting on a proliferation of guns.”
You use a lot of labels which seem to me loaded. Maybe you could reconsider that manner of speaking/writing, at least, if you want to appear scientific in drawing your conclusions.
John Blanton Daniel G. Kuttner Right now I’m sitting among strangers in a strange city, enjoying a cup of hot cocoa. I [will] post a lengthy response when I get back to my computer.
Daniel G. Kuttner John: Glad you’re in a pleasant place.
No need to be lengthy on my account!
I still don’t know if you’re pro-self defense or not.
In total, Dan wants me to state my position on the “keeping and bearing” arms, as paraphrased from the Second Amendment of the Constitution. That amendment is stated as such:
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
The first thing a person reading this notices is the amendment does not mention guns. It does not mention “firearms.” Hopefully that does not come as a shock to members of the National Rifle Association.
So what does the wording mean by “arms?” I contend some interpretation is required. Note at this point many fans of the Second Amendment argue daily there must be no interpretation. The right to keep and bear arms must not in any manner be infringed. So what are “arms?” What did the writers of the amendment mean? My take goes back to the initial wording, “A well regulated Militia being necessary…” The Second Amendment is meant to preserve the right to keep and bear weapons of war. Guns? Yes. Machine guns? Yes. Claymore mines? Yes.
Obviously some interpretation is required. Once fans of the Second Amendment agree on that point, then it is sort of downhill from there. The Second Amendment must be interpreted to mean that citizens on the street (not active in a well regulated militia) do not have the right to use Claymore mines for home defense.
Take this further. Not everybody should have the right to keep and bear guns. There are some people who should not be allowed near a firearm. We have such laws. Convicted felons can be and are prohibited under penalty of prosecution from having a firearm on or around themselves. Others are likewise prohibited.
A problem arises when such prohibitions are diluted to the point that is it almost impossible to keep certain people from getting hold of firearms.
- Guns are sold individual to individual with no regulation.
- Guns are sold at swap meets.
- People are not penalized for having their weapons stolen.
- People who obviously should not be allowed to touch a firearm cannot be prevented from getting hold of one. Think about people who have otherwise threatened others. Should such a person be denied for life from having a gun?
The courts have, of late, ruled in favor of very much unrestricted access to guns and also against laws that prevent carrying guns on the streets and in public places. That is the law as it stands. Dan wants to know whether I support the law.
I do support the law. Considering that in some places it is your right to carry a loaded pistol into a classroom. I think the law should be changed. If on reading the paragraphs above you agree the Second Amendment is subject to interpretation, then you should begin to think about how it should be interpreted to bring down the rate of death and injury due to guns.
Dan asks how I feel about self-defense. Dan, I’m for it. Let’s see who else has been for it.
- Man in Florida shot the man who threw popcorn on him.
- Man in Florida shot the teenager he thought might have a gun.
- Retired Army major I met shot his neighbor, who was wandering in his back yard.
- Man shot foreign student who did not understand his command to “freeze.”
- Numerous cases of road rage escalating into deadly shootings.
Let’s get real about self-defense.
Dan says he does not advocate a proliferation of guns in society. What language would he prefer instead? In American society there is a gun for every person. Does Dan want the proliferation to be reduced? By how much?
I will wind down. Stuff coming up tomorrow. We should rejoin this conversation from time to time.