If any Founding Father were alive today, surely he’d be aghast at the waves of death condoned in worship of the 2nd Amendment. He’d just as surely praise the free press, which won’t give the national conscience a rest on this national disaster.
A national disaster it surely is! With toll of deaths inflicted by guns running at 30,000 and more a year so far in this century, the loss is approaching an average of a hundred lives a day, not far below the toll of highway deaths. But with no reasonable excuse. Who’s to blame? Ourselves, most of all. The gun lobby, none the less. Its tireless voice is the National Rifle Association, which refuses to accept the 2nd Amendment as written. The sportsmen (and women) who support it should open their eyes to the dots, running in two directions.
In one direction they expose the greed of the gunmakers and their dealers. A close look will show that the lion’s share of the NRA budget is contributed by the those two allies. The NRA ranks high among the better funded lobbies that work Washington, and spread campaign money to friends in Congress.
Those lobbies are loosely known as the “Special Interests.” Their concentration in and around the capital, and their money, have made Washington the nation’s costliest city in which to do “business,” upstaging Los Angeles and San Francisco as well as New York. The suburbs of Virginia and Maryland join the city in making it the most expensive real estate market. The city of WeThePeople, no longer.
In the other direction the dots show the ghastly price we pay for an unqualified right to bear arms, a right exercised ironically by only a minority, despite the relentless touting of it by the deep pockets that profit from it. Their relentless assault never quotes the Amendment as written, but plays it incessantly as an unqualified right.
It keeps us the most gun-happy nation of the Free World, with mass shootings running better than one a day. In the first 336 days this year, there were 355 mass shootings nationwide, virtually certain to surpass the 2013 record of 363 such horrors.
With terrorism surging around the world, raising the threat and the anxiety at home, the day may be coming when a majority of our homes will be armed. But protection and safety can never be assured, as deadlier weapons are flooding the global market, from high-count magazines to rockets and drones. What security do assault rifles give homes, when and if they they are assaulted with computer-aimed rockets fired from miles away? Or by drones?
But the spread of deadlier arms are almost certain to blanket us with bigger mass killings. If I could rule the country for a day, I’d adorn the spot where anyone died of gunfire with a small white cross bearing the initials NRA.
Frank Mensel — December 2015
P.S. When quoted as written, the 2nd Amendment puts its intent on delivering a citizen militia, an intent amply fulfilled by the States in the National Guard each has proudly built, to Army standards. The 50 National Guards today form the backbone of the American Army.