- - Sunday, March 4, 2018

During my tour of duty in Vietnam, I carried an M-16 rifle, the big brother of the contemporary AR-15. My rifle had many differing capabilities, subject to my preferences. I also carried a Colt .45 pistol. It too had vast destructive “assault” capabilities. No matter the choice, each sat inanimately, until I employed them. In close quarters, both rifle and pistol have similar killing capacity.

Neither is more destructive, however, than when the assault weapon of choice is a car or truck, to run down a crowd in a market or isolated atop a bridge. The difference is not the capability, but how people use them.

If we view items, whether tool or designed weapon, with emotion, rather than our intellect, we have a tendency to get into trouble. Weapons, for defense in an open society, are part of our history and our desires. No less so in our debates.

At the time of the birth of this nation, caution was widespread as to what amount of control should be given to a central authority; while still conforming with ” the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, [which] shall not be infringed.” Three years before the 1791 adoption of the Bill of Rights, Alexander Hamilton wrote in the Federalist Papers, about the proposed Second Amendment: ” the liberties of the people who stand ready to defend their own rights and those of their fellow-citizens ” The daily tests of those core principles are no less significant 230 years later.

On Feb. 21, 2018, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas wrote that the attitude of the courts “is symptomatic of the lower courts’ general failure to afford the Second Amendment the respect due an enumerated constitutional right. If a lower court treated another right so cavalierly, I have little doubt that this Court would intervene “

We of this nation recognize that the Second Amendment to the Constitution is in the crosshairs of contemporary debate. Magnification of images are applied, as horrific shootings take place in what should be safe havens for our children — schools. Our first response to catastrophic events is to act with emotion. Then, after careful review and the control by our minds, we hopefully act based on logic.

Considering 4,000 shootings a year in a U.S. city, or gross killings in a high school you make the choice which is more gut-wrenching. Reality is that only one has the current political attention, as one group seizes the opportunity to impose their greater will onto others, even incrementally.

If we are to look seriously at an issue, we must get away from the political diversions. Certainly, side issues are important. Mental health, states’ laws, competence by age, are great background. But they are not the basis for the core consideration given the greater intent and existing law.

In contemporary debate, can greater control of purchases really be effective without stronger enforcement of criminal prosecution? Where does the concept of responsibility lie in the realm of an open society? The handwriting already may have been etched when recent legislation was signed into law in California, removing mandatory sentencing guidelines for crimes involving guns.

So, why guns? Why not airplanes by which the greatest mass murder in U.S. history took place, Sept. 11, 2001? Why not cars, which are responsible for more deaths than any other means, outside of cancer and heart disease?

Guns have a long history of debate in both the U.S. and elsewhere and remain a flash point in the minds of many maybe because they are the image of a basic weapon of war and personal defense. Guns have been the employed tool of some, yet the lack of guns exacerbates exposure to violence.

In 2014 Australia, all “registered” guns were outlawed and turned in. In 2015, Ed Chenel, a police chief in that country, confirmed that criminal armed robbery increased by a whopping 40 percent. Homicides in the State of Victoria alone are up 300 percent. You know why.

Acting on mostly the emotions of blame, history memorialized:

In 1938, Germany established gun control. By 1945, 13 million Jews and others were exterminated.

In 1929, the USSR established gun control. By 1953, about 20 million dissidents were terminated.

In 1911, Turkey established gun control. From 1915 to 1917, 1.5 million Armenians, were neutralized.

In 1935, China established gun control. From 1948 to 1952, 20 million political voices of a different opinion, were eliminated.

In 1970, Uganda established gun control. By 1979, 300,000 Christians, became unaccounted for.

Accept this fact of reality — armed people will never willingly load themselves into railroad boxcars. There are some now who suggest that “one-on-many violence” will ease if we only make it more difficult for individuals to gain lawful access to guns. This course has never brought any to that Promised Land.

The reality of political action is often the easy solution when logic is not an expeditious choice. But emotional actions result in even greater emotional suffering. As “we the people” move forward to form “a more perfect union,” will we do so based on the logic needed to bridge the emotional quandary?

Nate Brogin is an entrepreneur and founder of a number of businesses in California.

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