Now’s The Time to Talk about Guns!

           obamamain1(2)_580_x_380         President Obama Speaks to the Mourners

 “The Constitution is Not a Suicide Pact”

Abraham Lincoln

Once more President Obama was called upon to eulogize the slaughtered innocents who were murdered in cold blood by a mad gunman.  It is the fourth time in his four year tenure in office that he has been called to soothe the pain of the nation after a mindless mass murder.

This time it was the coldblooded murder of 20 little children in the tranquil, affluent, village of Newtown Connecticut. With expressions that ranged from solemnity to disgust to anger, the President asked with an air of barely concealed outrage if anyone believed the murder of children was the price of freedom.

It was a shocking thought and an unacceptable bargain odious to all Americans.  Some thought it a rhetorical question, but it was carefully targeted at the Second Amendment gun nuts – like the Gun Owners Association and the National Rifle Association  who argue that the right to own guns of whatever caliber and quantity is a constitutional right identical to freedom of assembly, religion and the press.

However I have long believed this is a bogus argument, as do the best and the brightest legal scholars.  Including President Obama, who was a Professor of Constitutional Law, trained by brilliant constitutional scholars at Harvard such as Lawrence Tribe and Charles Ogeltree. My feeling on the matter derives from my understanding of the historical milieu in which the Second Amendment was drafted.

There is grand irony in the position of those who argue for “Originalist” interpretations of the Constitution, but now choose to ignore “original intent” in regard to the Second Amendment. The kind of muddled twisted legal arguments advanced by the right on the question of the original intent of the drafters of the US Constitution regarding the right to own guns, is on dramatic display in Justice Clarence Thomas’ written Opinion in the Otis McDonald Vs. Oak Park case regarding a challenge to the gun control laws of the city of Chicago.

On the face of it to argue that the architects of our constitution intended for American citizens to walk around with assault rifles, as does Larry Pratt, the President of the Gun Owners of America, is ludicrous. Especially when the fool argues that we need such weapons to protect ourselves against the US government…whom we can just vote out of power!

It is the argument of a charlatan or a fool, especially after the experience of the 1960’s when white and black “revolutionaries” on the left actually tried it and  were easily crushed by the local police departments actting on intelligence from the FBI.  They are far better armed now with intelligence and weaponary!

The argument that the Founding Fathers would bless these deadly weapons is a retreat into fantasy that borders on collective madness among the gun freaks. First of all they couldn’t even conceive of killing machines like modern weapons, and would surely have been appalled by them.   I haven’t the slightest doubt that they would have hastened to ban such ghastly weapons, just like the best and brightest Americans wish to do now.

Aside from the fact that it is absurd to argue that we don’t have the power to ban something that is a menace to society today because it was once a good idea, the reasons why the Second Amendment was crafted in the first place no longer exist; after all this is an 18th century document and it is now the dawning of the 21st century!

When the framers of the Constitution formulated the Second Amendment they had just concluded a war with England at felt threatened by other great European powers interested in overseas expansion.  Hence the citizen/soldier was a critical component of the nation’s defense.  But foreign invaders are no longer an issue, given the vast power of our nuclear armed military, which can project devastating force anywhere in the world with blinding speed.  We are more likely to be invaded by men from Mars as another sovereign country.

The sad truth is that the greatest danger to Americans comes from the guns on the home front.  And, irony of ironies, Americans wouldn’t accept prolonged involvement in a foreign war where the casualty rate was equal to the domestic rates – which stands at 30 gun casualties a day!  What does that tell us about the state of our union…it is in a state of emergency, and many Americans are on life support as I write trying to recover from gunshot wounds.

Dr. WEB DuBois’ description of white racist violence against Afro-Americans in the early twentieth century – the hey-day of lynching when a black person was hung, shot or burned alive for the amusement of morally depraved white spectators every two and a half days – is an apt description of the predicament of all Americans today.  “Not all the time but anytime,” wrote DuBois…Not everywhere but anywhere.”

The well-financed gun lobby has scared the shit out of opportunistic politicians who fear that the lobbyist will marshal their organizational and financial clout against them in the next election if they support gun control legislation.  Hence the rest of us are forced to live in danger of becoming a random casualty of some crazed gunman or a criminal with a bad aim.

The situation is such as I write that just going out of the house is like playing Russian Roulette.  Although right-wing charlatans like Mike Huckabee blame the shootings on banning prayer in schools,  I believe that most Americans are getting tired of living in terror, as the slaughter of children in the idyllic village of Newtown Connecticut underlines the fact that nowhere is safe…because the danger zone is everywhere!

By virtue of the public outrages over this latest massacre President Obama should move boldly and swiftly to change the gun laws and outlaw assault weapons. And he should double dare the Grand Obstructionist Party to block its passage.  If they remain intransigent about gun control they will dig their own graves.  New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has set forth a challenge to the Congress, calling the National Rifle Asociation paper tigers, and President Obama should follow his lead.

What we are witnessing in these mass murders is barbarism…and the lapse of the ban on assault weapons signed into law by President Clinton is yet another plague visited upon the American people by the Bush Administration.  As for those who cry that gun control infringes on their constitutional rights, Barack should once again consult his fellow Illinois politician “Honest Abe” and tell the Second Amendment zealots “The Constitution is not a suicide pact!”

 Not Everywhere …But Anywhere

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 Not all the time…But anytime!

 

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