December 18, 2012
More Firepower than the Founding Fathers Figured?

Would the 2nd Amendment have been passed if the Founding Fathers could have foreseen the firepower a Bushmaster .223 invests in a single man?

            My heart goes out to Newtown.  To everyone there.

As an EMT, I have responded to an active-shooter call where children were involved.

I will never forget the horror on their little faces as my partner and I tried to shield them from seeing the carnage.  To the grieving, and to the mourning, there are no words I can offer to help you heal.  I would not presume.  But I will pray for you, and for us all.  As my pacifist Quaker tribe says at times like these, I will hold you in the Light.

For those of you who are not too stricken at this terrible time, please join me in taking action before the moral and emotional impetus of this massacre vitiates into complacency once again.  Do whatever you believe will prevent this tragedy from ever happening again.  I am going to write 26 Congressmen and tell them enough is enough.

I will suggest renewing the assault weapon ban in conjunction with a lavishly underwritten buy-back plan for high-capacity, high-rate small arms currently in private hands in this country.

I will plea for protection for our schools equal to that which is enjoyed by lawyers and judges in our courthouses, and taken for granted by Congressmen in Washington.

I will urge that the buyer of every bullet be as thoroughly investigated as the buyer of the guns, and that commercial ammunition and reloading elements be micro-stamped for a fully accountable chain of custody from end-user all the way back to its manufacturer. These are the things I will write.  You write whatever you want, whatever side of the issue you stand by.

I have enjoyed target shooting immensely.  I have dear friends who love to hunt, and I would not see them deprived of their arms.  (I’ve heard the hunter’s fun is over the instant you pull the trigger anyway.  Then the cleaning and lugging begins.)  For my friends who are members of the NRA, please do not fall silent like your leaders have done since the Newtown tragedy.  The NRA will have to change now, and you as members can be a part of its new beginning.  Fight for closer scrutiny of gun buyers, and closing of gun show loopholes to background checks.  Advocate for more stringent training and certification levels, and for cooling off periods.  Fight for the safest possible storage of weapons.  Become a voice of reason, where your leaders have sought to breed paranoia about losing your right to bear arms.  If you, as an NRA member, do not step forward with your creative ideas for change, and if you do not urge your leadership to relent a little in the spirit of compromise in the face of such disasters, I fear that one day soon, terms might be harshly dictated to you.  I do not want that.

For students of the Constitution, you either believe in the original writers’ intent and in holding that intent sacred and unchanged for all time, or you support a living Constitution that evolves as our understanding of governance and citizenship deepens with the passage of time.  If you staunchly favor an originalist’s view, remember the 2nd Amendment was written in an age when a highly trained shooter could fire only three, perhaps four rounds at best in a minute with a musket.  One man with a Bushmaster .223 today can fire more bullets in a minute than fifty of his Colonial-age counterparts.    If you believe in a living Constitution, one that legislators saw fit to change to emancipate slaves and enfranchise women, what makes sense for our needs today in regard to guns?  Look at the faces of the dead, and please ask yourself what makes sense?

Write, phone, or call your leaders.  Say whatever is important to you about privately owned firearms.  Please do not sit by and do nothing.  Today, no one from either side of the issue can afford to hide behind righteous barricades made of bankrupt ideas.  It will take both factions to heal this wound.  I will be writing to 26 leaders.  How many will you contact?