The Thirty Minute Blogger

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Sunday, October 18, 2015

Soapbox: Misinterpretation of the Second Amendment and Magic Phrases

One of the most corrosive misinterpretations of Scripture is known as prosperity gospel. If you believe in a particular way, God will bestow wealth and good fortune upon you. Conversely, if you suffer it is because you are a great sinner and a terrible person. Believe correctly and you'll live on easy street. This is patently false, as the Bible will tell you over and over again throughout both testaments.

Chicago's Archbishop Blaise Cupich argues against the current corrosive misinterpretation of the Second Amendment, see: http://www.religionnews.com/2015/10/12/catholic-chicago-cupich-gun-control-laws/  As for what the Second Amendment did and did not do, see: http://constitutioncenter.org/interactive-constitution/amendments/amendment-ii This balancing act between Federalists and Anti-Federalists led to this document, for good and for ill. In the modern interpretation, the first thirteen words are eliminated entirely. The idea of balance is tossed. Instead, this misbegotten idea that we will all be safe only if we are all armed to the teeth has grown up (a wonderful way to sell guns and ammo, kudos on that manufacturers). Open carry white folks walk through airports in some states armed with semi-automatic weaponry ... and walk out unscathed while a black man in a toy store holding a squirt gun is shot dead. The current state of affairs led Georgia to allow firearms in bars ... which led to the easily seen result of drunks in gun fights. Instead of the land of the free and the home of the brave, many in the US are now the terrorized in the home of the exceedingly violent. Internationally, it has been proposed that travel outside the US be restricted until we get our house in order.

In the midst of it all, I see a repellent trend recurring. Back in the George W. Bush years, you could not raise a valid complaint about any governmental program without adding "Of course, I support our troops." It was a phrase designed to tell others you were still an American, despite having a complaint. Today, we have come around to that again, "Of course, I support the Second Amendment" before you can say word one about trying to keep children from being shot in schools! But NO, I do not support the Second Amendment as it is currently interpreted. I do not support a strange and twisted view of Old West American history in which every person carried a six gun on hip, ready to deal out frontier justice as seen fit. That mentality leads to vigilante justice in store parking lots, firing at shoplifters in a crowded lot. That line of thought leads to pre-teens shooting little girls who won't let them see a puppy.

Worse that that lip service to a twisted interpretation is the venomous response to those who stand up against that interpretation. The acidic name calling (which should have been left behind on the grade school playground in reality), the dark aspersions against someone's character, the questioning of a person's intelligence, allegiance, religious background, and country of origin are loathsome in the extreme ... and are seen as much a part of regular discourse as shootings in public places have become.

Look, I don't really care which side of this divide you fall on. What I care about is that innocent people are dying with alarming regularity in the US, in greater numbers than any advanced nation not currently involved in a devastating war (or civil war). In the end, I want what it will take to bring the death toll from gun violence down, way, way down. NO, I will not use any magic phrases to make this go down easier. I will not say, "I don't want to take away your guns." NO, I will not say, "Gun don't kill people. People do." No, I won't say any of the other things people say to defend themselves and their positions these days in weird attempts at self defense or balm against each other. Right now, far too many people who should never have them are enabled by guns to do what they could not so easily do without them ... murder people. I want it to stop, NOW. That is my bottom line. The killing must stop. To make it stop, good people from both sides of this divide (YES there are good people on all sides of this debate who DO NOT DESERVE THE SMEAR CAMPAIGNS RAINED DOWN UPON THEM WHEN THEY SPEAK UP OUT OF HONEST CONCERN) to get their heads together, use their brains as God intended, and come up with actual solutions to real problems. I want people to stop dying violently at the hands of weaklings empowered by guns. It is a plain and simple thing to which there is no plain and simple solution. However, railing against each other, blaming each other, accusing each other of asinine and illogical things while digging ourselves ever deeper into trenches of our own positions that are looking every day more like our own graves and the graves of a great civilization will NEVER get the job done. The current approach will only get more people killed and more weapons sold to those who are incompetent to use them. It is time to act like grown ups, roll up our sleeves, and get down to the hard work of seeking a real COMPROMISE solution to a misinterpretation of a compromise amendment that has opened us up to a world of hurt, a world of violent death, and deep, dangerous division fueled by the misguided idea that anyone who does not agree with me completely is my sworn enemy. That isn't true either. That's an idea we need to put behind us if we are ever to solve this crisis. We claim to be a moral nation. It is long past time we acted like one.

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