Freedom is Not Free (Gun Control is Still Control).

Via on Jul 23, 2012

 “We fight not to enslave, but to set a country free, and to make room upon the earth for honest men to live in.”
~ Thomas Paine (1737-1809)

The tragedy in Colorado has surely renewed the very passionate debate over gun control and Second Amendment rights.

It is also surely going to further divide a nation already fractured to its core. I am lost in a sea of what I feel/want versus what I know to be true. Things like this are never easy, and such things often exercise our emotions versus our values. If we examine these things carefully and with awareness, we should be left with a resolution to adhere to our values. Character demands nothing less.

As is true with my attitude on abortion rights (I am pro-life but believe everyone has the right and should have the freedom to decide for themselves) my views on gun control often inspire a big reaction from those I know, love and/or discuss with. I would shrink from the discussion if it were not so important in our national discourse. My personality and my character simply does not allow me to hide in the shadows.

That being said, I am nothing more than some anonymous blogger who loves people and values life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness as inalienable rights bestowed upon us all by our Creator.

I feel a distinct and immutable sadness over the death, suffering and destruction created in Aurora.

Tears well up inside me as I empathize with those who have lost a loved one to such a heinous act. My heart bleeds for those who were injured. My soul prays for healing and yes, it even prays for forgiveness for the person who created caused it all. Yes, I wish him healing and love as surely as I wish it on the victims. If that offends you, I am sorry.

I am no longer a man prone to violence, and I see it as the lowest frequency of human vibration. I see violence as fear’s lowest low, the moment when our human minds become their weakest and our hearts lose their hold on the smaller part of us.

In that light, I cannot react to violence with violence and expect the world to become a better place for my existence. I must find the strength, resolve and love in my heart not to beat you down but to find a way to lift you up when I feel you have done me wrong.

That is my way. It may not be yours, and I have found it take great resolve and strength to act in accordance with that vision even in the most benign of circumstances, let alone in an event like the tragedy in Aurora. I struggle with adhering to this vision daily and certainly know the strength it takes to not react in fear’s grip when it is so easy to do so given our societal instruction from birth.

I understand that we are taught “an eye for an eye” from birth, and that “domestication” creates in us a reactionary personality that feels the need to do something when we feel a wrong has been done. Sometimes stillness should be the answer, but we weren’t raised that way as a collective and certainly were never taught how to exercise that restraint. That “domestication” often makes hypocrites out of even the most peaceful and well-meaning among us.

Control is Control and Control is Oppression

To me, it is this simple. The mechanism by which a deranged human being carries out his fantasies is not the issue. A man bent on killing others will find a way to carry out his will regardless of what weapon we put in his hand.

One such example was at the Happy Land Social Club, where an angry boyfriend used gasoline to kill 87 people. A difference here is that there is no “right” to gasoline, a gas can or matches. The Oklahoma City bombing was caused by fertilizer and fuel oil. You simply do not need a gun to carry out acts of terror, vengeance or anger on other people.

So, while I personally see no need for anyone to have an assault rifle, I can’t inflict my attitude on those who do. As a vegetarian, I see no reason for people to kill Bambi at all, let alone with an AK-47. I read somewhere that about 13,000-14,000 people a year die from car accidents related to speeding, far greater than those who are killed by assault weapons every year.

While speeding is against the law in the United States, I have heard no one propose that we take cars away from those who speed. They may lose their driver’s license after umpteen tickets, but they still have their car. Guess what, there is no “right to own a car” written in the Constitution anywhere either.

While this argument may sound silly to you, the idea of punishing law-abiding citizens whose pursuit of happiness involves owning a Uzi because of the handful of deaths committed every year at the hands of assault weapon owners is just as silly to me. If they want to own a Uzi, fine, they should be free to own one. As long as they don’t shoot up innocent people as a result. People should be free to make choices for themselves.

Attitude is a dangerous thing, especially when some try to force others to into adopting one. Gun control is not about controlling guns, it is about controlling others. It’s about keeping them from doing as they wish and distorting the Constitution to fit that attitude.

The Second Amendment is not about bearing arms as part of a “well-regulated” militia, it is about ensuring that the People can both keep a well-regulated militia as well as ensuring the right to bears arms is not infringed upon by the Federal Government (study Tench Cox and the opinions of the delegates on the Second Amendment).

