The United States is the only country where owning a gun is considered a God-given right. For some, perhaps, it is merely held to be a constitutional right (in this, it stands with only three other countries: Guatemala, Haiti and Mexico.) But whatever level of divinity is bestowed upon it, the gun is American culture’s Golden Calf.
After the horrifying shootings at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, where twenty children, along with six adults, were repeatedly shot dead, half the country demanded limitations on the availability of guns, especially semi-automatic weaponry.
The other half, incredibly, argued that guns were not the problem and, in a refrain that was far too common, suggested that if the teachers were armed, the killer would have been stopped. The vociferousness with which this proposal was put forward, was astonishing, considering the bloodshed. Support came from a variety of establishment quarters, and included numerous and prominent Republican officials.
Unfortunately, firearms advocates have constitutional backing, which plays no small part in undergirding our country’s culture of violence. The US Constitution was a groundbreaking document in its day, even if it has been improved upon in other countries since. However, the Second Amendment to that Constitution, which grants Americans the right to own guns, was a masterpiece of vagueness that has left a bloody legacy behind it. Continue reading