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Priorities

Ever go to www.crooksandliars.com?  Great site.  It's kind of a compendium of the daily posts from various left-leaning blogs (along with clips from The Daily Show and The Colbert Report, when they're airing new segments).  Yesterday, there was a post from Jamie Holly lamenting the spate of deadly shootings we've seen in the States over the past week or so -- the Omaha mall shooting, the Colorado church shootings.  It's worth a read (as is today's lead post, in which Tony Perkins, the leader of the far-right Family Research Council, is taken to task for blaming secularists for the church shootings).

Jamie raises the point that those on the right who seem all too willing to sacrifice our personal freedoms in the name of "Homeland Security" -- the suspension of Habeas Corpus, the detention of suspects without trial, the illegal wiretapping of law-abiding American citizens, the use of torture against detainees -- refuse to give an inch when the discussion turns to limitations on our Second Amendment right to bear arms.  Why is it that the Second Amendment is more important than the First (freedom of expression), or the Fourth (freedom from "unreasonable search and seizure"), or the Sixth (right to "a speedy and public trial"), or the Eighth (no "cruel and unusual punishments inflicted")?  Why is it considered patriotic to allow the Federal Government to erode our personal liberties, but a crime against the intent of the Founders to enforce a ten day waiting period for the purchase of an automatic weapon?

Every year in this country, thirty thousand people die from wounds inflicted by firearms.  Every year!  That's nine times the number of people who died on 9/11.  I offer that not to downplay the significance of the attacks on New York and Washington, but rather to point out the terrible cost of gun violence.  Even if we were to take out suicides and gun accidents, that would leave eleven thousand murders and cases of manslaughter involving guns.  Isn't that too many?  Shouldn't that be considered a matter of national security?  Weren't last week's shootings acts of terrorism?

Where are our national priorities?

Today's music:  Sphere (Sphere)

Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
sleigh
Dec. 11th, 2007 04:17 pm (UTC)
But those on the right are going to say "but that kid in Colorado would have gone on to shoot dozens more people if that security guard hadn't killed him, and if someone in that Omaha mall had been carrying a gun, lives would have been saved."

I've already had heard that argument too many times: If everyone were armed, then there wouldn't be killings like that. And it's what you'd hear if you tried to pry the guns from the live, warm hands of the NRA contingent.
davidbcoe
Dec. 11th, 2007 05:07 pm (UTC)
You're right. I've heard that, too, and I'm sure I'll get responses from the right along those lines. But you know and I know that this is madness. Arming more people will lead to more shootings, to more kids playing with loaded guns and getting themselves hurt or killed. I remember hearing this argument a lot after the Virginia Tech massacre. As if allowing guns on college campuses will solve more problems than it will create. Give me a break! And what about school shootings -- Columbine, the schools in Wisconsin and Arkansas and in so many other states, the horrific killings at the Amish school last year? Should we allow school kids to carry guns, too? Will that make our schools safer?

I know where you're coming from, Steve; I know you agree with me. But the issue just makes me nuts.

Edited at 2007-12-11 05:08 pm (UTC)
mikandra
Dec. 11th, 2007 10:05 pm (UTC)
In Australia, gun ownership by the public (at that time already more restricted than in the US) was banned in 1996. Since then, there have been NO MORE public shootings of this type (OK, there have been the odd gang bust-ups, but no derailed teenagers taking to arms and shooting dozens of people).

'Nuff said.
davidbcoe
Dec. 12th, 2007 03:14 pm (UTC)
Exactly. Most industrialized countries have more restrictive gun policies than we do, and all of them have lower rates of violence. It just makes sense.

That 1996 statute -- was it passed in response to the Port Arthur shootings?
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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