CONSTITUTIONAL INSANITY

That little piece of irrefutable illogic appeared on my Facebook newsfeed over the weekend. My response….and comment…was “that makes sense” and then realized that for the poster and her following of irrational sarcasm deprived zealots I needed to explain that I meant it made no sense at all.

Of course the posting was in reference to the Aurora shooting of early last Friday morning, or Columbine or Virginia Tech, or Luby’s cafeteria, or a Kentucky high school or a San Diego McDonald’s or a Tucson strip shopping mall or the Texas Tower or…well the list could go on and on until the text far surpassed my self-imposed limit of about 800 words.

The inference from that post is that armed citizens in a crowd could have prevented these massacres. Therefore, preventing civilians from carrying loaded weapons everywhere is a bad idea.

But how does that explain the Fort Hood killings where thousands of armed soldiers were present? Ok, that occurred in a medical facility but that fact demonstrates that even the armed forces recognize areas where guns should not ordinarily be present.

In the present instance, in a darkened theater, if other people opened fire, even in defense, how could they guarantee that in the ensuing confusion more innocent lives would not have been lost and the good guys may have ended up shooting at each other?

There is an enormous flaw in this blind worship of the Second Amendment. Even the rationale of the recent Supreme Court decision on gun control http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/09pdf/08-1521.pdf can be disputed with examples from cases on other Amendments that fail to follow the same reasoning.

In brief this case, McDonald v Chicago, is a repudiation of a local law that forbade possession of firearms in the home. At question was whether state and local governments had the power to enact such prohibitions and SCOTUS determined they did not.

The same entities so vigorously claiming their Second Amendment rights are noticeably absent from the discussion when other amendments are stripped of their core meaning.

For instance the First Amendment assurance of freedom of speech is somehow irrelevant when it comes to pornography/obscenity. Here the Supreme Court has neither outlawed obscenity wholesale nor permitted it under all circumstances. Instead it has left the lawfulness of same to be determined by local community standards.

In other words, the same sex-filled  published book or movie available for sale or rental legally in Morgantown, W.Va. could be deemed obscene and banned in neighboring Fairmont, a mere twenty miles away, if the prosecutor there could convince jurors that the object violated their community standards.

Nonsense.

Also the Supreme Court has found plenty of room to accommodate exceptions to the Fourth Amendment prohibitions against warrantless searches and seizures. They use the pretext of the war on drugs or the war on terror as justifications to remove these protections from us. Yet, in the case of the Second Amendment they fail to approve exceptions that mean our very lives are at stake.

The graphic at the head of this entry in essence advocates a return to the Old West where men were men. Of course an awful lot of those men were dead men having died with their boots on due to indiscriminate gunfire.

This Old West that seems to be much admired finally gave way to more civilized behavior as populations grew and the need to curb wanton shooting was acknowledged. That is why many of these towns practiced gun control. When entering town you had to hand over your shootin irons to the local law.

The Gunfight at the OK Corral was a direct outgrowth of such a law as the Clantons and company entered Tombstone but failed to surrender their weapons and the Earps went looking for them.

The lesson learned from this history is that a civilized society demands reasonable constraints on the ability to have lethal arms at one’s easy disposal. Otherwise violence and chaos become far too common, even more common than they sadly are in America.

Questions remain as to why slaughters such as Aurora are a peculiar, though not unique, American phenomenon.

The answer lies somewhere at the intersection where an unquenchable thirst for guns far beyond what would be necessary for self-defense merges with an inadequate mental health care system that culminates in disturbed individuals deteriorating to the point that their most fantastic death fantasies are acted out with a side street emptying into it carrying a legal system that has failed its duty to protect the public due to the undue influence of elements that cry crocodile tears that their Constitutional rights to murder people at will are being usurped.

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