Both things, the militias and the right to bear arms, were a direct result of the real fears of our founding fathers pertaining to tyranny. They wanted to ensure that the government could not keep the citizenry from both militarizing and protecting itself from a government.

“Another source of power in government is a military force. But this, to be efficient, must be superior to any force that exists among the people, or which they can command; for otherwise this force would be annihilated, on the first exercise of acts of oppression. Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed; as they are in almost every kingdom in Europe. The supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword; because the whole body of the people are armed, and constitute a force superior to any band of regular troops that can be, on any pretense, raised in the United States. A military force, at the command of Congress, can execute no laws, but such as the people perceive to be just and constitutional; for they will possess the power, and jealousy will instantly inspire the inclination, to resist the execution of a law which appears to them unjust and oppressive.”
~ Noah Webster  (1758-1843) 

This was a predominant fear, particularly of those who fought against the European monarchies and tyrannies. I understand that many Americans did not want a strong central government just for this reason. There was a real fear that everything they fought for against England would be lost by creating a government that could usurp the power from the People. The Second Amendment was considered, debated and approved under those auspices; the People can fight back whenever the government becomes oppressive.

So this isn’t about Bambi, or Aurora or Columbine. It is about the real fact that we have a right, liked or not by all, to keep and bear arms in this nation. That right exists more clearly than the right to abortion, the Separation between Church and State as well as many other “principles” many of us hold dear.

Freedom is Not Free

The price of freedom isn’t always about currency. It is not always about fighting foreign dictators or evil empires. It’s not always about liberating the oppressed. Sometimes the supreme sacrifice made in the honor of freedom is found in movie theaters, in schools, in dark alleys or on college campuses. Sometimes those who die for freedom are not part of a well-trained military unit, but are our neighbors, friends, husbands, wives and children.

It sucks to say this, in fact it pains me greatly to say this, but we can’t honor those who have died for freedom by eroding that freedom out of fear, just because we don’t happen to like something.

Yes, my attitude may be dramatically different had I lost someone close in Aurora. Anger does that to a reasoning mind. Sometimes we have to allow cooler heads to make decisions for us when in the throes of an angry reaction. I sincerely want the person who did this to be punished for his crimes, but I don’t want to punish everyone for them too. I don’t want to allow this government to take any freedom away from you, from me, or from anyone else. I simply don’t trust it enough.

I realize this may create some angry reactions. Understand that it is very hard for me to not only take this position, but to stick to it. I will stick to it, if only because I am sick of being told what I can and can’t do because of the attitudes of others. I have to wear my seat belt (I always wear it anyway. It is the “have to” that I dislike) for instance. Hey, if I want to drive down the road without my seat belt and suddenly wear my windshield as a necklace—that’s on me.

And for the love of all that’s holy, don’t tell me about the monetary costs created by those who don’t wear their seat belts. Freedom is not free, and sometimes we pay a monetary price to allow others to exercise their own.

I pray we can have intelligent, wise and controlled public debate on this issue. To me, freedom is the issue here, and what we are willing to sacrifice in the quest for a false sense of security that will never exist.

Peace.

~

Editor: Kate Bartolotta

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About Tom Grasso (Gyandeva)

Tom Grasso is a Colorado-based seeker, meditator, blogger (new site), and creative wordsmith. More importantly, he is a father of three (meaning he is also a lecturer, teacher, chef, order taker, taxi driver, coach, mentor and aspirin addict) and has found great joy in sharing his life experience to the benefit of others. Tom is an abuse survivor and a reformed (though unapologetic) bad ass warrior who bares the scars of his adventures and the power of transformation in every word he writes. As a former firefighter and rescue tech, Tom understands the fragility of life and the impermanence of each moment. You can follow Tom on Tumblr , and can find his books on Amazon. You will soon be able to purchase Tom's short stories (and erotica) at www.tomgrasssowriter.com. Don't forget to like his "blog page" at Tom Grasso, Writer on Facebook.  

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65 Responses to “Freedom is Not Free (Gun Control is Still Control).”

