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Let's Stop Killing Each Other

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Message William Lawrence
The Supreme Court Rules: Americans permitted to kill

I thought we were an evolved species that thought and felt and progressed with time. Apparently we are still barbarians.

Today in a close 5-4 decision, the United States Supreme Court chose to make it a little easier for residents of D.C. to kill each other, a little easier for the person who just lost their job to go on a killing rampage, a little easier for children to get a hold of their parents guns to shoot a hole in their face or bring it to school for show and tell, a little easier for criminals to steal guns and use them on police and innocent citizens. D.C. police should be afraid. D.C. residents should be afraid. And all because gun enthusiasts and manufacturers live their lives based on fear. Fear breeds fear.

It's not that the 32 year D.C. gun ban really stopped people from killing each other. Gun crimes in D.C. did not go down, but they also didn't go up. This is significant because the population did go up and overall crime did indeed go down. D.C. has the lowest crime rates in twenty years, including homicide. You can bet gun crimes though are going to go up in the coming years. It's a terrible injustice, especially considering that D.C. residents, mostly African American, have enough community problems. Maybe the Supreme Court should have ruled to give D.C. more community support instead of more community problems.

Opponents of the gun ban constantly resort to their misinterpretation of the archaic language in the 2nd amendment of the Bill of Rights, which provides the right to arm militias. A linguistic analysis of the language in the amendment shows that the subject or clause comes first, "A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed." If the emphasis were on the second half of this sentence, then the statement would become passive; this would make the 2nd amendment the only amendment with this type of unusual language. The majority of language specialists will agree with this analysis. Professor Dennis Baron further clarifies: "...according to the grammar lessons that the Framers would have learned, the sentence structure of the Second Amendment binds the right to bear arms to service in the militia."

Furthermore, there is no emphasis on arming the public in any of the documents that influenced the Bill of Rights. The Virginia Declaration of Rights drafted by George Mason in 1776 is the document credited as being a model source for the Declaration of Independence and Constitution. Mason's document clearly states in XIII: "That a well regulated militia, composed of the body of the people, trained to arms, is the proper, natural, and safe defense of a free state; that standing armies, in time of peace, should be avoided as dangerous to liberty; and that, in all cases, the military should be under strict subordination to, and be governed by, the civil power." This obvious concern regarding military carried over to the Constitution. It is a shame that the Supreme Court has given in to a terrible misunderstanding and manipulation of the English language, all in the name of the gun corporations and lobbyists, who profit every time someone gets shot.

Despite the manipulated and misunderstood language, it's quite astonishing that people rely on one 218 year old principle that endangers the lives of others. Perhaps it is time to revise the second amendment, as we have with other outdated parts of the Constitution.

Remember, that the Constitution once permitted slavery and even protected it, until the later installment of the 13th amendment. African Americans were still excluded from rights until the 14th and 15th amendments. The Constitution also allowed unequal treatment of women until the 19th amendment. Let's not forget about continued genocide of the Native American, which the Constitution also ignored making the natives aliens on their own land. Hence, the Constitution has not always been right on every point and as we progressed as a nation we made the necessary changes. That's what progress is about.

Unfortunately, the American quest for killing human and non-human animal goes on. We'll need a little more time in this department.

In regards to the Supreme Court case, hunters have recently argued that they have the right to kill. Why you would want to kill a beautiful creature of God, of nature, I don't know. But who's hunting in Washington, D.C.? No one's hunting anything in American cities except for people. And what hunter uses a handgun anyway?

It's time to reconsider where we are going as a nation. In an age of democracy there is no need to fear a tyrannical takeover, not physical at least. Tyranny is more likely to happen via propaganda and media manipulation; that's why more Americans should be reading and getting an education.

There are also other sources of protection. For one, we have police departments. If you are worried about police brutality, gun or not, it's still going to happen. Some cops are good, some are bad. If you think your handgun is going to protect you from police brutality, you're going to get shot full of holes. It's a lot safer to rely on civil rights.

As for protecting yourself from criminals, there are other weapons. Baseball bats, tools, knives, mace. Get a dog- they're great at deterring domestic crimes. Martial arts too- there would be no reason for guns if more people studied this. Tasers are also a better weapon choice than guns because they are more effective, less expensive, and aren't made to kill. In fact, some police departments are now switching over to more humane taser weapons. This is the wave of the future. There will be no need to manufacture guns in the future, just as there is no need for the steam engine now.

As for hunting, if you want to murder animals for kicks and thrills, that's your choice. But it seems no more criminal than some of the heinous things the worst offenders in U.S. prisons have committed. If you hunt for food still, then give up your weapons; chase that animal, jump on its back, sink your teeth into its neck and take it down like real carnivores do.

This isn't even really about guns though. The root of the problem is the American hunger for violence. More Canadians have guns than Americans, yet they have less gun crimes, less overall violence too. If more Americans were calm, intelligent, educated, and empathetic, there'd probably be no problem with allowing guns (though why you would want them would be a mystery.) But in a nation gung ho for war and violence, there's no more room for guns.

As we are now seeing the ramifications of the 5-4 Supreme Court decision that ignored the popular vote and installed George W. Bush into the presidency in 2000, there will also come a time when we see the consequences of today's 5-4 decision on guns. Hopefully, these tragic lessons will bring us to our senses.

I'm going to go give peace a chance now and hug someone I love.
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Will Lawrence's works have been published in a variety of literary journals, magazines, and anthologies, both online and in print. He is the author of one volume of poetry, a nonfiction book, and two chapbooks of poetry.
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Let's Stop Killing Each Other

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