I’m absolutely sick to my stomach over the vilification and denigration of those of us who defend our God given right to self defense.
First I found myself under attack at, of all place, my local chamber board meeting! Next- a dear friend sent a link to post written by an associate of his that directly challenges the character and intentions of those of us who defend the right to bear arms.
Jordan Chariton writes in Hypervocal.com:
“I’ve found it maddening as gun rights advocates wrap themselves around ‘protecting the Second Amendment’ instead of protecting our kids. Although the NRA and a lot of Republicans would like you to think differently, every last word and amendment from both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution is not hard and fast.” Read more at http://bit.ly/XtYCCv
He goes on to cite several examples of the Constitution being usurped- though I’m not sure if he’s making his argument or mine.
I am extremely grateful Chariton makes this a Constitutional issue. Sadly, this is the component missing from most debates on gun regulations. I’ll return to that point, but first…
“The NRA and its followers continue citing “the right to protect themselves” from home intruders, and out of some loonier mouths “government coming to their doors and taking their guns.” The truth is, the NRA does not care about the safety of our children or the safety of a family trying to protect themselves from intruders. If they did, they would adjust their position based on the overwhelming pattern of what is killing people in America.”
Jordan, to your first point:
Home invasion is one of the few areas of crime that continues to rise despite an overall decline in both violent crimes and violence involving firearms. In my debate with a colleague at my chamber meeting, she also opined that those of use who own handguns to defend our homes should be evaluated to assess our mental well-being.
From “The Women’s Self-Defense Institute:”
“According to American Police Beat, the average response time for an emergency call is 10 minutes. Atlanta has the worst response time with 11 to 12 minutes and Nashville comes in at a lightning speed of 9 minutes.”
The average criminal spends about 10 minutes in your home. For people living in rural areas, response times can expand to as much as an hour leaving a family undefended for nearly 50 minutes- unless they defend themselves.
I can assure you, Jordan, that if you lived next door to me and I knew you were being assaulted by a violent criminal intent on doing you or your family harm, you would not have to wait 10 or more minutes for the police to arrive. I would gladly risk my life to come to your defense.
As to the accusation that “the NRA does not care about the safety of our children,” and it’s clear from Chariton’s narrative that this unfeeling attitude is shared by the rest of us gun totting radicals, well Jordan, you’re just plain wrong.
The NRA promotes and teaches responsible gun ownership and safety. I can tell you from personal experience that NRA instructors are adamant in their classes about furthering this mission.
Contrast that with the hypocritical outcry from actors and celebrities who “demand a plan” while continuing to profit by producing ever more violent movies, programs and games that continue to glamorize extreme violence and vengeance and turn outlaws into cult action heroes.
The profile of mass murderers almost universally includes a fascination with violent entertainment, particularly action movies and first-person shooter games. While the jury is still out on whether this type of entertainment can cause violence in and of itself, there is little disagreement that violent entertainment has a direct negative affect on an already unstable mind- particularly if that mind is still young and impressionable.
The fact is that NRA members are not your problem. In fact, the NRA and other 2nd Amendment advocates do in fact support several reasonable measures that would have a meaningful impact on keeping weapons out of the hands of criminals and those with mental illness. These proposals include universal background checks, background checks on gun shop owners and a minimum federal standard for concealed weapons permitting.
I speak for many who feel as I do when I say I care deeply about the safety of children- and those who are unable or choose not to defend themselves. This is why I own and carry firearms.
This is also why I volunteer to work with incarcerated youths. Our system has not failed- many parents have. For whatever reasons, we have tens of thousands of young people who grow up without positive parental guidance and influence. They grow up isolated, without discipline and without a sense of personal responsibility. They blame others for their conditions and circumstances and justify their crimes and violence on that basis.
I can tell you from listening to these kids that if they want to hurt you- the choice of weapon is unimportant. I can tell you that if they want what’s in your medicine cabinet, you are nothing more than an object in their way.
If you want the current decline in violent crime to continue. If you want to prevent violence as much as possible- reach out to these kids and give them a positive influence in their lives.
Chariton also says:
“Adhering to every last misinterpreted provision of a 225-year-old document written by slave owners is far less important than protecting our children from death by bazooka gun.”
Now let’s get to the heart of the matter.
Yes, Jordan, the founders made compromises in their time. Let’s avoid the juxtaposed contextual difficulties of the argument and stick with the facts.
The founders crafted a document and a system of law that would protect freedom and liberty- from the abuse of a tyrannical central authority. Yes- slavery would continue for some time, but many of those who drafted the Constitution were avowed abolitionists. That’s why although they compromised on the enforcement issue to preserve the newborn United States, they would not compromise on the language.
Read the letters of Franklin, Jefferson and Madison and you’ll find the entire context of these compromises. You’ll also find that what they understood above all was that by creating, for the first time in human history, a government that would give the law the pre-eminent position over any individual leader or a compact of ruling elite, that any inequities would be resolved by the people over time.
It was their hope that these inequities could be resolved without bloodshed; through reason and through continued self-governance.
Their greatest fear was that this experiment would not last. They feared that the People would not participate fully in self-governance, that individual rights would be threatened by strong central authority and that, as Jefferson articulated, another revolution may be necessary in the future.
And to that end, the 2nd Amendment was crafted.
You cannot defend life and liberty without arms. This is not a utopian world. As long as there are criminals and tyrants there will be a need for self-defense.
If you support the Constitutional defense of life and liberty, you cannot separate the Constitutional protection of the right of self-defense.
You rightly and accurately quote the Constitution when you wrote:
“…the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”
Remember- the Constitution was written to restrict the actions of government, not to subvert the inalienable rights of the People.
No- the slaves were not freed as soon as they scribed “all Men are created equal.” But the foundation and justification for emancipation was set.
No- the 1st Amendment does not protect your actions when you yell “fire” in a crowded theater. That’s because while certain rights are inalienable, meaning they are natural rights and not granted by any human authority, no right is unlimited. You abdicate any right- even unalienable rights, when your actions infringe on the rights of others.
The 2nd Amendment stand is crucial precisely because many people think, as Jordan seems to indicate, that the Constitution is vestigial. We will agree on the point that this “225-year-old document written by slave owners” has been and continues to be widely misinterpreted. On second thought, I’d argue that the Constitution has been purposely re-interpreted to serve specific political interests throughout history.
Misinterpretation and abuse are no reasons to disregard the Constitution. This should awaken our passion to preserve it- and to return to it’s original intent and value which is, above all, to assure individual freedom and liberty.
Our framers understood the that the greatest threat to individual freedom comes from two major aggressors:
- A tyrannical central authority
- The mob
Contrary to popular believe, we do not live or govern by majority rule. No majority can deprive you of your fundamental rights at the ballot box. The onerous process of amending the Constitution is a safeguard against any confederation of citizens, majority or minority, from denying any individual right- especially in the heat of a highly charged emotional debate.
I am armed. I am trained in the use of firearms and tactics. I accept full personal responsibility for my own safety and defense. I commit myself to the protection of others. I take my responsibilities as an armed citizen very seriously.
If I pose a threat to you then you should work passionately to disarm me and others like me.
If you choose to do so, the burden is yours. Yes, Jordan, “every last word and amendment from both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution” is supposed to be “hard and fast.” That’s what protects from the rule of the mob or the whim of the tyrant.
If you want to disarm American citizens, your only option is to amend the Constitution- not to use Congress as a weapon to infringe my natural right to defend myself as I see fit.
Of course, that’s a tougher fight!
Want to see what happens when you adopt a total gun ban? It can’t happen here, right? Watch this…