In Roanoke, Virginia this morning, there was another tragic shooting. This one has made the news mainly because the victims were a reporter and her cameraman, and it happened while they were live and on the air. And as is nearly guaranteed, the shooting has stirred up the debate on gun ownership in the US.
I have to admit it, I got caught up in it. I sat and wrote more than two-thousand words full of statistics and pleas for people to maintain some semblance of civility when talking to one another about it – all the while fearing that my words were going to fall once more on deaf ears. I’ve seen it too many times to believe otherwise, and suppose I’m a bit jaded these days.
I was in the midst of writing my interpretation of the meanings behind the Bill of Rights and an explanation that there is a proper way to go about amending the Constitution when I got a phone call from a friend asking some advice regarding (ironically) firearms. We talked for a few minutes, until I had to go into town to get a haircut.
And when I got back home, I found the most wonderful thing had happened. I was no longer upset. All the rhetoric on both sides of the argument? Meaningless. At least for me. And at least for now. Don’t get me wrong, the shooting was still a tragedy. And my sympathies go out to the families of Alison Parker and Adam Ward. And I hear that the shooter, the “disgruntled former colleague” has since killed himself. And believe it or not, my sympathies go out to his family, as well. Not to him, but to his family.
But all that angst I had while writing that original blog post was gone.
So I deleted what I had written. I started over. And what you are reading here is what I want to post, instead.
As I posted when defending the SCOTUS ruling on gay marriage, I still think the Constitution of the US is a pretty good idea. Want to argue with me about it? Sorry, not interested. And I’m not going to rant online about how “if you believe something different than I do, you can just unfriend me right now!” I’ve seen too much of that childishness lately. And unfortunately, it is usually from people who I otherwise respect in most other regards.
These can be emotional issues. I get that. But to let your emotions go so far that you are willing to stomp your feet and act so childishly? No thanks. Not for me.
I guess I pity people who have so little control over themselves that they can’t stand to be around someone who doesn’t believe as they do. I choose to view things differently. I choose to embrace our differences. I think we’re better because of them.
I have a very good friend who still believes in people. He believes (at least on most days) that our society will right itself. I hope he’s right. But when I watch all the petty and divisive bickering over who’s right and who’s wrong on whatever the topic du jour is, I have to wonder. And when I see people frothing over whatever soundbite is waved in front of them, instead of using their own brains and looking for the deeper story I get… well, like I said – jaded.
I recently went through the Bill of Rights to refresh myself on what the first ten amendments were all about, and I realized that none of them are actually being followed by our government. NONE of them. I think that’s what really gets to me. It’s not the arguing and ranting by John Q. Public. It’s the constant use of one group of people against another to continually erode the very rights that allow us to argue with one another in the first place.
But whether you believe as I do or not, it’s very unlikely that either of us will ever change the other’s mind. And if you’re curious about where I stand… as far as I’m concerned, the Second Amendment recognizes a person’s right to keep and bear arms, and shall not be infringed. Period. Once again, if you want to argue, I’m not interested. Not today. Maybe another time. For now, if you have read this far, you only have yourself to blame.
In my opinion, the Second Amendment wasn’t intended to make sure we can hunt our food, or go to the range to put holes in paper targets. It was intended to allow the people to defend themselves against the tyranny of an oppressive government. It was intended to act as one of many checks and balances within and over the government. It was intended to be a constant reminder to those in office that they serve the people – not the other way around.
Two people were killed today. It was a tragedy. But to me the bigger tragedy is the fact that their murder is now the topic du jour, and it’s being used as just another political chess piece. Maybe that’s just me – once more being jaded.
Like I said, it’s unlikely that anything I have to say here is going to change anyone’s mind. So before I turn this into another long and rambling political post, let me just end with this. I love you guys. You are all wonderful people in your own way. And while we may not always agree on things, I value your friendship – each and every one of you.
So that’s it. Stay safe, and I hope to have something a bit more cheerful to post next time.