Sunday, January 13, 2013

Gun Violence Isn’t a 21st Century Phenomenon

The spokesman for the National Rifle Association tried desperately to make the case for solving the nations gun problems by suggesting that more people should arm themselves. His actual words were, “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.” Really? That has to be one of the most idiotic suggestions I’ve ever heard! He blamed video games, movies and music videos for exposing children to a violent culture while totally dismissing guns as the common denominator. 

I wonder whom he blamed for all of the gun violence in our country prior to the existence of movies, music videos and video games. I wonder whom he blames for the gun violence in the days preceding the Civil War, during Reconstruction, or the Jim Crow South? It couldn't have been hip-hop music videos, or video games because they didn’t exist. 

I seriously doubt that the NRA spokesman would have been on the side of slave abolitionists, the Deacons for Defense, or the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense.  These were groups of people who rightfully armed themselves against the corrupt lawmakers of their generation, but they were demonized as being radicals and troublemakers for simply trying to protect their families, homes, and communities from the terrorism of white supremacy. In fact, the 1967 Mulford Act in California was a law specifically put in place to disarm the Black Panthers.  

Sadly, death by way of shooting is not some new concept that somehow exploded in the 21st century. People get amnesia and forget that gun violence is in the very fabric of the existence of this country. Some of the most influential people in American history have died as a result of gun violence.

Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, Fred Hampton, and Medgar Evers were all victims of gun violence. Like them, there are hundreds of thousands of other Americans who have died by way of a gunshot on the streets of America, outside the lines of a battlefield.

The gun was and still is used for personal protection, but it is also used as a tool to instill fear in people and to control potentially dangerous situations.

After every mass shooting in America there is a short period of time when people are shocked, or in disbelief that the lives of innocent people were taken by an insane individual who should not have had access to weapons. Predictably, gun rights advocates are fearful that the government is going to knock on their doors and tell them to hand over their stash of guns and ammunition. The idea that the 2nd Amendment is being gutted is a flat out lie from the pit of the propaganda machines at the Fox News Channel and conservative talk radio.

We keep hearing these people quote the passage of the 2nd Amendment that says, “The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed,” but rarely do they include the introductory clause: "A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state." The key phrase being "well regulated," not a few paranoid, deranged, and obviously crazy individuals free to stockpile as many weapons as they can because they believe in some out of this world conspiracy theory. Remember how well this way of thinking worked out for David Koresh?

The 2nd Amendment does not specify or clearly state what is defined as arms and people have their own idea of the intent of the law. Ironically over the course of the last couple of years, these same 2nd Amendment advocates have been the very people who have completely ignored another Constitutional Amendment, the 15th. 

The15th Amendment is as plainly written as the 2nd Amendment, but some lawmakers have found a different set of rules when it comes to voting.  Voter identification laws go against the very spirit of the 15th Amendment because it specifically says, 1. The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.” 2. “The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.”

At various times in the country’s history, “appropriate legislation” in some states meant that only a select few individuals were granted their Constitutional right to vote. Absurd voting laws prevented people from voting based on the very items listed in article one of the amendment.

Laws without enforcement are nothing more than ink on a piece of paper.  Like many other laws of the land, passage means very little to people who believe they are superior to, or above the law. Forgive me if I don’t have faith in the legislators claiming to be fed up and are once again making empty promises to actually get something done.

How in one breath can a politician say that assault weapons, high capacity magazines, and armor piercing ammunition is protected by one amendment, yet in the same breath ignore the other amendment and mandate that a person must have a special identification to cast a ballot?

It is absolutely baffling that legislators all over the country are doing everything they can to make casting a vote more difficult than buying a gun. In other words, an American citizens’ right to bear arms is more important than another American citizens’ right to vote. If there was ever an assault on a Constitutional Amendment, it is the 15th that we should really be worried about. It should be easier to vote in America than to purchase a firearm, but the opposite is true. 

This speaks to the very problem our nation has with the amount of people losing their lives to gun violence. Regardless if the death is a homicide or suicide, too many people are dying as a result of a round leaving the barrel of a gun.

Two personal friends of mine were killed in 2012 in gun related incidents involving someone in their immediate family. I also lost a fellow Marine to a self-inflicted gun shot wound to the head. There are a countless number of people in cities all over the country that are dying on a daily basis because of gun violence.

I firmly believe that the solution to this violence begins with R-E-S-P-E-C-T for ourselves and our fellow man; regardless of race, gender, religion, or socio-economic status. This should be the goal of people on either side of the gun control debate.

Originally published by Steve Maynor Jr. on January 14, 2013 via


  1. The only constitutional right that guarantees the other rights specified in the constitution is the 2nd amendment. Also, self defense is a basic human right. The founders did not specify "types" of weapons for a reason. Muskets were the state of the art weapons of the colonial period and just like the AR and AK family of firearms are state of the are today. I agree, violent criminals and people with a history of mental illness have no business possessing a firearm. You state that too many people are dying due to firearms. More people die from baseball bats, swimming pools, car accidents or doctor malpractice than from firearms. You mention the 15th amendment. I agree, poll taxes and poll tests were explicitly designed to prevent certain persons from exercising their right to vote. In present time, you must have valid identification to open a bank account, drive a car and purchase alcohol or tobacco products (all of which are not covered in the constitution). You also must have valid id to exercise your 2nd amendment rights but you claim people should not have to provide valid id or even a voter registration card to exercise their 15th amendment rights. You can't have it both ways my friend.


  3. Many people used to carry guns for only their self protection, they don't have any intention to harm any one.

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