"What did happen early Friday morning was not an act of God. It was not His will that all those people should die or be injured. Nor was it something the Second Amendment requires, commands or ordains. It was, instead, an act of man, a man, who was allowed by law to arm himself more heavily than the police. Local television is inundated this weekend with stories of the victims, and the survivors, and the community’s pain. But that’s just one part of the tragedy that accompanies this story. The other is the realization that in the day and a half since the Aurora massacre another 100 or so people have been shot to death in America. The land of the free. The home of the brave."
Andrew Cohen, on gun violence in America. (via theatlantic)
A line in this piece struck me as interesting. “a man, who was allowed by law to arm himself more heavily than the police.” In my gut, I immediately think, “what a ludicrous idea. There is no earthly reason why the very people who are supposed to protect civilian life should be over-matched.” But the thing is, that is explicitly the right granted in the second amendment. The founding fathers never wanted to allow for the possibility of totalitarian, authoritative despots who could simply threaten people into submission. But there’s a flaw here. If the Constitution has been effective in its intent, and absolute power lies in the hands of the people to freely elect their representation, the need to form militias and overthrow a government is nonexistent. In fact, it poses a greater threat to the idea of a peaceful democracy as it allows radicals with weapons to overturn the will of majority.
Look, I love the founding fathers. Love them. America is a beautiful idea, which has been largely realized. But we need to have the balls, as a nation, to admit that the framers were flawed. They owned slaves, and thought only white men deserved the ability to vote and own property. They were wrong about guns. If you have a freely elected democratic government, militias seem positively third world. You don’t need to heavily arm yourself against the threat of tyranny when we peacefully overturn the government every two years and the men in suits quietly file in and out of the Capitol. It sounds terribly idealistic, but our votes are our weapons. And that is more American than shooting a goddamn gun.