All I could think of while writing this was the song covered by Peter, Paul and Mary, written by Gibson and Camp Well, Well, Well…
Well, well, well
Who’s that a callin
Well, well, well
Hold my hand.
Well, well, well,
Night is a fallin
Spirit is a movin all over this land
With people mowed down by bullets on a regular basis, two leaders goading each other into war and more; one wonders what dark “spirit” is “movin all over this land.”
The gun debate, to me: a gun owner and former member of the NRA, is annoying. America will never give up guns, but the idea that most proposals to tighten restrictions are that drastic is no more than propaganda. Sure, like anything in America, you can always find someone, some organization, as an example, but generally it’s nonsense. Police are just as likely to ever go house to house to rout out anyone who has had an abortion as they are to do the same to confiscate all guns. Should we be vigil? Yes. But not dangerously absurd.
The argument regarding the Second Amendment seems to always come down to extremists: those who automatically translate “militia” into everyone and those who say since we have standing armies; instead of official militias, that negates the whole amendment. Both seem to border on absolutism, and no right is absolute.
Oh, that makes some gun rights advocates mad when I say or type that. So I ask, “Do prisoners have the right to fully auto guns and ammunition?” Of course not. As a nation we have always decided how rights apply and to whom. But, on the other side, some refuse to ask when limiting rights through regulations or laws becomes so intrusive it’s more offensive than not possibly saving lives that MIGHT be saved. But, in America with our longstanding gun culture: highly unlikely we’ll ever even get close to that, as close as say England.
Then we have machine guns. Few of even the most strident gun advocates demand everyone have the right to possess and open carry. In fact the recent mass killing stands out because murders from machine guns has been so low since outright ownership without permit was instituted so long ago: proving some regulations, some laws, DO work and aren’t that intrusive.
I feel our focus has been all wrong. Obviously some regulations, some laws, are acceptable. So the problem isn’t clauses, militias or “infringement.” Given just my two examples, 99% of us agree on at least a small amount of “infringement,” and “regulation.” The true controversy should be “well”. How do we define “well?”
But this would require the propagandists to abandon stupid slogans and outright lies, like some administration is going to take away all guns. It also requires thoughtful discussion: something talking heads and the media have no interest in. It doesn’t jack up ratings, it doesn’t serve agendas and it doesn’t pump up hate near as much as false framing.
Inspection is a column that has been written by Ken Carman for over 40 years. Inspection is dedicated to looking at odd angles, under all the rocks, and into the unseen cracks and crevasses that constitute the issues and philosophical constructs of our day: places few think, or even dare, to venture.
Ken Carman and Cartenual Productions
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