2nd Amendment Brainstorming

The latest round of gun-fueled insanity in Las Vegas has prompted, once again, calls for more rational gun control in these United States. Including by me.

But it occurred to me today that draconian shifts — which is what those of us appalled by the slaughter of little kids and concert goers keep pushing for — are, based on empirical evidence, probably unachievable.

Put another way, if the murder of screaming, terrified kindergartners and primary school students isn’t going to motivate us to take action, it’s likely nothing will. At least for that kind of contemplated action.

But that’s not the total universe of possible actions. In fact, when you remember “politics is the art of the possible”, maybe we can aim lower, and, if not eliminate this insanity, at least put a leash on it.

So here’s an idea. What if we amended the 2nd Amendment from this:

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

To something like this:

A well regulated Militia being helpful to the security of a free State, the right of individuals of sound mind to keep and bear a modest number of Arms for personal use and protection, subject to reasonable regulation to maintain public safety, shall not be infringed.

This wouldn’t prevent gun ownership, for whatever reason, provided you can demonstrate you’re not a maniac, or nuts, or a risk to the rest of us.

It would clarify that this is a personal right, not associated with being part of a militia…which also opens the door to regulating groups of individuals organizing themselves with firearms.

And it explicitly acknowledges that this right of ownership, which exists, in part, to help maintain public safety (i.e., as a free State), must be balanced against the negative consequences that indiscriminate firearm ownership poses to public safety (i.e., the carnage we keep witnessing, and which we’d all like to reduce or eliminate).

Not being a Constitutional scholar, or lawyer, I won’t claim this as the last word. But I’m interested in hearing people’s reactions to it, and thoughts on how to improve it or redraft it.

Baboon Butts

Years ago I read about an interesting aspect of baboon social behavior.

The males have a variety of rituals they go through when they are trying to assert dominance…but if one male baboon moons another, it always ends up in a teeth-and-claws fight.

Now, I’m not sure of the provenance of this information, so it may be inaccurate (I tried searching online, but while I turned up a lot of interesting information about baboon butts, I didn’t find a reference to this particular assertion).

But the author who made this observation in a novel was making a point that goes beyond our hairy primate cousins: sometimes you have to use training, intelligence and adaptability to overcome one’s built-in wiring. You can’t always operate on instinct. Which should be obvious…but often isn’t.

This all came back to me as I watched what’s developing between the US and North Korea. Here’s hoping the Glorious Leaders involved in this pas-de-deux think about the Lesson of the Baboon’s Butt.

But I’m not sanguine about their doing so. Because I have my doubts about their collective training, intelligence and adaptability.

The Ultimate Democratic Endeavor

I read someplace that war is the ultimate democratic process, because all sides get a say in how it proceeds. I was reminded of this when glancing through a book on the Pacific theater of World War II the other day.

Continue reading »

Tragedy in Connecticut

I’ve had enough. Here’s an email I just sent to Congresswoman Speier, Senator Feinstein and Senator Boxer.

What happened in Connecticut today shows the failure of our current gun control efforts. It’s true that guns don’t kill people, people do. But this tragedy shows it is far too easy for deranged and destructive people to own firearms.

I accept that the Constitution grants individuals the right to bear arms. But even Justice Scalia, one of our most conservative, strict constructionist jurists, acknowledged the government’s power to regulate firearm possession.

Our elected leaders’ inability to address this problem is reprehensible. It’s time for Congress to stop anointing itself with the blood of innocents while aiding and abetting the crazies among us.

Enough is enough. Take the power of life and death away from the nutjobs. Today!

We Have Your Back

To the folks living with the aftermath of hurricane Sandy: we have your back.

We’d support you even if you weren’t part of the US of A. Because we’re that kind of people. But we’ll insist our public agencies — our government — go further, because you’re part of us. Just as we are part of you.

Something to think about for those who view government as always being part of the problem.

I’m Pretty Sure She Is

From someone who attended Maria Shriver’s Women’s Conference in Long Beach to hear Jerry Brown and Meg Whitman speak at a program hosted by NBC’s Matt Lauer:

“People are still wondering if [Whitman’s] a carbon-based life form.”

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2010/10/30/MN881G3LMU.DTL&feed=rss.news#ixzz13sA5mKKW

Always nice to see Star Trek references in modern culture :).

And… I’m pretty sure she is.

A carbon-based life form, I mean.

Because, gosh, everything else on the Earth is.