Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Yes, I get emotional about this. Common sense must prevail in the gun control issue.

People have been flipping out at me on Facebook for what I believe to be a pretty unassailable position.

Guns like this one have no business being in the hands of citizens and no amount of blather from the NRA is going to change that. There simply is, nor ever has been, an enumerated Constitutional right for average people to own and use weapons of mass murder.

In 1980, a man named Ronald Reagan was elected President of the United States and, though I was only a teenager, I found myself in agreement with nearly everything the man stood for and have been a staunch Conservative ever since.

Becoming a Catholic Conservative has put me at sharp odds with even members of my own family on issues such as the unborn, homosexual marriage, the military and the death penalty. However strong my Conservative leanings, they cannot violate what I believe and practice as a Catholic Christian and I abhor (and feel morally obligated to protest) the incestuous relationship between mainstream Christianity and the extreme National Rifle Association.

The National Rifle Association (NRA) are simply not what they claim to be. They do not represent, as they assert, a line of defense of basic second amendment rights. The second amendment states the following;

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.
Though I do reject the interpretation that a well regulated militia can only refer to The National Guard or some specifically government-sanctioned entity, I do recognize that the concept of well-regulated is firmly ensconced in the precept of the right to bear arms. It is madness to suggest otherwise.

Certainly, any reasonable person can see and understand the rights of citizens to defend themselves from burglars, rapists and wild animals. Without question, they also understand the rights of hunters to have guns for this purpose. Any one who does not understand these basic freedoms is an extremist and is, rightfully opposed by law abiding voters.

However, we Catholics must oppose all extremes of law and not exclude those that go in the opposite direction. There have been many that continue to shock me by openly positing that there should be no restrictions whatsoever on the type of weapon one should be allowed to own, nor in the size of the ammunition clip. To me, these people have allowed the gun lobby to hijack their sense of reason.

Even more alarming to me is the insistence by some that the very purpose of the second amendment is that citizens be armed against their own government! That argument is very frightening indeed. We, as Catholics and other Conservative Christians, ought not be advocating armed insurrection. I am very sure that is not something Jesus would do.

I am as terrified of Barack Obama and his cast of left-wing nuts as anybody but there is a statistical fact that there is just no getting over. That fact, simply stated, is that myself, my wife, my kids are far more likely to be slaughtered by some sociopath with an AR-15 than we are by some agent of the federal government. Adam Lanza, James Holmes and the duo of Klebold and Harris were not congressmen.

That assault weapons, sawed-off shot guns and the like, have no place in a civilized society, in the hands of John Q Public, is a matter quite beyond dispute and the thought that there may be such weapons in my apartment complex scares the living daylights out of me.

The two principal arguments that the gun nuts use, to defend this maddening proliferation of weapons of mass murder, are both illogical on their face;

  1. We need these weapons because the criminals have these weapons.
  2. If we let the government take any weapons, they will take all the weapons.
Anybody with common sense knows that there is no way to completely stop all gun violence but that argument misses the point. The reason that these arguments are invalid is because they both fail to answer the chief objection of where does it end? If a terrorist has a shoulder-fired rocket launcher, does that entitle me to one to counter it? If I have a Tank in my yard can I reasonably protest it's confiscation because the government might later return to take my .22 as well?

To me, the picture to the right says, with chilling clarity, what the NRA's position is on assault rifles. They are for the purpose of killing people with whom we disagree or feel we have a score to settle. When these guns are legally purchased, and we start with that mindset, all you need is to add a sprinkle of paranoia or rage and Newtown, Connecticut is the result.

The NRA protests that psychotropic drugs, violent movies and videos are the cause of this gun violence and that they, themselves, are not culpable. That dog just don't hunt. To some degree, it can very well be argued that all of those factors should be examined as causes of these deaths. However, the most immediate and proximate cause of these deaths is slugs flying from the barrel of a weapon that the NRA helped put into the hands of the killer. Any first degree law student knows that intent follows the bullet. If your intent is to make money off a weapon whose only intent is mass murder, the blood of Newtown is on your hands.

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