In the last few days I have received many emails and letters concerning my blog about the ideas the Dallas policemen gave for curbing gun violence. I expect some more responses to come in soon. But to date, there seems to be a real split about the first item suggested, which was the Capital Offense being assigned federally to anyone who uses a gun in the commission of a crime. I would say right now it is a 60-40 split pro.
But I found something most interesting when doing a brief and very un-scientific analysis of the numbers. While the majority of those opposed to the death penalty for the use of a gun in a crime came from the left and those against Capital Punishment to begin with, a major concern has also come from very conservative gun owners. I am not sure what the reason behind this is other than some have quoted the 8th Amendment as being their rationale. (For those of you who have not looked at the Constitution since junior civics class in high school, the 8th Amendment is about the limits on Cruel and Unusual punishment for a crime.)
The argument they make is that to take a life for merely carrying a gun into a hold up or to point it at an officer during a domestic violence case, is a bit harsh. Too harsh for their sensitivities to take. Yet, most of these people would howl to the moon if you even threatened to remove their weapons from them. Can they have it both ways? Is there a happy medium ground?
There are some who feel that the cruel and unusual punishment does not apply here, because we have a right to protect ourselves as a whole from those who would destroy the fabric which stretches so precariously thin across our society. Some feel gun violence is terrorism. Others feel that Capital Punishment is within itself a deterrent to escalating gun violence. But those opposed believe that it might infringe on more civil liberties.
I find this hard to swallow. I look at an elementary school with twenty dead kids and I can’t help but think that the shooter should be put down. And yesterday the news from Chicago that the young girl who sang at the presidential Inauguration was gunned down. My heart brakes. Just as it did while I watched former Congresswoman Gifford testify on gun control yesterday.
It all raises the questions of how much will American be willing to take before they rise up and outlaw guns? I hope that is not the case. I know many feel that my tirades of recent sound as if I do not support the 2nd Amendment. Not true, While I do believe we have misconstrued it over the years and currently do not recognize its historical perspective, I believe it does guarantee the right of American citizens to have guns.(The Amendment does not specify what type of guns, now how much ammunition, but the right to bare arms is quite clear in its language.)
So we have a crossroads. What does it take to keep our guns and yet protect our society?
Background checks don’t seem to work. Gun shows and individuals get around the law everyday. So if we take the NRA’s stance that guns don’t kill people, people do…and we change it ever so slightly to read… guns don’t kill people, people with guns do…then we might in deed have an answer.
If you walk into a pharmacy and hold a gun to the pharmacist’s head to get him to give you oxycodone or your drug of choice, you are in fact saying, ‘I will kill you unless you do what I say.” Same is true if you hold a gun on a bank teller or a convenience store clerk or on your own spouse in a moment of rage. That is the act of terror the gun brings to a crime. It is the act of shifting the balance of power in the situation. That, in my mind is attempted and premeditated murder. Whether you pull a trigger or not, your intentions were to use that force to leverage your way in a crime.
I say that deserves Capital Punishment.
Because if we apply this standard to every crime where a gun is used, soon people will be fearing for their lives when using a gun for a criminal act. Mr. Tough guy who waves a gun around to increase his manhood during a crime and threatens to ‘put a cap into someone who gets into his way’, is on the road to being toast. No questions asked. Society will rid itself of him and his violence. Permanently. And his passing will be a symbol to others not to follow in his footsteps. With this process, violent acts of crime with a gun can be reduced in huge numbers, if not eliminated all together. (It will also help us clean out the gene pool of those whose nature is to inflict violence on neighbors.)
This process probably would not solve the acts of a crazy person who is mentally deranged and driven to mass killings. We need more help on this. But the vast majority of deaths, which come in ones and twos and are the result of crimes of the moment, shootings on the street corners and in the alleys of our urban jungles will come to an end. Want to hold up a liquor store? Better think twice about carrying a gun in with you. The goodnight juice is waiting on you.
But again, not everyone agrees with me…or with this radical idea. I don’t expect you to. But I would like to hear from you about your ideas on this.
How do we stop gun violence?