Archive for December, 2012

SACROSANCT

December 21, 2012

Sacrosanct

Christmas cards arrived one after the other bearing pictures of children. With each card, I teared up at the images of those precious children in my life – grand nieces and nephews, and the children of friends. I can’t imagine anything short of a long and complete life for any of them.

It’s been weeks since Newtown, CT became our sister city and the entire world adopted Sandy Hook Elementary’s children. Children – our most sacrosanct priority. We hold them dearly. We protect them with nurturing and laws, starting with our Constitution. It contains 27 Amendments that are sacrosanct, except not all of them are. Some are open to reason for the good of us all.

Take the First Amendment. It allows us to make whatever movie we want, write any song lyric, make and sell and play virtually any conceivable video game, or view pornography if we choose. But wait, we do have restrictions even on Amendment One: We can’t yell “fire” in a crowded theater, or threaten the life of a public servant, or give or receive child pornography. And all for good reason.

So what makes the 2nd Amendment (that one broad-stroke sentence) totally, unequivocally sacrosanct to some? Why is there no room for reasonable restrictions within this law when there is room within others? There is nothing in that lone sentence to suggest that limiting the lethality and speed of a weapon, or requiring some information about its seller and owner, will infringe upon the right guaranteed therein.

Having friends on both sides of the “gun control” debate, I hear intelligent reasonable arguments from both sides. A friend in suburban Connecticut posted his priority of life over unrestricted gun ownership. A former high school classmate commented on gun ownership, responsibility, and the types of environments where citizens carry guns, as he does in rural Tennessee. Yet, these two intelligent, reasonable people from entirely contrasting environments are able to discuss the issue civilly and believe we can get to what is reasonable. Why we struggle to reach a consensus when it comes to our children’s safety, and our rights, is uncivil to them and to me. No guns, period; or, more bigger, badder guns are not reasonable answers. Arming the entire USA may make a good western movie but not a safer culture. Stripping away our right to bear arms may make us vulnerable. Somewhere in between is the answer to this one factor in gun violence, of which there are many.

What about armed guards? At Columbine, two experienced former police officers described the scene: “There was an unknown inside a school. We didn’t know who the ‘bad guy’ was but soon realized the sophistication of their weapons. These were big bombs. Big guns. We didn’t have a clue who ‘they’ were.” The guards wisely avoided a shootout. And what about firepower? Jesse Clear, who supplies ballistic rubber media to firing ranges (which safely encapsulate the fired projectile and its byproducts — lead dust, ricochet shrapnel, back-splatter), wrote on Fredericksburg Patch, “Neither style weapon — nor its accoutrements (30-50-round magazines, 100-round drums, unjacketed or hollow-point bullets, stockpiled ammunition) have any business in the hands of civilians. If one wants to outfit themselves with such an arsenal, I suggest they join a WELL-REGULATED Militia — as detailed in the 2nd Amendment — Marine Corps, Army infantry, Seals, Delta Force, Virginia National Guard, or any big-city police SWAT team.”

Other answers do exist, some simple, some complex. As for schools, sophisticated entry systems that protect buildings from invasion (visit schoolsafetysystems.com) are economically feasible. We just need a polled consensus to mandate our elected officials, not wait for them to move off square one. We need to make public safety sacrosanct. After all, when you tuck your child into bed, read her a story, or lead him in prayer, the only thing that truly matters is their peace. Everything else is open to reason.

As the Preamble to our Constitution says, “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.” Wise words from wise and reasonable men in 1787. Here’s to a wise and reasonable 2013.

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