HAYDEN HOLLINGSWORTH: Horror Should Not Lead to Apathy

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Hayden Hollingsworth

The horror of Parkland and all the other mass killings can easily raise rhetoric to levels that obscure the obvious.  Trying to restore reasonableness has been difficult because of the extreme polarization of opinion.  That having been said, I will mention something that I have not heard from anyone.

First of all, one should actually read what the second amendment says: “A well regulated militia, being necessary for the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”  Let’s ignore the three grammatical errors; after all language was different 227 years ago when the Bill of Rights was ratified on December 15, 1791.

There was no standing army for defense against the Native Americans, the British, or whoever else might attack the fledging nation.  Every able-bodied male was required to support the local militia from the region and to bring their own weapons.

That such a diverse group could ever be wielded into an effective fighting force speaks as much to the disorganization/ disinterest of the opposition as it does to rightness of the cause.  We do not have or need a local militia, or least ones that are publically sanctioned.  Fringe groups are out there with their secret cache of arms but that’s a separate issue.  The reason for the second amendment is no longer germane; federal, state, and local governments are charged to protect us.

Second, the groups that are so fearful of any change or control of private ownership of firearms always invoke the domino theory; next thing you know they will take away all our guns.  The term domino theory first became popular in the 1960s.  If we didn’t fight communism in South Vietnam, all of Southeast Asia would fall and soon the rest of the world.  We lost the war and not only did communism not spread but in the subsequent decade communism virtually disappeared from the world.

Almost everyone agrees that individuals should be able to own guns.  Almost everyone, except gun manufacturers, lobbyists, and elected officials agree that weapons designed only for mass killing should not be available on demand; they should be restricted to the military and law enforcement.

The argument that criminals will have the upper hand has some validity if it were not for trained and armed first responders who know how to do their job.  The idea of turning schools and other public venues into armed camps is absurd.  There will always be deranged people who would happily take on a SWAT team as a form of assisted suicide.  To expect an English teacher to face up to a threat to her class in an effective way is beyond ridiculous.

We have been an armed nation since Jamestown.  It was for centuries necessary for survival in this country.  No longer is that the case.  The NRA and their supporters are masquerading behind flag of fear that is ill-founded and self-serving.  The uncontrolled arms of warfare makes no more sense than allowing a basement full of napalm.

When the ban on assault weapons expired in 2004 there was virtually no public notice.  The original law was virtually toothless that it banned only the purchase of said weaponry that was manufactured after the law was passed.  If Congress was ever courageous enough to pass a more comprehensive bill it should be called “The ban of weapons designed for public mass killings.”

How unlikely that our officials would have the fortitude to enact such legislation.  Only proper law enforcement prevented a mass killing of congressional members while playing baseball.  Had the capitol police (two of them in number) not been there, perhaps dozens would have been killed.

One wonders if the survivors might have then found the courage to follow the lead of the vast majority and do the right thing.  Such a law would be only a slight move in the direction of national sanity but one that must be taken.

Many of the suggestions to stem these senseless killings have merit.  What is astounding is our willingness to do nothing and expect things to change.

Hayden Hollingsworth