Op Ed: The right of citizens to live is also protected by the Constitution
“Assault Weapons KiII. Assault weapons are just that. They are not hunting rifles – unless your prey is human. No self-respecting sportsman would use an assault rifle to hunt quail, deer, or even a bear. Assault weapons were designed for the military to kiII – not hunt or injure – enemy combatants. Imposing restrictions on assault weapons is no more a limit on the Second Amendment than a ban on a citizen’s right to own surface-to-air missiles, land mines, or hand grenades.” – Bob Poe, Orlando
The Constitution of United States of America 1789 starts with a preamble, a brief introductory statement of the Constitution’s fundamental purposes and guiding principles.
The document states, in part, that “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
It should be remembered that the Amendments were ideas added to the Constitution after the original document was written and ratified. They are expansions of the core Constitutional text. Yet the Second Amendment has taken on a mythical and disproportioned standing against the meaning and intent of the Constitution’s foundation.
When gun supporters talk about their Constitutional rights under the Second Amendment, they present it as if the prophet Moses brought the document down from Mount Sinai. And they take the Second Amendment completely out of context.
The NRA and its allies waged a 30-year legal campaign to change the way the courts and the country saw the Second Amendment. They also moved public opinion, so that it is a widely held view that gun ownership is an individual right. It is not. The authority was granted under the context of a militia, to defend a separatist America against its lawful British ruler.
Setting aside that point, it took the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution to abolished slavery. Even though the Constitution clearly stated that “all men are created equal,” an Amendment was required to clarify that people of color were also equal.
And about those unalienable Rights: Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. Pro-Gun enthusiasts could argue that having a weapon is justified under the issue of happiness. Shooting things makes them feel good.
However, for the students who were kiIIed in Parkland, Florida, along with victims of the near daily mass shootings in America – including the massacre in the Oak Creek Sikh Temple – their Constitutional right of life has clearly been violated.
Consider also the Trump administration’s proposal to arm and train school teachers with guns. Their unfounded logic reasoned that if anyone tried to use a gun at school, teachers would be right there to stop it – with a bullet. Regardless of political perspective, it is clearly understood that teachers are underpaid and schools lack funding for all the resources they already need for their primary job of education.
Now, American tax payers apparently can afford to train and weaponize every teacher in the country. More guns at school only increases the probability of accidental shootings, which already happens now.
In developing news, it has been learned that one of the sheriff deputies, and perhaps three more, at the Parkland school – armed and trained with a gun – refused to enter the school and engage the perpetrator. Many of the students died because law enforcement did not do their job.
If a duly sworn officer of the law is deliberately negligent and stays outside of the next school during a shooting rampage, a 70 year old first grade teacher cannot be expected to vault into a corridor of bullets.
While gun advocates use every excuse to justify and demand their right to bare arms, they should first have to enforce a few of the other Constitutional provisions, starting with equality under the law.
But just as Evangelicals selectively pick and choose and often re-write parts of the Bible that are not to their liking, these gun supporters are incapable of Christian fairness and do not seek a just society. They cannot protest abortion clinics claiming that unborn lives have rights, then turn a blind eye to the living and aid those who manufacture the danger against live of all ages. The right to own a gun is not more sacred than the right to live without being shot.
The NRA is often called a terrorist organization, and by legal definition it meets that title. But the group would not have its power if millions of people in America – and those living in Milwaukee – did not support it. As a gun cult, these people willingly enable the NRA to continue selling death.
No amount of logic or reason will alter the balance of the gun debate, so the public should be honest about what guns represent and why they are needed. Weapons are a tool of fear and a byproduct of the nation’s long history of class warfare and racial terrorism. All of this did not start in Milwaukee, but it exists here, and the issue with its problems are for the local community to solve.
These images are from the online social media campaign #armmewith, featuring teachers posting their reaction to the idea that – in addition to every other job society has dumped on them besides teaching – they should carry guns in the classroom.