Tag Archives: 2nd amendment

Explaining Gun Culture in America

Today I was at a lunch-time happy hour with a few co-workers when the topic of guns came up. One of my co-workers Michael mentioned in passing that he and his family are planning a hunting trip in South Georgia where one of his uncles own several hundred acres.

This statement passed by me without a second thought, but two of my co-workers were intensely curious about the trip. One man from India and the other from China. They were fascinated by the nonchalant way he treated the topic of owning a gun – several guns – in fact.

Wei, a thin man with a thick accent and kind tone, explained he had served two years in the Chinese military during the early 1980s.  This was the only time, he explained, he had ever handled a gun. In China only the military may carry a weapon. I got the impression he was not a fan of the Chinese military. Yasir, on the other hand, had never seen a gun outside the movies. I think he pictured Michael’s hunting trip on a horse and with a cowboy hat. Both found the gun culture in America (especially the South) unusual.

Explaining Gun Culture in America

“Guns aren’t a big deal to us because we grew up with them.” Michael explained.

That’s true for me too. I remember when I was a young boy and my Dad and I would go hiking. We would pack a few fishing poles and some lunch. He would bring along our dog and the shotgun in the event we would stumble upon a while boar or if we just wanted to do some target practice for fun.

My Father and Grandfather taught me all about guns: how to safely hold them, how to shoot one, and how to store it. I remember my Father carefully explaining to me that a “gun is not a toy” and to “never point it at anyone” to “aim it at the ground when you’re not using it.”

All of these lessons seemed perfectly natural when I was a child, but looking back now I realize that they were something truly unique to American culture and Southern heritage. Just like some parents probably teach their children to use the subway or cross a busy intersection – mine taught me how to handle a gun.

Guns are kind of like a locally revered cuisine that the rest of the world finds distasteful. Chicken feet or caviar, maybe. And perhaps for that reason alone many Americans, in certain regions, embrace guns even more. It is part of our history, our “rugged and independent” ideology, and upbringing. It’s not bread out of some desire to kill our enemies, some love of conflict, or paranoia – it’s just another tool we were taught to use growing up.

I guess that’s why a lot of people are hesitant to give their guns up and why others don’t understand that logic. Culture can be strange that way.

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Media: We don’t care about black people killed in mass shootings

12 people were killed in Aurora Colorado last year. All of the victims were white. The murders took place in a middle class community in the midst of the opening of a popular movie. The media loved it.

13 people were killed in Chicago earlier this week. All of the victims were African American and police say the shooting was gang related. That’s just a small portion of the total murders in Chicago. There have been 822 murders since January 2012. Almost all of those victims were African American.

Why doesn’t the media spend more time talking about crime prevention in poor neighborhoods and less time promoting mass shootings and making murderers famous. It’s no wonder that, according to Pew Research Center and Journalism.org,  people no longer trust the media.

“This adds up to a news industry that is more undermanned and unprepared to uncover stories, dig deep into emerging ones or to question information put into its hands. And findings from our new public opinion survey released in this report reveal that the public is taking notice. Nearly one-third of the respondents (31%) have deserted a news outlet because it no longer provides the news and information they had grown accustomed to.”

Why I support your right to carry a gun, but don’t carry one myself

Two men died in a shootout after a “road rage” incident last week.

“Initial investigation shows the Ionia men, ages 43 and 56, pulled into the car wash parking lot after a road rage incident. They exited their vehicles and eventually drew handguns and exchanged fire, police said. It wasn’t clear what the two men were arguing about.

Life EMS transported the men to Sparrow Ionia Hospital, where they were pronounced dead.

Police said both men, whose identities have not been released, held permits to carry concealed weapons.” [source]

Why I don’t carry

I support the right to carry a concealed weapon, but this story sums up why I choose not to carry a gun myself. Maybe I am naive, but it seems that a gun would almost always cause more problems than it would solve.

I imagine if just one of these guys would not have been carrying a gun they would both be alive.

Police State or State of Insanity?

Below is a video of a man in Texas who was arrested and disarmed by officers after someone called the police. Watch the video and let’s discuss.

Two Sides

In my attempt to remain level headed I want to examine both sides of the story here.

The Officer 

On one side we have the police officers. They received a call about a man carrying a rifle while walking down a Texas road. Their heart begins to pound because anytime you have to respond to a man with a gun your life could be in danger. Guns do have the potential to kill and when entering in a situation as such one must be prepared.

