Friday, December 14, 2012

I Am Angry!

I am very angry ... and sad ... and devastated! I, like the rest of the world right now, am watching the ongoing coverage of the horrific elementary school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. Information is just starting to come in but at the moment it appears that 27 people were killed ... 18 of them elementary school children! It also appear that the shooter's Kindergarten teacher mother was killed as well. The assumption at the moment is that the shooter - a 24 year old - killed his mother AND the children in her Kindergarten class.

I am a father who has put 2 children through school, and today has 2 grandsons who are in preschool. Even more than that, one of my children is currently a teacher, as was my wife, and many others in my family.

Just last July, after another horrific shooting, I wrote this, which takes on even another reason to be relevant again.


This is pure sacrilege, but maybe it is time that we consider repealing the second amendment to the US Constitution.

With all of the senseless killings that seem to be happening more frequently, perhaps it is time to look at the second amendment and how it relates to us today.

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.

When this was written in 1789, our country was still brand new and very weak. We didn't have the strongest military in the world as we do now to protect ourselves. The most recent memory of this country was that it had to fight for its independence and that fight began with a militia of farmers from Massachusetts being our only line of defense. In the war that followed, much of our fighting was done by volunteer militia as opposed to (what passed for) professional soldiers.

Ironically it was Barry Farber, a conservative talk show host, from whom I first heard the statement that you cannot cure 20th century (this was in the 1980's) ills with 18th century medicine. He was referring to laws and procedures that were created in the 1700's for conditions that existed at that time. The issue then was "cruel and inhuman punishment" and how the framers of our Constitution were referring to tossing a prisoner in a cold, damp and dark dungeon and possibly questioning him using a form of torture. He didn't believe that they would see revoking a modern day prisoner's television rights as "cruel and inhuman."

Does anyone actually believe that we have (or even need) a "well regulated Militia" (as comprised in the 18th century) for the security of the United States of America? What possible purpose could personal ownership of an automatic assault weapon serve in today's world? Just mention the names of Columbine or (now) Aurora, Colorado. What images do those names now bring to mind?

Yes, I have heard the argument that if these firearms are illegal then only the criminals will have them, but if they are unavailable through simple means as is now the case in the state of Colorado, most criminals would not be able to obtain them. Stronger background checks? The strongest background check would not have prevented James Holmes from obtaining his weapons under current Colorado law.

We Americans are proud of our Bill of Rights, and rightly so. It was the first time that any government had ever codified these basic rights in this manner. Religious freedom, freedom of speech and of the press, protection against unreasonable search and seizure, due process of law and the right not to be forced to self-incriminate, the right to a speedy and public trial by a jury of one's peers, and the protection against cruel and inhuman punishment are very high ideals that we as Americans live by and are still relevant to us and our times. But the second amendment is dangerously outdated. The authors of the Constitution gave us a mechanism to change it when necessary. Shouldn't we bring ourselves into the 21st century?


Last night Michigan passed a law which makes it legal to carry weapons in places such as schools, bars, churches, day care centers and stadiums. While this is a Republican legislature in Michigan, this goes way beyond party politics ... both parties have a responsibility to take action in this matter. It's time to change our laws to reflect the reality of today's world.

Yet, no politician seems to have the conviction to do what needs to be done. As I stated in the above article, Americans are proud of our Constitution and our Bill of Rights, but even our founding fathers knew that times change and laws and the Constitution need to change to meet changing needs. They put into place a way to not only pass needed laws but to change our Constitution when (not if) needed. Yet we Americans are overly proud of our traditions even to the point of harming ourselves.

I urge all who have a voice - from our President to the average citizen - to speak up and add your voice to the discussion. We need a change.

I know that most of you who do read what I write usually do not say anything in the comment section below, but I ask you now ... whether you are a US citizen or simply a citizen of the world ... to add your voice below to this discussion.


  1. 100% agree. As you know.

  2. Of course you are right. OF COURSE. I can live in Australia free of fear that my children will be gunned down in school or at a shopping mall. There will always be evil people, but it is impossible to carry out a massacre with one's bare hands. I pray that this terrible, shocking tragedy will create change in American gun laws. I fear it will not.

    1. Well, Kerri, no you can't. Look at all the drive-by shootings in Sydney in the last year - it's only a matter of time before some innocent kid gets shot.

      While I certainly don't advocate a relaxation of the gun laws in Australia (and yes, I used to have a pistol licence, but gave it up), there is some truth to the old saying "If you criminalize gun ownership, only criminals will have guns"

      The US needs to come into the 21st century and completely ban all automatic and semi-automatic weapons immediately, no matter what the reason. Handguns are fine if used on a licenced range AND kept secure at that range, not carried.

  3. Rocked with this news. School as home needs to ALWAYS be a SAFE place. Mark, I agree 100% with your words & as you know Mum, Grandma & Teacher here too :-(
    Bless all who take the decision to RULE AGAINST GUNS.

  4. In an age where the interpretation of things from a legal point of view comes down to the very words used why aren't people pushing the phrase..."A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State" is on the building blocks of those words that the individual right to bear arms stands. Hundreds of years later, a "well regulated Militia" has been replaced by a well regulated ARMED FORCES (including the police force). Surely from that perspective, the Second Amendment is now redundant?

    After the Port Arthur Massacre here in Australia (16 years ago) our federal government banned semi-automatic long arms (rifles and shotguns) but did not extend the ban to semi-automatic pistols. Whilst these instruments of mass death are readily available, these types of tragedies will continue to occur.

  5. Agreed Mark. My thoughts

  6. I am all for banning assault rifles, automatic rifles, there is no real use for that type of weapon in anyone's daily life IMO - out here in the sticks lots of hunters and hunting rifles abound, you can buy them and their ammo at Walmart. I do think anyone buying a rifle or handgun for any reason should be required to have a psych evaluation. I am not sure how I feel about banning all guns but I sure wouldn't mind more rules and regulations and making them harder to get. I also don't think anyone outside a law enforcement job should be able to carry concealed weapons. Just makes no sense to me. I have family members who have concealed carry permits and I have to wonder WHY?

  7. "The right to bear arms" baffles me, seriously it does.
    I don't want to 'bear arms' and cannot understand why anyone would.
    I honestly hope your country changes something soon, but like Kerri, sadly I doubt it will happen.

  8. What you say is plainly logical. Combine that logic with the experience of gun control around the world (including australia), and its kind of hard to understand how there is a "debate" at all.

    As to it being "sacrilege" to question your Constitution - it is *your* Constitution. To intelligently question is to take responsibility for it, which I'd see as a genuinely patriotic thing to do.