Tom in Iraq as a Military Observer

Tom in Iraq as a Military Observer
They sent me here just to watch...

Monday, February 26, 2018

Fair Trade?

Let’s move this gun business along quickly.  Let’s repeal the 2nd and 4th Amendments to start with.
Hold your constitutional horses!  What’s the 4th Amendment got to do with guns?  I just want to change the law—OK, the Supreme Law of the land—to take away protection for guns.
You don’t need a Constitutional Amendment for that.
No?  Really?
In fact, you don’t have to do anything.  Guns have no protection.  The 2nd Amendment protects the right of the people.  Our Constitution protects the rights of people, not things or places.  These first few amendments protect people.
But what’s this 4th Amendment business?
It protects people as well.  It secures the right to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures.  It’s tied in closely with the 3rd Amendment that says that the government can’t just start quartering soldiers in your house. 
I’m missing the connection with the 2nd Amendment.
If we take all the guns from those whom currently are guaranteed them as an individual right necessary to the security of a free state, that means we are relying solely upon our government for security and liberty.
Sure.  What’s wrong with that?
Nothing, unless you are ready to surrender in short order all forms of privacy.  The government will provide for the continuation of the government.  It will capriciously search any and all information that previously belonged to you--all with good reason, of course.  Security and safety will be their mantra.  They will place enforcement officials wherever they want, to include your homes.  Privacy as you know it will be gone.  Liberty will be something you can only read about in history books, until they too are prohibited or at least redacted.
That’s just crazy.  We would vote out anyone who took away those rights from us.
And if they suspended elections in the name of security.
We would not let them do that.
How would you stop them?
With protests.
And when those were outlawed?
We have the right to protest.
Today you do.  Will you still have it when the people are no longer capable of taking back their government when it has ceased to be their government?
That could never happen. 
You are entitled to that belief.  I hope you will search through the history of humankind and see what happens when power is unchecked.
Are you telling me that the 2nd Amendment is part of the checks and balances process?
No.  It is not a part it is the sine qua non of that process.
This self-government business is tough business. 
We can agree on that.  The question is are we dedicated to preserving the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity?
That sounds familiar.
It should, it’s from the Preamble to the Constitution—good stuff—if you are into liberty and opposed to government having too much power over you.
But, and this is a big but, is the price that we pay for the right to bear arms too high?
That is the heart of the question.  How high of a price are we as Americans willing to pay to preserve liberty?  And how do we measure this price?
That last one is easy.  We measure it in lives lost. 
Fair enough.  There are metrics available for that.  Should we just look at school and church shootings are all gun deaths.
All.  Definitely all. 
OK, sounds good.  The CDC reports that there is an average of 33,000 deaths per year in this country due to firearms.
Wow!  That should be convincing enough in itself.
That is a big number by anyone’s measure.  Before I jump on this bandwagon based upon numbers, I must ask if you are in favor of slavery?
What?  Are you crazy?  Nobody is in favor of slavery.  I think slavery is an abomination to the human spirit. 
I agree.
So why do you bring such a bizarre question into this discussion?
Because despite the very exceptional efforts of our Founding Fathers in drafting our Constitution, they did not guarantee liberty to all.  There was a movement to rid this new nation of slavery during the Constitutional Convention, but it could not garner enough support.
But we fixed it later.
Yes, we did.  Were you glad that we did?
Of course!  Who wouldn’t be!  You can’t just deny a certain group of people liberty.
No?  I think that you can, and we had done just that for almost a century as an independent nation.  Slavery was the order of the day in many states.
Yes, but Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation set the slaves free.
At what price?
What do you mean?
We are measuring the cost of liberty in lives, are we not?
How many American lives were lost in the Civil War?
Well, I don’t know, let’s say a bunch.
Bananas come in bunches.  Civil War casualties come in the hundreds of thousands.  I think the conservative estimate is 618,000.  Other estimates push 700,000.
Those were not all from firearms.
Correct.  About one-third to one-half were killed in during the course of the battle.  About another third due to infection and disease that followed being wounded.  There were—as always in battle—some non-combat casualties.  But the direct and indirect number of deaths from guns was pushing half a million.  That’s a big number.
Yes, but that’s war.
Yes, a civil war with nearly all casualties being American.
But, it’s still war.
It was a war with the liberty of some Americans at stake.  Was it worth the price paid in American blood?
Who can answer that?
I will rephrase.  Would you be content to be an American and have a segment of the population that was still enslaved today?
No.  Of course not.  But I don’t think slavery would have continued this long.  The world is changing.  Slavery is not acceptable.
Again, I suggest a review of history and current events.  There is still slavery in the world.  It might be called indentured servitude, but it is modern slavery.
Yeah, OK, but we would have gotten rid of it here by now.
So, instead of a violent civil war, you would have just let things run their course for another 100 or 150 years until people saw the light and the commercial interests of slave owners would give way to public opinion?
That’s not fair.  How can you ask me to decide that?
You don’t have to.  Others decided it was worth the very high price.  Your decision is how high of a price are we as a free people willing to pay to preserve liberty in this modern century?
But so many victims are innocent.  They did not deserve to die.
That is beyond discussion.  So many lives have been taken maliciously.  We are in total agreement.
So, what are we to do?  Is there no other way than protecting guns?
Remember, our Constitution does not protect guns but…
People.  I understand.  I get it.  I also get that the other protections guaranteed to the people might fall as well if the ultimate protection—to kick an unjust government to the curb forcibly if needed—was surrendered.  But, I can’t stomach the violence anymore.  What course of action is left to us?
For the past half-century, we have ignored the problem and cried out against the symptoms of our national disease.
We don’t value life as something sacred anymore.
Life is a gift from God.  It is special.  It is beyond special.  It is sacred.  We must value life from the womb to old age.
You mean our thoughts and prayers are with you.  I’m tired of hearing that.
Those words do get old after a while, especially, when nothing is done to treat the disease.  Those words are the best that we can do if we choose to continue to ignore the real problem.
Valuing life?
Do we need a law?
We have plenty of laws.  In fact, we surely have more than we need.
So what do we need?
Love.  We need to commit to loving one another.  This is God’s model.
Do you still want to keep your guns and love one another?
It would be wonderful to see the day when we turn our weapons into farm implements and pruning shears.
You mean swords into plowshares.  Not all gun control people are biblically lacking.
But until that time…
I will stand vigilant against all enemies, foreign and domestic.  The latter has not reared its ugly head to the point that the election process has become obsolete, but I would prefer to be ready and provisioned if it does.
But is it worth the cost?

Good question.  What’s your answer now?

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