In the wake of the latest school shooting in Colorado, I commented,
“Another loss to the gun industrial complex.
I wonder when it will be enough. I wonder when we will get mad enough to actually do something.
I wonder if we will.”
I was asked, “What’s your solution?”
“In theological discussions, we always start with the text. So, one part of the ‘solution’ (and I admit it’s only one step) is to acknowledge that this whole discussion is not about the 2nd Amendment, or the Constitution (in spite of the best efforts of the gun industrial complex to keep throwing that red herring in our faces).
The real discussion needs to be about the INTERPRETATION of the 2nd Amendment with which we have been saddled for too many decades, an INTERPRETATION which ignores the original intent of the framers, ignores the passage of time, and severely ignores that the “right to bear arms” is not an absolute right, but is granted for a constitutionally prescribed purpose. For the framers (and this is made clear in the actual document), they included that clause specifically for national self defence.
Note – Not defence of home and property, not defence against other people carrying guns (the whole “good guy with a gun” fairy tale), and CERTAINLY not for protection FROM the government!
The INTERPRETATION that it’s just about ‘gun ownership’ is killing people. Every day. It’s about time that was acknowledged.
Another step, as others have mentioned, is to keep military grade weaponry out of the hands of civilians. In these days of professional militaries, there is no need for civilians to have these weapons, since they are not needed for a “well regulated militia,” or any other reasonable purpose.
I know there are more guns in the country than people. I know that there are generations of gun owners who have been steeped in the myth of an absolute right to own any firearm they might crave. I know that politicians are afraid to address the issue in any substantive way because they don’t want to lose donations or votes (or get shot like Gabby Giffords by a gun-crazed constituent). And I know that the gun industrial complex is a huge money maker, with its tentacles in many other industries and many electoral districts.
I am not delusional enough to think that this will be easy, or that a quick fix is available.
But I also know that too many people like Kendrick Castillo are no longer with us, and that there is no justification for that fact.
And I also know that sitting back, ringing our collective hands, and pretending that it’s too big so nothing can be done, is actually a not-very-well-disguised attempt to hide from the hard work of engaging with life in all its messiness.
I know that some commentators will ask about personal responsibility, and why didn’t the latest shooter take some for himself.
But that’s just another attempt to get ourselves off the hook.
The real questions we need to be asking are, what is YOUR and MY personal responsibility to Kendrick Castillo? What is YOUR and MY personal responsibility to addressing the gun industrial complex? What is YOUR and MY personal responsibility to engage the government to get off its collective rear end, and do something so we don’t have to be having the conversation again next week?
Because we all know that if we do nothing, or pretend that nothing can be done (which amounts to the same thing), we will be having this conversation again next week.
And the week after that.
And the week after that.
Silence, it has been noted, only helps the oppressor. Silence is what killed Kendrick.