- Posted July 20, 2012 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Colorado movie theater shooting
A well regulated militia.
Thomas Jefferson surely did not mean "regulated" in the sense of "controlling with rules and regulations that restrict", but rather "regulated" in the sense of "being adjusted for accurate and proper functioning", such as of a machine or mechanism. What he certainly intended with the principle of the second amendment was that the militia (The People providing security for themselves without the assistance of The State agents, and possibly against foreign or domestic agents in the defense of their life and liberty), should be well armed and be effective in the use of their arms (by regularly practicing in their use and having them readily available in case of danger). Therefore, the right of the people to keep and bear arms should not be infringed.
Today, Americans have lots of arms, despite efforts to restrict their sale, but few know how to use them effectively and safely. Even fewer carry their arms outside of the home. In this day and age, the most likely application of a well regulated (i.e. high functioning) militia (which may consist of one individual American), is in combat against one or a few determined individuals acting outside of the law, whether that be an armed robbery, an act of terrorism, or a senseless mass killing.
In the case of someone standing up in a theatre and shooting randomly, it is true that most gun owners would be either entirely incapable of drawing their weapon and hitting a moving target under fire and just add to the chaos, or more likely, shoot themselves trying to draw the gun. However, it is also true that someone who is proficient in firearms and was armed at the time shooting began would have a good chance of taking out the attacker and thereby reduce the casualty number dramatically (save lives). Two such individuals in the theatre doubles the odds of incapacitating the attacker. I don't believe that it would be hard to identify the attacker (especially one wearing a gas mask), but that's just my own speculation.
It seems to me that the intent of the law or our land is not to restrict gun ownership, but rather to encourage that the people be proficient in the use of firearms so they can protect themselves and their communities, because you can't have police protection everywhere, and in any case such a scenario would be a clear violation of the fourth amendment and contrary to the American principles of individual self-determination and self-reliance.
It is interesting to me that the discussion on this topic is always making reference to "concealed carry". The injunction that the weapon must be concealed is in fact the greatest infringement of the right to bear arms and part of the reason why the militia is not well regulated. It is often impractical, particularly in summer, to conceal even a small handgun. Also, because the vast majority of the general population would be shocked to see someone carrying a pistol openly, even in states where open carry is permitted, permit holders do not carry openly for fear of "disturbing the peace", which almost certainly would happen by no fault of their own. If, however, people carried their weapons in much the same way they carry their purses, openly, on their shoulder or hip for best access, and this was seen as commonplace, then more people would regularly carry their weapons. As a result, they would be more likely to practice with their firearm and feel comfortable drawing and handling it, as well as have the firearm in an accessible position in case of an emergency. Furthermore, this would remove the fantasy that is associated with firearms - a fantasy which is certainly reinforced by the playing of video games. If firearms were no more special than cars, or propane grills, perhaps psychopaths wouldn't be so drawn to use them for spectacle.
Lastly, it would be a great triumph for a society of urban, industrialized people to all carry weapons and have a very low incidence of violence. One would have to admit that such a society is verifiably the most peaceful on Earth!
By contrast, from 1919 in Germany and from the 16th century until the present in Japan, only military and ruling classes were permitted to own weapons of any kind. Despite these strict controls, those societies embarked on global campaigns to destroy and dominate all of mankind. To say that gun control will make us a more peaceful society is completely unfounded.