Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Supreme Importance of the 2nd Admendment

Since posting the thoughts of Senator McConnell on the last entry went over so well, I've gotten permission from a good web friend of mine and someone I have worked with for several years on a different website to share his thoughts concerning Gun Control and protection of the 2nd Admendment. While Emilio and I don't necessarily politically agree on everything out there in the verse, we certainly are on the same page when it comes to this paramount issue.

Guns – my thougths: by Emilio D'alise

My impetus for gun ownership and gun carry is pretty simple. I both lived in a situation where gang violence was common-place, and later in life, far away from “bad” neighborhoods, I received threats on my life. It is thus within the capability of my imagination to ponder being the potential victim of a targeted or random attack. I carry for protection from two legged predators, and – when hiking – from four legged ones.

I take all the precautions I can to avoid ever having to use my gun(s). I don’t go to bars, I don’t frequent events that are likely to get rowdy, I don’t walk/drive around at night unless absolutely necessary. I back down from arguments, and to the best that I can, I try to diffuse any situation that has the potential to escalate into violence.

Same for observing safety precautions when in bear and cougar country (as I now am). For the record, I am a lot less concerned about a potential attack by a four legged predator than I am by the two legged kind, and as much as I might be concerned about being shot, I also consider being stabbed, or being beaten to the point of death or paralysis, a very undesirable thing.

Yes, I’m not speaking of just defending against an armed assailant. Proponents of removing my right to own and carry a gun neglect the long history of the strong victimizing the weak, and the many victimizing the few. Being attacked by one or more individuals capable of beating the crap out of me is as much a matter of concern as being threatened or shot by one or more individuals who may have obtained a gun through illegal means. Even more so as an atheist, because you never know when a crazed “believer” will get a bee in their bonnet, and decide this or that god has told them to act in their behalf (because, you know, gods can’t do crap on their own).

You see, no matter what precautions one might take, we are not always in control of events, and people forget the role of the police is not necessarily to be there to protect you, but rather to scrape your remains off the sidewalk, and attempt to apprehend the guilty after the fact.

Having said all that, my hope is to go the rest of my life without ever having to use a weapon in self-defense.

But this little rant is only peripherally about guns and guns rights.

This is about people who pick and choose what laws, rights, and freedoms they are willing to support, and who make their choice based on faulty data and reasoning. It especially irks me when I hear snide remarks about guns and gun ownership on podcasts (I’m talking to you Point of Inquiry, although others are just as bad) that have nothing to do with a critical examination of the so-called “gun issue”.

So, I might be listening to a show about Conservative groups pressuring elected officials to either ignore or go against both accepted knowledge and common sense on a given matter, and in drops a peripheral comment denigrating all gun owners as drooling Neanderthals unwilling to get with the program of being civilized (read: unarmed) members of society.

In one particular instance the discussion was about the First Amendment, and the danger posed by various power groups wanting to modify, reinterpret, or even change both its meaning and reach. My position is that except in very few instances, the First Amendment should be interpreted as broadly as possible, and restricted as little as possible.

But in the same show, here comes a slam against the Second Amendment, and how it has outlived its purpose, and should no longer be applicable in modern society. See, this is where I part company with many on the Left and many on the Right; both groups are selective in what freedoms they are willing to allow others.

A particularly annoying group of anti-gun people are The Skeptics. You know, the hard-core ones, the ones who live and breathe hard data, and will pound on your ass if you dare make a logical argument as opposed to citing hard data from double blind studies.

The thing is, there is a lot of data on guns, murders by guns, accidental shootings, and the impact of gun ownership. Guess what? Look at the data, and many (some say all) the arguments anti-guns nuts make go up in smoke as those arguments are shot full of holes. There are well-run studies using rigorous research methodology that point to conclusions the anti-gun groups, and their supporters, just don’t want to hear. In contrast, the data used to sell fear of guns is often wrong, misleading, or plain made up.

In all the debates I ever had on the issue of guns, at the end of the day, when all sorts of references have been provided, when data has been shown to counter popular misconceptions, when logical arguments, historical arguments, and legal arguments have been laid out, the truth is finally laid bare . . . most people who are anti-gun have only one reason for banning guns; they do not like them.

And they are willing to not only ignore part of the Bill of Rights to appease their distaste for these supposed evil implements of death and destruction, but are also willing to set aside their mantra of “show me the data”. No data. No logic. No reasoned arguments. They do not like guns, so no one should be allowed to have guns. Period.

We have all them Amendments for a very good reason. While many of the Founding Fathers saw them as so self-evident that they did not need to be enumerated, others correctly foresaw the eventual erosion of these rights by sometimes well-meaning people, but more often by powerful individuals who like to maintain their privileged status. The Amendments do not confer rights. The Founding Fathers recognized those rights as innate to free individuals, and put limits on the government’s ability to encroach upon them. Limits that are ever-shrinking as one group of people or another picks away at them. What those people forget is that when those rights are gone they are going to be very hard to get back. Especially if one is unarmed.

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