Archive for the ‘USA Citizen’s Rights’ Category

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COLORADO – FOOD FOR THOUGHT

July 25, 2012

Another tragedy to add to our list of growing incidents of major proportions…with no recourse except to lower flags, attend funerals and mourn the innocent dead.   The Press immediately scream Gun Control; the Pols in election year do not lead, but instead remain silent.  Over…and over…and over…this is a scene we recognize.

Since last week, I keep thinking…is there NOTHING the world can do?  Are we really all just sentenced to ‘making do” and not taking any action?

As I step back and try to envision action(s) that might move us forward, I realize this is a difficult challenge with no easy answers.

Those who value life more than the right to bear arms, call for more gun controls.  Those that value the right to bear arms above all else, scream government is over stepping their guaranteed rights to even discuss Gun Controls.   Does one value really “trump” the other, or are there differences only because different backgrounds and experiences yield different points of view?

 Most of us can agree that the world of 1776-1791 would generate far different viewpoints than the world we live in today.

Most of us understand our religious beliefs command “Thou Shall Not Kill”; and our Declaration of Independence states that we have been “endowed by… Creator with certain unalienable Rights….Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

And yet, immediately after we approved the Constitution of the United States, we recognized the need for a Bill of Rights.  We listed twelve; ten were initially ratified by the states in that new union of United States.  And one of those rights in 1791 gave us the rights to bear arms.

It is interesting to note that our US Bill of Rights was based on the English Bill of Rights of 1689.  Our founding fathers made one significant change to the existing right ”to bear arms”.  They recognized we now had people of Catholic faith in this new country, and they updated the right by striking out the word “Protestant”.  Can we agree, then, that they set a precedent for updating that key value?

In any case, there are questions.  Does “arms” mean all arms as known to man in 1791?  Or does that mean all arms known to mankind today and two hundred years from now?  Would that include assault weapons,  or what about a nuclear-armed missile?  Or perhaps it means arms that enabled the Militia to be called up when needed to protect the citizens of the United States-based on the existence of the muskets and simple rifles known to man at the time.  Or perhaps to some it means, all weapons described today and in the future in any sci-fi story are included in one man’s right to hunt and protect his person and his home – even if the use of such “arms” might threaten the existence of the very earth itself.

Over the past 200 plus years, we have argued and argued the point….and in the last 25 years, it seems we have reason after reason to declare that NOW IS THE TIME to clarify what is meant by these two freedoms…at least in today’s world.

Perhaps we need a new approach.  We know screaming at each other, hoping that he who is loudest, wins, has not worked. 

(To simplify this, I chose to skip the fact that a voluntary militia to protect the state/country has been replaced by the  Armed Forces and National Guard who define weapon type…and also chose to overlook the issue of “hunting”-I’d like to believe that the eventual results of the Florida case where a “suspicious” person in the neighborhood was hunted and killed might make this “sport” illegal).

I have a little hope that now might be the time to evaluate.  After all if the NCAA can adjust and put children before a game, perhaps the nation would be open to to discuss right to life vs right to arms – if arms were better defined.

We call upon Congressional Committees to recommend action on issues FAR LESS important and impactful than this one.  Perhaps it is time for a new Congressional Committee, with a few non-partisans historians and futurists thrown to the mix to help us define the basics.  All they need to do is make a list of existing “arms” in 1791; a similar list of existing “arms” for 2012; and finally, based on the imagination of all of today’s sci-fi writers and futurists, a list of “arms” that might be in existence in  2300 AD.  Then, with the evidence before them, redefine what is meant by “arms” in 2012, and present a possible amendment to the Constitution to clarify what we measure against when reviewing situations like Aurora, Colorado. 

With that, the citizens can decide, state by state, what we mean by LIFE” and “ARMS”.  And perhaps this recurring tragedy and discussion can disappear from our history…or it could remain in limbo like the 12th of the rights included in the original US Bill of Rights…the one that has not yet been ratified by the states as worthy of Constitutional Amendment.  In either case, we could move forward with an understood definition of what we means by “arms”!

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