The (Unusually Long and) Occasional Perspective - 6/2/22

The Failed Generation – My generation has failed the generations that follow with one of the biggest public health disasters ever. And, unfortunately, we continue to blaze a trail of failure each and every day. We like to think of ourselves as a societal class that exemplified the hallmark for change. After all, there was no Earth Day before we came along. There was little social integration across the spectrum of society. And, while there is still much to do, integration is some better over the last couple of decades. The generation of “peace and love” was going to make a difference but…me thinks we’ve failed. In fact, we failed so miserably that on Tuesday, May 24th I broke down and cried. I sat in my home office and wept for the 19 children and two teachers that will not have a life to lead because we have failed. We’ve failed because of the stupidity of ideas like the proposed “one door” policy. Are we to have one door on churches? On grocery stores? On barber shops? On restaurants? On homes? How senseless…how stupid… And then, since the Uvalde tragedy there have been even more shootings, more senseless murders, more tragic gun violence…When will it end? Only when we decide to do something about it!

Rather than addressing gun violence for what it is, we have stepped aside to the flow of money deposited in the pockets of our generational decision makers. We have allowed reason to be set aside to the libertine polemics of “rights” – as if those who have been killed have no “rights”. What happened to the right articulated in the Declaration of Independence to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”? Does one right weigh more heavily in the “rights panel” than another?

Furthermore, has anyone read recently the Second Amendment to the US Constitution, which states: “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.” Hmmm? A well-regulated militia…not a partially regulated, not an unregulated but a “well-regulated militia”. That is stated first then the secondary right to “bear arms”. Is not “reason” a reasonable pursuit in a civil society? A civil society would allow people to “bear arms” but would use “reason” to offer a “well-regulated” approach.

It would appear that even Antonin Scalia – the icon of conservatism and author of the Supreme Court’s Heller Opinion which laid out the right to bear arms – would agree with me that “regulation” is a component of the right to bear arms. He stated in that opinion:

Like most rights, the right secured by the Second Amendment is not unlimited.” Scalia continued, “…the right was not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose.”

Is the requirement for wearing seatbelts an impingement upon my right to incur upon society countless health care costs due to the damage to myself and other that I make during accidents? Is the requirement for having completed one’s childhood vaccinations before entry to school onerous? Are all of the food safety requirements of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) so noxious that we should ignore them? Are the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requirements for destruction of certain noxious gases so onerous as to infringe on my rights to simply throw them in the waste out back? Or, to allow cars to throw carbon monoxide and other noxious gases into the atmosphere for the killing of future generations?

When will we come to a reasonable recognition that certain rights are beyond the pale? Can I go out and purchase a Howitzer for my personal pleasure and destruction? We require a driver’s license to drive cars but do not make the same minimalistic requirement for AR-15 gun ownership! We allow individuals to modify guns such that they automatically dispense death by simply purchasing the supplies over-the-counter. But, I can’t buy certain drugs over-the-counter unless I have a prescription from a designated professional. Life is full of rules and requirements that affect my “life, liberty and pursuit of happiness” – in large measure because we have tests for “reasonability”. These tests are applied across virtually every aspect of our lives – except for one area that has been deemed sacred by a small sector of society. The time has come for the rest of us to step up…

I am NOT advocating that we take away the right to appropriate gun ownership. What society needs to do; however, is to require that your ownership does not impinge upon the rest of us. Go hunt! Have a good time. Take up skeets! Enjoy the afternoon. Protect your home! But do so under the reasonableness test used across all of society for all issues we face – as a society. No, you can’t buy a Howitzer! We’re not going to let you build nuclear weapons at home. Let’s find the line and make it stick for all of society. And, if we are successful, many of us will cry tears of joy instead of regret and disgust at the direction of our country. We owe it to future generations to step up and solve the problem. Are you in?

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