May 2013
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Liberty and the Second Amendment

By Galen Larson

Less hate and greed
Is what we need
And more of service true;
More men to love
The flag above
And keep it first in view.
Less boast and brag
About the flag,
More faith in what it means;
More heads erect,
More self-respect,
Less talk of war machines.
The time to fight
To keep it bright
Is not along the way,
Nor ‘cross the foam,
But here at home
Within ourselves--to-day.
— Edgar Guest

You don’t get, or give, liberty with the muzzle of a rifle. Think about Iraq. Our military action there was supposed to liberate it, bringing us the gratitude of the citizens, who would meet us with flowers. Instead, it took the lives of 4,000 of our young, plus thousands of Iraqis, to capture and hang Rummy’s tea-drinking buddy, and the Iraqis are still killing one another now that we have pulled out. All our military firepower couldn’t force liberty on them.

But so what? It’s still “might makes right” in the eyes of a much-misinformed group out there that claims they need guns because they are afraid of their government – yet they vote in the same representatives and senators year after year. They wave the stars, sing the national anthem and state they are patriots, but balk at paying taxes to support their country.

Am I afraid of my government? No, but I am afraid that my country is moving away from democracy and morphing into a government by oligarchy. We no longer have statesmen, just demagogic welfare recipients – i.e., well-paid legislators and other career politicians – afraid of losing their tax-unded positions.

Speaking of losing our liberties, where were the alleged champions of our Constitution when Occupy groups were protesting the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling, a bizarre misinterpretation of law that gave corporations equal standing with actual fleshand- blood citizens? (Have you ever seen a corporation bleed or die defending our liberty?)

That’s when those posturing nitwits should have vehemently protested to protect our voting rights – the fundamental element of any democracy. Are we daft to allow that travesty with just the smallest whimper? History tells us that first it’s money, then guns, that control the outcome of elections.

“If I lose my guns I lose my liberties” is their cry, but we have already lost many other liberties. Large cities have cameras mounted everywhere. Yes, it’s great for law enforcement, but at what price to individual privacy? Soon there will be drones everywhere, spying on us in our backyards and even inside our homes. Our supermarkets and insurance companies know more about us than we know about ourselves, tracking our buying habits, food preferences, vacation places, reading preferences, how fast we drive, and so on, all through computer chips. People are required to pee into little cups for drug testing just to apply for jobs, most of which don’t involve potential threats to public safety.

Yet we keep thumping the Second Amendment that will supposedly keep our elected officials from stealing our democracy (here’s a clue: they have means of taking us over that are far subtler than outright warfare) and as stated before, we continue to vote them in, when they use monies from who knows where to obliterate our small donations they so unashamedly request.

No, no, they say, it’s the party’s money. Who do you suppose supports the party? Our paltry contributions, or the oligarchy from overseas and billionaires from Las Vegas who make fortunes on the backs of those that can least afford it?

I see no reason for any senator to vote down universal background checks at gun shows except to pander to a few powerful interests. Oh, my goodness, it may take days for it to be processed. I have to stand in line.

We wait for our driver’s license after standing in line. We stand in line for our groceries, for warm beer and cold hot dogs after standing in line at sporting events.

I believe it was sportsmen that requested a plug be put in shotgun magazines to limit the number of shells when bird-hunting. I believe it was sportsmen that requested the removal of lead shot because of the effect it was having on wildlife, fish and the environment. (Packing heat didn’t save the lives of the prosecutor and his wife in Texas who were gunned down in their home by a nutty justice of the peace.) It would have been chaos at the movie theater in Aurora, Colo., if the packers and the police who arrived within minutes started shooting at one another. Who would we have shot at in Boston? It seems the cameras did a better job of ending the terrorists’ rampage.

I used to be an NRA member back when the NRA supported common sense, gun safety and reasonable measures to protect human lives. Now their only answer to mass shootings and wholesale slaughter of innocents is, “Go after the mentally ill!” Pointing fingers at people whom we may suspect of being mentally incompetent is not going to solve the enormous problem of gun violence, because the vast majority of it is not done by the mentally ill. (Or at least not those yet diagnosed.)

And it brings back the specter of the Salem witch hunts. So Wayne LaPeeAir, not being a doctor or psychiatrist, should refrain from pointing fingers. If a learned physician could not get her patient committed who then is to take responsibility? People like him, a judge, a jury or a panel?

With any right comes responsibility. I don’t care to give up my guns but I think some accountability is in order.

Seat belts and car safety seats don’t save all lives, but they save some. Reasonable guns laws could do the same.

Galen Larson is a Korean War veteran who lives in Montezuma County, Colo.


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