Post Classifieds

Taking a shot at gun control

By Kevin Lelonek
On April 12, 2011

When we practice the privileges granted to us by our governing documents, in this case, the Bill of Rights and bearing arms, we enter into an implicit agreement with the Union to recognize and act according to the State's rules and regulations for the use and ownership of arms. And as we agree to those rules, so does the government agree to act responsibly on behalf of our collective well-being.

In this manner, our relationship with our nation mirrors our relationship with our parents; both our parents and our nation raise us; both provide for our welfare; both teach us values and ethics; both act on our behalf for our well-being. And thus should we regard our nation; as a parental figure to be a moral example, an ideal to respect and to obey. For, if the dynamics of our relationship with our parents are mirrored functionally by the dynamics of our relationship with our country, so too should the convictions and loyalties that characterize the former persist in the latter.

It is only when the unions therein break down; when our father is abusive, when our nation is oppressive, that our agreements are nullified. Only when our Union turns against us; when it restricts us excessively; only when it subjugates us as servants rather than esteem and respect our citizenship does our right to bear arms become an obligation to use those arms against oppression, in hopes of resisting and rectifying it; only then is our constitutional right permitted, albeit temporarily and explicitly, to defy the aforementioned agreements that govern the use of arms.

Many debates can be entertained on exactly when the nation becomes oppressive, but this is neither the purpose of the paper nor the point. Instead, I call attention to a series of tragic incidents; incidents that we can all agree are acts of violence that do not lie in the jurisdiction of resisting governmental oppression. We can all agree that the assault of students, or of unarmed civilians or of public servants by an armed individual or individuals does not serve as a check against tyranny. For, in each case, the violence witnessed within is neither politically nor personally motivated insofar as the victims of said violence have neither perpetrated an act against the aggressor nor are they responsible for the political woes which allegedly, in certain cases, motivated the aggressor. Thus our wrath, indignation, sorrow and efforts for reform should be directed toward the individual responsible for such acts, and those likely to perpetrate similar acts. For these individuals are responsible for acting irresponsibly, for abusing and perverting our civil rights and liberties. They violate our implicit agreements with the Union, as well as explicit and endanger not only our lives but our freedoms. So then, the problem, yet again, lies within ourselves and not in the system.

Beginning with the alternative, if the second constitutional amendment is reformed or further restricted, we would still find that armed individuals would continue to perpetrate similar acts of violence that incited the reformation of the amendment. Any reform of our right to bear arms set in motion by the tragedies previously discussed fails to address the core issue at hand, the irresponsibility of those individuals who deem it acceptable to use armed violence against any citizen, whether of the Union or the world, as an expression of his civil rights, a protest against government, or a mere whim incited by any and all other motivations. It follows then that we should direct our energies for reform inward, toward ourselves. More than that we must learn tolerance, if not unconditional, then constructive tolerance which incites motivation to be progressive when our indignation is sparked rather than destructive as the few aforementioned individuals have been.

We must not be strong-armed by the criminal acts that the few among us perpetrate. To allow that to happen would betray the principles of democracy which founded the Union, which remain the ideological backbone and source of the Union's strength. To allow the few to dictate the circumstances of the many is a path to a more serious danger than that of gun control; it risks tyranny and governmental oppression. As such any reform that our collective body deems necessary, should start not with the system, but with each one of us; only when reform is directed inward, toward betterment of the moral, reasoning self and enlightenment, will it reform the world around us.

 


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