About Me

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Policy provokes me to think and write. I currently work in ivory towers inspiring people to engage in their world. I am a student of the human condition and my classroom is the world. I don't need credentials to have an opinion but I've got paper to prove I know a few things about public health, social welfare and economics. I'm coming out of the tower and taking the words to the people and hope you will send some words back at me.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Mass Murder, Civil Rights and Constitutional Amendments

The right to keep and bear arms was given to the people of the United States to keep them safe. It is enshrined in the Bill of Rights (click here for a copy of the Bill of Rights)


It states, "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."
 I'm all for the rights of the people. But I also know that historical documents have 'context' that apply to a particular time and place. Yes, the constitution was once about men and not about women. About whites and not about blacks nor the people that were here when the white folks came.
And though I think men shooting at rocks and whatnot in the bush or at the range is men being men (and some women being women), i dont get the need for an assault rifle when we are not living in the DRC or are a mercenary on a secret op for Shell or some other Fortune 100. 

I even love reading Soldier of Fortune magazine and watching Sons of Guns on Discovery Channel
I kinda like guns though I have never shot one. They fascinate me. And the very peaceful women I know who have shot one have loved it. So its not about guns per se. But its about the types of guns, the number of guns, and the availability of guns.
For more details click on the link for this news report from ABC News in August of this year: Guns in America: A Statistical Look

There is a straight line from the Columbine shootings in 1999 to the Newtown shootings of 2012. Obama has 4 more years in the White House and the time is right. People are outraged. Even if you believe in the right to bear arms, the killing of 20 children will be hard to fight on a policy level. Although the White House said that today is not the day to talk gun control, I think the response from the people on Twitter, on Facebook and from recent previous shootings is that the time for change to start is NOW. People before things. Lives before rights.
Having slaves was once the right of certain people. We got rid of that 'right'. 
I think its time for the right to keep and bear arms to go.


I am no legal scholar but the Constitution (click here for the Constitution) is a flexible document. And the second amendment was meant to protect the people in a free state and while in need of a militia. The link of the second part of the statement to the first part often falls by the way side because the first part outlines in many ways why the second part is necessary. And now it seems that the people of the United States need protection from the second amendment. The right to bear arms is a CIVIL right not a HUMAN right. 

I have nothing against hunting. 

But no one is invading our borders and there is (almost) no risk of a coup. The people pay taxes to be protected by a police force, and military forces within and without our borders. Im not a legal scholar but Ive read said 2nd amendment and without disparaging anyone it takes a good dose of paranoia for anyone to think a semi-automatic or such is the intent of the law. And though I be not a legal scholar i know that there are more than 20 amendments (flexible doc that Constitution), and I'm pretty sure we can repeal amendments and best of all we can add new ones. 

Yes. I know the NRA think the 2nd one was written on a tablet and brought from Mt. Rushmore, but it was handwritten on paper like the rest. Now NRA go tell the parents of those 20 children that were shot to death today in Newtown, CT that guns dont kill people.

And that argument that guns dont kill people is especially poignant on a day when a Chinese man entered a school and stabbed 19 children and none died. I'm sure if she had gone in with a handgun at least one would have died. 

Yes. NRA: GUNS KILL PEOPLE. 


The data supporting gun control is clear but I dont want this post to be about data when the only data that matters is the 20 children and 8 adults dead (as of writing and as reported by the New York Times). 


I want this post to begin a conversation in common sense and to be about finding solutions to a very vexing and painful social problem. Gun proponents like to point out that people with brain disorders are the ones killing people but mass murder is not going to happen with ones bare hands and a knife is much less efficient or effective. Even a handgun without automatic and semi-automatic capacity does much less damage. Getting treatment for people living with brain disorders is one very small piece of the puzzle because sane men also kill their intimate partners - exes as well- by gun and sometimes then commit suicide. The mental health argument does not apply here.


And the call for more security means a call for more guns in places where people can get harmed in the chaos of a shoot out. 


Yesterday, Michigan passed a law allowing guns in spaces where children are cared for. 
It seems that if safety is our concern, we can get childcare providers to learn martial arts just as much as we can make sure they can shoot straight and keep the guns safe from children.


Responses to this shooting include more gun-free zones, more gun detectors in schools etc etc. Basically we respond to gun laws but gun laws dont respond to us.

The HUMAN rights to health, safety and life trump the CIVIL rights to keep and bear arms. People before things. 


We got rid of the right to have slaves. We can get rid of the right to carry guns.

That said, there are many ways to retain the second amendment but  have more restrictive gun laws. It need not be an either/or decision but 'reason' should prevail.








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