Tag Archives: liberty

Gimme Shelter?

31 Oct

Statue of Liberty - 4621961395.jpg

130 years ago the Statue of Liberty was assembled and dedicated on what is now known as Liberty Island in New York Harbor. 17 years later a bronze tablet bearing the text of  Emma Lazarus’s sonnet,  “The New Colossus”, was presented by friends of the poet and mounted inside the pedestal.

The final verse of the poem offers hope to all who come to this great land, the U.S.A.

“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

100 years after the great structure was erected, Lady Liberty was renovated  and the statue was reopened to the public on July 5, 1986.  In President Reagan’s dedication speech, he stated, “We are the keepers of the flame of liberty; we hold it high for the world to see.”

Now we face a time when a new Republican president may be elected and with him the promise of closing our doors to immigrants and deporting millions and millions of others who sought asylum and who live here peaceably now.

Perhaps, if elected, he will rededicate the statue and replace the poem that sits beside it with a more apt message that befits his and his followers beliefs?

Something like: Beat it you immigrants or I’ll torch your ass!

Seriously though, if Mr. Trump  should win, how hypocritical would it be to let Lady Liberty continue to stand in our harbor with her beckoning light and message of hope… to a world we would have voted to wall out?

Let’s Get Real

14 Apr

 

Gun proponents and advocates who disagree with my pro gun regulation blogs always seem to disagree with me, and others who try to promote gun regulation and safety, in the same way.

First they question and mock my ability to read and understand the Constitution of the United States. Next they state that because “the right to bear arms” is in the Constitution there can never be any debate or discussion about it nor any amendments or modifications or clarifications made to it. (which of course is what an amendment is in the first place)

Then they point out how guns actually save lives and point me to sites all around the internet that extol the virtues of those who have thwarted murderers, robbers and rapists etc. by shooting and killing them.  And finally they always resort to a paranoid complaint about how I and others like me just want to take away their guns so as to begin the establishment of an apocalyptic end of times government that will take away all of their freedoms once they have lost the ability to defend themselves with guns.

It is precisely these traits, i.e. the use of sarcasm rather than facts, the refusal to discuss differences and the belief that others are against them simply because they wish to do them harm, that scare non gun users. People who arm themselves with dangerous weapons for whatever purpose, are dangerous none the less. And history and statistics have shown us that the difference between a person with a “defensive weapon” and one who uses it to kill another person can simply be the difference between their access to that weapon, their lack of knowledge in the use of that weapon or simply their level of anger and aggravation at the time they choose to use it.

No one has asked or even expects people to give up their guns or their rights to own them as stated under the 2nd Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

The  package of gun laws proposed by President Obama after the Newtown attack by a lone gunman,  included expanding background checks on gun buyers, toughening laws against gun trafficking and straw purchases, banning semi-automatic rifles modeled after military assault weapons as well as large-capacity ammunition magazines, and coming up with ideas for improving school safety.

The weapons ban, on semi-automatic rifles modeled after military assault weapons as well as large-capacity ammunition magazines would update a 1994 law that expired in 2004,  and the White House is pushing hard for expanding background checks to all gun purchases in an effort to close a loophole that exempts private sales, such as transactions at gun conventions.

Federal law already prohibits selling guns to felons or the mentally ill. Background checks are the only way to enforce that law. So, besides criminals and the insane, who could possibly oppose universal background checks?

These proposals are not asking Americans to give up their guns. There are 270 million guns in the United States already. No one expects, nor wants,  nor is even willing to attempt to try to confiscate them. The U.S. Government didn’t even try to confiscate guns before, during or after the greatest conflict between its citizens and the government in the history of our country…The American Civil War!

Long before the Constitution was ratified by the United States another document was approved and hailed as one of the greatest achievements in the history of mankind and it said…

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–

Our most precious and unalienable rights, those of  life liberty and the pursuit of happiness, cannot be realized if one is dead. And fully and undeniably 70% of all gun related deaths are caused not by murderers or outlaws but by neighbors and family members and friends because they own guns or have access to them without safety, knowledge of use, or regulation.

Our right to life here in America is our most basic right…The right to own guns comes later, and no one is denying anyone that right, but those of us in favor of gun regulation want to discuss safety and life and childhoods and adulthoods free and alive to pursue all human rights everywhere.

So why can’t gun advocates even discuss that? Why can’t we meaningfully and intelligently discuss the just and proper regulation, use and ownership of things that are meant only to kill?

If History teaches us anything it’s that angrily refusing debate, discussion and compromise is always a precursor to a lost cause.

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