An American Problem


Once again we find ourselves struggling with the gun issue in this nation.  And we are the only civilized nation in the world that continually struggles with this issue without any resolution.  We all know the reason…we have this part of the Constitution which can be interpreted to seem to say that every citizen has a right to own a gun.

Some people seem to regard this part of the Constitution as somehow sacred, as though God had ordained it,  There are other parts of the Constitution which have been reinterpreted by the courts or clarified by more recent laws to make them more relevant to a changing, modern society.  The first 10 Amendments, the Bill of Rights, were added to the Constitution shortly after the ratification of the Constitution to clarify some murky issues…a clear indication that change was sometimes necessary.  Without the potential of change, slavery would still be the law of the land.

But in this current phase of America, no longer a functioning democracy (and what would the Founding Fathers say about that?) but an oligarchy run by a wealthy elite and their corporate cronies, they can find enough cover to continue to reap profits from the ensuing carnage.

The process goes something like this: given that any American has a right to own as many guns of pretty much any size or construction, we must find what else could be the cause of such tragedies as we experience in this country…we must find out whose fault it is, because, God knows, everyone should be able to have guns without any of this bad stuff happening.

So we go through this litany of possibilities; parents, school, lack of religion, mental illness, unstable people, missing the warning signs, failures in someone’s duty, certain kinds of guns, the misuse of firearms, too big a magazine…and everyone can pick their favorite.  The result is that we end up with a lot of time spent on the blame game, trying to find scapegoats, but never dare to question the basic premise, maybe giving anyone the right to have guns is a premise that takes us to this place.

I even know that many people do not own or want guns.  One statistic is that 3% of the population owns 50% of the guns out there.  I also am quite sure that if we were to give every citizen, of age, a gun, including every new citizen, even with gun safety classes, the discussion would change very rapidly.  Arming citizens who are different; different ethnic backgrounds, different races, different colors, different religions (non-Christian), different life-styles would bring the entire debate to a screeching halt.

Until we question the basic premise that making gun ownership a right is really workable in a modern society we will remain stuck trying to justify the mayhem without questioning its initial cause.  Most of the world has resolved that question with a resounding “No”, or they have greatly restricted the situations in which guns are allowed.  Isn't it about time we acted in a more rational fashion, if for no other reason than to save our citizens from the increasing trauma.