This is part 2 of my thoughts on the issue of the mass shootings in the US. In part 1, I discussed why I believe people today are more angry and violent than they were 50-70 years ago; and that I believe most of those shooters do have some sort of a mental health or anger issue.
I also believe that we need to better provide mental health and anger management help, for those who need it, which would, in my view, cut down the number the instances of mass shootings significantly. Now for part 2, applying the 2nd Amendment in 2019.
I think we’d all agree that we, in the United States, have had a plague of mass shootings. Each time we have a mass shooting, the hue and cry for gun control is heard. We also hear how the U.S. citizen has far more guns and rifles, in their possession, than any other people on the planet.
Before going further, here is the Second Amendment: "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."
The second half of the Second Amendment, “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed”, is the part the anti-gun folks are ignoring. The people, not just the government have the right to keep and own guns and rifles. Most of rifles, the colonists used, to fight the British in our Revolutionary War were citizen’s rifles. The militia was made up of citizens who brought their own rifle.
So, if England had been able to confiscate the individual’s guns and rifles prior to the Revolutionary War, there would have not been a war and we'd all be British subjects today. We’d be drinking tea at 3, playing "football" aka soccer, playing cricket, our radio and TV would be like the BBC and CBC [in Canada], plus we'd speak with that British accent. We’d be using the metric system, spell some words differently, like Colour vs Color, or Theatre vs Theater.
Both our history and world history would have been very different. Would this larger version of Canada been the world power the US was during WWII to beat both Germany and Japan? If not, then today, we might be a goose-stepping Nazi colony of Germany’s Third Reich.
Would our families have migrated here via Ellis Island? Would most of us living now be born? All that because the individual colonist had his own musket to fight the British and make this land the United States of America.
The men of the Continental Congress meeting in Philadelphia, setting up our own American government, didn't want to give the government that much power over the people. They realized that citizens having their own guns and rifles was a good thing to help keep the government in check.
It can be argued that today's National Guard is the modern-day version of the colonial Militia. One problem with that view is, that the President can and has the ability to "nationalize" the National Guard. Presidents have nationalized the Guard many times, to have them do what they wanted, as a national force.
Unlike in my day, when I was in the Regular US Air Force, serving during the Viet Nam War, the National Guard didn't fight that war, they served at home. The regular Army, Marines, Navy, and Air Force fought our wars.
Today, the National Guard is one of the major parts of today's federal military, under then President Bush, then Obama, and now Trump, who are fighting the wars in the Middle East. This is a very different mission today’s National Guard has from their colonial forbears, or even from the National Guard’s mission back in my time serving in 1970.
Now, having said that, does that mean that all Americans should be able to have and own guns and rifles, even if they need mental health help to deal with anger issues, or is a spouse or child abuser?
I say no.
Should your next-door neighbor be allowed to own 150 assault rifles? I'd say no to that as well. Should only the National Guard and the Feds be allowed to legally own guns and rifles? Again, I say no and the 2nd Amendment backs me up. Sadly, neither side is willing to seek some balance.
We definitely need to close all loop holes where folks can buy guns and rifles without a background check at a gun show or via a private sale. We need to add to the background check any info to send a red flag to the seller that the person they are selling this gun or rifle to has a mental health issue disqualifying them from being able to buy and own a gun or rifle.
I’m sure there are smarter folks reading this column that could offer up more ideas, but hopefully, this two-part column will help my readers to realize that there does need to be give and take, on both sides of this issue, that can be accomplished without violating the Second Amendment. Time to think outside of the box, in a spirit of trying to find a real workable solution to this plague that is killing so many innocent people.
A one-sided dialog where it is all or nothing, for either side, means nothing will get accomplished and more folks will get shot in more shooting sprees. Just that thought should be enough to get both sides to ratchet back the rhetoric and sit down with the other side and find workable solutions that won’t violate our Second Amendment.