  1. Thanks for being willing to stick your neck out on this at a time where it's probably not the "popular" thing to say. I have mixed feelings about gun control, probably in part because several members of my family are either currently or formerly in law enforcement and military service.

    Would I ever own a gun or keep one in my home? Probably not—for many reasons. Do I think I should be able to decide for everyone else? Definitely not.

    I don't think the answer to reducing gun violence in our nation is more gun control laws. The ones we have aren't working. Do we need different ones? Stiffer penalties? Mandatory sentencing? Maybe.

    I worry sometimes when we draw so much attention to what the framers of the constitution thought about our right to arm ourselves, when clearly, they could not have imagined the technology we would devote to killing machines. These are also the same folks who didn't think unalienable rights extended to women and non-white men. I believe in the constitution. I also believe that the true perfection of the constitution lies in the fact that it was designed to evolve and be amended.

    I also don't think there is one answer. Fewer guns available to people might mean less gun violence, but not necessarily less violence over all. I think one step that makes sense, as you have touched on here, is that we constantly examine these things mindfully. More mindfulness, more peace, More compassion (including and especially for those who harm others) = less violence.

    "To work for peace is to uproot war from ourselves and from the hearts of men and women." ~ Thich Nhat Hanh

  2. Tom Grasso (Gyandeva) tomgrasso says:

    Absolutely Kate! We absolutely agree on everything save your point about the Constitution and those who were integral in the Bill of Rights. It is very relevant to their intention behind the 2nd Amendment for a variety of reasons. First, we cannot lose sight of the fact they they feared a powerful central federal government could become oppressive and tyrannical. It is central to not only an understanding of their thought process as it related to 18th century current events, but also in how it relates to modern-day events.

    On of the first thing tyrants do when assuming power is to disarm the population. This gives them power by fear. Gun control has never worked so well than in dictatorships. The second thing they do is dumb-down the population, usually by killing off intellectuals and teachers. This gives them power by ignorance.

    So…it is important to understand that our Founders certainly saw the threat of a powerful, central federal government in its potential to become oppressive. They wanted us, the People, to be able to forcibly remove that government in the event we found it oppressive and contrary to our unalienable rights. It is very clear that was their intent in that Second Amendment, and I frankly don't want to remove that ability for my great, great, great grandchildren who someday may have to exercise it because a few maniacs abused that freedom in the most heinous way possible.

    The founders didn't have much experience with equal rights and a slave-free world (even though some did liberate their slaves), but they did have plenty of experience with tyrants, oppression and open rebellion. I'd say I truly want to understand exactly what it is we are giving up before we just throw away a right out of fear.

    Gun laws will work about as well as drug laws. It will make criminals out of some while the laws themselves become utter failures in the process. One difference is that there is the mentality that our government will pry guns from the cold, dead hands of some gun owners. I believe them, and I don't think we need to be creating violence where none should exist. You start removing valued rights from people and you invite open rebellion. I honestly can see that happening, much the way the founders believed it could. To some, removing that right to bear arms is an infringement they just are not willing to tolerate.

    Finally, I wholeheartedly agree with your premise on peace. If we follow that tidbit of wisdom from Thich Nhat Hanh this world becomes a wonderful place. You can't legislate peace, and you can't legislate security.

  3. Suri_k8 says:

    In order to enjoy the benefits of living in a civilized society some compromises must be made …having in mind a greater good and the advancement of society …..that you call it oppression is almost funny , opression is having to wear a burka all day long or what North Coreans experience everyday …that gun lovers complain about the government trying to "take away" their toys (eh.,killing machines) makes them look like selfish spoiled brats…whats more , what is preventing the US from being a great country is this 18th century rancho mentality …America needs to grow up. IMO

