Monday, August 6, 2012

Second Amendment Rights

In the wake of recent terrible shootings by clearly disturbed men, the issue of gun control is alive again. Everyone seeks immediately to find a cause of the shootings that we can control in order to prevent future mass shooting murders. Guns are an obvious target for the sentiment, "We've got to do something!" That is normal and understandable, but I do not agree with a knee-jerk reaction to suddenly ban all guns. (Semi-automatic assault rifles, well, there I would happily see more restrictions like mandatory drug tests and psych clearances.)

Columbine, Fort Hood, Aurora movie theater, Virginia Tech, New Life Church in Colorado Springs, yesterday's Wisconsin gurdwara, and the 2011 massacre in Norway--what did they all have in common? The perpetrators were mentally disturbed males. And they were using guns. But when such creatures don't have guns to carry out their twisted goals, they build bombs (e.g., Timothy McVeigh, using fertilizer and a truck) or use knives (see the Osaka School massacre entry on wikipedia if you want to be appalled). What typically brings an end to their violence? Return gunfire, or at the very least armed policemen.

We can't keep weapons away from all the aggressive, mentally ill men out there. No matter how many restrictions we put on gun ownership, some of these often very intelligent, disturbed men will slip through the restrictions via military/police/security employment or illicit means. What are the rest of us basically sane people supposed to do to better protect ourselves from these predators? Never go to church, school, cinemas, or work again? Not really an option. We can arm ourselves and learn how to use those weapons safely and properly. So it shouldn't be nearly impossible for the average Joe (or Jane--there's nothing like a gun to equalize the sexes in a fight) to get a handgun for defense of self, family, and home. Otherwise, only those with criminal intent or a lot of money will be able to obtain and carry guns.

So for those who wonder why I and so many others in the USA do not embrace gun control after massacres like yesterday's, I hope the above clarifies it a little. We're not callous gun-lovers putting some abstract right over innocent victims' lives. Rather, we see gun rights as a way of helping limit the success of monsters' evil plans.

My sympathies are whole-heartedly with the Sikhs in Wisconsin today. May they know the bravery of their fallen men is appreciated and their loss mourned throughout the country.

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