Second to None  Gun

“Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.” That’s the genius behind the National Rifle Association’s (NRA) slogan and it was the very phrase that came to my mind when news broke of yesterday’s heartbreaking crime.

In the wake of Friday’s tragedy, which sent riveting shock waves through the hearts of Americans as we learned that 20-year-old Adam Lanza took the lives of 27 people – including his own – (20 of which were children between the ages of 6 and 7. THESE WERE KIDS) at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut and with tears welling up in my eyes, I began to think and came to find this: It really doesn’t matter what the motives are behind committing cold, gruesome murder. The fact of that matter is it happened and will more likely than not, happen again. It’s an unfortunate facet of the way life works but is also a great testament to the gravity of what needs to be done at both the federal and state levels to guarantee against future tragedies. No one was able to escape the wrath of Adam’s rage and the fact that it was taken out on such tender, pure, innocent souls is all the more disturbing.

Let’s face it, having guns in homes is a deep part of American culture. We have a long tradition of hunting and sportsmen in this country and a lot of people who want to make sure they can protect  themselves. An attempt to eradicate guns across the board would make prohibition look like a day in the park. Just hours after POTUS secured his reelection he ordered the U.S. mission to the United Nations delegation to vote in favor of a UN proposal to fast track an international gun control treaty (which establishes a bizarre moral equivalence between countries that trade arms to defend freedom and those that do so to suppress and extinguish it). While I’m not advocating for an entire ban on guns by any means or expressing support for a treaty that would necessarily pose a significant threat to our national security or our constitutional rights, I’m starting to question whether weapons that were designed for soldiers in war should be in our streets.

With the gun violence-related events that have been occurring in our country over this past year, it should come as no surprise that we’ll be witnessing the igniting of an even more heated debate surrounding the verbiage in the Second Amendment and gun laws in this country. Lawyers and the courts have been battling over this highly contested subject since that fateful day on December 15, 1791, when the law of our great land, the Constitution, was ratified. But there’s a large and widely unseen misconception here with the language of the Second Amendment and it’s implementation at the time it first came to fruition, versus today. While it is very important, its also greatly misunderstood. It clearly states, “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 phrase “bear arms” was referring to soldiers and militiamen. Not to private gun use by an individual in a home or on a hunt. The central image of association was that of Minutemen bearing arms, not Daniel Boone gunning down bears. And so with that ever-evolving depiction, so too has the interpretation behind the Second Amendment.

In fact increasingly calls have been made for the the Second Amendment to be interpreted alongside the 14th Amendment particularly the privileges and immunities clause in Section 1 which states: “All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” It focuses on Rights Guaranteed Privileges and Immunities of Citizenship, Due Process and Equal Protection. Many see the recognition of this clause as being necessary to respect the Framers’ vision, as it was inspired by the Declaration of Independence and laid out in the Constitution, for a government that would in fact serve instead of rule, the people which translates to government’s limited role whilst the Constitution would stand as an ever-watchful guardian to assure and ensure that government would not overstep its bounds, as we know very well they are apt to doing.

A companion statute to the 14th Amendment, enacted by Congress in 1866, declared that “laws … concerning personal liberty [and] personal security … including the constitutional right to bear arms, shall be secured to and enjoyed by all the citizens.” Here, in sharp contrast to founding-era legal texts, the “bear arms” phrase was decisively severed from the military context. Additionally, the Second Amendment harkens back to an 18th Century America where citizens were regularly rounded up for militia service on the town square and where the federal army was rightly suspect. This is no longer our world and while the framers of the 14th Amendment did focus intently on self-dense in the home, the framers of the Second Amendment did not.

Whatever direction this hot topic ends up taking, the calls for action are being heard loud and clear across the nation. Our nation has grieved the loss of 20 of our children and this will hopefully prompt a call to action and initiatives to prevent future tragedies from occurring without causing damage to the individual rights we hold as citizens of this great county and maintaining its stalwart principles. As with everything in life, there is something to be said about finding and maintaining a balance; a middle ground of sorts. Too much of anything is never a good thing and in times of grief, well, I think this says it best:

“In times of grief and sorrow I will hold you and rock you and take your grief and make it my own. When you cry I cry and when you hurt I hurt. And together we will try to hold back the floods to tears and despair and make it through the potholed street of life” ― Nicholas Sparks, The Notebook

Godspeed to the families of those affected by this and other tragedies and may we never experience the devastating blow of loss ever again.

Once in a Lifetime: 12.12.12

12-12-12

Today marks the last major numerical date using the Gregorian or Christian calendar for almost another century. The next time three numbers will align as they did on 9-9-09, 10-10-10 and 11-11-11 will be on Jan. 1, 3001, or 1-1-1. It also marks a new day for the Holy See as Pope Benedict XVI sent out his first, long-anticipated, Tweet with the push of a button on an iPad. His pearls of wisdom: “How can faith in Jesus be lived in a world without hope?” And what a special day it is.

All this has stirred up talk of a doomsday and Armageddon-like finale, with just nine days to go before the Mayan calendar hits the end of its 5,000-year cycle. Superstitious ramblings of the end have even sparked some odd and eerie behavior in other countries prompting NASA to release a Mayan calendar “told ya so” video (NASA releases Mayan calendar ‘told ya so’ video 10 days early | Crave – CNET) in an attempt to quell any looming fears.

So let’s take a look at the lighter side of this enchanted figure and see the positive (no pun intended) in the number 12. Here are 12 fun facts about this :

  1. The Beatles released a total of 12 studio albums
  2. Only 12 people have ever walked the moon (12.13.2012 will the mark the 40th anniversary of which the men on Apollo 17 took humanity’s final steps on the moon)
  3. 12 is the atomic number of magnesium on the periodic table of elements
  4. There are 12 pairs of ribs in the human body
  5. There are 12 cranial nerves in the human body
  6. In English, 12 is the largest number that has just one syllable
  7. The 12 ‘ Jyotirlingas’ represents the epitome of the God Shiva in Hindu Shaivism
  8. Most computers have 12 function keys (i.e. F1, F2, etc.)
  9. In the bible Jacob had 12 sons who were the progenitors of the Twelve Tribes of Israel
  10. There were 12 apostles
  11. King Arthur’s round table had 12 Knights including himself
  12. The Dozenal Societies of America and Great Britain are devoted to…you guessed it!

One numerologist says the number 12 is associated with enjoyment, emotions, creative expression, sadness, rejuvenation and rebirth. Let’s face it. If something’s bound to happen, there’s nothing we can do to stop it. So skeptics and believers alike, rejoice! You have nine days (not 12!) to find out…