Whose Rights?

                    Some days I’m not sure how much more sorrow we can navigate as a nation. After the brutal terrorist attack in Las Vegas, after Sandy Hook, after Pulse, after daily multiple murders that have become seemingly routine, have we been dulled to our outrage?

           And then there is the knee-jerk response from the right and the NRA: now is not the time to debate gun laws. Well if not now, when? When we have time compartmentalize our anger and grief? When we can make the people whose lives were taken and the ones who suffered loss unimportant? During election years when the NRA can buy the votes it needs? When?

What’s wrong with now?

If I hear one more 2nd amendment advocate tout that ‘this is the cost of freedom’ I believe I will hurl. We need to amend or void the second amendment. Amend it to include the six words when serving in the militia. Read Justice John Paul Steven’s well reasoned 2014 argument here: https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-five-extra-words-that-can-fix-the-second-amendment/2014/04/11/f8a19578-b8fa-11e3-96ae-f2c36d2b1245_story.html?utm_term=.aabb5e76d28d

My question today is: whose rights?

Rights enshrined in the very body of the Constitution are the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The 2nd Amendment, as currently interpreted, infringes on those rights. The lack of sane gun control costs thousands of people their lives each year. Not only in mass shootings but in domestic violence incidents, and because of negligence that gives access to weapons by toddlers and adolescents.

NOW we need to focus on our citizens’ right to life. Maybe even come to understand that the ‘right to life’ includes enough to eat, a place to live, and healthcare. And the right to liberty. Because people are afraid to go to concerts, shopping malls, and sporting events. Women are afraid of their partners. And those fears imprison us. Finally, though happiness may be difficult to qualify, it has been snatched from thousands of our citizens by gun violence.

Why are some rights privileged over others? Why does your right to own a weapon trump my right to live? Our priorities are skewed, friends, in so many ways. But let’s begin here. Let’s begin by advocating for our right to stay alive.

Let’s give new and urgent meaning to the phrase ‘right to life’.

3 thoughts on “Whose Rights?

  1. Carefully, we must examine our Second Amendment for its relevance in today’s actuality.
    We seem to have figured out our needs for equality, though they are still not applied equally.
    Seems we should be able to find some common ground for those who have and enjoy basic weapons to exclude any access to military-style weapons.
    Doesn’t seem that hard, does it?
    Setting aside the “assault” weapons we still must deal with the lack of respect for human life when dealing with available guns.

  2. So appreciating your thoughtful commentary, Rev Connie. I’m meditating on this too…as my wife Kate and I travel in Italy and are simultaneously heart warmed by the love we feel from Italians in the aftermath of the Las Vegas shooting, and heartbroken when they ask how this is happening. Why is America so addicted to guns? (the idea of “open carry” being the M.O. in some states is incomprehensible to them) I am learning more and spreading the word about the Firearm Risk Protection Act introduced by Rep Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) in 2015 and re-introduced in 2017. Read more here: https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/1708/text?format=txt

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