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Gary Horton: We need to also face the greater threat

Posted: July 26, 2012 2:50 p.m.
Updated: July 26, 2012 2:50 p.m.

It is a national inconsistency that America’s security apparatus will data-mine millions of citizens’ cell phones, will search, fondle, and X-ray tens of millions of air passengers searching for “terrorists” — yet, thanks to an extremely enthusiastic interpretation of the Second Amendment, America has no particular problem with folks amassing a terrifying 6,000 rounds of high-power ammunition and a modest army’s stockpile of automatic weaponry.

Mirror-foggers can apparently purchase semi-automatic guns in Colorado, and it’s no biggie to order a UPS delivery of high power ammo over the web, right to your door.

What a great country, where we’ll abide fondling kids and grandmas in airports with paranoid worry of toothpaste tubes or water bottles that might take down our next jet flight, yet thanks to wildly successful gun lobbying, no politician nor agency will stand to enforce sane weaponry laws to protect us from more realistic everyday harm.

Odd, that after one wildly successful boxcutter terrorist attack that killed 3,000 innocents we launched $200 billion in wars and billions more on Transportation Security Administration programs that ironically violate sacred rights of privacy every bit as important as our right to bear arms.

Meanwhile, even after guns and assault weapons kill 10,000 innocents in Americans each and every year, dwarfing the death count of 9/11, America can’t muster up enough willpower to manage and control the firepower behind the ever-present carnage in our everyday midst.

In our struggling times we appreciate that gun manufacturers are “jobs creators” — as are also morticians and undertakers. But there’s surely got to be a better way to provide for jobs, freedom, safety, and rights than by tolerating such ongoing mayhem.

Things have devolved so strangely in America that excessive bias toward the Second Amendment threatens the peace and personal freedoms the overall Constitution was framed to provide.

Surely, “freedom from murder” must rank at least as high as our other rights. The Constitution might now be held captive by the guns provided by a single amendment attached therein.

Today, American suffers from murder rates multiple times higher than our industrialized peers. We share similar cultures and standards of living with Great Britain, Canada and others, but one thing we don’t share is their tighter regulation of weapons and our higher body count per-capita.

“But one day we may need our weapons to rise up against a tyrannical American government!” Friend, I suspect when that day comes, your AK-47 won’t stand up against the drone targeting you overhead, or the world’s mightiest army marching in lockstep down your street. We’d better keep government checked at the ballot box, because fighting against our own armed forces is going to be a losing proposition.

Which leads us to a more basic question behind the question. Is our basic problem about respecting amendments or fighting gun control or managing the mentally ill who lash out with guns?

Or is it more about the common sense America lacks in its present valuation of good, beneficial government promoting practical laws to protect the well being of our people? We have such disregard for politicians that we don’t expect any solutions, save for their impotent exhortations for us to “pray for the victims.”

If there remains a semblance of “if there’s a will there’s a way,” we’ve got to look past whatever fundamentalism that’s paralyzing us to properly manage criminal access to the weaponry that leverages potential for destruction. We cut funding for proactive care for the mentally ill, and we’ve lost our backbone to fight for pragmatic enforcement of gun control.

So here we are today — a nation that loses three times the number of  9/11 victims to murder every year, without the will to turn the tide by managing the root of our problem.

It’s a sad conclusion, but Americans appear content to passively suffer loss upon loss because commonsense actions are politically difficult or we ourselves are constrained by this or that fundamentalism.

How is it that America is so eager and adept at attacking evils outside without seriously confronting the more threatening and lethal evils within?

Gary Horton is a Santa Clarita resident. Full Speed to Port appears Wednesdays in The Signal.


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