I’m sure you’ve heard about the Second Amendment to the Unites States Constitution. It prohibits laws that would prevent Americans from legally owning “arms.” Back in the days of the Founding Fathers, of course, “arms” were quite different from today’s “arms.” But that doesn’t matter to gun nuts. An amendment is an amendment and that’s all that matters.
Except when it’s an amendment protecting a woman’s right to determine her own reproductive destiny. Or an amendment shielding Americans from “unreasonable searches and seizures” – secretly seizing your phone and internet records, for example. In these cases, well, amendments aren’t so sacrosanct. Indeed, to some Americans, they’re downright subversive.
Obviously, all amendments are not created equal.
With such shaky logic to support their cause, how on earth did America’s gun owners become politically invincible?
You might say that guns have played a unique role in American history – the squirrel gun that mowed down the Redcoats … the Colt .44 revolver and the Winchester repeating rifle that colonized the West… and so on.
But even so, historical weapons belong in museums, not on the streets.
And modern weapons, semi-automatic rifles, for example, belong in the hands of military and law enforcement personnel, not some madman in Santa Monica (photo above).
Yet the grisly Santa Monica story has become so commonplace that it hardly made the news. Six dead, including the shooter – a young man with “mental health issues.” The murder weapon was a Bushmaster semi-automatic rifle and the killer had more than a thousand rounds of ammunition draped about his person. Sound familiar?
Think Newtown. Think Aurora.
Is nobody going to do anything about this epidemic of gun violence?
You might argue that gun laws are worthless because some people won’t abide by them, as the NRA keeps saying. “When guns are outlawed, only outlaws have guns.”
And there’s some truth to that. Outlaws have access to guns beyond the control of lawmakers or law enforcement agencies.
But the Santa Monica shooter was no outlaw. Nor was the killer at Newtown. Nor was the Aurora assassin.
They were well within the law’s control. If there were a law. And if the law were enforced efficiently.
But there is no such law, and it looks as if there will be no such law any time soon.
It’s doubtful that Americans will ever enjoy effective protection from random massacres because, in America, the Almighty Dollar rules.
The arms industry is hugely profitable. Americans spend about $2 billion a year on guns. Consequently, the industry is extremely popular with American investors. Just one of the top arms manufacturers, Cerberus, manages more than $20 billion for investors, including government and private sector pension and retirement funds, charitable foundations, university endowments, insurance companies, and family funds.
As long as America’s most powerful families own a major stake in arms manufacturing … as long as pension funds and other large investors have shares in these companies .. as long as guns make money – so much money for so many people … and as long as money buys politicians… the Second Amendment will remain sacred in America.
It’s as simple as that.