As a Latino, I found the above comic quite funny. But, it does let me comment on what I consider a frightening trend in the gun-rights / gun-control debate. The language on the debate is becoming every bit as extreme as the language on the immigration debate has been.
What troubles me is that the rhetoric and actions are becoming increasingly bizarre and heading toward the violent. In the interests of self-disclosure, let me mention that I am a gun owner, and I have shot guns since I was a 12 year old who was taught how to shoot a 22 cal LR round from a bolt action rifle. But, frankly, some of my fellow gun owners both puzzle and sometimes downright frighten me.
This past week in Portland, two men walked the streets with assault rifles slung on their back just to make the point that they could. They caused panic and multiple calls to 911. Nevertheless, they were not stopped by the police because they were doing nothing technically illegal. Frankly, their walk through Portland was one of the best arguments I could think of for banning assault rifles. In a modern American city, and given our tendency toward violence in America, the thought of many people walking around with assault rifles openly is a frightening thought. Their extreme actions actually may become one of the centerpieces of why we need to impose some control on the situation. Courts have ruled more than once that the Second Amendment does not require that we allow situations like those two men.
But, some of the TV interviews, particularly on Pierce Morgan, present a frightening scenario. From the Marine, who would refuse to observe the law, if passed, to the shouting people on Pierce Morgan and on conservative radio who talk about The Republic, we have the frightening scenario of those who have vowed to re-open the Civil War should the government even put back in place some of the laws which we used to have to try to control gun violence. This talk about The Republic continues the theme since President Obama was elected, that somehow the election of a moderately liberal man from Chicago imperils the United States of America. Actually, by using the title, The Republic, they show that what they have is not a true loyalty to the USA as it has existed, but to some version of the USA that only exists in the mythology of their minds. More than one Marine jumped on the Marine who made the video about refusing to obey the law, if passed, and refuted his claims by pointing out that no true Marine would make the statements that he had made.
I would go farther, no true citizen of the USA would make the statements that have been made by some of the talk radio hosts. Speaking about the possibility of open rebellion against the USA, simply based on one’s private interpretation of the Constitution is un-American. If you do not like the laws of this country or think the Constitution needs to be further amended, then elect representatives who agree with you. If you can convince the majority of this country to vote with you, then you have won your point. That is what democracy means. You cannot yell about the will of the majority and then say that you will impose your will even if it is the minority. That is not what democracy means. Democracy has never meant that the individual gets to decide which laws to apply and which not to apply, nor what the Constitution really means. Our country is neither Libertarian nor Anarchist. We are democratic.