Liberty, Rights, and Responsibilities



Liberty, Rights, Privileges and Responsibilities

The issues surrounding the recent history in Las Vegas have given me some great pause - to think and reflect. 

I think about all the families which will never be the same - some 59 families who will endure a future of pain.  Even when time heals, this will take a long time.  Then there are those families impacted by having been wounded — and some how we loose count.  Then there are all those families impacted by the experience - whether having been there, or having been a responder.   All these families impacted by the senseless actions of one other person who escaped the pain by having killed himself.

And then I wonder about the issue of whether one person has the right to so profoundly impact others.  Does the right to have a gun outweigh community rights for safety and security - the right to peaceful assembly.

The issue to me has less to do with the rights specified in the Second Amendment, but more about the rights specified in the Preamble to the Declaration of Independence - the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Or, sometimes I think about the Preamble of the Constitution which reads,

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

This preamble speaks about “a more perfect union,” and “justice,” and “domestic tranquility,” and “general welfare.”  

It does not discuss the concept that the rights of one exceed the rights of the many - it really does seek to create community.  

Yet, some how, we have allowed the rights of one person to own a gun, and to use a gun, or, in this case to own and use an arsenal more befitting a small army, to exceed the rights of the community.

How did we let this happen?   

It’s not about the Second Amendment rights to “bear arms.”  It’s not.  But the discussion has become more about the excessive and over weening right of a single person.  Where’s the balance.

Perhaps I have a unique vantage point.  

When my vision declined to a place where I should not have been driving, the State of Maine revoked my privileges to drive a car.  They should have.  And, they did it quickly.

My rights as a driver should never have entitled me to drive a car and to endanger others.  How fortunate for me that I didn’t cause an accident or hurt a person.  The state did its job despite my own wishes and needs.  My rights as a driver could never exceed the community’s rights to safety.

So, I wonder.  

Why do the right of each person to own a gun exceed the rights of the community to find “a general welfare?”

There are times when I do speculate if I could purchase a gun.  Conceivably, I could own a gun - even though I could not see well enough to properly shoot a gun.   Isn’t that a silly situation?  Consider a nearly blind man with a shotgun.

We need to address the issue of individual rights versus community rights, and perhaps we have let the pendulum swing too far in one direction.

This was originally warrant on October 18, 2017.  Here we are, almost three weeks later with yet another shooting.  How many people will loose their lives, and how many families be irreparably harmed before we take some kind of action?


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