Weapons of Mass Destruction: A Nation Under Siege From Within   Leave a comment

 

Weapons of Mass Destruction: A Nation under Siege From Within

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Contrary to the previous claims of former president George W. Bush, we didn’t have to look outside the United States for weapons of mass destruction. These weapons have existed and continue to exist in ever-larger numbers and in ever-increasing lethality right here in America: Assault Weapons. And guess what, you can purchase one of these WMDs from a private seller at a gun show without even having to have an FBI background check performed. How crazy is that?

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There can be no doubt that every man, woman and child in this country has been deeply saddened by the recent unspeakable, unfathomable mass murder of twenty precious children and six heroic adults in Newtown, Connecticut. Having said that, I strongly feel that all NRA members and supporters who have felt that it should be legal to possess assault weapons are complicit in this horrific atrocity. This complicity extends to all members of Congress and the Senate who have opposed “meaningful” gun control legislation. Also bearing responsibility for this heinous act was the late mother of the shooter. How could this parent, who should have had the most intimate knowledge of her son’s conflicted mental state, have kept an arsenal of extremely lethal weapons in the same house with her deeply troubled child?

Unfortunately, James Madison did not provide sufficient clarity to the drafting of the Second Amendment. Consequently, its interpretation was left up to the prevalent political ideologies of future Supreme Courts, the most recent of which decided in favor of the gun aficionado community by declaring that the Second Amendment conveys the right to bear arms to private citizens, not just those affiliated with state militias. It should be noted, however, that the latter interpretation was intimated in an earlier Supreme Court decision (U.S. v. Miller, 1932), which suggested to many that gun ownership was linked to service in state militias.

Although the exact intent of the Framers of the Constitution with respect to the Second Amendment is unclear, we can be most certain that they did not intend for firearms to be as ubiquitous and especially – as lethal – as they are in today’s America. Seems that the NRA has hijacked this amendment!

Even when considering the most recent interpretation of the Second Amendment as being the “law of the land”, exercising the “right to bear arms” demands great discretion and responsibility. Although the First Amendment allows freedom of speech, it does not, however, allow unrestricted freedom of speech, e.g. no one can falsely shout fire in a crowded theatre. Consequently, restrictions MUST be placed on the ownership and usage of firearms.

Regarding the ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines that was implemented in 1994 and expired in 2004, it’s hard to imagine why any civilized country would allow such a ban to lapse. The very name of this weapon accurately describes it utility.

Not only should the ban on purchasing assault weapons and high-capacity magazines be reinstituted, the ban should be extended to prevent the ownership of assault weapons as well. (Perhaps the states or the federal government should institute a gun buyback program [as the Australians have successfully done].

It should also be noted that the original assault weapon ban was not restrictive enough and a new assault weapon ban should include an expanded list of banned weapons and high-capacity magazines. The definition of what constitutes an assault weapon also needs to be redefined so that unscrupulous gun dealers and buyers cannot use “workarounds” to make these weapons even more lethal than they already are.

To be sure, the response to these gun-related mass murders can’t be confined only to the enactment of stricter gun laws. (For one thing, the supply of guns in this country is so vast that even if there were to be a total ban on all guns right now, the existing stockpile of guns is so enormous that the “half-life” of guns that are in circulation today would likely extend for thousands of years.)

Another major factor contributing to gun-related murders, especially to mass murders, is the lack of recognition and treatment of mental disorders. Most of the recent mass murderers have displayed similar character traits and even though these people were generally considered to be troubled, virtually none of them were ever treated and those that were treated obviously did not receive adequate treatment.

Although Congress has passed background check laws for prospective gun buyers, they mysteriously exempted unlicensed private gun sellers who ply their trade in gun shows throughout the country. Assuming that this outrageous loophole in the FBI background checking system is closed, background checks should be performed not only on prospective gun buyers but should also be performed on family members or on anyone else residing in the residence where firearms may be kept. These background checks should include thorough mental evaluations of all parties who may have access to guns.

As the saying goes, “it takes a village to raise a child”. What we need are villages to protect a child. We need our communities to be able to recognize and report mentally unstable behavior. We also need additional training of teachers and school counselors so they can better recognize the signs of problematic behavior among their students.

Although schools cannot and should not be turned into armed fortresses, security should be increased within realistic limits. Our schools should not only be centers of learning, but should also provide a safe haven for our children.

We should also enlist the services of staff and volunteers to provide greater surveillance of the school grounds. Since many of this country’s school shootings have involved deranged men who were conspicuously dressed (in tactical clothing) and were carrying gun-containing duffel bags, there’s a good chance that any future presence of individuals with the mind-set of these shooters could be detected by properly trained staff and volunteers.

Obviously, reinstating the ban on assault weapons, providing increased recognition and treatment of mentally unstable individuals, and increasing security in public meeting spaces will not put an end to all mass murders; it will, however, most likely reduce the frequency and intensity of these horrific events that have been occurring at an ever alarming frequency and intensity. Lives will be spared and the saving of even one life will certainly be well worth the inability of a few gun enthusiasts to own assault weapons.

America, please do not let the death of these precious twenty children (and the six heroic school staff members) of Sandy Hook Elementary School have been in vain.

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Posted December 19, 2012 by whitecrow44 in Uncategorized

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