The right to bare arms

Update on October 29: The police in Waco, Texas have just released extensive video footage of the shootout between two biker clubs last year that led to dozens of deaths, injuries and arrests. I suggest that those who advocate that every one of us bear arms take a good, long, hard look at that entire video and tell me whether that is what you envisage this country enduring in every public and private space whenever any tensions rise to the point of dispute.  Everyone will need to be armed with more and stronger and better weapons until the scene at any place where there is uncertainty and tempers flare resembles the carnage of that particular incident. Think, America. Think.  That is what this country will descend to: Thunderdrome 21st century style.

All this week I have been trying to figure out a way to discuss this topic without being overly political, offending anyone, or being harsh.  It is hard to approach it in a lighthearted manner, though.  The discussion is timely because once again we have had a senseless, infuriating, discouraging mass shooting of innocent people.  This is now what America has to contend with on a weekly basis. And it is increasing in frequency here.

SB one

What I mean by the title of this post is that I want all of us who are against this insane gun violence to have the right to be un-armed.  I am sick of hearing about 2nd amendment rights that have been distorted by gun manufacturers, who are holding the government of the United States hostage, dictating our right to safety.  Our right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness is a higher right than that of gun owners. There are those who subscribe to and perpetuate unreasonable paranoia that some diabolical “government” is coming to collect all the guns, who are probably not dealing with the facts that I am.

I do not listen to fearful, angry, irrational people for my understanding about life. As a scientist, I believe there are knowable facts about everything, physical and otherwise in our universe and I like to go by those first, parking my emotions or ideology while I figure out what is truly going on.

As far as I can see, things have devolved to a point in this country where ordinary people like me are hesitant to go to any public place for fear that someone who is trigger happy and ‘packing’, will open fire and injure or kill us.  I long ago stopped going to certain places out of a sense of self-preservation.  I am not a hunter and don’t recklessly traipse around in those areas where hunters are likely to be firing at animals.  I don’t frequent neighborhoods where gangs might be shooting it out.  I don’t go to dangerous countries, dressed like a witless, clueless American tourist, inviting the wrong kind of attention and worse.  I am a careful, respectful, intelligent person who minds her own business and steers clear of overt risk and trampling on others.

SB two

But apparently that is not good enough.  Now we have to worry about going to the grocery store, the movie theater, school, a public park, in fact any place outside of our house — and while we are at it, we had better stay in the very back of our house, because there are people who like to drive by and shoot into private residences.

You likely know by now what I think of hunting.  If someone is not an Inuit, a Sami, or Ibiapaba, s/he doesn’t need to hunt to eat. Those who take pleasure in shooting animals, probably don’t have any common ground to discuss this.  I live in the Post-modern, not the Bronze Age.

SB three

Those who think the brilliant Founding Fathers meant that every person walking around in this country should carry a semi-automatic rifle and 70-round magazines, openly, or otherwise,  studied a very different history, civics and political science than I did. If they prefer to make Wayne La Pierre happy than their neighbors and fellow Americans, then we probably have no basis for friendship.

If we want to stop people with mental and emotional disorders from harming themselves and others, we need to vote for Federal funding.  If we would like to keep guns and other deadly weapons out of the hands of these people, we need to vote for Federal statutes and laws.  The reason is, it does no good to have programs and laws in individual states because these people will simply go to a state that doesn’t have them. If our fear and paranoia about the Federal government outweighs our willingness to protect innocent children, among other vulnerable citizens of this country, then I guess I will have to stay in my house and wait for people to either come to their senses, or no longer have influence on our legislators.

SB five

Yes, I want to be able to leave my house un-armed without worrying that I might be killed because someone who has not thought this thing through, has low information, is easily intimidated by lies, believes everything they read and hear, second, third, fourth-hand, has interfered with my right to move around this country safely, as a law-abiding, tax-paying US citizen.  I feel that people who have thwarted reasonable, common sense, tightened gun safety laws, like universal background checks, longer waiting periods before licensed dealers sell anyone a firearm, laws prohibiting a person from buying a gun and giving it to someone else, especially children/minors, closing the gun-show loophole and cracking down on trafficking are shackling me and my ability to live my life and deal with more important challenges and opportunities than having to second-guess and side-step a fanatic with a gun. I want laws in place that force people who own guns to lock them up. Just yesterday an 11 year old in Tennessee shot and killed his eight year old neighbor because she didn’t want him to touch her new puppy. Does this seem right?

