Hooray! It’s not the end of the world. We’ve thought the Mayans were wrong and we were right. Woohoo. But with Sandy Hill Elementary School as a backdrop, the end of the world did come last Friday for 26 individuals and, in a painfully lasting way, their families.
I’ve been struggling to make sense of our country’s guns laws and the Second Amendment. Our founding fathers, 221 years ago, gave us the right to bear arms, the right to defend ourselves from a tyrannical government. Pundits on both sides say we should arm everyone, or we should only have guns for hunting, for sport.
“Two-hundred fifty million guns wouldn’t do much good against tanks, drones, bombers … ,” one said. ”Shouldn’t we vote them out of office rather than shoot them out?”another said.
Huh, I thought. Vote them out of office. Wait a minute.
We’re fighting too many battles in Africa and the Middle East to give people the right to vote. We want to “give them” democracy so they can vote into office leaders who will lead, presumably, as ours do – with what? Dignity? Humanity? A penchant toward collaboration? Have you seen what’s been going on in Washington? Of course you have. And we’re a role model for the world? Makes me sad.
I was in a store run by an Asian couple last week when the Newtown massacre came blaring over the big-screen tv hanging in the corner. We all watched in horror as the story unfolded. “Only in America,” said the Asian man. “I’m not so sure,” I said. “Was it Norway that suffered a tremendous national blow last year when a guy shot up a school?” “It was a camp,” said another patron.
I heard this week that Norway had its gun policy revised in a week.
It’s hard for me to wrap my brain around this. We want to help other countries find democracy. We want them to vote for leaders who will embrace democracy. We’re using guns but also reasoning (and sanctions) to help them see the errors of their ways. What about us? The leader of the free world and we’ve got outdated gun laws (oh and capital punishment but that’s another story.)
I understand that giving people have freedom to do as they choose. But I learned many years ago my freedom ends where yours begins. I don’t want to have to carry a gun to protect myself from people who can’t control themselves. Trayvon Martin was shot by a man who said he was only trying to protect himself.
What’s the right thing to do? I don’t have an answer but discussion about gun law reform seems to be in order. The Second Amendment is more than 200 years old when the country was concerned about tyranny. Today our country is the world’s watchdog for democratic leadership not tyranny. I am naive about many things but I don’t believe the rest of the world would allow a tyrannical government to form anywhere again. Isn’t that we’ve joined forces against modern-day tyrannists?
A few weeks ago, I thought today’s WordScarab post would be about the Solstice – the end of darkness, a return to longer days. I hope somehow the family and friends of those who lost loved ones in Newtown find light in these dark days. We’ve got to trust that something important, something lasting, something positive is going to come from this.