All the usual Sunday morning TV shows covering national politics dedicated the entire show on 12-16-2012 to the horrific tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in the once idyllic community and town of Newtown, Connecticut. Many pundits wanted to know why with all the open discussion on economic issues such as the Fiscal Cliff and foreign affairs in hot spots such as Syria and Iran, why is the Second Amendment Right to Bear Arms not discussed to any level of significance in the twenty-first century?
I have good reason not to blog very often on gun control; one reason is blogs are an exercise of my First Amendment right to free speech and the way the Internet works; I cannot single out anyone who could be reading such as a young child. But there is always an exception; however even in the case of such exception, I intend to withhold my actual position. There are two key elements one must understand regardless of personal politics and ideology.
First, as Isaac Newton once said, for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. If political science had laws of nature of its own, respect to freedom and democracy, it would have its own version of Newton’s Third: for every fundamental freedom, there is an equal or opposite fundamental responsibility. Vindication dates back to Moses in the book of the Exodus with Moses’ defeat of Pharaoh Ramsey, the failure of the golden calf society, and his presentation of God’s gift of the Ten Commandments to the children of Israel. While we are quick to teach or preach we have the right to free speech, but we do not have the right to yell “fire” in a crowded theatre unless it is really on fire. We have the right to freedom of religion, but we do not have the right to practice human sacrifice. We have the right to freedom of the press, but we do not have the right to commit libel. We have the right to a speedy trial, but both the prosecution and the defense have the right to give time for all evidence and material witnesses to surface. We prohibit cruel and unusual punishment, but we believe the death penalty is just for murderers. But we seldom define limiting boundaries on guns; on the Second Amendment. Even the most liberal who you would expect would take a strong stand on gun control, the Obama Democrats, have swept the issue under the rug.
Second, the history of the Second Amendment dates back to the founding of this great nation. Some pundits argue it was another flaw in the character of the Founding Fathers, the first being the justification of slavery in a free country, and second, their infatuation with guns; the latter I doubt can ever be proven. While the most controversial part of the equation is the shot guns, traditional hunting rifles and pistols for protection from the 45 on down, versus Uzis and other assault weapons? Our Founding Fathers died before the assault weapons of today could never be conceived so the Second Amendment was never written to exclude such weapons. If they were alive today, would they have written a Bill of Right to include any type of gun?
The popular NRA quip that has become a slogan of theirs is If guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns. While is mainly a matter of opinion, one point of fact derived from the saying is outlaws are going to have guns no matter who wins the argument. Nancy Lanza had more guns than she needed, even for a Second Amendment extremist. But the late Nancy Lanza had no criminal history; at least none they can trace at this time. And the shooter, the late Adam Lanza, may have had mental and/or academic problems that precluded an education in the Newtown school system which has a reputation as one of the best in the country; but again no criminal past. In the worst case, he suffered from a neurological disorder called Asburgers Disease, which has never been linked to violent behavior. Without the power of hindsight, there is no logical reason to for either mother of son to be denied their Second Amendment rights.
If the ultimate choice is stricter gun control laws, the best it gets is future gun owners may be denied access to certain types of weaponry and may be limited to carrying no more than ten clips. But those who already have assault weapons and large magazines will not lose them—you cannot bang on doors and ask them to surrender them as other constitutional rights would be violated in the process. And nothing can be done when someone passes the requirements to have a fire arm and snaps later in life. The answer will only come when we are in God’s perfect kingdom in Heaven.
In closing, my deepest condolences to the surviving family members, friends, classmates, and other associates of the victims in this horrific tragedy. I believe Newtownians are resilient people and after the bereavement period is over, a return to some form of normalcy is the best tribute we can pay to the children slain. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.