Blog 2412 – 06.02.2022
Lives Cut Short
In the wake of the tragic shooting in Uvalde, Texas last week where twenty-one lives were lost, twenty-two if you count the young man who used an assault rifle to kill nineteen fourth grade children and two teachers in an elementary school, once again the issue of gun control has been raised. The tired old trope, “Guns Don’t Kill People, People Do” is answered by another truism, “Yes, but a person with an assault rifle can do it faster and more efficiently.”
A popular interpretation of the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, one the National Rifle Association, a lobby for gun manufacturers and gun owners, is that the second amendment assures the right for citizens to bear arms, maintain a militia, and to overthrow their government if they so choose. How many lives shall we allow to be cut short before we do something about this Wild West fascination with guns and firepower.
As a young man in High School Army ROTC, Reserve Officer Training Corp, and after graduation as an eighteen year old private in the regular U.S. Army I was taught how to clean, carry, and fire three different assault weapons, the M1, the M14, and the M16. The civilian version of the last one is called an AR15. It is heavier, shorter, and has a bit less firepower than the military version. It came out in 1947 and the M16 ten years later. Assault rifle enthusiast like to say the M1 not the A-Bomb won World War Two. It certainly killed many more people and enabled the average American soldier to have the fire power to overwhelm several enemy soldiers with bolt action rifles. Both weapons are far superior to the single shot muskets that the framers of the U.S. Constitution had in mind when they wrote to secure the citizenry’s right to own guns. Back then only white land owning adult males were considered citizens with the right to have any say in how their government ran. Times have changed and the U.S. Constitution has been amended and re-interpreted many times.
The killing efficiency of modern assault weapons require regulation. These are not toys nor trophies of adulthood. The young man who snuffed out those twenty-one precious lives last week could hardly wait for his eighteenth birthday to own his own AR15. Who gave him the right to take those lives – we did and we did not stop him. We have created this monster and only we can control it. The longer we wait the greater the body count will grow. Police finally got his gun when they pulled it from his cold dead hands. We will never know how many young lives would have been saved had they acted sooner, but we can know than if inaction continues to curb easy ownership of assault weapons the numbers of the dead will continue to grow.
Your friend and fellow traveler,