I’ve particularly stayed out of politics on this blog until a few months ago… I guess that was my entry drug. So now I can’t can’t myself. When an old co-worker posed the question on FB.
“Can of worms – OPEN: So all my gun toting 2nd amendment rights loving Facebook friends. I am curious when the “right to bear arms” should apply? So today folks aren’t allowed to walk around with a loaded shoulder-fired missile launcher. But you can legally purchase and license a gun that can fire 30 shots in 30 seconds. So where exactly should the line be drawn and why?”
I consider myself a responsible gun owner and a lifelong hunter. I have taken several safety courses and respect the power to defend and take life if required. Ironically I’m not that invested in this topic. But by the length of this post you might think I am. It’s just that I hear so many short quips on topics that require so much more than a twitter comment, it’s hard to get all information needed to have a good conversation.
I also recognize the validity of asking ourselves, when enough is enough. Personally, I tend to believe assault weapons are a bit excessive and should be restricted by several contingencies like certification & training. But here are a few reasons I think make a plausible case to justify weapons that seem oddly unnecessary.
Among the reasons listed for the right to bear arms is for the defense of personal life and the state.
Now you may wonder in a time when we have so many services to protect us. Local & state police, fire, EMT, National Guards, and the branches of the Military, when will we ever need to protect our state?
It is not unfathomable. We have recent examples when mother nature taught us a few lessons: East Coast Hurricanes,Japanese Tsunami’s/ Earthquakes, Katrina etc.
I just moved to LA which is due for another earthquake according to history. To be prepared I took the FEMA sanctioned CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) certification to know how to help in times of an emergency. It is taught by the LAFD.
The training was started by the LAFD and later adopted by FEMA in response to the 1986 Northridge earthquake, because there was a need to educate people that the community services will NOT be largely available in such a disaster. We take that for granted now and do not recognize their limitations for as good as they are now.
As stated in the course if we experience another earthquake of comparable size will render all public service workers powerless for at least two weeks probably three. This means that the police/fire dept/etc. are going to spend a week digging themselves out of their own rubble. And then the next week or two checking up on the critical population centers (i.e Hospitals & Schools) The rest of the residential population will be left on their own to fend for themselves for most likely up to a month.
This means no one except neighbors and those charities from the outside who can get in will be available to help you. In a town that gives the term “riots” a new name (see the latest episode) it would behoove everyone in the community to be prepared for such and event. When goods and services will be at a high demand and low scarcity.
In such a state when services, and our communities are not functional at all it is a time of extreme vulnerability. Both from within the community and from possible external invaders. It’s not unfathomable to believe that a gang or terrorist group might want to take advantage of the situation. Having a community that is armed and educated can make a difference.
That is when the law abiding citizens whose right to bear weapons equal to those of criminal’s who will get those weapons regardless of their legality seem appropriate to protect individuals lives.
Now also think about even “regular” emergencies when community services are tasked at a high rate. Like the ferry accident yesterday in NYC. Think about what happens when more than 3 or four units are called any specific incident. That means that either volunteers or other units are called in to backfill the areas that need coverage when the rest of the units are at a high needs demand. And there is a limit. Your high taxes don’t really go that far when it comes to emergency services.
Having said all that I’m in favor of restrictions for assault type weapons, but can indeed see a “need” for the preservation of self and community if it arises. Secondarily I don’t think that gun control laws should be wholly restrictive. It takes a lot more to prevent the gun tragedies we’ve had in the past years than controlling laws. It takes people invested serving in their communities and knowing your neighbors. One of the key principles taught the CERT course is that you should go around your neighborhood, introduce yourself and tell them that you are learning what to do in case of a natural disaster. They even teach you to get a sense of who lives in your neighborhood. What they do. How many people live there. Etc. This might seem ridiculous to people in more tight communities. But in major metro areas this is not always the case. Being involved in people’s lives is always far more effective prevention than the laws. The question is are you your brother’s keeper? The answer is sometimes. Before they decide they want to kill people is usually preferable.