4th March 1789

That was the date the US Congress met in New York and issues amendments to the original Constitution of the United States.

The second amendment states:

“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.”

The United States was in the throes of its beginning, there were only 13 states in the Union.  The war against the imperial power was won but independence was but 13 years old.  Anarchy reigned, though there was a huge amount of positive action by the founding fathers.  Although slavery was enshrined in the constitution it continued for many years to come even after the civil war of 1850’s.

The right to bear arms in a vast country in the throes of a great expansion and a violent political era certainly enhanced the case of that right.  Looking back it seems to make some sense.  The years that followed were violent indeed and for the best part of the next 100 years the United States was anything but united and an extremely violent place.

There were parallels in Europe where there were almost continuous theatres of war throughout the eighteenth century. Yet, here the populace was not armed to the teeth despite the almost continuous conflict and the angst after the treaty of Vienna in 1815.

So why today is the second amendment “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” so literally enacted to the point where mass shootings in Las Vegas have become the norm?

The figures are horrendous: Mass shootings: There were 372 mass shootings in the US in 2015, killing 475 people and wounding 1,870, according to the Mass Shooting Tracker, which catalogues such incidents. A mass shooting is defined as a single shooting incident which kills or injures four or more people, including the assailant.

School shootings: There were 64 school shootings in 2015, according to a dedicated campaign group set up in the wake of the Sandy Hook elementary school massacre in Connecticut in 2012. Those figures include occasions when a gun was fired but no-one was hurt.

All shootings: Some 13,286 people were killed in the US by firearms in 2015, according to the Gun Violence Archive, and 26,819 people were injured [those figures exclude suicide]. Those figures are likely to rise by several hundred, once incidents in the final week of the year are counted.

Is it that the American nation has evolved in a way where personal independence is paramount to the greater good? Is it that they are one hysterical bunch of lunatics that have created a national monster, at once a home of democracy but also the home of unbridled violence? Will they ever see that gun control in a civilized society is the only way.  The world is already overloaded with hatred, what we don’t need is a bunch of self-centred egocentric idiots shooting randomly at innocent people.

America leads the world!  It sure is a crazy place.


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