O God, do you see this?
I do not ask why an all-powerful, all-knowing, ever present God has allowed the tragedy of the mass killings in Newtown Connecticut. I do not ask why 20 children and 8 adults are dead at the intersection of mental illness and semi-automatic assault weapons. God gives human beings free will. So, my cry is a human cry to humanity. The correct question is: why do we allow this?
The National Rifle Association continues to insist that easy access to semi-automatic weapons is not the reason for the series of mass shootings that this nation has witnessed. Their spokespeople claim that culture, mental illness, and not enough guns in schools are responsible for the recent tragedies. Wayne LaPierre, executive vice president of the National Rifle Association, says the only thing that will stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. Such thinking is nonsense. Bullets cannot tell a good guy from a bad guy, and there is no guarantee that when the smoke clears, the good guy will be the one left standing.
We have genuflected too deeply and given too much power to a misanthropic, misinterpretation of the second amendment of the United States Constitution. A fusion of past, present and future horizons provides a necessary context for a correct interpretation of this amendment. When we consider the past, it is important to know that the founders thought that a standing army was a threat to liberty. They thought it would be too costly.
This was the historical moment of citizen soldiers who would take up arms when a specific threat arose. Moreover, the idea was the citizen soldier would be a part of “[a] well regulated militia.” Writing about the bill of rights, James Madison said government existed: “for the benefit of the people; which consists in the enjoyment of life and liberty, with the right of acquiring and using property, and generally of pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety.”
The founders believed in natural rights that inhered in our humanity before the establishment of positive law. Such rights included: conscience, religion, property, happiness and safety, speaking, writing, publishing, peaceable assembly, and petition of government. The purpose of the second amendment is “the security of a free state.” Its purpose is not to protect the individual from the government. All of our friends who interpret the US Constitution according to its original intent ought to understand that it does not give ordinary citizens an unlimited right to bear arms. One could argue that only those who are members of their state’s national guard have the right to keep and bear arms.