Monday, February 26, 2018

Rights and Responsibilities

Too bad that Civics isn't taught in school anymore. The Evangelicals keen and wail about prayer and 'god' being removed from classrooms in public schools. (Granted, that group is forever keening and wailing, such is their provenance.) - Setting aside the separation of church and State for the time being,  what we actually need are lessons in basic civics and civic responsibility.

It might be remembered that the Bill of Rights, the first ten amendments to the US Constitution, is also an implied declaration of responsibilities which undergird those declared rights.

Simply said, all civic rights come with integral responsibilities. Voting Rights come with the responsibility to educate oneself about the issues and the candidates. The Right to a speedy trial imparts the duty to create and maintain a judicial system that is efficient. The Right to free speech imparts the duty of the citizens to forbearance of conflicting views. The Right of the people to peaceably assemble requires that those assembled do not become violent. The Right to the free exercise of religion obligates the religious to respect other religions as well as respect those who are non-religious. 

Rights are predicated by responsibility. Anyone who knows the legend of Spiderman knows that 'With great power comes great responsibility...'.
The Rights guaranteed by the Constitution are the Power of the People. 

Now, we come to the Right guaranteed by the Second Amendment; the Right to keep and bear arms. With that Right, comes the responsibility that guns in society do not become a threat to public safety. The problem is that many gun owners (under the influence of the NRA and/or grand, machismo Rambo visions) refuse to accept that underlying  responsibility and duty inherent in exercising that Right.

Those who exercise their Right to 'keep and bear arms' must accept responsibility for the alarming number of gun deaths in America. One might bandy stats around and argue about the accuracy of data collection but the tragedies of Sandy Hook, Las Vegas, Parkland, (etc, etc, ad fecking nauseum) go well beyond numbers of dead or the number of guns or the number of rounds.
Think what you will about the causes of gun violence. It makes little difference to the basic tenet that Rights come with Responsibility and duty.

The very troubling case at hand is this: there is gun violence. It exists. It exists at a level unmatched by any other First World Nation. It exists at a level unmatched even in our own violent history except for times of war. It is also very clear that the level of gun violence is unacceptable to the large majority of the population.

It is time for those who wish to be Gun Owners to accept the Responsibility incumbent to that Right.

The blame for the mass shootings, the suicides, the accidental deaths by gun-fire, the murders are not relevant to the Gun Owner's Responsibility and Duty to safe-guard society. Don't blame the shooter, Law Enforcement or society. Society is your charge as well, Gun Owners - citizens. Don't rail against those who wish to stop the carnage. Do your Duty and accept Responsibility for gun deaths.

Figure out the legislation which will mitigate the deadly effect of guns in our society. Keep all the guns you want but do so by making certain Virginia Tech, Sandy Hook, Sutherland Springs, Tx, Orlando, Las Vegas, Parkland, etc, never happen again and the horrific number of suicides, murders and accidental shootings are considerably reduced to a socially acceptable level.

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