Common sense is I think what the typical Trump supporter and perhaps National Rifle Association (NRA) member might promote, that is to say in my mind those types of people criticize anyone who would give anything other than a reactionary thought as just lacking in common sense, too into deep thinking — too liberal (where I live that word has taken the place of communist since at least the end of the Cold War).
I’m not sure that I am a deep thinker but I do like to be objective and weigh options on things.
But common sense has its place too.
And in my mind stemming the free flow of weapons and banning assault rifles and the ammunition and other trappings, such as bump stocks, that go along with them, is common sense.
And I say this of course in reference to the latest in a plethora of mass shootings, which took place on Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14, 2018, this week, the massacre at a high school in Florida.
In an editorial the Wall Street Journal claimed that there is no evidence that banning assault rifles would help. I find that an odd attitude. I mean it is common sense that if you cannot get a hold of an assault rifle you can’t use it to mow people down. Of course I realize the Journal and others, including Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, contend that if a person is intent on doing harm he (or she, but for some reason it is always he in these things) will get a hold of the weapons. While that is a common sense too, it ignores the fact that the easier you make something the more likely it will happen.
(And let’s note here that Rubio, who ran for president in the Republican primary in 2016, is compromised in that the gun lobby was one of his major benefactors, and you could see the discomfort in his face when he tried to talk about the gun situation the other day. He was trying to acknowledge that there is a problem — it happened in his own state — but not raise the ire of his benefactor at the same time.)
True, there is no magic cure for this epidemic of mass killings (I won’t try recite the recent history here; there are plenty of stories out there that will do that for you). But we should at least begin somewhere.
President Trump mentioned nary a word about gun control in an address to the nation on the subject of the Florida school shooting. He stressed mental health, a little ironic in that many think (and seriously) that he is a little off himself. And yes, no doubt if we could do something to identify people who have a potential for violence we could help them and protect our society. Trump of course shied away from gun control because the voters who put him in office no doubt tend to be anti gun control.
Then there is the call to: “if you see something, say something”.
But people did see something way before all this happened at the high school in Florida. In fact it has been reported that the killer posted the fact that he wanted to shoot up a school on social media and that the FBI was made aware of it. And the stories say that people in the community thought he was mentally unstable and that he had a fascination with guns and shot at animals.
The problem is that while if you see something say something is certainly a good idea, police cannot go out and arrest someone on all that and we do not live in a police state, nor would we want to, where big brother always had an eye on you. But if you see something, say something is still a valuable tool I would think.
However I still come back to the idea that common sense says if you cut off the supply of assault weapons it would make it far less likely these incidents would occur.
Now as I understand it, guns and ammunition are basically illegal in Mexico. But Mexico is terribly violent and has suffered thousands of deaths in an ongoing drug war with weapons supplied from the United States (and other places I am sure). But Mexico does not have a stable system of government and its government at all levels is rife with corruption.
We have a our own corruption but not at the level of Mexico and we have much more stability — albeit we live in a violent society.
One obstacle in the way of any common sense gun control is that we have the Second Amendment which the Supreme Court has held entitles nearly everyone to have a gun. The court has held, though, that there can be some restrictions.
Or maybe in light of the fact the high court gives some leeway in restrictions that is not so much an obstacle. But what is an obstacle is that most politicians, be they liberal, moderate, or conservative, dare not cross the NRA, said to be the strongest political lobby in the nation.
Also, among the citizenry in general I suppose there may be a kind of apathy, disinterest, or sympathy with the notion that there should be no restrictions on guns. It is an American thing.
I myself have stated that I at least generally or maybe in a passive way support the Second Amendment. I also think, though, it is not clearly understood. But I for some reason have a hard time writing about it because it has a kind of convoluted history. I have read that the real intent of the Second Amendment was to ensure that the U.S. had a citizen army rather than one controlled by the central government that would resemble armies of the monarchies in Europe. And to explain that (do I really need to?) would take maybe more paragraphs (less if I were better at writing and synthesizing and condensing thoughts). But we have an army controlled by our federal government these days of course and have had for most of our history.
(And all that is academic anyway being as how the Supreme Court has upheld the individual right to possess weapons, with some restriction.)
And to sum this all up, despite the reluctance or fear of politicians to deal with gun control, the power is really with the people.
Just as the NRA could use its influence to push anyone out of office, enough voters could push those out who fail to deal with gun control. A slow process perhaps, but the mid terms are this year, and nothing else seems to be happening.
A lot of people apparently love to shoot assault rifles and go to commercial ranges to engage in their hobby. So it is big business. Money talks. And while I would sincerely hate to deprive anyone of their fun, I put the safety of society and our children first.