The Right to Bear Arms

The massacre of nineteen children and two teachers at Rob Elementary School raises a potpourri of issues around Americans’ “right to bear arms.”  Where to begin?

When the United States’ Bill of Rights was ratified, in 1791, America’s defense force comprised a citizen’s militia.  Therefore, the Second Amendment specified, “A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

With a blind eye to the Second Ament’s first phrase, today’s gun rights defenders adopt the second as a mantra.  Okay, NRA, Wayne LaPierre, and Gun Lobbyists, is your notion of a “well regulated militia” an eighteen-year-old with two AR-15s and thirty round clips ‽     

Texas Republican legislators say school children would be safe from LaPierre’s “a bad guy with a gun” if teachers became “a good guy with a gun.”  Envision a 53-year-old female English teacher whipping out her trusty 38-Special and taking down a 17-year-old male in body armor totin’ an AR-15 with a 30-round clip! 

At Robb, Elementary Wayne’s “good guy with a gun” faced its acid test.  The school Security Officer was absent.  While ten year old Amerie Joe Garza repeatedly pleaded with 911 to send the police, with firepower to take out a infantry platoon, nineteen cops cowered a school hallway.  One hour and seventeen minutes after the gunman entered Robb Elementary, defying orders to stay out, two Border Patrol officers had the balls to confront and kill the gunman.

To ensure the “common good” and “promote the general welfare,” from food and drugs, commerce and workplace safety, and air and ground transportation, Americans recognize the necessity of laws and regulations. Seven in ten believe firearm ownership should be subjected to commonsense regulations.  Three in ten hold firearms exempt from any restriction whatsoever.

To this aim, it seems the only Congressional lobby with more clout than Big Tobacco is Big Guns.  A boy who barred from purchasing cigarettes freely bought two AR-15 Assault Rifles and 30 round clips!

To emphasize the insanity of America’s public safety policy, “Everytown for Gun Safety” contrasts our regulation of cars and guns.

Cars                                                              Guns
Title and tag at each point of sale             Not title and tag
Training                                                        No training
Written test                                                  No written test
Practical teat                                               No practical test
Health requirement                                     No health requirement
Liability insurance on each car                  No liability insurance on each gun
Renewal and inspection at intervals         No renewal and inspection

We will never know why that boy vented his rage on Robb Elementary children.  Two facts come to mind.  First, researchers tell us the brain’s prefrontal cortex (PFC) does not mature until around age 20.  According to Wikipedia, “The functions of the PFC project future consequences that result from current actions.  PFC functions also include override and suppression of socially unacceptable responses as well a differentiation of tasks.” (My italics.)  Second, in The Anatomy of Human Destructiveness Psychiatrist Eric Fromm maintains, rhetorically, as memory serves, “People have to make a dent.  If nowhere else, they make it in someone’s head.” 

Without adult supervision no one under the age of 21 should own or use a firearm.  An assault weapon, never!