The police see the man and an intimidating weapon and a slight panic sets in. They ask the man to turn over his weapon and he gives them an attitude. This automatically makes the situation worse. The cops stop following protocol and act in self interest. Their first concern is disarming a man who seems aggressive – this isn’t by the book, but things are moving so fast that it’s easy to see why mistakes are made.

Gun violence has been all the talk on the news and in precincts everywhere. Tensions are high and protecting life is top priority.

The Armed Citizen

The man is a veteran and purposely chose rural Texas as a place to call home. He chose rural Texas because he believed that values he holds dear are upheld here. He has been desensitized by weapons after carrying one for several years in Afghanistan. He is a proud man and fought to defend the rights of all Americans and he wants to exerciser his to the utmost – that includes legally carrying a gun.

When the officer stops him he feels violated. This is America. This is Texas. He is just a man protecting himself and his son. The officer, who is a little panicked, tries to grab the citizen’s weapon away. This is it – unacceptable – this is exactly the kind of fascism and lawlessness the former soldier fought for to protect. It is inexcusable that any man try to take those rights away – the ones he was literally willing to die for.

The citizen is infuriated. This stamps on everything he believes in – and his son is there to watch.

Clarity

When you see it from both sides it kind of becomes obvious why there was so much conflict. Both sides had a good point, but both failed to realize the other had their own perspective. I would even go as far as to say that perhaps neither were wrong completely, but both failed to see the other person’s point of view. Both were hyper aware of the gun and less aware of the situation. The cop was trying to protect his own life (as far as he knew) and the citizen was trying to protect his rights and beliefs (which he was obviously very passionate about).

How the Media has distorted Judgement

When I first watched this video I felt a lot of emotion. Then as I contemplated it – I realized a lot of those emotions were not my own. They were implanted by the media. They were thoughts and ideas that someone else told me to think. Carefully formulated rhetoric designed by the anti-gun and pro-gun lobbies to persuade judgement. It seems like this has affected almost everyone’s ability to judge the situation without bias.

We know the ideas: Guns are bad. People with guns kill people. Universal background checks. Common-sense laws. The Government is bad. The Government wants to take guns away so they can control us. Blah blah blah.

Maybe what we need to do is sit down and rethink this whole issue. Forget the guns and think PEOPLE. We need to educate people. We need to change the culture. People are both the problem and solution.

Side Note: The New Vietnam?

I also see a frightening pattern regarding returning veterans. Will this be a new pattern? Returning vets realizing they fought in Iraq based on a lie the Government sold based on Nuclear weapons that didn’t exist. A war that was never declared and never ended? Will proud vets return home to a population that quickly dismissed their cause and doesn’t appreciate their sacrifice? In the end I can see nothing good from the kind of endless war we’re in. History forgotten is quickly repeated.

The Second Amendment and Obama’s Executive Orders

Biden came out today and said that President Obama may act alone with a series of executive orders to combat gun control. Maybe you think that is a good thing, maybe you think it’s a bad thing. In either case I think an executive order on gun control would result in an interesting discussion as related to the second amendment.

The Second Amendment

I hate it when people say that the 2nd Amendment is “the right to bear arms.” That’s just not true.

The “right” to bear arms is not a right granted by the Government. At least the founding fathers didn’t believe that. They believed that the right to defend yourself – including the right to have a weapon was a natural right.

What the 2nd Amendment actually does is outlaw any attempt by the Government to take away this natural law (i.e., no outlawing Guns).  Let’s read the amendment:

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

The Amendment says “the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.” Meaning the right to bear arms, which we have naturally, cannot be taken away by the Government or anyone else.

Executive Orders and Gun Control

I doubt that Obama will even think about issuing an Executive Order outright banning any weapons, but just the fact we are having the conversation is curious. Executive Orders always reek of forced unapproved policy.

More likely Obama will make getting a gun more difficult. Perhaps increase the requirements  documentation, background checks, etc. – I’m not sure what I think about that yet, but i do know it is an interesting phenomena when any leader starts issuing executive orders on issues that do not involve an emergency or war.

Why not let the congress handle it? Does President Obama think he knows better than the elected officials of the very people these congressmen and women represent?  I do not agree or like the idea of executive orders when it comes to things like this – it is more akin to a dictatorship than a presidency.

If the majority of the people truly believe in an issue let them voice their concern to congressman and pass a law the old fashioned way. Let the political system work! Even if the President is absolutely right, he’s wrong.

In principal going above the heads of elected representatives is bad medicine.