June 19, 2016
Orlando Mass Shooting … And Yet Again So Very Sad 😢
I started writing this post on May 5, 2013 but didn’t finish it until today…
I think something happened to me (and probably many, many others too) in the wake of the mass shooting tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut … so, so very sad. My heart aches for the families of those little children and the families of the brave adults who tried to save them. All were literally slaughtered by a “mentally disturbed crazy person” who had unfettered access to a cache of assault rifles.
The whole thing really brought gun laws in both Canada and the US to the forefront of my mind so when The Fifth Estate episode Crossfire – The Furious Fight Over Guns In America aired, I just had to watch it. And then, I just had to write about it … which I did in an earlier post … Those American Gun Laws.
While writing that post (Those American Gun Laws), I was also doing some quick research on Google which lead me to look up the 2nd Amendment. I read the text again today as I wanted to try to understand what those words really mean. The 2nd Amendment reads – “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.”
Reading that caused me to look up the word militia which I always thought was some kind of “volunteer army” thing (my older brother was in Sea Cadets as a teen and I remember hearing the term “militia” sometimes around the house during that time). Anyway, Oxford defined it as follows:
• A military force that is raised from the civil population to supplement a regular army in an emergency. (This is what I thought it was!)
• A military force that engages in rebel or terrorist activities, typically in opposition to a regular army.
• All able-bodied civilians eligible by law for military service.
Ok, that’s Oxford’s definition … here’s what Merriam-Webster had to say:
• a group of people who are not part of the armed forces of a country but are trained like soldiers.
• a part of the organized armed forces of a country liable to call only in emergency.
• a body of citizens organized for military service.
• the whole body of able-bodied male citizens declared by law as being subject to call to military service.
That’s as far as I got back in May 2013. And today, June 18, 2016 … nothing has changed down there. And so, today I write …
~~~~~ Orlando … And Yet Again, So, So Very Sad ~~~~~
Orlando … can you believe it??? Orlando and the numerous mass shootings in the States since Newtown??? (See – USA Today – Behind the Bloodshed.) Why are these frickin’ assault rifles available to anyone who hasn’t passed an in-depth background check, who isn’t governed by strict regulations (including the requirement to possess a gun licence that must be renewed every 5 years along with regulations around the sale, use and storage of the muthər-ˌfə-kərs) and who isn’t a member of a certified gun club? Why? Why? Why? It makes no sense.
You know, those “high and mighty” Americans slam Islamic extremists (as they should – as we all should and do) … but then … they fail to examine their own extremism. I think the 2nd Amendment is being interpreted incorrectly and is being taken to the extreme by a vast number of Americans.
In my view, the 2nd Amendment must be read, interpreted and applied in its entirety. It was put in the American constitution to confirm the people’s right to protect the “free people” when those “free people” are threatened and at risk of being overtaken by a non-democratic government – ie – a dictator forms a military coup with the regular army … the people could form a militia to wage war against them OR a military emergency occurs and the militia is called to action to assist the regular army. It wasn’t meant to allow people to have the unregulated freedom to keep weapons of war (aka – assault rifles) around the house just as common as having a television (or livestock back then when the constitution was enacted). Seriously you extremist idiots! And if you think your founding fathers meant that, then you’re actually frickin’ stunned extremists idiots! Yeah. That’s what I said.
Further, the gun extremists take the 2nd Amendment to mean the right to defend yourself. Ok … I agree there’s logic in that. It only makes sense that one of our basic human rights is the right to defend ourselves. But if automatic weapons were either illegal or strictly regulated, then a city dweller really wouldn’t have any need for a gun at all because the police are (or should be) reasonably close by and the police will have the guns. The bad guys wouldn’t have easy access to assault rifles (or weapons in general) so Joe Blow citizen wouldn’t need weapons either. And the non-city dwellers, well it seems to me that rural folk shouldn’t need anymore than a shotgun or hunting rifle to keep themselves safe from dangerous animals (and people).
