Saturday, January 17, 2015

Ten reasons to repeal the stupid Second Amendment

I wrote a short opinion piece on Christmas day, 2014, about repealing the Second Amendment. It attracted the attention of the National Rifle Association and was featured in at least two places on their vast and interesting website.

I received more hate mail in the days following that NRA attention than I have received in the first 64 years of my life--combined. Luckily for me, I have an emotional carapace made of Kevlar.

For the most part, the quality of the reactions was quite low--it is instructive when someone misspells imbecile.
Many engaged in kneejerk character attack, seemingly buoyed by three factors. One, I'm a self-described pacifist. Two, they generally bragged about owning many guns and apparently they are prepared to use them because they are not hesitant to slander anyone with whom they disagree. Three, this is the Internet and they have no intention of actually coming to discuss anything with me and regard our personal meeting as highly unlikely.

Those sorts of reactions merit no response.

A small handful were in honest and respectful disagreement with me and we exchanged mutually respectful views, agreeing to disagree and no hard feelings. That is the essence of a robust democracy; we value the First Amendment because it protects discourse that can expand our knowledge and sharpen our pencils.

We say we value the First Amendment because it protects loathesome or vile speech but that is generally simply rhetoric. Very few who worry about the sanctity of the First Amendment want to offer a forum to those who issue slurs against anyone's color, culture, national origin, sexual orientation, religion or other identity components. And let's be clear; offering a pulpit to someone who speaks with hateful ignorance about another person's tribe or gender is radically different than offering to kill them. Protecting the life of a cartoonist who draws insulting cartoons about everyone's religions is quite different from buying those cartoons.

So why repeal the stupid Second Amendment? Doing so wouldn't outlaw a single gun. Indeed, it would actually take away federal power. Here are ten reasons. Add your own:

  1. It would give power back to states and local governments to control lethal weaponry that they frequently cannot control now because upon passing a gun law in a city, the NRA trots to the Supremes and gets them to vacate the law as unConstitutional. 
  2. It would mean that the federal government would not be able to tell a city, county, or state what to do about gun laws. Maybe some states want to be the wild west and operate like Tombstone Territory and maybe some towns want no guns. It would then be up to them.
  3. It would make teen suicide numbers decrease, probably quite dramatically. 
  4. It would eventually nearly end school shootings in some places with tougher laws and pull more toward the "Tuff Response Method" of nonviolent inquiry and empathy.
  5. It would make it possible for some states or cities to institute tough laws on gun mechanisms so toddlers would not be finding a gun in Mom's purse and hurting themselves or Mom.
  6. It would drive the overall homicide rate down as some places cleaned guns out of their areas.
  7. It would drive the overall suicide rate down as more towns got rid of more guns. 
  8. It would drive down the accidental death rates as gun laws made guns both safer or nonexistent.
  9. It would make the police less jumpy and less likely to continue their killing spree against unarmed people of color.
  10. It would make increasing disarmament of police possible as they faced fewer and fewer weapons that now are polluting our entire society.
Gun lovers wrote me quite a lot about how Hitler and Kim Jung Un and other dictators love it when their people are not armed. 

There are some countries with far more restrictive gun laws than the US that are also regarded as robust democracies, some with equal metrics of civil rights and minority protection to the US. There is simply no causal factor between getting rid of guns and inviting a dictatorship. The correlatives work both ways and cannot be regarded as good evidence.

More importantly, the weapon of choice nowadays for deposing dictators is nonviolence. It succeeds at about twice the rate that violent insurrection does, it is faster, and obviously far fewer people die in that struggle. Please, my fellow Americans, learn this. They know this in Serbia, in the Philippines, in Hungary, in the former East Germany, in Estonia, in Zambia, and in many of the other places where brutal dictators were swept away by unarmed but aroused civil society. 

The Second Amendment is anti-democratic, anti-life, anti-dialog, and antiquated. It is a negative in our world. Time to ditch it.

No comments: