I think the most awful aspect of my reaction to the horror in Las Vegas is the degree to which I've become inured to such tragedies. I find myself thinking, "yet ANOTHER mass shooting!", as if this was something that happened every day. Unfortunately, it IS something that happens EVERY day. Maybe not in one place at one time, but every day, all across this country SOMEONE will become the victim of gun violence. And we just take it for granted!
I know I've stated my position on guns several times in the past. And each time SOMEBODY adamantly writes back reminding me of THEIR right to keep and bear arms. I've made it clear that I think the Supreme Court has misinterpreted the Second Amendment, looking at a conditional clause as a declarative sentence. But, in light of the most recent bloodbath, quibbling over words seems so futile. And in the end, the National Rifle Association, with all its money and political influence, will just flex its muscles to throw common sense out the window. So I won't even mention strict gun control. It's a hopeless cause.
But I do think it's time for our political leaders, and believe me I use that term in the loosest sense possible, to begin to take the changes in the technology of death into their consideration. Let's not forget that our Constitution was written in the latter half of the 18th century. At that time the firearm of choice was the musket. Back then, a REALLY skilled musketeer MIGHT be able to get off three shots in a minute, with an interval between each shot to reload. So the odds of a lone gunman killing fifty people in a ten minute time span was practically nil. Not no more!
It's THIS salient fact that our lawmakers OUGHT to take into account as they contemplate the carnage in Las Vegas. If the solons of the Senate and the geniuses of the House think about it at all, I hope they'll consider the horrifying speed with which death can be dispensed with today's modern technology of death. It is CRUCIAL that they do so because such technology will only advance in the future, to the point that what happened in Las Vegas will come to look like a Sunday School picnic by comparison!
Perhaps our "leaders" will also take into consideration the tenuous mental state of so many of our fellow citizens, particularly in light of the climate of extreme violence that exists in our world today. These are highly complex, tension-filled times we live in. We are constantly on edge, whether it's lack of sleep, congested traffic, financial pressures, rude people, or grasping and greedy corporations. Combine THAT environment with the highly graphic depictions of violence and bloodshed and we've reached a point where human carnage becomes almost commonplace.
I would also remind our lawmakers that the Constitution isn't the only defining document in our history. We also revere our Declaration of Independence. And in that document, Mr. Jefferson reminded us that we human beings have a RIGHT to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Surely our political leaders can see that unbridled access to weapons of mass destruction constitute a definite threat to these more fundamental rights.
Perhaps I'm giving our leaders too much credit. Maybe they can't see how gun rights and the right to life are at odds with one another. Maybe they just REFUSE to make the connection. Maybe, just maybe, it will take a mass slaughter during, say, a Joint Session of Congress to open some eyes. I sincerely hope it DOESN'T. It WOULD be too high a price to pay. But there is no denying the threat inherent in the technology of death. Whether they like it or not, our office holders face a day of reckoning. It IS coming. I just hope they aren't too late in addressing it!
Filed under: Politics