America is halfway to hell.
Recent data shows that about half of all American households now have some kind of gun there with them. Just hours after the world was inundated with news of Aurora’s July 20 movie massacre, a surge of Americans decided this is a better time than ever to join the arms race here in the United States. It’s a foolproof recipe for disaster.
Now, more than ever, it’s time for our local and national elected leaders to show the same bravery that Aurora residents did in protecting themselves and others from the crazed gunman that ended the lives of 12 innocent people at the Century Aurora 16 theater, and terrorized hundreds more.
We know that there are horrible things that people do to each other in countries where guns are tightly controlled. But we are not fooled by the arguments of rabid gun-rights activists that the U.S. Constitution prohibits some restrictions to guns created for the easy and rapid annihilation of human beings, or that Americans would not be safer if some restrictions were enacted.
Restricting some weapons will increase public safety. That’s reality.
But reality and gun control don’t mix in this country. That’s because of the National Rifle Association and similar, rabid, gun-rights groups. Rather than offer reason, these groups thrive on power drawn from a domineering marketing campaign based on fear, lies and propaganda.
Because even the country’s more reasonable lawmakers cower in fear of the wrath of the NRA, nothing ever gets done to provide for substantive gun control.
That’s the case right now. While a group of brave Democrats, including Colorado congressmen Ed Perlmutter and Diana DeGette are talking about restrictions only of weapons of mass human destruction, politicians like President Barack Obama and Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper drag out old, tired arguments about using “existing” gun laws to make America safer.
Clearly, that didn’t work for Aurora.
First, wiser Americans must understand what the Second Amendment is. The authors of the Constitution never intended to ensure that Americans could carry rapid-fire machine guns anywhere they damned well pleased. At the birth of the country, when state militias were essentially the only law enforcement and rousable army available, it was clear that keeping them armed was important to local and national security. Depriving men of weapons could mean that an unarmed militia — needing to fight off a group of bandits or European invaders — presented a grave danger for all Americans. That’s what just about every historical account illustrates.
The amendment was horrifically short sighted. No one mulling over that right would recognize guns in the United States today. Unlike gun rights, which were not clearly defined, rights pertaining to free speech, a speedy trial, a free press and most others rights might have been stretched or re-shaped, but they remain identifiable.
Second, no one in their right mind believes the government can or should grab all the guns. What reasonable Americans are saying is that it’s too easy for deranged people to obtain and carry insanely lethal weapons, and that the government can and should do something about it. We’re asking that new, enforceable limits be created to make all of us safer.
It won’t be a simple solution, and finding it will require unseen courage from lawmakers. But this, now more than ever, is the time to push past bullies and work toward pulling the country back from the edge of hell.