hearts and minds

July 5, 2008

Independence, Self-Defense, and Community

Filed under: Bill of Rights,Hunting rights and history — Hearts & Minds @ 4:55 pm

I b’lieve in the U.S. Constitution and all its amendments (so far, anyway). Including the second. And the Second Amendment means individual people have the right to keep and bear arms, not just people wearing a uniform or under orders.

I b’lieve we have a right to keep and bear arms as hobbyists, or for target practice, and while hunting. But not only that. We also have the right of self-defense from thugs and criminals. But not only that. We also have the right to protect ourselves against unjustified armed invasion of our land and homes and against despotic unlawful rule imposed from within. In fact those last named gun rights may be the most important.

In other words, people have the inherent right to hunt, and to armed self-defense as well as the right to insurrection and revolution as justified by our Declaration of Independence. That’s the American way and tradition. And it has a whole lot to do with basic human rights anywhere.

People also have the right to personal safety, security for their families, and the right to a safe community, without becoming hostage to, or collateral damage from, some fool’s fantasies, paranoia, or ideological excesses.

These rights certainly can be, and sometimes are in conflict.

How do we resolve the conflict? By understanding and respecting other points of view, other perspectives. By understanding the other person. And by law, carefully crafted and equitably administered.

Why in the world would the law abiding, honest person with a deeply loved family, living in a ghetto afflicted with the highest rates of unemployment, poverty, hopelessness, violent crime, and perhaps lack of effective public safety protection, strenuously oppose the proposal that anyone entering her community (even a stranger whose family does not live there) should have the right to carry a loaded and concealed weapon?

Is it really necessary to explain this to anyone with a mind and a moment to think?

There are thin walls in densely populated neighborhoods, and literally thousands of people, including children, living, walking, working, and playing within lethal range of any gun discharged for any reason within that neighborhood. If you lived there, with your children and family, would you want strangers, unfamiliar and fearful of the place where you live, to be allowed to come and go as they please, legally and lethally armed against their fears, hatreds, nightmares, and suspicions?

Can you understand and respect that community resident, and their need for safety as they clearly see it? Proposed unrestricted concealed carry laws threaten the safety and family values of at least many people in at least some communities. Wouldn’t it be wiser policy for strangers afflicted with monumental prejudices and misunderstandings to just stay out of those communities unless and until they can heal those prejudices and correct those misunderstandings?

Simple concepts, like gun rights and safety, don’t always pose simple problems with simple one-size-fits-all solutions, do they? Armed strangers entering any part of any community is a different proposition than sober, sensible, well-trained, law-abiding members of a community being armed within their own community.

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