  4. Scott Lepthien says:

    While I agree that love is the only true answer, I disagree with your logic on a number of issues. One cars are not made to kill people. Glocks and AK-47 are made for one purpose only and that is to kill people. To say we should not control these thing is like saying we should not have stop signs or speed limits. Certain cars are not allowed on the road because of their engines. It is delusional to think that regulation is not part of society. No it will not solve the problem. The NRA has us by the balls. AK-47s were outlawed until 1994 and because the NRA (a manufacturer of fear, the opposite of love) tells everyone if we outlaw assault rifles you hunting rifle will be next. It is one big lie. And it is driven by fear. So while you say you want to promote love and you are supporting actions and an organization that is bent on promoting fear. I agree you can not legislate peace or security but you can promote love. And if people would wake up and see that the NRA and its followers are full of fear and they do not even recognize it. So I do disagree with your basic premise of letting the guns run amok in the streets with no regulation. The regulations in them selves will not solve the problem but they show the NRA that they are not and that the fear they spread will not be tolerated. Also, I believe the thought that any militia could be formed in to overthrow the government is ludicrous. We have a military that is the biggest and most sophisticated in the world. We are a war machine. I could go on about this too. Any how regulation is not the answer but it is a start in the right direction.

  5. Chip Njaa says:

    "I have to wear my seat belt (I always wear it anyway. It is the “have to” that I dislike) for instance. Hey, if I want to drive down the road without my seat belt and suddenly wear my windshield as a necklace—that’s on me"… yeah, it's on you if you have health insurance. For those who don't have health insurance, it's on all of us and I think that's a point that many people who feel compelled to "defend their inalienable rights" don't comprehend. Libertarians and self-annointed defenders of "our" freedoms don't seem to understand that things they view as personal liberties are tied directly to the rights of others. It seems that Mr. Grasso believes that assault weapons are unfairly targeted due to rare horrific events, such as the recent tragedy, and a "handful of deaths committed every year at the hands of assault weapon owners". I want Mr. Grasso to make a visit to a poor minority neighborhood and tell the mother of a child who was killed by stray bullets during a drive by that while her son or daughter may be dead, the good news is that nobody's "pursuit of happiness" was affected by a ban on military stye assault weapons. At what point does one's right to pursue happiness cross the line? Americans like Grasso are suffering from a false sense of entitlement. We live during a time of exponential population growth, but instead of propagating ideals of sacrifice and working toward the greater good, folks like Mr. Grasso push the idea that we all should be free to do whatever we want… because it really sucks to be told what to do… "And for the love of all that’s holy, don’t tell me about the monetary costs created by those who don’t wear their seat belts" – why? It's the perfect example of what's wrong with your argument. Grow up. You don't live in a country, or a world, where you have the luxury of freedom to do whatever it is you feel like doing. Your actions, whether you understand this or not, affect a great many people. The world has evolved, it's time you do as well.

  6. Syd says:

    Thanks for the article. I, for one, agree with the author- that is MY opinion which I am still free to have. I am a female gun owner- I hate the idea of a gun & what it is capable of in general but, one thing I know for sure, is I WILL defend myself, my loved ones, & my property WHEN NECESSARY. Given that, the only time I have fired it is when I was learning how to properly operate it and have only handled it in gun safety scenerios, with the utmost care, attention, and respect to this tool's proposed power. I hope never to need to use it and, until recently, wanted to see firearms not only controlled, but eradicated all together. After much thought & consideration, I realized that if someone has intention to harm me, I certainly do not want to find myself empty-handed, defenseless and/or UNTRAINED if I have to use one. Id like to think some hero ( or "law enforcement official") will come to my aid in a crisis scenerio, BUT it JUST ISN'T REALISTIC. Also, I personally do not want to live in a society where only governing & law enforcement officials posses those "killing tools", while the citizens of that society are empty-handed… how would that look?? In our rapidly changing world, you really don't know if you will end up in a civilization melt-down where the only person who will save you is yourself (as far fetched as that sounds to some)… I don't want my only option to be to surrender & die, much less, the people I care for. So before we make a final judgement call on "gun control", each individual needs to examine how that affects them in multiple possible case scenerios. And, be careful what you wish for.

  7. Mark Ledbetter says:

    Tom, you are a braver man than me! Maybe eloquence beyond what I could have produced gives you courage. Wonderful piece of writing. But now that you’ve laid down the topic, I’ll wade in with a few points.

    POINT ONE. Some of you here don’t think deaths from cars are an appropriate comparison to gun deaths. I hope it’s not out of place to suggest that you are wrong. Your feeling that car deaths and gun deaths are fundamentally different probably derives from your familiarity with cars. You probably can’t fathom how gun supporters could be so dense. To get where they’re coming from, consider the gun-car comparison. Guns are as safe to them as cars are to you simply because they are familiar.