SB 7

May I point out, by the way, the situation in places like Syria right now, where the populace, the terrorists, Assad’s people and every manner of vigilante and soldier of fortune is armed to the teeth with all kinds of weapons. Have you watched those videos and newscasts? Are children being protected there by that frontier-town, all out, chaotic war environment? Is that what you suggest we have on the streets of this nation? That is the logical extension of this mentality. Suddenly, one small handgun is not enough, you need two, or maybe they should be bigger, or maybe you need three and a long-gun, then an assault rifle.  Why not more? Why not grenades? Bombs? Where will this end?

Maybe we should just give in. Do what California did. It authorized “open carry”, back in the Reagan years.  When the Black Panther’s took that as their green light to be armed in public, Reagan quickly rescinded that law. Make the entire country ‘open-carry’ territory and I think what will result will shock reasonable people everywhere into doing something intelligent at the national level.

SB four

Meanwhile, you may find this an interesting proposal. I would love your thoughts on this.

Images: Chez BeBe – Santa Barbara

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/connect-the-dots-2/

43 Comments on “The right to bare arms

  1. A very intelligent, well thought and executed (pardon that pun) post Beth. Coming from Australia I think you can understand my position on guns. I am in total agreement of what you have written. The right to bare arms? If you live by yourself in a cave in a forest. If you live on a farm where your animals need protection. Naturally I didn’t hear of the 11 year old over here, what has our world become!? Hand in the guns, live right and you shouldn’t have the need to ‘ bare arms’. How sad that people say it’s their right, some ‘rights’ shouldn’t be acceptable. Well done for talking about this terribly common and frightening problem and attitude.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you Jen. I am sick of this problem. I am embarrassed that the US has now got this reputation for being so violent and frankly, stupid on this topic. The inmates are truly running the asylum here.

      And, I agree about the circumstances you describe where having protection makes sense. People here view guns as part of their daily dress, for heaven sake. And it is fueled by the press and these gun companies scaring everyone and making it seem like you need to be packing every minute of every day.

      The mother of the guy who shot up the school in Oregon recently boasted about how anyone coming to her door would be blown away because she has so many weapons. How do people live with that mindset?

      Liked by 2 people

      • Yes the reputation is correct in all ways I’m afraid. Let’s hope the asylum closes down, but I’m afraid that may take some time. If anyone here were to threaten that they had weapons, we would have a task force in there conviscating and destroying. Sadly when we do have incidences here, the reaction is the same “We are getting just like America”. 😔

        Liked by 3 people

        • Australia is one of the places that we sane people here point to as a model for dealing with this problem effectively. I was telling my husband last night that I am becoming thoroughly disillusioned with this country. The insanity seems to be out of control on a number of issues. I try not to listen to the news but it is hard to isolate myself from it, especially when it impinges on my ability to live my life and be a good citizen. It is a sad day when ‘getting just like America’ is a negative statement, but we deserve it. 😦

          Liked by 3 people

  2. Beth- I don’t get any of it. None. The desperate clinging to that particular amendment completely baffles me here in Canada, where yes, rural folks have, use and (arguably) need guns, but where the issue of gun violence is nowhere near as polarized or in emphatic need of immediate attention.

    We are, admittedly, seeing an increase in gun violence (generally gang-related) in some cities (including my own), but the scope is incomparable to the situation in the States.

    I don’t get it. I just don’t.

    You cited the situation in Syria- where the reality is that the bulk of those guns have been provided by foreign countries (including the US) in order to fight whatever regime those countries happen to oppose at a given time. It’s an ever-looping cycle of violence and irrationality that I will never understand- especially since, as you so wonderfully stated, it is coming from people who read different versions of history than I have done.

    And that link! I’ve seen it in a lot of places- and I love everything about it (since the lack of accessibility to women’s healthcare- including birth control and abortions in the US is ALSO inexplicable to my Canadian experience). What is wrong with us?

