Brutality, carnage, evil and death are but a few words that many have attached to guns in wake of the horrific events that have recently unfolded.
We are reminded every so often, perhaps too often, of the damage people with guns can inflict on people or the masses. The events in Orlando recently spurned many of our leaders in Washington to take positions and ready legislation that would severely limit access to guns.
Death, murder and destruction have been prevalent since ancient times. Many religious and ancient texts speak of ancient battles fought and atrocities that have occurred throughout human history. Spears, swords, axes, hammers and many other types of weapons we would consider primitive by today’s standards were used then. Yet the carnage inflicted is in many ways equal or even more atrocious than to what we currently witness in contemporary times.
What has changed throughout the course of human history of violence is simply the instruments used for the acts of devastation. Many fail to see or simply ignore the fact that fear, extremism and ignorance tend to lead us to witness and experience these horrific events.
The advancement of culture, science and technology brought about new ways for humans to attack and defend people within a society living on lands on this planet. Humans have evolved from using wooden objects to inflict their damage upon others to advanced weaponry to cause and create chaos upon others and to defend themselves. As long as there is fear and intelligent people willing to experiment with science and create new means of killing, horrific acts will only continue.
Currently, the gun debate could not be a more salient issue. Leaders from all political associations are picking sides and offering opinion as to “why” certain atrocities take place. Less do we hear of potential solutions to curb the violence across the globe.
A gun on its on is a gun. A gun can’t kill another human being anymore than a book can kill another human being unless it is in the hands of someone with malicious intent. Let me pause on that thought and come back to it.
Many drugs, such as cocaine, heroine, crack, acid and many of narcotics and hallucinates have been ruled as illegal substances. Yet these illegal substances still kill people in record numbers. Laws have been passed, harsher penalties have been levied and more agencies have increased their size and scope to battle the drug epidemic.
Yet the laws have done little to fight the problem. The laws essentially took substances which were at one time legal; yes, heroine and cocaine were once considered legal, and have moved them on to the black market. Those who want drugs will get drugs. Where there is a will, there is a way.
Much is the same with guns. Placing bans on guns will take away regulations that the federal government and States currently have in place. Those who want guns will find a way to get guns. Those who have malicious intent will find a way to get their hands on them and act on their impulse or plans.
The problem as I see it is not that guns are killing people in record numbers. It is that people are killing people in record numbers.
If our leaders were to propose measures to ban or even place even more barriers to obtain fire arms, why should they stop there? Guns make it more accessible for people to kill other people but there are alternate means of causing destruction. If the political leaders want to get rid of the guns, they should broaden their scope and go after all weapons.
However, the problem now lay with those intent on killing others. If guns are not as easily accessible, people will still find ways to obtain them on black markets or through various other loopholes. It would be naive to believe that every loophole could be closed and guns would disappear from our society. Much like drugs, they would go further and further underground, unregulated and the people who would be obtaining these weapons are the people we would less likely want to have possession of weapons.
The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution states that as a citizen of the country, we have a right to bear arms. Some feel this is an outdated Amendment. Yet let us not forget “where” this Amendment is placed: within the Bill of Rights. Once we dig deeper in to the Constitution, we come across the Supremacy Clause, which states that the Constitution is the supreme law of the land and no State can pass legislation that is in conflict of the Constitution.
To change this divisive Amendment, there would need to be another Constitutional Amendment passed. Much like the Twenty-First Amendment which overturned a previous Constitutional Amendment, the Eighteenth Amendment; prohibition, a dramatic measure such as that would be needed to rid the country and its citizens of guns.
All of which bring us back to the original issues at hand. If such an Amendment were proposed and passed, guns would become illegal, but they wouldn’t disappear. They would simply move underground as alcohol did in the early 20th century and as drugs have done. The original intent of the Second Amendment would now officially be meaningless and there would be no longer a debate if that Amendment was passed as a measure of personal protection or as a means for people to obtain guns for personal purposes.
Simply banning guns won’t do enough. Pointing fingers does nothing to alleviate fear and ignorance. If guns were to even be banned, how do we get rid of the guns already in existence? There are millions and millions of guns just right here in the United States. People would not give them up willingly, and if such a dramatic piece of legislation were passed, it would almost certainly have to grandfather in those who already own guns. So yet again, guns would still be rampant within our society.
Currently, the United States Senate filibustered legislation that would make it more difficult to obtain firearms. Democrats have gone as far to call Republican’s as “enablers of ISIS” according to reports from CNN. Republican’s fear that passing any legislation at this point will not be enough to alleviate the true problems at hand, terrorism, and also the infringement upon States’ rights and the Second Amendment. It appears to me that one side is looking at the issue of gun control from a micro and reactionary stand point and the other from a macro and preventative standpoint. Each have valid claims, yet the issue I believe both sides agree on is ending violence. Where they disagree is how to end it.
How would we fund this expedition to rid citizens within a society of their guns? The power and size of the government would most certainly have to be increased as new agencies would need to be created to help shoulder the burden of collection and monitoring the guns already in place. The ATF does not have the man power or budget to oversee this enterprise alone. More would be needed. And as we give more power to the government, we sacrifice a little more of our freedoms and liberties in the process.
The true issue at hand in my opinion is not the accessibility to guns, it’s the general thinking of those who use guns for their ill intent. Peace on earth is an idealistic concept, not a realistic one as anyone with even the most basic concept of human history can comprehend.
As long as there is hate, intolerance and ignorance, there will be death, atrocities, genocides, gross acts and horrific events. Guns are just one of the problems, they are not the root of the problem. Education, understanding, infrastructure and patience are the most sure fire ways to begin to end the cycle of hate and violence.
While I personally do not care for guns, I care about the principles that our founding fathers built our country upon. Our country would have never united had not the first Ten Amendments; The Bill of Rights, been incorporated in to the Constitution. I believe if we are so intent on honoring life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness, due process and equality, then we must stomach the entire foundation.
For it is not the foundation that is crumbling beneath us, it is those who choose to use certain liberties to their advantage. There is much research on both sides to suggest that it is an ideological “push” so to speak in the realm of gun ownership and safety. Both sides have valid arguments and data to present. Some states that have loose gun laws have low crime rate and some states with strict gun laws have high crime rates. My take away from all the research done on both sides is that which ever side we choose to subscribe to, ultimately, it is inconclusive and continues to divide us.
A sad, but harsh reality is that mass killings and hatred will never stop in my lifetime, nor likely my children or their children’s lifetimes. Yet what will increase is the methods in which people use weapons to kill others.
The focus needs to be more on preventative actions, not reactionary actions. We need to re-establish a foundation of trust, understanding and peace that can only be brought about through the slow changing of the way people think and perceive others within a society.
Peace will only be obtained through understanding and patience. That is the macro vision. The micro vision of reactionary procedures and expansion of government interference in to our personal liberties will only continue to inflame those who are already set out to do massive harm to innocent people.
Author: Adam Wilkinson