Gun Control 2013: The Debate Isn't About Guns, But Who's Holding Them
Since the first comic book heroes began infiltrating news stands, this perception has taken a life of its own. Superheroes will protect the innocent, defend the helpless, and safeguard justice for all. The ideal superhero is everywhere, all the time.
Realistically, however, that's spreading our superheroes pretty thin. While they are battling the forces of evil intent on destroying Metropolis, common hoodlums have a field day harming their victims and inflicting trauma to their survivors. In a world where crime never rests, that still leaves a lot of innocent, helpless citizens waiting in vain for that last minute rescue from a gun wielding or more powerful criminal.
We live in a nation sharply divided on issues of abortion, gay and lesbian rights, immigration, and International affairs, yet of all the debates to put Americans at cross-currents with each other, the biggest gap lies on gun control. Both anti-gun proponents and pro-gun lobbyists make some valid points, and an open-minded person would be remiss to ignore the relevancy of any of them.
The premise of anti-gun proponents is that guns are weapons. A hunter may protest that the gun is an essential tool for his subsistence life-style, but the purpose of the gun is to kill. It was designed to fire a projectile at high-velocity to create grievous harm. A person who owns a gun is prepared to maim or kill. In this light, it can be difficult to view a gun owner as a peace-loving citizen.
While gun supporters are leaping into the bandwagon of guns for self-defense, an entire, and rather large sub-group, is stating that their intention is not to remove all guns. Instead, they'd like to impose restrictions on automatic weapons and high-capacity magazines. Unless 15 members of an assault gang of hoodlums were invading the home, there is very little reason to believe a person must fire off 15 rapid rounds to defend themselves and their loved ones.
The rebuttal examines the very spirit of the Constitution. Our Second Amendment rights guarantee us the right to keep and bear arms without infringement. What's missing from the average gun owner's argument is the critical first portion of the amendment right: "A well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state." This short phrase not only brings up the question of the government's right to control guns at all, but the rights of the people to form militias for the protection of their states.
Adding all the assets of demographic areas and resources, it's doubtful the federal government would favor very well the formation of separate state militias. Nor has it dealt kindly with self-appointed militias that have sprung up randomly throughout the U.S. There is a high level of distrust on both sides, a suspicion that either the population will turn on the government or the government will turn on the citizens.
Gun advocates point to the history of our forefathers and their advocacy of guns as a means of deterring corruption in the government and the destruction of Constitutional rights. Actually, this isn't entirely accurate. The framers of the Constitution had gone through a terrible war with their mother country in pursuit of more equality in opportunity. Yet before their call to independence, they had fought nobly, with their colonial militias, in the French-Indian Wars. These same militias were the volunteers of the Revolutionary War, giving our constitutional framers first-hand knowledge of how beneficial a well-trained militia could be. There was a vast, hostile wilderness on one side, a technologically advanced civilization on the other, and the colonies were caught in the middle.
Their Constitution was carefully pieced together by modeling it on aspects of the Magna Carta, by studying the Enlightenment thinkers, and by carefully weighing the strategies of other European Countries. Their main concern was in crafting a document that would safeguard the natural liberties or unalienable rights of the American citizenry. Realizing there could be internal as well as external danger to the citizens, they crafted the Second Amendment with the vision of a militia similar to the one that served and continues to serve Switzerland, a country that trains its youthful citizens in warfare, encourages the ownership of weapons, and teaches their volunteer militia how to mobilize quickly.
State-regulated militias would certainly be cheaper to maintain than the burgeoning role of the Department of Homeland Security, but the burden of defense over the years since that first signature was placed on a declaration has shifted squarely to the backs of the federal government. A standoff has occurred as individual states have questioned the rights of the federal government: some to the point where groups of citizens have petitioned for secession, while others remain nervous that the formation of militias could ignite more civil unrest and violence.
Whether you side with the right to form militias or with the federal government's right to dissolve them, you are placing your trust in guns.
Many of our superheroes do not depend on or advocate the use of guns. Superman has, to his advantage, enormous strength that makes him invulnerable to anything except Kryptonite. Wonder Woman has her lasso of truth. Batman is equipped with advanced technology, giving him an edge over less sophisticated criminals. Others exploit their prowess, their speed or other extra-special gifts that place them at an advantage when battling evil. Unfortunately, except for a few highly skilled in the martial arts, most citizens are completely unprepared for an attack of violence. The help they depend on to arrive often is too little, too late.
So what can they do to prepare? Possibly get an education in defense. (Stay tuned for further updates.)