    Once again, a thoughtful, important post. Some intense insights to start my staycation 🙂 xo

    Liked by 2 people

    • Oh boy, Cole, you and I and Jen are in the same boat on this. It is inexplicable to me. I grew up in NY/NJ and, what, was I completely sheltered from this issue? Both states have very rural areas. I knew people had guns for hunting and for protecting their property in those parts of the states, but I know for a fact that there wasn’t this obsession with guns and violence then. We would have read about it in The Daily News much less the Newark Star Ledger or New York Times. We didn’t have the internet but it would have been in the news.

      This is a ‘modern’ development and not indicative of a good trend in our collective mentality, either. This gun craze will lead to anarchy if allowed unabated.

      I hate to say it but the Democrats have been weak on this subject and have not stood for what we Progressives want: strict gun control immediately. Get these things out of the hands of people who shouldn’t have them and stop saying that is hard to figure out. No! Eleven year olds should not have guns. People with mental illness should not have guns. Stupid mothers trying to ‘bond’ with their kids over a violent habit should not have guns. Duh.

      Sorry I started your staycation with this negativity. Next week, back to happier thoughts. Like getting rid of that incoherent McCarthy — but I won’t post about it. I will just register a sigh of relief here, for now. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      • I’m having to work hard to stave off negativity from all sides- this election campaign is making me nuts- so no worries 🙂

        It seems like it happened again this morning in Arizona. I try to be an empathetic person, to the best of my ability, but I just can’t figure out where this love of guns comes from and how it can be allowed to flourish in a civilized society.

        Sigh.

        Have a great weekend! xo

        Liked by 2 people

        • Oh no! I haven’t seen that! My god, what is wrong with us??? Guns aren’t even pretty! I hate to say it, but they do have certain phallic overtones but hate to turn to reductio ad absurdum.

          Liked by 2 people

  3. In Canada, where we do not have the constitutional right to ‘bare arms’ this is a smaller problem. In the US, the situation makes me think of the story that answers the question ‘how do you cook a frog?’ Put him in a pot of cold water, put the pot on the stove, and gradually increase the heat. If you put the frog in a hot pot he’d jump out. So too with guns. It begins with the need to protect one’s family and property, but the perceived threat escalates and grows – with disastrous results.

    Then there’s the whole issue of what guns represent, the need for control by irresponsible immature people, and so on. I don’t know if there’s a solution to this problem…

    Liked by 3 people

    • That’s a good analogy, Vera. This has taken place gradually.

      I know there are collectors and I know there are people who grew up in an area where gun culture is strong. But, not assault and semi-automatic weapons. No one needs those outside of law enforcement and military. Should animals be shot with those, from vehicles? It’s depraved.

      Also, I grew up in a time when smoking was popular. Should I blindly follow suit? I don’t think so.

      Sigh, thank you! I don’t know what the answer is but I appreciate hearing from all points of view. I want to be proven wrong somehow.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Beth, you have expressed my thoughts so clearly. I don’t wish to write my own treatise on the subject, but will sum it up this way. I got in a debate with a friend who is pro gun and said, “I will never own a gun. I guess if someone pulled a gun on me I’ll die.” And Carson’s stance that teachers should be prepared and have guns to combat the possible intruder, to me, is ludicrous! Thank you for your courage to take a stand and write about it here.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Lissa, thank you as well! Why should we be afraid to take a stand on this? I don’t want teachers armed with guns, especially in front of small children. If people in Israel must walk around armed all the time, for example, it is because there is such a major threat from outside the country, that they must protect themselves.

      But Americans should not be hoodwinked into thinking that other Americans are all carrying weapons and that we must fear one another. It is now a chicken-and-egg problem, the more guns people carry, the more likely they will use them when there are other, better, safer, more effective methods of settling problems.

      The rise in mass killing here has increased in direct positive correlation to the increase in gun ownership. I will not allow the NRA and their ilk to extract money from me based on irrational fear.

