Sunday, December 16, 2012

Word of the Newtown massacre arrived in Paris in the late afternoon and Parisians were as horrified as any American. After what seems to be the mass killing of the week, the question is asked, Why does America allow this to happen? 

I don't have an answer.

Good speed to the innocents and may the teachers and staff who tried to protect their charges be remembered as heroes.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

The answer is pretty simple: many Americans believe that gun ownership is a fundamental right. The Supreme Court agreed; the 2nd Amendment is now definitively read as allowing private guns.

As a fundamental right, guns are treated differently than privileges, which can be restricted or even retracted. Any restriction, in the minds of much of the public and certainly the NRA, is wrong because that infringes on a fundamental right. Thus, the NRA has successfully fought restrictions on rapid fire weapons, large and very large ammo clips, and other technical restrictions on guns themselves. The argument is you can't restrict a fundamental right so you can't restrict the thing used in that right.

The next level is they also believe everyone has the right and they've successfully pushed laws to allow people who've had their gun rights restricted to get them back. This means it's easier in some cases for felons to get guns than to vote. The mentally ill, meaning people declared unfit for gun ownership, can in many states now go to a judge and get their gun rights restored. The NRA, for example, only agreed to a federal law in 2007 because it created a federal right for the mentally ill to get weapons. This meant the government had to set up a process for evaluating the up to 100,000 veterans who have been declared mentally ill so they can have their gun rights restored.

Finally, the third level is that American ideology says you can't have enough of a fundamental right. That means the answer to gun killings is more guns. After the movie theatre massacre, the call was for more armed people who could have shot back and they claimed the people were defenseless because the theatre was a "guns free zone" - though that consisted of a small sign near the ticket window. The Michigan legislature passed a law the day of the Newtown massacre allowing guns in schools, hospitals, etc. with only 8 hours of gun training. Why? More guns is the answer to gun death because guns are a fundamental right and you can't have enough of a fundamental right. - M

4:24 PM  
Anonymous Robert Taylor said...

This is heroism. Sacrificing your life so that those in your care might live.

6:49 PM  

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