RATIONAL DISCUSSION AND GUNS January 18, 2013Posted by wmmbb in Social Environment, US Politics.
What is it about guns that causes some people to cling to them and not apparently recognize how dangerous they can be to others and to gun owners themselves?
I don’t understand the story that some ardent Americans tell themselves about their guns, which makes them imperious to confronting the ongoing tragedy of mass killing and the evidence from elsewhere that consequences of the availability of assault weapons can be stopped. The Second Amendment was never convincing because it proposes as a right that seems on its face bogus. How can the ownership and use of guns be essential to the free development of human beings? There is an argument for self-defence but that necessarily is a limited circumstantial one. It is to be hoped, and if I recall accurately the Common Law was founded on the notion, of a peaceful rather violent settlement of disputes.
I don’t want to pick on Alex Jones, but with the various ghish galloping aside, he represents the irrationality of gun advocacy, or at least the failure to confront the issue of mass shootings. He implies that mass killings are due to ready availability of medications. While he acknowledges the political influence of the pharmaceutical industry, the arms industry gets a pass. He suggests that some voices are not heard. He may be right. And then he fails to realize that by attempting to drown out conflicting opinions he is acting in the same way. His interview with Piers Morgan on CNN is pretty full on, but his Pommy accent is pretty good and deserves some credit.
US gun owners point to the Second Amendment. It seems categorical, albeit puzzling. The Second Amendment along with nine others was ratified on 17 December 1791, so it has just had its’ 221st anniversary. It says:
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.
As I previously noted, Thom Hartmann, The Second Amendment was Ratified to Preserve Slavery (Truthout)
The real reason the Second Amendment was ratified, and why it says “State” instead of “Country” (the Framers knew the difference -( see the 10th Amendment), was to preserve the slave patrol militias in the southern states, which was necessary to get Virginia’s vote. Founders Patrick Henry, George Mason, and James Madison were totally clear on that . . . and we all should be too.
So this contention seems credible, and so it is very significant given the current fervour among many gun ownership advocates.
At AlterNet, Marian Wright Edelman while pointing the costs of wars, particularly the financial cost of those related to the so-called war against terrorism purportedly to make Americans safe, ignores the dangers posed by gun ownership. She asks:
What can we do? Learn the truth about and debunk the myths that guns make us safe. Did you know that one-third of all households with children younger than 18 have a gun and 40 percent of gun-owning households with children store their guns unlocked? Contrary to what many people believe, having a gun in your home doesn’t make you safer but instead endangers you and your loved ones. A gun in the home makes the likelihood of homicide three times higher, suicide three to five times higher, and accidental death four times higher. For every time a gun in the home injures or kills in self-defense, there are 11 completed and attempted gun suicides, seven criminal assaults and homicides with a gun, and four unintentional shooting deaths or injuries.
On that basis it would appear more rational not to possess guns. Who really has a need for a semi-automatic weapons that loads again when the trigger is released? However, any effort to convince somebody like Alex Jones, and it seems there are many of his view, would be futile. And that in its way poses an interesting challenge to the democratic process? Given what one hears about the founders of the American Republic in 1776 in Philadelphia, such an outcome is not one they would have intended.
- Wendy Button, Please Take Away my Right to a Gun (The New York Times) – story of a single woman who experienced a break-in while living around the corner from the Police Station, and one who suffered from episodic depression.
- Violence is deeply rooted in American Culture: An Interview with Henry Giroux (Truthout)
- Ira Chernus, Gun Ownership as Sin – A strategic Secular Proposal for Gun Reform (Religion Dispatches)
- The 2nd Amendment Is What Makes The Other Nine Possible (forbes.com)
- Second Amendment is not license for treason, armed revolt (blogs.ajc.com)
- Is a rational debate about gun legislation even possible? (bangordailynews.com)