Thursday, June 18, 2015

Of Gun Violence and the Cloudy Future of the Second Amendment Right?

Keywords or Terms: Tragedy of Gun Violence; US Congress; Vice President Joe Biden; President Barack Obama; Second Amendment Right; Charleston, South Carolina; Primitivism of the conquered; Unwholesome failure of civic sense; Sandy Hook Elementary; Emanuel African Methodist Episcopalian Church; and, Old Wide West

Second Amendment Right in America and the ever so repeated gun violence in the public space, remind us today, again, of carnage in South Carolina, Connecticut, Colorado, Wisconsin, Arizona, Virgina and endless other States and places, where blood of the innocent have been shed for no reason. From Charleston, South Carolina; New Town, Connecticut; Aurora, Colorado; Oak Creek, Wisconsin; Tucson, Arizona, Blacksburg, Virginia; to many other places that I’ll rather just not mention, before I quit writing and start to cry; before I begin to question the essence of government and politics if they cannot attend to the repeated wounds of a nation; before I start to wonder where are the elders in United State Congress?

We’ve come this place before zillion number of times, and every time, we’ve promised to tackle this problem once and for all. I remember after Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy, how Vice President Joe Biden put his integrity on the line and went to the floors of US Congress to see if he could get legislators to come around to doing something about the repeated mayhem. I remember President Obama forwarding specific plan to protect children and communities against gun violence, yet the cry for legislative action in US Congress has gone unheard. Sometimes in life you have to stomach your privileges and rights, so other humans can live. Life is precious; it has no duplicate, once gone, forever, gone! This is why I blame all of us for the deaths yesterday night at, of all places, a Church; a place of worship; the only place I’ve been known to fall asleep, apart from my bed, even during thunderous and moving sermons. My wife will gladly attest to that!

Debating could be fun; it could also be exasperating, when you know the issue at hand is probably never going to be resolved through debates. All Americans have the right to bear arms; so also is the right to live and worship wherever we choose. Yesterday, it was the Church, I remember the elementary school; I recall the movie theatre; did I hear the word, Mall; I’ve even seen a Sikh temple; I’ve known a college campus; and many more places that just make me wonder, is there anywhere safe to go anymore. Gun violence and deaths are now common place to everywhere in the homeland; yet our lawmakers and those who know better would rather we would not talk about: 1) requiring background checks for all gun sales; 2) strengthening the background check system for gun sales; 3) passing a new stronger ban on assault weapons; 4) finishing the job of getting armor-piercing bullets off the streets; 5) giving law enforcement additional tools to prevent and  prosecute gun crime; 6) ending freeze on gun violence research; 7) making schools and public spaces of congregation safe, instituting emergency response plans for all public spaces and nurturing a climate of gun use responsibility; and, 8) ensuring quality coverage of mental health treatment, particularly for young people. If you say these eight listings are familiar; yes you are right, they were the last ones recommended by President Barack Obama after the Sandy Hook Elementary gun violence nightmare. Again and again, we are re-reading, re-evaluating, re-sympathizing, and re-imagining, what should never have been; just because, as usual, you guessed it, failed to act. Excuses and inactions have often been our crutches because of our second amendment rights; or, because of our choice to always look away elsewhere; to forget the tragedy of yesterday, yester-month and yester-year(s). At the rate we are going, we are gradually being inoculated against the grief and tragedy of gun violence; soon, we’ll become experts in forgetting the pains of death as a result of gun violence in all public spaces.

Before we get into our usual mode of finger pointing, let us now agree that we have failed as a society to address what is considered nightmares in many countries of the world, and forget the usual western industrialized society epitaph. The historical national divide between those in support of the rights to bear arms and those, who would rather work with common sense gun laws, has once again, reared its ugly head. We have failed to reform our gun laws, legislatively. Common sense tells us we need to move beyond the point of seeing gun violence as a routine order of doing business; however, we have failed to influence each other to see the need for resolution. In order to preserve the rights to bear arms as contained in our constitution, we have found it, uncomfortable to discuss resolution of a problem that constantly nags us and our conscience; a problem that continues to kill us, our neighbors, our friends and our elderly, even in a place of worship, a place expected to be peaceful and full of moments of reflection, not violence.

Lifesaving gun laws and gun violence research have been scuttled. In the case of immediate resolutions to some gun sales and ownership laws, especially those that attempt to curtail movement of guns from the manufactures to those, who are least expected to own guns, let alone use it, we have refused to position ourselves as responsible adults, who find a problem in our communities and move ahead to solve it. The people’s hope and momentum after the last national tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary have been discountenanced and the details of our government action to ensure this same nightmare does not repeat itself, is left in ruins. The willingness to tolerate ownership of guns, assault weapons and associated paraphilia are so inextricable that we have forced ourselves into a corner to believe that our rights to guns and concealed weapon carriage, trump the rights of others to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness.

