Thursday, January 13, 2011

The timeline of gun control

This is an interesting time line that goes back to June 2008 and the decision in District of Columbia v. Heller, up until January 8, 2011, and the resignation of several politicians and government officials in Arizona following threatening letters, posts, and phone calls.

Perhaps the most interesting thing about this time line is that, despite the fact that it only goes back to 2008, it is rather comprehensive, citing many sources, and is wholly disturbing in its contents. It doesn't assert an overarching conspiracy or any kind of political affiliation, merely expresses quotes and incidents that reflect the growing sentiment among American citizens to arm themselves against the government.

The interesting thing about all this is that the vast majority of entries (though not all) seem to center on individuals that are influenced primarily by conservative media, or adhere to extreme militia, supremacy, or terrorist organizations. Nearly all the quotes come from conservative politicians or media figures, and are almost uniformly and overtly violent. Some even name specific people as targets.

Now here's the hypocritical thing. If someone were to take up arms in defense of the government, they would be labeled by these people as part of the conspiracy, and yet people who talk about overthrowing the government are seen as patriots. How is that patriotic, to talk about overthrowing your government with violence? Why not try to vote for people who agree with you, or run for office yourself? Why not became passively active?

In my opinion, the Second Amendment provides a far too convenient excuse for violence. I don't think the point was for people to be able to shoot at law enforcement officers or government officials that they don't agree with. Why would anyone think it permissible to shoot at police officers who are trying to pull you over on the road? The Second Amendment is supposed to be for when the government sends the army to stop riots, recklessly abuses imminent domain, attempts to maintain power independently of citizen votes, or something else that is obviously tyrannical. The thing is, our government isn't doing anything like that, but people believe they are because it makes them feel better to blame someone other than themselves.

We have a right to bear arms, but all rights come with a measure of responsibility. If a person does not take the responsible approach that is necessary for procuring a firearm, they shouldn't be allowed to have one. If a person does not have a license, or has a history of crime, mental illness, or violent social activism, they should at the very least be screened for owning a firearm, if not denied outright. It's common sense. Common sense is the single most important response to the second amendment, or any other amendment and citizen right for the matter.

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