    To an anti-Carworld person like myself, the gun-car comparison is highly appropriate. One person here wants us to consider the mother in the ghetto who has to worry her kids could be the victim of guns. Well, any reasonable parent feels the same about cars. You can’t let small kids play freely because the metal monster could easily flatten them in a hideous instant. And once those kids are licensed, the danger only increases. My son (born and raised near Tokyo) was surprised by a special section in the yearbook of his moved-to-America best friend. The back page was a memorial to 4 or 5 seniors killed in various car accidents that year. Is that really less tragic to a parent than having your child killed by a gun? Maybe, but only if you accept Carworld as the natural order. I don’t, so the gun-car comparison is a good one.

  8. Mark Ledbetter says:

    POINT TWO. J slightly de-emphasizes the "well-regulated" militia part of the Second Amendment. A mistake, I think. Standing armies were recognized by the framers of the Constitution as THE most dangerous threat to freedom. Standing armies result in suppression of citizens, foreign wars, and debt out of control. Well, now we have standing armies and all three of those results.

    There are multiple provisions in the Constitution to prevent standing armies. The most important (and most ignored) are that America must be protected by a civilian militia and that only representatives of the people in congress, not the president, can declare war.

    "Well-regulated" militias are traditionally ferocious on defense but unwieldy and unwilling on offense. Thus, they are a perfect defense against invasion from the outside, oppression from the inside, and imperial fever dreams of leaders. It's the Swiss system, intentionally and consciously adopted into the Constitution. You can't police the world with a militia, though, so the best foreign policy in the history of humankind, the Swiss policy, is ignored by modern America on those rare occasions when, from our imperial throne, we even deign to recognize it.

  9. Mark Ledbetter says:

    Whoops! Change J in the first line to Tom.

  10. muks says:

    Hi Tom,

    First of all, let me show you the sentence at the end. You probably did not mean it entirely that way, did you? "I pray we can have intelligent, wise and CONTROLLED public debate on this issue."

    I am German and have spent some time in the US, I also met many expats from all kinds of countries who live in all kind of countries. Let me tell you one lesson I learned: There is no such thing as real freedom. Functioning societies are always controlled – yes, even the US. I had expected "freedom" in the US, so did many people who travelled and moved to Germany, even Americans. We all ended up being controlled in a different way. Just have a look at all the internationals who are arrested or excluded from society for doings that are accepted in their home countries.

    There is the saying "The freedom of one person ends where the freedom of the other person begins."

    I felt controlled by the guns in the US. I was not free to jog on the cross country trails at all times. A friend of mine was told first time when he arrived in the US how to behave when in contact with the police in, say, a traffic control – in order to avoid being shot. In addition, it seems to me that guns create fear. In Europe I am just not that afraid to be shot. I do not have to prepare to shoot someone. This cycle of fear only causes many deaths. You know all the stories about people freaking out because some teenager is walking down the street.

    By the way, did you know that the number of gun-related deaths includes many (!) spouses, children and those who end up being killed with their own guns in their own homes by an intruder?

  11. juana says:

    automatic weapons should not be allowed in any civilized society..

    you want to have a permit to carry a gun to protect yourself…fine…a small handgun…

    no one needs automatic weapons that can shoot 100 rounds of bullets in less than 1 minute…no one needs that ever…laws that were written 250 years ago have no place in our society now..

    GUNCONTROLNOW

    EDUCATION REFORM NOW

  12. Padma Kadag says:

    When Tea Party members began showing up to rallies with revolvers and Glocks strapped to their sides and the republicans began a hate campaign against any African American politicians and they discussed the "Christian" dominance of America and the Constitution…maybe the second ammendment is not such a bad idea. Politics of deceit, lies, and filibusters. The second amendment is needed more for those who currently do not live by the gun.

  13. please says:

    Tom, timely article and its brought in other interesting points that fit in with the overall discussion.

    I usually find interesting the comments that usually ensue because it become clear that there is a professed and dinstinct desire to be controlled and to control which is dissonant with some of the ideas I personally I'm starting to understand through the practice.

    I suspect its partly conditioning and also a human response to the reality that we are not in control which is scary and human.