Regardless of the hopes of communities that have suffered from senseless gun violence, we have failed to confront our unsettling fears; veer away from workable and practical solutions or laws that reclaim our rights as humans, people with red blood flowing in our veins. We have grossly failed to attend to what makes us whimper anytime news like Charleston South Carolina, break. Within the past six years, even with all assurances that President Barack Obama was not coming after our guns, we have ramped up sales for the assault weapons manufacturers, created a generation of uninformed people with very limited control of their behavior, engaging in dastardly acts that make mothers and grandmothers cry with exasperations. The future ability of any incoming President and Congress to do anything about this stale problem, even by crude assessment, is gradually fading to oblivion.

The gun lobbyist groups and manufacturers have been beneficiaries of our failure to act, failure to demand of our legislators to reverse the tide of gun violence, whichever way possible. Concerned opinions of impacted gun violence communities, reflect the need to have some control over the use and availability of guns and armor-piercing bullets in our depressed and sometimes, dilapidated communities. Gun violence is now endemically fashionable; and, our children are watching the adults look like helpless and clueless drifters, unable to chart a course for a better future for them.

No one will deny that the absence of the will to act legislatively in US Congress is real; you can even hear and feel it from our Commander-in-Chief as he delivers the usual condolences to residents of Charleston, South Carolina. Gun Control and Mental Health treatment are undoubtedly central to the resolution of gun violence, especially in many states where mental treatment of the troubled have been discouraged or suspended for reasons of budget shortfalls. The probability of limiting the rights to carry some assault weapons  are somewhat laws in some states; however, there are no enforcement efforts in many, either by law enforcement professionals, or community leadership. Our communities have turned out to be the old Wild West, where gun running and usage are everyday matter of fact. The scope and character of gun violence are well documented, the corresponding need for change in direction in the movement and sales of guns, nationwide, are not out of way. The plight and pains of communities which have gone through the dastardly act of gun violence, are not only felt across the country every time these very unfortunate incidents repeat themselves, but also across the globe. Unfortunately, we have accepted the disgrace of being labelled a gangster society; yet, we continue to lack the spine to call our legislators to do what is right for the welfare of everyone.

National gun violence has come to a point, where we can no longer question the need to get over our fears and rightly pass and enforce laws that not only keep guns and assault rifles from demented minds, but also require that manufactures stop making these guns. The depth, strength and complexity of resolving our long-held fascination with the second amendment right have failed us woefully; and, we have resolved ourselves to the primitivism of the conquered, unwholesomely refusing to prescribe solutions to what hurts us all. The political and institutional powers are close to absent at this time, else something would have to give, with the insistence and repeated occurrences of these dastardly acts. Anyone attempting to lead this country, must now provide a path for the nation, to once again, address the following questions: How can America welcome a greater level of gun control without necessarily violating the constitutionally protected right to bear arms? How could the nation prevent the repeated gun violence in all spheres of our lives and public spaces? Is the nation not due for a much radical review of protected second right amendment?

The large number of second amendment right enthusiasts, legislators and ordinary citizens, sympathetic to the right to bear arms, must address these questions with a reflection: supposing each of them was at the receiving end of gun violence; supposing each of them lost a family member, a brother, a sister, a father, grandmother, a son or daughter, last night, would they still be holding fast to their unresolved position? Answer to this particular question may help transform long-held beliefs regarding gun ownership, concealed weapon carry permit, sales and use of assault rifles. Who in his or her right mind, buys a loaded gun as a birthday gift for an unstable human being? The fastidious position of many gun enthusiasts and second amendment rights protagonist are not really rooted in unyielding tradition as some may want to believe; the massive failures of the laws on the books and refusal of our legislators to do what is constructive in the wake of the repeated unfortunate events across our country, is the real problem. No one is held accountable for the deaths of the innocent at the highest level of our law making body; and, until we compel or legislators to the rude awakening of the ever so torching and stomach crunching pain that we all feel every time incidents as what happened at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopalian Church, yesterday, we will continue to face the horror of our inaction to gun violence, in all our communities.

P.S. These are the lives that were cut short in South Carolina

1) Ethel Lee Lance, 70;  2) Tywanza Sanders, 26; 3) Cynthia Hurd, 54; 4) Depayne Middleton Doctor, 49; 5) Rev. Clementa Pinckney, 41;  6) Susie Jackson, 87; 7) Myra Thompson, 59; 8) Daniel L. Simmons, 74; and,  9) Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, 45.
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