Guns, Violence and Tragedy

Article by: Scott Hall
Firearms Prohibited Trail Sign
Firearms Prohibited Trail Sign (Photo credit: Al_HikesAZ)
            “Guns do not kill people, people kill people.”  The debate and discussion of guns and gun control over the last decade has grown into a roar of “do something” coming from many citizens.  A Senator shot in the head, a tragic killing spree in a movie theater, then another killing spree in a temple show that anyone who has the desire to shoot someone, can and will do so on just about any turf.  Is our world spinning down a path of destruction using weapons or is there something more hidden that drives us to the point of “going postal” for no apparent reason.  As details unfold in the latest mass travesty in Wisconsin, this author is betting there will be weeks of national press coverage on who, what, where of the perpetrator, the officer who was wounded, the survivors, the witnesses and the dead and will leave many thirsting for 
answers, including ourselves. In our world, when will the gun violence stop?
            Dateline 2007: Place – USA, online article: Reuters, Headline: 90 guns for every 100 citizens.  A statistic such as this is staggering, this makes the citizen base armament the most heavily armed citizen group in the world, hands down, not including our military.  Without the US factored in worldwide, the number drops to just 1 in 10 citizens globally, or if that isn’t an eye opener, how about 4.5 million of the 8 million sold a year being bought, right here in the USA.    According to the brief article by Reuters, in a report that was filed, there are roughly 650 million arms worldwide, of which 225 million belong to law enforcement, globally.  If we prohibit the right to bear arms, will we be defenseless or if we revise for stricter gun laws, will we be sacrificing our rights or should we ignore all this hype and chalk it up to back luck and ill fated timing.  This author and our readers concur some small items may need clarifying.
World Peace
World Peace (Photo credit: Evil Erin)
            A US Senator, A movie theater and a temple, all having in common a shooter in a spree that killed an average 7 per site and drew our attention and long before the latter two came into focus, an online article from the guardian featured an interactive map (link at end of article) that showed gun crimes in the US.  Within its context, the statistics show in the year 2010, there were 12,996 (FBI UCR) murders and 8,775 were caused by a firearm, roughly 68%.  When I was growing up my father owned a pistol, a .38 revolver and many times I can remember him telling me, “this is not a toy, there are no second chances if you decide to use it”, this is very sound advice that in these times has me pondering if that same wisdom has lost its taste on our lips or are we so caught up in our lives that we don’t notice the person acting rather strangely who may be carrying a small gun. 
            There will be many  who will claim the opposite side, who will argue that citizens need to arm themselves, in favor of our 2nd Amendment right and the need to be safe and secure in our homeland. This author only wishes to interject with this one thought: if a life can be taken by a gun, it can also be preserved by one, if operated in responsible hands, such as the wounded officer who opened fire on the subject in the center of the shooting.  In conclusion of the travesty that has unfolded this day of August 5, 2012, this author will close with a prayer for mercy and clarity upon the police department and persons affected and the following print from our own US constitution.  God Bless the families and victims in this latest tragedy.
2nd Amendment (excerpt):
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.
In spite of extensive recent discussion and much legislative action
with respect to regulation of the purchase, possession, and
transportation of firearms, as well as proposals to substantially
curtail ownership of firearms, there is no definitive resolution by
the courts of just what right the Second Amendment protects. The
opposing theories, perhaps oversimplified, are an ‘‘individual
rights’’ thesis whereby individuals are protected in ownership, possession,
and transportation, and a ‘‘states’ rights’’ thesis whereby
it is said the purpose of the clause is to protect the States in their
authority to maintain formal, organized militia units. 1 Whatever
the Amendment may mean, it is a bar only to federal action, not
extending to state 2 or private 3 restraints. The Supreme Court has
given effect to the dependent clause of the Amendment in the only
case in which it has tested a congressional enactment against the
constitutional prohibition, seeming to affirm individual protection
but only in the context of the maintenance of a militia or other
such public force.

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