      Thank you!! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. The whole thing simply leaves me shaking my head, Beth. So frustrated. And I get especially angry at Christians – people who say they follow Jesus – who have made an alter to the NRA and simply worship it. I’m sorry, but you cannot believe in what Jesus preached – love and grace and peace – and continue to assert your hardcore support for the gun lobby. It makes no sense to me. The right to bear arms had a place in the Revolutionary War – perhaps even the Civil War – but not now. And we call ourselves civilized? My gosh, we need to get a little perspective from truly civilized countries that are a bit more senior than we are, and have a few centuries more experience running a successful country.

    OK, off my soap box. :-/

    Liked by 3 people

    • Well, exactly. Can you imagine Jesus pointing a gun at anyone or anything? Aren’t we supposed to be following Him, modeling His behavior? How can a weapon be associated with love, mercy, tenderness, kindness and gentleness? The other civilized countries don’t need them — what does this say about us? I have people who are furious or who laugh at me when I suggest this. I don’t get them. I think it is immature! I am on this soap box all the time, Susan, so you can climb on any time and join me. Thank you!

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Guns scare me. Always have. I went hunting once, and only wanted to carry my camera, but the guys wouldn’t take me unless I took a gun. I borrowed one. Luckily, never even saw a deer. I can see that kind of gun stuff. But what kind of wild animal are you gonna kill with an AK-47? However, I do have to agree with the kid that shot his neighbor…nobody should touch nobody’s new puppy. The question is…where did he get the gun? That’s the stupid part.

    Liked by 2 people

    • He got the gun inside his parents’ house in an unlocked cabinet. A rifle. The parents should be charged in my opinion. And, this all starts when parents think it is ok to give a child a bebe gun, then think it’s cute or cool to teach them to shoot.

      I don’t believe in elective shooting of any kind of animal for any reason (rare when we are attacked in the wild or in zoos and then it is usually the human’s provocation that causes it). We don’t need that brutal method for culling the game population — there are far more effective and humane ways of achieving that using scientific methods that have been employed in husbandry for 75 years.

      That said, if that is the mentality of some adults in this world, I cannot raise their consciousness. My beef is that they force me to live in a world dominated by that mentality. I am not a fearful, paranoid person and don’t want my environment controlled by those who are.

      I am sure you and I would be on the same page about all this bf. I am not certain I can get anyone who disagrees with me to give me sound reasoning as to why I am wrong. Thank you for weighing in.

      And, your idea of carrying a camera was appropriate to your evolved character, imho. Photographic hunts are perfectly good ways to prove one’s marksmanship — civilized, intelligent, and the mark of a secure man.

      😀

      Liked by 1 person

        • No, I don’t candy coat my opinions on my own blog. This is why I have it and why I no longer discuss these matters on Facebook, for example. How have progressives ever helped themselves by being wishy washy?

          Liked by 1 person

            • Yeah, but here in the States, ‘progressive’ is now officially the modern iteration of the left leaning formerly ‘liberal’ wing of the Democratic party. I consider myself to be anything but rebellious, just intelligent and educated! 😀 Elizabeth Warren, Bill DeBlasio, Alan Grayson are progressives. So is Bill Maher. A lot of us are vegetarians and vegans, too. We are humane and want a peaceful, verdant, egalitarian world. Just sounds like sanity to me. ❤

              Liked by 1 person

            • It was pretty obvious who the grownups are right now. If you watched last night’s Dem debate — ideas, maturity, civility, strength.

              Thank you so much for being real, BF! 😀

              Like

            • Nah, don’t miss a minute of life in that exciting place. Tell you what, here is what’s coming: a bloody battle with the opposition after Hillary wins the Dem nomination and fights off Marco Rubio. She will pick Julian Castro as her running mate and they will win. Then you probably don’t want to see the struggle that will be ahead as she battles a do-nothing group in the Congress. Now I have saved you a great deal of angst and distraction. 😉

              Liked by 1 person

            • Trump is not only still in it, he is ahead of the other Republican candidates in almost every state by a wide margin. The world is standing on its head!

