The second amendment to our constitution reads, "A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed." The NRA and its lobbyists have successfully used it as justifying the possession of handguns by the hundreds of millions That certainly was not the intent of our forefathers. They meant to prevent the federal government from passing laws that would disarm the state militias that were made up of ordinary citizens who served as part-time soldiers. After all, there were no established police forces, National Guard nor a standing army when our county was founded.
These militias were regulated by the state governments. Keeping people in line and bringing a sense of safety were essential, but establishing workable boundaries went along with this. The militias were required to be "well-regulated." Without such behavioral boundaries, a frontier mentality might have ruled supreme for decades. It seems to be returning!
The result of the current distorted interpretation of the second amendment is that well over 120,000 Americans have been killed in non-terror related homicides since 9/11/01. That is about 40 times as many as were killed at the World Trade Center and nearly 25 times the number killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. Moreover, 70,000 have been injured but haven't died, with 3,000 of those being children.
There are over 280 million guns in this country. We don't use them to maintain a well regulated militia. We use them to kill each other. Isn't it time to grow beyond the outmoded mindset of having a right to keep and bear guns as citizen soldiers? A real shift in a fundamental attitude is required. Rather than arming ourselves to be able to kill, we would be safer if we developed a culture dedicated to the fostering of our innate qualities of cooperation along with the ability to resolve conflict without violence
Shifting our focus from violence to peace will require dedication and hard work. Isn't the effort worth the saving of thousands of lives here at home and millions killed by American arms around the world?
I had some input from C. Fisk of Gloucester while formulating this article.
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