Tak­ing a sec­ond look

Now is the time to make choices based on logic, not emo­tion

The Washington Times Weekly - - Commentary - By Nate Bro­gin

Dur­ing my tour of duty in Viet­nam, I car­ried an M-16 ri­fle, the big brother of the con­tem­po­rary AR-15. My ri­fle had many dif­fer­ing ca­pa­bil­i­ties, sub­ject to my pref­er­ences. I also car­ried a Colt .45 pis­tol. It too had vast de­struc­tive “as­sault” ca­pa­bil­i­ties. No mat­ter the choice, each sat inan­i­mately, un­til I em­ployed them. In close quar­ters, both ri­fle and pis­tol have sim­i­lar killing ca­pac­ity.

Nei­ther is more de­struc­tive, how­ever, than when the as­sault weapon of choice is a car or truck, to run down a crowd in a mar­ket or iso­lated atop a bridge. The dif­fer­ence is not the ca­pa­bil­ity, but how peo­ple use them.

If we view items, whether tool or de­signed weapon, with emo­tion, rather than our in­tel­lect, we have a ten­dency to get into trou­ble. Weapons, for de­fense in an open so­ci­ety, are part of our his­tory and our de­sires. No less so in our de­bates.

At the time of the birth of this na­tion, cau­tion was wide­spread as to what amount of con­trol should be given to a cen­tral au­thor­ity; while still con­form­ing with “… the right of the peo­ple to keep and bear Arms, [which] shall not be in­fringed.” Three years be­fore the 1791 adop­tion of the Bill of Rights, Alexan­der Hamil­ton wrote in the Fed­er­al­ist Pa­pers, about the pro­posed Sec­ond Amend­ment: “… the lib­er­ties of the peo­ple … who stand ready to de­fend their own rights and those of their fel­low-cit­i­zens …” The daily tests of those core prin­ci­ples are no less sig­nif­i­cant 230 years later.

On Feb. 21, 2018, Supreme Court Jus­tice Clarence Thomas wrote that the at­ti­tude of the courts “is symp­to­matic of the lower courts’ gen­eral fail­ure to af­ford the Sec­ond Amend­ment the re­spect due an enu­mer­ated con­sti­tu­tional right. If a lower court treated an­other right so cav­a­lierly, I have lit­tle doubt that this Court would in­ter­vene …”

We of this na­tion rec­og­nize that the Sec­ond Amend­ment to the Con­sti­tu­tion is in the crosshairs of con­tem­po­rary debate. Mag­ni­fi­ca­tion of im­ages are ap­plied, as hor­rific shoot­ings take place in what should be safe havens for our chil­dren — schools. Our first re­sponse to cat­a­strophic events is to act with emo­tion. Then, af­ter care­ful re­view and the con­trol by our minds, we hope­fully act based on logic.

Con­sid­er­ing 4,000 shoot­ings a year in a U.S. city, or gross killings in a high school … you make the choice which is more gut-wrench­ing. Reality is that only one has the cur­rent po­lit­i­cal at­ten­tion, as one group seizes the op­por­tu­nity to im­pose their greater will onto oth­ers, even in­cre­men­tally.

If we are to look se­ri­ously at an is­sue, we must get away from the po­lit­i­cal di­ver­sions. Cer­tainly, side is­sues are im­por­tant. Men­tal health, states’ laws, com­pe­tence by age, are great back­ground. But they are not the ba­sis for the core con­sid­er­a­tion given the greater in­tent and ex­ist­ing law.

In con­tem­po­rary debate, can greater con­trol of pur­chases re­ally be ef­fec­tive with­out stronger en­force­ment of crim­i­nal pros­e­cu­tion? Where does the con­cept of re­spon­si­bil­ity lie in the realm of an open so­ci­ety? The hand­writ­ing al­ready may have been etched when re­cent leg­is­la­tion was signed into law in Cal­i­for­nia, re­mov­ing manda­tory sen­tenc­ing guide­lines for crimes in­volv­ing guns.

So, why guns? Why not air­planes by which the great­est mass mur­der in U.S. his­tory took place, Sept. 11, 2001? Why not cars, which are re­spon­si­ble for more deaths than any other means, out­side of cancer and heart dis­ease?

Guns have a long his­tory of debate in both the U.S. and else­where and re­main a flash point in the minds of many … maybe be­cause they are the im­age of a ba­sic weapon of war and per­sonal de­fense. Guns have been the em­ployed tool of some, yet the lack of guns ex­ac­er­bates ex­po­sure to vi­o­lence.

In 2014 Aus­tralia, all “reg­is­tered” guns were out­lawed and turned in. In 2015, Ed Chenel, a po­lice chief in that coun­try, con­firmed that crim­i­nal armed rob­bery in­creased by a whop­ping 40 per­cent. Homi­cides in the State of Vic­to­ria alone are up 300 per­cent. You know why. Act­ing on mostly the emo­tions of blame, his­tory memo­ri­al­ized:

In 1938, Ger­many es­tab­lished gun con­trol. By 1945, 13 mil­lion Jews and oth­ers were ex­ter­mi­nated.

In 1929, the USSR es­tab­lished

Weapons, for de­fense in an open so­ci­ety, are part of our his­tory and our de­sires. No less so in our de­bates.

gun con­trol. By 1953, about 20 mil­lion dis­si­dents were ter­mi­nated.

In 1911, Turkey es­tab­lished gun con­trol. From 1915 to 1917, 1.5 mil­lion Ar­me­ni­ans, were neu­tral­ized.

In 1935, China es­tab­lished gun con­trol. From 1948 to 1952, 20 mil­lion po­lit­i­cal voices of a different opin­ion, were elim­i­nated.

In 1970, Uganda es­tab­lished gun con­trol. By 1979, 300,000 Chris­tians, be­came un­ac­counted for.

Ac­cept this fact of reality — armed peo­ple will never will­ingly load them­selves into rail­road box­cars. There are some now who sug­gest that “one-on-many vi­o­lence” will ease if we only make it more dif­fi­cult for in­di­vid­u­als to gain law­ful ac­cess to guns. This course has never brought any to that Promised Land.

The reality of po­lit­i­cal ac­tion is of­ten the easy so­lu­tion when logic is not an ex­pe­di­tious choice. But emo­tional ac­tions re­sult in even greater emo­tional suf­fer­ing. As “we the peo­ple” move for­ward to form “a more per­fect union,” will we do so based on the logic needed to bridge the emo­tional quandary? Nate Bro­gin is an en­tre­pre­neur and founder of a num­ber of busi­nesses in Cal­i­for­nia.


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