              Like

            • I think it will be a tough fight but she will win in the end. The madness has to stop and this country needs to turn around and join the rest of the civilized world. We are on the same page, BF! Thank you. 🙂

              Like

  7. I’ve been tentative in offering opinion on this in other blogs where it’s been discussed, conscious of my outsider status and acknowledging that it’s a problem that must be resolved from within, although I’ve gone ahead anyway for the sake of offering a different perspective.
    We, here, in discussion of the events, can’t get our heads round why legislation hasn’t been in place from way back. In 1996, in Dunblane, an atrocity occurred that shook the whole country. From this one incident, measures were put in place to ensure that it could not happen again. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunblane_school_massacre

    It almost seems, from outside looking in, that US citizens have become inured to gun violence. Why would they not be screaming the place down otherwise to end it, is the thought. Obviously, that isn’t the case and there are so many controlling factors and motivations keeping the weapons industry alive. Politicians are rated, if I’m right in thinking, by the NRA and they must wield significant power to prohibit any change in legislation that allows for free/loose interpretation of the Second Amendment.

    Surely the Second Amendment cannot be allowed to supersede each and every citizens’ human right to basic safety and peace?

    And it does sound, from what you’re saying, Beth, that that basic right is being denied.

    I’ve read that teachers and children in the US have training on what to do in the event of a firearms attack. I cannot conceive of such a measure. That the onus should be placed on children and teachers to protect themselves and each other rather than the government taking more positive measures stuns me.

    I wonder what sort of response an amnesty would have, whereby weapons (illegal and otherwise) could be handed in. It’s been done here with knives/blades with people taking the opportunity to rid themselves of dangerous weapons. Maybe thinking better of their use and not sure how to rid themselves?

    I wish I knew what the answer were, Beth. It’s a horrible world when people want/feel the need to use any sort of weaponry at all.

    The link you posted is certainly worth considering as a means to making it more difficult to procure weapons.
    No one under the age of 18 here can even buy a pair of scissors in some shops, with a total ban on purchase of knives or blades for that age. And, if you’re stopped and caught with one, it’s an automatic offence unless you can prove its use for work eg a carpet fitter. Even then, you’d have to be coming or going from work.
    It hasn’t stopped knife crime. It has reduced it. One thing seems for sure, more weapons, whatever their sort, means more violence. I wish to god we could get to the root of the violence. In the meantime, something has to give to allow people to live in peace and safety.

    Sorry for rabbiting on, Beth. I know this is a really long response and I’ll repeat here what I said on other blogs, that, not being a US citizen gives me no right to advise on internal affairs but, when so many people are posting their genuine worries and concerns, another perspective may help.x

    Liked by 1 person

    • Anne-Marie, you have every right to weigh in as an intelligent, thoughtful, civilised thinker and observer from a reasonable and rational country.

      What is happening here is a coup, make no mistake about it. One of our two major parties has been hijacked by ‘leaders’ who are fanatics who are lied to and in turn spread and repeat those lies. Behind these people are a small faction of ideologues and monied interests.

      In the former case, they have a fundamentalist religious belief system that tells them, among other things, that an apocalypse is coming, that the earth is 6000 years old, that aliens are influencing our federal government — especially the Democrats and the President, whom they believe is evil and means to destroy the country.

      In the latter case, it is the fossil fuel industry that is dominated by perhaps 40 to 50 billionaires who stand to lose a fortune if the people, the masses are properly informed on a range of issues from the viability of alternative energy sources, to man-made global warming, to the dangers of fracking and the pollution of aquifers, all the way up to pharmaceutical fraud and keeping poor people from health care access and from voting.

      If this weren’t true, it would be a laughable and implausible matter. But, the shocking reality is: it is true.

      All you have to do is witness the disintegration of the House of Representatives who cannot elect a leader who wants to lead. That entire body has been taken over by a handful of people who believe there should be no government at all.

      These people are both dangerous and diabolical. That is the coup that the country is being subjected to.

      Part of their ideology and the lies they are telling involved the so-called ‘correct’, i.e., Supreme Court interpretation of the Second Amendment.

      The 2nd Amendment was meant to supply colonists with muskets to fight the British 250 years ago, should they attempt to return and re-take the colonies. The arms were to be used solely for that purpose.

      Now these right wing fanatics scream that “the Constitution” gives them the right to any kind and number of firearms and that any restriction on these weapons violates their freedom to be armed, per their very wrong interpretation of that amendment.

