In the Humble Opinion of LittleBill, Socialist, Atheist, and Humanist
What Use Is the Right to Bear Arms



It appears to me that the Second Amendment to the Constitution was written for the good of the country, and at a different time in history, rather than as a right to own and use firearms for any reason that might come to mind. The tragic events in Blacksburg, Virginia don’t appear to be what the signers were thinking of when they signed the Constitution.

In the days following Blacksburg, we read and hear of copycat events such as schools being locked down and threats being made. The nation, of course, must look back to the killings at Columbine. At the same time, right now, there is a hostage situation with shots having been fired, at the Johnson Space Center in Texas.

There is a certain type of person who finds it very manly to own and use weapons. Those without criminal intent like guns, of course, to kill animals who can’t compete and are useful chiefly as trophies and for “recreational” purposes. A very, serious side-effect of all uses of guns is the harm that the bullets they spread across the countryside have and will kill into perpetuity many animals, especially birds, who ingest them.

Then there are the many types without moral or ethical constraints, who just like to use them for any event that might arise, including for criminal purposes. It is logical for banks and businesses to have weapons or guards. Small businesses are extremely vulnerable.

And then there are the many people who have firearms in their homes to protect themselves and their families. These are the ones who bring questions to my mind.

We have considerable statistics concerning people killed or injured by weapons, mostly by criminals or by accident, but we do not have any real statistics that I am aware of about how many home-owned weapons have been successfully employed in the defense of an owner’s home or family. To the contrary, we have a great many instances of weapons in homes being used by children either to do mischief or to play with, with deadly results, as well as weapons stolen from homes by others.

Apparently there are few uses for home-owned weapons, whether from a safety or a moral point of view.

4/20/07

10 comments:

LittleBill said...

I neglected to name some of the many victims of home owned firearms, and those are other family members.

pekka said...

This reminds me about the reaction which I had as I finished reading your first (to me) post. It was about taxes and it sort of floored me by being so unexpected and "un-American". Naturally, the subject is diferent this time, but your logic and the effect on me is the same.

For an average European such as myself, there hardly is a greater puzzle than that of the Americans and their love for, no, make it either obsession with or addiction of firearms. This has nothing to do with me having unjustified feeling of more refinement or cultural superiority. We simply don't get it!

I don't wish to bore you with my arguments against guns for you, yourself, hold the same ones. I just wish to share my outsider's frustration with this seemingly irrational and non beneficial phenomenom. I also find it absolutely chilling, that basically those relatively few, politically active and organitzed people have managed to hold you all as the hostages to the gun lobby, NRA. They found away to defeat anybody who goes against them thus making the politicians scared stiff regardless of the party affiliation. How can the situation ever get better under the present, absurd circumstances?

OK, I have managed to stretch this out again! Before I go, though, I like to relay something that I just heard. I don't know if you are aware, that there were over 700,000 Americans that died during the both World Wars, the Korean War and the Vietnam War, combined. Since Regan Administration, there has been even more Americans killed than during all those wars. They all were killed by other Americans in their streets, homes, schools, work places...everywhere. With guns that are, supposingly, there to provide security. Some security!

LittleBill said...

Good comment, Pekka, with statistcs I was not aware of. Also, I didn't know that Europeans were amazed at American animal or human blood lust. No need to apologize for a long comment. Some subjects require long comments.

Beach Bum said...

Been a really busy week and needed time to think about this one because I'm going to be on the other side of the fence on this one.
First off let me state that I am bias because I own two weapons. A .45 automatic that I have had since I left the active army and a strange little .22 rifle that breaks apart and stores in the rifle butt. Both are stored very safely with zero chance that either kid of mine could get at them.

The Second Amendment was included in the Constitution since the Founding Fathers had a huge distrust of standing armies and strong central governments and when it says the "right of the People..." is I believe a direct reference that a law abiding citizen could be called to serve in a militia at a moments notice to defend the home state. The question of whether this is relevant in the 21st century is open to debate but right now in Iraq our 21st century army is being tied down essentially with basic weapons. And I must add that the right to defend your home against criminals is a given. To ask someone to allow their home, property, and maybe the lives of their family to be taken without opposition is far too much.

