I think that many people rushing to ban a certain type of gun are really missing the whole point of the 2nd Amendment. The founders were declaring their independence from a tyrannical government and wanted to insure that we would forever have the ability to overthrow our government should it ever become oppressive to the people.
Now most people don’t believe that could ever happen here, just like they seldom think about getting mugged, having someone break into their house late at night, or having evil enter a classroom and start killing. But these things do happen, and almost every other government that ever existed eventually ended in tyranny. There is no reason to believe that it cannot happen here someday. Indeed the odds, and the track record of our political class actually favor it.
Freedom is kind of like a giant rock that our founders left for us to protect. I was in the military for a very long time. We all swore an oath to protect that rock of freedom from all enemies both foreign and domestic. I think we did, and the people still in uniform are doing a pretty good job protecting it against the foreign enemies. However, we did not do so good against the domestic enemies and I am afraid that those enemies will win for two reasons.
Conservatives by nature just want to protect the rock of freedom. We don’t want to add to it, we just want to keep it safe from harm. So we put up a pretty good fight every time the liberals come with a chisel. “Of course you don’t need to drive that fast.” “It’s really better for everyone if you just get a smaller car.” “We all agree that we need more green energy.” “Just a few more common sense gun laws.” “You really don’t need that kind of light bulb now do you?”
In the end what happens? Conservatives usually cave in and compromise, because compromise is good, right? Well, OK we say, we really don’t need a full auto gun, all the invasive stuff at the airport is worth it in the name of security, etc.
In the end we always lose a little bit more of the massive rock they left us in 1776, and the rock of freedom gets smaller and smaller. Have you ever seen what’s left of Plymouth Rock? That is where our rock of freedom is headed, a little stone on a beach surrounded by a great monument to what it once was before it died the death of a million chips.
And when that rock has been reduced enough, history shows us what is at the end of the road. Look at Great Britain, Scotland and Australia. They have been disarmed. Google their home invasion rates, find out what happens to them if they harm an intruder in their own home. They have no right of self defense, monitored by cameras where ever they go, they are British subjects in all respects of the word.
The root of the problem? Why will this happen here? I believe that reason is most people do not understand that we all bear the cost of freedom, not just the people in uniform. Those 20 kids and their teachers in Connecticut paid the price of freedom, just as sure as every person who ever died in uniform paid it. Every person who dies in a car accident pays it. Every person who dies climbing a mountain pays it. Every person who does any of the multitude of things that we are able to do because we still have some freedom left, pays it.
Freedom comes with responsibility and the grim knowledge that some free people will do horrible things. People who are free will be able to make stupid choices and pay with their own, and tragically other people’s, lives. In the end freedom is the ability to make stupid choices.
Would any laws have prevented this latest tragedy? The short answer is maybe. Ban all firearms, confiscate every single one, randomly strip search every house and building in the country, destroy all arms and ammo making companies, search every vehicle and container entering the country, frequent random check points where all cars are searched for contraband firearms, all persons with mental health issues locked up. In short, if we turned our country into a prison we might be able to come close to preventing another tragedy like this one that used a gun. I am not sure that I would want to live in that country.
Of course even if we did all this it probably would not have stopped someone like Andrew Kehoe who in 1926 killed 38 kids and four adults and injured another 58 in Bath, Mich. or Tim McVeigh, who killed 168 and injured 800 in Oklahoma.
We cannot legislate evil or stupidity away. We can only prepare for it.
Stanley R. Severson is a resident of Hoquiam.