    Chip Njaa brought up some very important points and desires to live life much differently than we currently do (clean air, water, animal rights, etc). I wonder how many understand all that is directly tied into control and how we are governed. Yes we don't live in free societies at the moment, but that is precisely the reason why it appears we don't have the agency to shape our communities and lives with other like minded people as we see fit without control.

    It's one of those topics that I find difficult to speak about because the paradigm is so overarching that it requires a deliberate and systematic review.

  14. […] while we get caught up in the mundane but necessary political debate over ways to keep us all safe, simple men and women are doing remarkable things to get us there. In […]

  15. Mr. Science says:

    Hmm, I think the comment section just got me to rethink my position on something. . . sort of.
    While I generally agree with Mr Grasso's position, and feel that the right to bear arms is essential for individuals to protect themselves from both criminals and the overreach of the government. (something that is happening today in a way that is obvious to any thinking person)
    I do also find it interesting that America, the US of A while theoretically providing this right, has also been one of the most egregious offenders in terms of aggression towards others. Yet the general populace has not put a stop to this.
    Certainly pat of this has to do with the populace being duped. We have the love it or leave it GW Bush types, and we have the "Obama really cares, but has to attack every freaking country in the middlle east beacuse. . . "types. Either way we tacitly support this violence.
    Now I can understand not having an armed uprising against that sort of thing, Violence begets violence and so on. However, it seems that no matter who is in the Whitehouse we wind up with more control by the government and less personal freedom. What is it about the American ethos that causes this?
    I honestly am not sure.
    What I do know is that many things about this recent shooting do not add up. Why did this 24 year old child know how to rig a very sophisticated system of explosives in his apartment? Why after going to the trouble did he warn the cops? Why did he stop shooting and just wait to be arrested, much like the Lennon Shooter, Mark David Chapman? How did he afford 10-20,000 worth of equipment when he was drawing unemployment? Was it a coincidence that he was attending CU, one of the universities linked to the MK-Ultra program?
    When the constitution was written it was possible for the populace to have the same weapons that the government had, this is no longer the case. Try stopping a tank squadron with an AR-15; not going to happen. I wonder if the whole discussion is a red herring.
    Those are some things to consider. The true believers won't, but some of you will. As far as the guns causing violence issue is concerned, the town of Kennesaw, Geogia passed a law that required residents to own a firearm. Much to the shock of anti-gun people they saw a drop in crime of 89%. Google away. One person with a concealed carry permit could have stopped the batman shootings(at least some of it), if the theater had not banned guns. (Those familiar with property rights will know that a business can ban weapons, even licensed conceal carry, by simply posting a sign, which AMC does.)

  16. __MikeG__ says:

    The pro-gun argument that citizens with guns will prevent US government abuses is BS. I do not think armed citizens can stand up to the US Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines if push ever came to shove.

    The speeding argument made in the article is a classic straw man argument, IMO. Speeding and projectile weapons are two different things entirely.

    Totally with you on how the US government is too controlling and much of our freedom is an illusion. But living in a society of no regulation would be much worse than the regulation we live under today, IMO. The issue is not whether regulation is necessary, but where to draw the line. I have been considering purchasing a gun for home protection and I would not want the government telling me that I could not. But I would never purchase a 50 cal machine gun and I personally do not want my fellow citizens to own that weapon either. So, how do we determine where that line will be drawn?

    One big downside of owning a gun is that a single moment of carelessness or anger can ruin/end the lives of many people.

    I am not impressed by knee-jerk, reactive anti-gun comments either. The fact is there are people out there who actively engage in and enjoy hurting other people. And contrary to popular myth most bullies/criminals are not cowards. Most bullies/criminals have a lot of experience and proficiency in hurting others.

    To me the issue isn't gun control. The issue is living in a culture of violence. The Swiss shoot each other less than other peoples because the Swiss do not live in a culture of violence. US citizens shoot each other with great regularity because we live in a culture of violence. Maybe we need gun control because we live in a violent culture. Or maybe we need more guns because we live in a violent culture. I am so confused.

