Warning to my regular blog readers: this is not a gardening blog post.
Hello, my name is Jen. I am an everyday, 30 something, mother of 2, born and raised in Oregon. In light of the recent, horrific, mass shootings here in Oregon and now in Connecticut, I would like to lend my voice to the issue of guns in America.
I grew up going to the shooting range with my father and grandfather, participating in old fashioned, black powder shooting and I developed a healthy respect for our countries second amendment right to bare arms. While my political leaning have become progressively more liberal as I've matured into adulthood, my stance on gun ownership has not. I have held the view that the right to bare arms is critical and any attempt to weaken this law would be limiting the average citizen his/her right to protect family and property from both the government and the common man.
For the record, I am not a member of the NRA.
Today, I watched images of hysterical parents trying to find their children among the chaos and blood shed at an elementary school in Connecticut. Earlier this week, the shopping mall that I used to work at, during my college days, was engulfed in bloodshed of yet another gun wielding mad man. I found it odd that I should think to myself how grateful I was that I did not encounter such an atrocity during my tenure there.
I have great appreciation for history. I love to study it's lessons. In American history, the stories of the Revolutionary War and the founding of our country have always held great importance to me. Lessons of people oppressed, taxation without representation and laws that prohibit the average citizen from grouping together and forming militia and baring arms, ring true, even in modern times. But, it's the context in which these laws were written that we must discuss. Automatic and semi-automatic weapons were not invented and the population was a fraction of it's current size. The essential point of the law was to allow the average citizen to defend his home and property and rise up and join with others to form a militia and essentially offer a balance of power between the people and the government.
The reality is that today, due to the availability of automatic & semi-automatic guns in American, innocent children and their teachers lost their lives in a senseless act of violence. Earlier in the week, my community lost two fine members due to another senseless act of violence. There is no way to reconcile these losses.
It is time to discuss the context and culture in which the second amendment was written and created. It is time to analyze the needs of our current culture and the technological advancements that have been made. As our society has grown, it's needs have changed. While we still should be allowed the right to protect our property and family, it should not be at the expense of the safety of the greater society. A hard look at the need for average citizens to own assault weapons and/or weapons that allow for the use of 'clips' of ammunition should be carefully examined.
We should also discuss the vast amount of money that our nation spends on it's military complex. Could that money be better spend supporting our social safety nets? Would we be better off as a group, providing more care and assistance to those with mental illness, especially in light of the fact that nearly all of the gunmen in these mass shootings have had mental health issues? Or what about helping the un(der)employed gain new skills by boosting the offerings, and accessibility of our community colleges in order to avert those who might have violent tendencies and resort to such violent acts when they are overwhelmed by desperation.
I respect the voices of those to continue to be opposed to gun control in America. I understand the underlying reasons. But, in light of the events of today and this week, we must challenge ourselves to reach beyond the context of the times in which our current second amendment was written and consider the needs of our modern society. Safety from assault weapons seems reasonable to me.