Letter: Slaughterhouse, U.S.A.
“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.”
America is paying an awful price for the misinterpretation of this sentence. The basis for the success of the Republican political party has been the constant hammering of wedge issues: “guns, God and gays”; and to that you can add racism. Justice Scalia’s five-person majority did exactly what they were told to do: change a guarantee to allow militias to a personal right.
I think the children of the Santa Fe High School in Texas would disagree forcefully with the Scalia partisan decision. Scalia should have known that innocent people would be harmed, but he put his career and his ideology above the inevitable tragedies.
The problem is not mental health, locks on school doors, teachers without guns, too few armed guards, not enough background checks or unregulated gun shows. The problem is, as Australia and all the other advanced countries have proved, the availability of guns.
Read the first sentence again and notice the words “keep and bear arms” do not also say “own and keep at home.” Rather than an outright ban on firearms in this country, here is a compromise. Treat weapons the way the military does; keep the guns in an armory under lock and key. It is obvious that too many gun owners do an unacceptably poor job of keeping their weapons safe. So instead of people keeping guns at home, where the guns are too often used to shoot other family members (or themselves), the guns will be kept at the armory at the local “militia.” That could be a National Guard facility or a police station.
If you need a hunting rifle, check one out. It could be one you own, or just a standard model. And, by the way, when you check it out you will provide your proof of insurance along with the license that proves you are qualified to use the firearm. And you will blow a sobriety test. Nor will you show any obvious signs of insanity such as heavy rapid breathing or foaming at the mouth; or grenades hanging from your jacket.
It is also time to put away any crazy notions of defending the “liberty” of Americans against the world’s most powerful military. One shot from a drone and you will be smoke. Stop worrying about being invaded by Canadians, they are too polite. Nor is there any rational basis for self-defense. You have a better chance of being struck by lightning than suffering an armed robbery. If you live in dangerous neighborhood, move.
Again, every other advanced country has worked this out. They are democracies with really low violent crime rates and virtually no school shootings.