I know this is a terrible thought but every time I see a group of gun extremists on TV mouthing off about their right to bear arms, I wonder what they would think if a madman crashed one of their meetings, wiped out 50 of their members and seriously wounded more than 50 others? Or, if they were having a “picnic for the families of gun extremists” (that way, a whole bunch of their little kids would be assembled just like the little kids at Sandy Hook School were assembled in their classrooms) and a madman crashed the party and slaughtered 20 of their children under the age of 7 years and 6 of their fellow extremists who tried to save them? Would they not be incensed by the fact that the lunatic who just committed mass murder was able to buy the assault rifle used in his rampage at a local “gun show” not long before the massacre or had open/easy access to it in his very own home because someone else was able to acquire an assault rifle with ease? Well???
I don’t at all wish that on anyone but is that what it takes for gun extremists to see reason? To feel empathy? To acknowledge that it’s time for a culture shift?
Far too many times I’ve heard extremists rant on that “the only one who can stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.” Give me a freakin’ break. And tell me then, why does the bad guy have a gun in the first place?
And the good guy with the gun? Well, it’s not an off-duty cop picking up some overtime at a nightclub who’s going to be able to protect a crowd of people from a lunatic with an assault rifle which was the case, as I understand it, in Orlando. And it’s not Joe Blow American citizen either.
In my mind, the “good guy with a gun” is a government not afraid to enact and enforce tough gun laws (which over time, would take care of the vast majority of mass murders by automatic rifle); is a concentrated effort by trained police officers (which over time, would take care of keeping the vast majority of illegal weapons off the street); and/or is a war fought by the country’s intelligence agencies, its armed forces and its allies around the world (which over time, would take care of keeping dangerous extremist groups at bay).
I don’t and won’t apologize for my views. Look at the mess the Americans are in as far as “guns” go. Yes, there are worldwide problems with terrorism and gun violence. But as I understand it, there is no other country in the world that has the issues with mass shootings that the USA has.
This notion that any and all have the right to “bear arms” is deeply embedded in that nation’s culture … so much so that I actually think there is considerable risk that a civil war would erupt in the face of any government who tries to change the status quo. I feel sad for those people down there who want change … who want strict gun laws to be enacted. Sad for all the people who have been murdered by the bullets from an assault rifle in the hands of a “mentally disturbed crazy person”. Sad that many, many more are yet to die in that horrible fashion because a bunch of fools think the 2nd Amendment gives Americans the unregulated “right to bear arms”. As far as I’m concerned, that’s boo l-schit – plain and simple.
I’m so proud (and very grateful too!!!) that for the most part, our Canadian culture is such that the people put trust in our democratically elected government to protect us from any non-democratic entity that threatens our freedom (think … National Defence/The Canadian Armed Forces, the Army Reserves, the United Nations, police forces across the country and conscription). Why would I ever want or need to have an assault rifle in my home? If I was that afraid of the people next door, I’d move before I’d arm myself for protection against them! (Are you kidding me??? Who wants to live in fear such that you need an assault rifle to protect yourself from the “mentally disturbed crazy person” who lives next door and who has access to an assault rifle or any firearm for that matter? And seriously … if anyone living in either Canada or the US really thinks a dictator is going to walk in and take over anytime soon, then they need to see a shrink … and should probably be banned from owning a gun!)
When I was growing up, I was lulled into the belief that the USA was somehow superior to Canada. I don’t feel that way at all anymore and haven’t for years. We forget sometimes just how wise we are as a Country, how multi-faceted we are culturally, how lucky each of us is to be Canadian. And in the wake of the Orlando massacre (and all the massacres that took place before it), not only am I proud and grateful to be Canadian, I wouldn’t want to be anything but Canadian! 🇨🇦
I send my prayers, my wishes for peace and my kindest thoughts to the people affected by both the Newtown and Orlando massacres.
After the tears, please keep smiling!
*** PostScript *** Canada and Canadians are far from perfect and as a Country, we have some heavy-duty issues to deal with including poverty, discrimination, and crime (to name a few). While I feel that given the rage, hatred and violence going on in the world we currently live in, our gun laws should be tougher and more restrictive, I also thank God above that we have gun laws at all.