by Chris Sullins
[Editor: This was originally sent to a local newspaper disputing their editorial seeking a "middle ground" on gun control, which of course means gun owners give up more of their rights with nothing in return.]
I read your editorial on the middle ground of gun control. You were correct that there are many things you don’t understand.
I will begin by stating that combat veterans like myself not only swore an oath to defend the Constitution, but we actually risked our lives for it. I know very well that freedom isn’t free and its payment was made in real blood. Over my relatively short lifetime, though, I’ve seen politicians use that same document like toilet paper before handing it over to people in the media who seem all too eager to reduce it to pulp for a paycheck. That alone is a sad commentary on one of the many divides that exists in America today.
I gather from your writing that you’ve punched a few holes in paper and some small furry creatures outside of suburbia. Keep in mind that you did those sporting activities in a safe peaceful environment. You might think this gives you some understanding of the ways of the world, its long history and what men are really capable of, but given my experiences I can see you hit far off the mark. Using a target as a metaphor, you missed the paper completely.
For you to label warnings from your fellow countrymen against possible future government overreach as “paranoia”, you further demonstrate willful ignorance of our history. In order for you to gain a better understanding of history and dispel your illusions of how things really work, I’d suggest you sit down with veterans from our many past and current wars. It would do you well to include Native American veterans among that group. The elders of those tribes could also educate you about a massive domestic genocide about which you are apparently clueless.
The Second Amendment, like the rest of the Bill of Rights and other founding documents, has nothing to do with sporting purposes. It’s about limiting government power and curtailing its ability to inflict harm on people. Once you understand that you might see the realm that the big boys play in and know they gamble with lives on a vast scale. It’s not a game for the faint-hearted, so I understand why the majority of Americans are in collective denial about this.
You touched upon the spiritual side which I acknowledge as helpful in addressing part of the root problem, but there are many factors to consider. Americans have a mindset problem. Attitude and education could go a long way toward addressing this, but then you run into the problem of competing and possibly irreconcilable philosophies. Maybe this large mass of diverse people living within our common border can no longer find a real middle ground on the national stage. We have to be honest about that possibility first.
The answer is not another one-size-fits-all directive proclaimed from that tired old oligarchy that hops between DC and the other mega-cities along the coasts while ignoring vast swaths of citizens in the fly-over states. Such rules always exempt the self-serving elite while screwing the middle class, but I’ll save you that tangent. We’ve come to a point in history again when it would be best for people who inhabit distant places to make their own decisions based upon their unique cultures. In all honesty Jackson, Michigan is now more different from federal DC than colonial Concord was from royal London. Since a monopolistic central authority has a tendency to trample on rights not long before it rolls over lives like a juggernaut, it would be best for more decisions to be localized again within the states. We need to return to respecting people and their belief systems. Maintaining diversity requires that we not interfere with different ways of life. Surely you and I could at least agree on that.
You are probably correct that given the current climate the majority of people in a few states wouldn’t want semi-automatic weapons with detachable magazines in civilian hands anymore. I’ll spare you the long tiring list of evidence that those same people have abrogated many other duties as citizens already, so their unwillingness to bear arms in defense of themselves and their state doesn’t surprise me. But, I can also assure you that the majority of people in other states would consider those same weapons as untouchable by the federal government. Those people are still willing to be responsible citizens and carry the burden of defense that the quiet gentle folk in other states won’t shoulder anymore.
I would suggest that the people decide the “gun issue” –among many other issues– at the state level. And, I would heartily encourage people move to where they might feel most at home. You’re welcome to live in a place where your neighbor doesn’t trust you to own a gun and I will live where I can own weapons in accordance with the belief system of the Founding Fathers. I believe it would be very apparent after a short time which states were comprised of active citizens and which were little more than pens for sheepish consumers. Then we’ll see who is safer and more prosperous in the future.