By Martin J. Kidston
Land of the free, home of the brave, as long as youre packing and plenty are.
The right to bear arms is protected by our fabled second amendment, which reads in clear language: A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall never be infringed.
I would like to submit, however, that at the time of that writing, some 225 years ago, slavery was legal, bison ruled the plains and bearing arms consisted of rudimentary black powder tributes to the latest technology. The point being, that was then, this is now. Times have changed, and so should we.
Avid gun fans suckle the constitution with a weaning hunger, therein claiming some innate right to bear weapons. But often, at the same time, it seems they overlook the very purpose in which the document, the constitution, was created.
We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union ... insure domestic tranquility ... do establish this constitution for the United States of America.
Domestic tranquility, being first and foremost, is disrupted every time guns, of any sort, are used as a tool for violent crime. Of the worlds 36 wealthiest nations, the gun death rate in the U.S. ranks highest. Hardly what I call domestic tranquility. Japan finished last in the ranking and guess what: Guns are illegal. Go figure. Its more than coincidence.
But nevertheless, please dont take my gun away after all, I use it for self defense, right? Thats very well, but a recent study shows American gun owners, in all their wisdom, are 43 times more likely to shoot someone in their own family instead of thwarting the invasion of their home. Again, so much for domestic tranquility.
Some 225 years ago, when the second amendment was created, guns were brandished for survival. Today, they are toted for show and sport and an occasional slaying, of which, every year in the U.S. alone, there are some 39,000.
Some 225 years ago, the nations population wavered at a few million. Today, the Justice department reports nearly 65 million handguns in the U.S. not to mention those which are unregistered.
Some 225 years ago, it took a skilled blacksmith long hours with anvil and fire to forge the honed barrel of a rifle. Today, a gun is made in the U.S. every 10 seconds. Ill do the addition thats over 3 million guns a year. In comparison, the U.S. Marine Corps is only 150,000 strong.
Some 225 years ago, it took a skilled marksman a long minute to fire, reload and fire again. Today, a magazine of 15 rounds can be emptied in a matter of seconds, skilled marksman or not.
Some 225 years ago, television, radio and mass circulation didnt exist. Today, were force fed violent media. A recent trip to the video store showed one-sixth of all box covers with fictitious characters flaunting a gun of some sort.
Some 225 years ago, the second amendment to the constitution promised the right to keep and bear arms. But it was created in a different environment, surrounded by different circumstances. How could they have foreseen our troubled times the bad deeds of their good intentions?
Domestic peace and tranquility should stand as our first and foremost concern, and not take second seat to the materialistic right to possess an object, id est , a gun.
Domestic peace and tranquility have fallen by the wayside, our personal safety threatened. As a consequence, were told we should carry weapons to protect ourselves from those other guys carrying weapons. We are caught up in an arms race of our own creation. A vicious circle that, as all vicious circle do, will consume itself, and we will be the consumed, food for distrust and a very fast bullet.
It is a social bacteria that kills nearly 40,000 of us a year, and the only way to snuff the illness is to eliminate its source. People do kill people, yes, and guns have become their tool of choice. Its time we removed the instrument of their cowardice.