May 25, 2022

A Shot at Reason

           I know many of you are thinking, as I have thought on occasion, that maybe it’s time to buy a gun. For protection, you say. For protection.

           Here’s a quick bit of history: 246 years ago, the increasingly desperate George Washington pleaded with Congress for a standing army in the colonies, if only to help defeat the British. But Congress opposed a standing army. Standing armies threatened individual liberties, the thinking went. 

          After Washington’s victory over the British, Federalists pushed for a standing army to support the fledgling government. Anti-Federalists, much more interested in state’s rights, fought the idea, believing it could pave the path for abuse of federal power. 

           This is all a dry way of saying that the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was about the formation of militias. The founders of our democracy never meant for every Tom, Dick, and Harriet to carry a gun. Here’s how the Second Amendment reads: “A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”

        The clauses work in harmony, not independently. Correctly punctuated according to meaning, the Second Amendment would read like this: “A well-regulated militia – being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms – shall not be infringed.” 

        With the help of the National Rifle Association and Republicans in powerful positions, the glorious American democratic experiment has plunged into devilry. The NRA lobby and the Republicans who regularly vote against gun control have the blood of innocents splashed across their foreheads, their faces, and their greedy and power-hungry philosophies. And what does Texas attorney general Ken Paxton suggest when 19 fourth-graders are shot point blank? That the state arm teachers. 

        Without actually living in a war zone, we live in a war zone. So many unstable people own guns these days that simply walking down a street becomes an exercise in risk. We need to ban weapons of war: assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines – completely. If we do not, we are allowing little children studying multiplication in classrooms and senior citizens buying birthday cakes to die at the hands of these guns, all easy to buy and easy to use. 

         What is to say that one of you reading these words, or the writer writing them, will not be next?

         I live in Connecticut, a state whose legislators have fought nationally and statewide for stricter gun controls. I applaud their efforts. Still, I’m thinking of moving to Texas so I can speak up against the morons in power who insist that guns are the answer, not the problem. We must get the guns off the streets. We need to speak up, loudly. And we need to act. We must realize, now, that reason and firm action will save lives – and salvage our democracy.  

         Remember the words of Martin Niemoeller, the German Lutheran pastor who stood up against Hitler: “First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out, because I was not a socialist. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out, because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out, because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me – and there was no one left to speak for me.”

         It is time to speak out. Not tomorrow, not next week. Now. 

n  Jane

 For a prompt, read the websites below and take action on at least one suggestion. Let me know how you do.