As for hunting, a while back I wrote a post describing how my grandfather and friends as kids of the Depression in the south went hunting for just about anything to have something to eat. That was a very true story but the kicker is that such a dependence on hunting went on for many right into the 80's for some families. Even now I personally know people that take into account how a deer in the freezer will supply meat for many meals even though they have easy access to the local grocery store. While this might seem barbaric this is how these people and my family in earlier years did to survive .

As for as statistics about whether guns in the house give any measure of safety the NRA regularly supplies both numbers and stories of how a person armed prevented a crime. As the old saying goes though: there are lies, damn lies, and statistics and numbers are played with by both forces on the left and the right. But I will add that last year in the upstate of South Carolina a lady running a small rural grocery store killed a man trying to rob her who had been on a burglary spree and had already killed two others at one of his earlier locations.

Banning the legal ownership of weapons is an option but the last thing I will add that there is some truth to the assumption that taking guns away from the law abiding will to a degree leave them solely in the hand of criminals. We can't stop the smuggling of marijuana or cocaine into this country despite the best efforts of the government along with hundred of billions spent. Removing weapons from legal ownership might just open another smuggling market for criminals as they seek to supply criminals with weapons.
I'm not trying in anyway to explain away the Virginia Tech Shootings because I can't the safety net to prevent those who should not purchase firearms failed completely. But I would be remiss if I did not add that as I was growing up being exposed to weapons I was taught, sometime in the form of a spanking, that guns were NOT toys and that they could kill someone if mishandled. Weapons were never glamorized in my family and I can't help but wonder if that the way they are portrayed in the entertainment media might be an issue in how they are used in real life. Sorry for the excessive length 'Bill.

LittleBill said...

Good post, BB, and I agree that a lot of it depends on what you are taught about the ethics of gun ownership. I also agreed with you about the need for small business owners to be able to defend themselves.

You are very right that especially during the Depression, hunting meant food on the table for many people who would otherwise have had little or nothing to eat.

I am still unaware of the causes for the various statistics engendered by weapons ownership and use.

What bothers me most from a moral point of view is the Dick Cheneys of this world who kill animals for "sport."

Another, very serious and widespread effect of gun use for both sport and military training in all its forms is the growing spread of bullets over the face of the earth, available to any animal or bird who picks them up.

I'm glad you offered your views, and I hope others will join the discussion.

pekka said...

Before I went to army, as do every other young male in my country, I didn't have a gun. Since getting out of army, I haven't found a need to own one yet. However, somebody owning one is not too big of a problem to me. There are limits to my broad mindedness though.

There is no question, some occupations necessitate having a firearm. Where the problem arises for me is, when those weapons such as rapid firing assault rifles and what nots, that have no real life justification, appear in the streets. Surely, this is not righ!

The debate in your country is deliberately confused by the NRA propaganda;"They are trying to take your firearms away, you law abiding fellow Americans!" I might be wrong, but as far as I can see, the most people who dislike this insane arming of America want to have some dialog about if some of those should not have a place outside say military bases? It seems to be all or nothing proposition, thus all will always win and consequently bad and sick will have nice smorges board to chose from.

I am not trying to make this question to look clear cut, and this is why I am glad that there is now some sort of a panel doing a comprehensive, America-wide, fact collecting. Maybe some sort of a sanity could be brought back to your horrendous wave of gun violence? I fully understand that these school shootings are a manifestation of something gone wrong. What caused them needs to be studied calmly and rationally and if the gunlaws are partially the problem, fixing them should be a non brainer. As should all the other negatives that might come out of this study/inguiry.

Vigilante said...

A great discussion going on here. I'll just make two points.

One, I don't want legislation to take Beach's weapons away. I just want them registered like his automobiles are. And because Pekka is not a felon, I have no reason to prevent him acquiring a weapon, if he so chooses.

Secondly, I do not believe that the 2nd Amendment gaurantees anyone the right to firearms.

LittleBill said...

Vig, glad to know that there is someone else who also thinks that owning firearms was not the purpose of the second amendment.

Vigilante said...

Lil'Bill, the NRA and Right-To-Lifers have proposed omnibus pro-life, pro-gun legislation which will be arming all fetuses if passed.

Beach Bum said...

Hi 'Bill and pekka,
I adapted and added to my comments I left here on this issue at my site and would greatly appreciate your input.