Thursday, January 13, 2011

Guns and Killing in 2011

"Guns don't kill people. People kill people." So the argument goes.

However, one has to accept the logical conclusion that people can't use guns to kill people if there were no guns. For people to kill people using guns, both guns and people have to be present! Now we can't eliminate the people side of the equation, but we can eliminate the guns side of the equation!

Using a similar argument one could say "Cigarettes don't kill people. People kill people." A dormant cigarette kills no one. It is when a person lights one that death may occur. Both cigarettes and people have to be present! Now we can't eliminate the people side of the equation, but we can eliminate the cigarette side of the equation.

Of course any instrument involved in the killing of a person involves not only the instrument, but a person. But it is the presence of the instrument that aggravates a person's ability to cause a death.

Many, if not most, of these "instruments involved in killing" such as planes, cars, swimming pools, etc. cannot reasonably be eliminated if people are to continue to exist contentedly in today's world. The incredibly easy availability of cigarettes and guns, however, can be controlled or eliminated and , arguably, not significantly affect a reasonably contented society.

Though cigarettes, planes, cars, and swimming pools, and the like are potential instruments of death, they are hardly ever used to deliberately kill. They are not instruments specifically designed to cause severe injury or death. They are not "weapons." Guns, on the other hand, are. Guns were invented specifically to inflict injury or death. They are "weapons!" Though they may be used for alternative activities such as target practice, etc. their invention was to inflict injury or death.

The second amendment of the Constitution of the United States gives citizens the "right to bear arms." No one can argue the fact that this amendment relates this "right" to the maintenance of a citizen militia. Whether the "militia" or the "arms" is the prime subject of this amendment remains unclear. Is it not reasonable to assume that, were "the right to bear arms" the major subject of this amendment, the founders would have not felt it necessary to include any reference to a militia therein? Agreeing that the founders were intelligent men, why wouldn't they just have said "The right of citizens to bear arms shall not be infringed" - and end it there?

The Constitution was designed to be amended. That is why the founders initiated the process of amendment in the first place. The "right to bear arms" is not an original article of the Constitution, but is a amendment! Remember, our founders when constructing our Constitution, decided it was "right" to count certain "citizens" as "3/5" of a person in determining the population of a district for representation in the House of Representatives. Yes, this provision was eventually eliminated by a post-Civil War amendment.

There is nothing "absolutely" sacred about our Constitution. There are times when "updating" and "modernizing" are necessary.

Realizing that the Founding Fathers were not absolutely correct in everything they composed (Consider the phrase regarding "savage Indians" in our Declaration of Independence), we should not feel constrained to change what clearly should be changed. A set of principles and laws written in 1787, surely demands occasional reconsideration 214 years later! Does anyone truly believe that Washington, Franklin, Jefferson, Adams, etc. would have included a "right to bear arms/militia" clause were they writing in 2011?


Debra Turner said...

Good points to the "guns don't kill people" argument.

Unknown said...

1) from VENI VIDI VINCI - "Conquer Your Enemies and Impress Your Friends with Everyday Latin", Ehrlich/Brucia HARPER 1995.

p 37 - "arma tuentur pacem" (transl) ARMS GUARD PEACE
editorial comment: Another plug for the importance of maintaining strong military forces. Despite - because of ? - the ever-
increasing output and sale of guns in our century, armed hostilities are proliferating almost everywhere, leading one to wonder whether "arms guard peace" is an example of Orwellian doublespeak.

2) and secondarily from KPM as a vaguely recalled joke on the subject of causality:
..........Just as they got up from an amorous tussle in the hay, the Chicken said to the Egg,.... or was it the Egg to the Chicken :
"Well I guess we now know who comes first" .
Kevin P. Morrissey - Dec 4 th, 2015