The New Cold War
2012/12/17 5 Comments
England’s King James II was an autocrat and an unpopular one. Among other things King James felt threatened by the rising number of Protestants in England, who represented a growing opposition to both his political power and his Catholic religion. He decided to try and disarm the Protestants, one of a series of disasters for him and he was overthrown in 1688. The English Bill of Rights adopted the very next year included a provision stating specifically that it was wrong of King James II to have disarmed the Protestants.
Yes, religious discrimination is wrong. Freedom from religious persecution was a cornerstone of our democracy, and that passage in the English Bill of Rights influenced the writing of the second amendment to our US Constitution. The British document included the verbiage that arms must be allowed by law, and when the American document was written in 1791 – just eight years after the revolutionary war ended – you can bet that our leaders also wanted to make sure that no ruler would ever attempt to disarm Americans based on their religion.
In the centuries since they were written, the verbiage of both the English Bill of Rights and the second amendment to the US Constitution have been interpreted many different ways. The context is certainly different – for example, Americans have not freshly beaten back an invading foreign army from US soil. It would appear then that we are now using the second amendment to justify arming ourselves not to defend our nation from occupying forces, but to defend ourselves as individuals from our fellow Americans. Should we ever have to fight each other, we will be armed to the teeth.
Why would any other country invade America today? All they have to do is incite increasing fear and hatred in us, and we will all end up killing each other off. What was once a cold war between nations has become a cold war between neighbors, with former classmates, co-workers, friends, and family members secretly stockpiling everything they need for armageddon as they individually define it. Our population is already self-centered and increasingly polarized, we horribly underfund mental health programs, we make buying a wide range of guns and ammunition remarkably simple, and now many states will allow people to carry all sorts of concealed weapons into public places, like restaurants, bars, shopping centers, movie theaters, and yes, schools.
Despite the recent outbreak of horrible gun violence, there are still people calling for gun laws to be relaxed – so that weapons can be concealed, and bigger, more powerful, more automated weaponry can be made more freely available – all this so that we might better defend ourselves against ourselves. If we continue to support this way of thinking, our escalating cold war between neighbors will eventually result in every individual owning bigger and more lethal weapons, until at some point every home has its own nuclear warhead. Is that really where we want to take this? Does that really make anyone at all feel safe and secure?
Should America need to be actively defended, our military has many weapons. As private individuals though it’s high time for us to recognize that our safety and security, and that of our families and homes, is not defined by the presence of weapons but better by the lack of them.
I call for all arms and ammunition not owned by a US government entity to be turned over to state police or the US Department of Defense within thirty days; for all sales of arms and ammunition to non-governmental and foreign entities to cease immediately; for all imports and exports of arms and ammunition to cease immediately; for remaining arms and ammunition manufacturing to be nationalized immediately, with 100% of sales to American government contract only; and for any existing bills of sale, contracts, etc that contradict these terms to be immediately declared null and void. From this day forward America will no longer force our brand of peace and democracy on the rest of the world – instead, we will lead by example.