      This is all funded by gun manufacturer groups like the NRA. Unfortunately, there are 320 million people in this country and very, very few of them have the time and intellectual capacity to research truth from direct sources.

      Many of our voters get their information from radio talk show hosts who are supported by that handful of billionaires.

      Until the people of this country wake up and realize that the ideas that these fanatics have been promulgating and enacting into legislation through seizing the districting that generates delegates to Congress (a destructive practice known as “gerrymandering” — which must be abolished by passing a law that bans its use –) are morally and intellectually bankrupt and get rid of these bad actors, we will continue to have a situation where hunters and gun-nuts override the safety, common sense, and interests of ordinary citizens like me.

      Their policies are failing horribly, visibly and tragically, so eventually we will rid this country of these incompetent and selfish (many of them Libertarians — the most selfish philosophy of all) power figures. Until then, the rest of us must stand by and watch stupidity and cruelty and selfishness reign over intelligence, kindness and generosity.

      Liked by 2 people

        • Help is on the way, Anne-Marie. Last night the Democrats had a civilised, mature, adult debate that was respectful of each other’s views but strong on substance and a concrete discussion of how to tackle our substantial world and national challenges. I was so encouraged. And, my preferred candidate was stellar in every way. These haters that only say no will be defeated in 2016. xx

          Liked by 2 people

  8. I also want to sincerely thank those of you who are not Americans, who are not enmeshed in this culture of ours, for sharing an outsider’s perspective here. You are a member of this blog’s community and I am grateful to you for giving your perspective.

    People in our own country can benefit from hearing a less emotionally-laden point of view by someone who has not direct skin in the game, so to speak.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Although not the same issue, but in my mind this overlaps gun control. I worked at a battered women’s shelter where a few women were afraid of their husbands, more than a few stopped loving their abusive husband and several mentioned fear of being caught and killed. Can you imagine a person thinking, “If I can’t have her, no one will?” This mindset has scared me, actually having one client get shot more than 3 times by the guilty abuser pivoting and using while handcuffed the sheriff’s gun. Ransom Staley. Debby Staley was a vegetable in a nursing home due to the man she escaped from being able to get a hold of that gun. I have read that those people who think they will shoot an intruder may either accidentally shoot themselves or loved ones or the weapon will be taken away from them by the robber. Used against themselves. Hmmm. Under the pressure of circumstances I would prefer to talk, beg or try to hide, NOT fight! I cannot help but include the 70’s slogan and bumper sticker, Beth:
    “Make love not war!” ♡ Peace, no guns. Hope it is possible.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Robin, these are central issues to this problem. Without guns, people have to find other ways to deal with their demons. With guns, especially semi-automatic weapons with multiple-round magazines or drums, the gun ends any chance of level ground.

      So gun enthusiasts say, therefore, we should all be armed. There may be a woman or child around that can handle a gun as well as the average man or adolescent, but not many. I might also add, no animal can handle a gun so the playing field is really uneven for them, as a separate subject.

      But, for thousands of years men have had their way because they could use force to get what they wanted. Guns are just the latest version of that force and the guns they are getting are more and more sophisticated, out of all proportion to their need.

      So, yes, guns in the home lead to innocent deaths. Just yesterday a four year old was shot in her father’s car because another man was experiencing road rage. I love the idea that gun lovers defend this. How? It is crazy.

      We, women of any kind, in or out of a relationship, should not have to be armed to live a peaceful, free, happy life. We have laws that don’t protect us from the insane, from those who carry guns and use them the minute they don’t get their way or due to a misunderstanding or paranoia or the pure joy some people have of wielding power over others. Anyone who needs a gun to feel powerful is a small, inadequate, damaged person. No woman, child, or animal should be subjected to that individual. No man should be subjected to a gun-happy woman either.

      It’s disgraceful, backward, uncivilized and unintelligent. I will be talking more about women and what we need to have to be equal either tomorrow or Saturday, as right now, I am watching the ‘hearings’ aka prosecution of Hillary Clinton. More violence and this society is not only condoning it, it is relishing it.

      Like

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