  17. Chip Njaa says:

    Tom, most Americans don't ride an assault weapon to work… so I think your analogy is pointless and meant only to incite outrage over the prospect of the government, yet again, "(coming) to my door to take" yet another thing (by the way, in my forty years, the government has never showed up at my door. Where do you live and what kind of lifestyle do you lead where you are left in constant fear of government intrusion?) and thereby, restricting our god-given rights to own vehicles and shoot military style assault weapons. Who cares if it is the same "mechanism"? You're seeking an emotional response to validate your own argument, nothing more.

    You continue to ignore comments that question your statements that an armed militia made up of civilians would somehow be able to overthrow a tyrannical and abusive government. So, I'll ask again, would you please explain how this would work (in reality, not some analogous 4th dimensional world where cars are taken away by the government)? I find it curious that you like to infuse every response with comments about your love for fellow human beings and peace and so on and so on, ad nauseam, so we all know how ironic and hard it is for you to defend gun rights. I guess you think Martin Luther King, Jr. is a real pussy? I mean, really, it's not like black folks weren't oppressed and treated like slaves (oh, wait! They actually WERE slaves at one point, remember?) Yet, according to your current arguement, the best and only way for them to have reacted would have been an armed rebellion, right? Let's take two recent examples… a peaceful uprising in Egypt (they currently just held their first election) and an armed rebellion in Syria (how many dead so far?). Awesomesauce. Keep spinning the NRA fear machine.

    Last, why mention police officers when they, overwhelmingly as a group, don't believe that the general population should be allowed to own assault weapons? Who cares if they carry their weapons while off duty? They're sometimes called upon to be officers while off-duty. I own a kite store and keep a number of kites in the back of my car… it's what I do. They bring home what they do.

  18. Chip Njaa says:

    You and "ultra-conservatives" really aren't all that different. They hold the word of God, translated from a two thousand year old book and written to act as a foundation of moral rules to govern man, as sacred. You hold the words of the founding fathers, written over two hundred and fifty years ago to act as a foundation of guidelines based on what they considered inalienable rights, as sacred. You don't seem have a problem with telling others that they need to update their religious views to fall more in line with how societal views have evolved (and don't forget, they live in accordance with the word of God)… yet you leave no room for outdated opinions, based on the word of man, to be updated because that will lead (somehow) to the government controlling every aspect of our lives.

    My frustration with your stance is that you aren't flexible… in any way. For you, the rights of the individual will always outweigh the rights of society. I believe that that may have been well and good up until this century, but it doesn't fly anymore. Everything and everyone are so interconnected at this point, that every action an individual takes has an effect on someone or something around him. We can't continue to separate individual rights with human rights… and weapons have become a human rights issue.

  19. Mark Ledbetter says:

    Mike, you're right. Citizens, even when armed, can't stand up to the US military. That's why the founders wrote the "Swiss way" into the Constitution. Switzerland figured out how to protect itself and its freedoms in a very warlike part of the world without standing armies: with citizen militias. When you have that, you don't often have military oppression within the country or wars in other countries. But you need the right to own weapons. Paradoxically, that right is essential if we are to have a non-militaristic society, like Switzerland. You can't police the world, though, with militias. Once America decided to play globocop, the Constitution had to be trashed and the bedrock meaning of the 2nd Amendment forgotten.

    Chip, I have to disagree. Most Americans DO ride assault weapons to work. Cars are deadly weapons, and America would be a lot safer for children (and others) if drivers drove with that reality in mind. And no, you are right, an armed militia cannot often overthrow a tyrannical government. But, as the founders knew, tyrannical governments generally rely on standing armies. When the people themselves are the army, well… There's no need for them to overthrow themselves. The danger of standing armies, some historians say, is the only point on which there was virtually unanimous agreement among the writers of the Constitution.

  20. Chip says:

    My parting shot is to thank you and Tom for the open dialogue and to say that, even though it may be hard to believe, I have learned a lot over the course of the last three days thorugh your comments, responses, and through things I've read and watched while trying to learn about this issue. The thing I've learned that has had the biggest impact on me is that when I try to demonize other people for their opinions, the only thing I'm achieving is making myself more narrow minded. That isn't something I'm proud of, nor is it helpful for communicating my feelings and ideas. Thank you for your time, your civility, and most importantly, for a different perspective. Take care.

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