by Chuck Muth
In a guest column titled “Fundamental rights must be limited,” published by the Las Vegas Review-Journal on December 26, former Nevada Attorney General George Chanos maintains that a ban on “assault weapons” is “a reasonable, necessary and appropriate limitation on our rights under the Second Amendment.”
This, of course, is in response to Adam Lanza’s horrific murder of 26 innocent people in Newtown, Connecticut – including 20 defenseless little children; defenseless because no one at the school was armed with the ability to shoot back.
Mr. Chanos, a highly regarded and extremely accomplished lawyer, wrote:
“Ultimately, the battle to ban assault weapons will end at the U.S. Supreme Court. Hopefully, the Justices will agree that even our most fundamental rights, such as those found in the Second Amendment, have certain essential and inherent limitations – limitations which are necessitated by certain equally important rights, such as the rights of a 6-year-old to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Rights that are undeniably infringed upon, at least to some extent, by allowing unfettered rights under the Second Amendment.”
Now, I’m no lawyer, but I couldn’t disagree more.
The rights of the children and adults who were killed in Newtown weren’t infringed upon by the right to BEAR arms; the rights of those people were infringed upon by the illegal USE of such weapons. Indeed, the rights of the victims to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness would have been infringed upon had they been killed by a knife, an axe, a bomb, a baseball bat or even strangulation.
It’s the act of killing which is illegal, not possessing the means of inflicting death.
Which brings me to a couple other semi-related issues, all of which are VERY touchy.
On Thursday, the body of another innocent child, 10-year-old Jade Morris, was found in the desert in North Las Vegas. The likely killer, a deranged animal named Brenda Stokes, reportedly stabbed the little girl to death on the same day she sliced up a co-worker’s face with a pair of razor blades at the Bellagio.
Should we now ban “assault knives” and “assault razor blades”?
Secondly, the Las Vegas Review-Journal also reports the suspect “wasn’t taking her Xanax prescription the day of the attack.”
So before we launch another national gun control – yes, GUN CONTROL, not “gun safety” – campaign, shouldn’t we have an honest conversation about the wisdom of allowing potentially violent people on psychoactive drugs – drugs which they can stop taking at any time without the community knowing about it – to roam freely amongst the population?
Instead of controlling gun possession, shouldn’t we be focusing more on controlling people in our society who we know are potential “walking time bombs”?
Yeah, sphincter-clenching question, right? But that’s not the real red-hot potato. Here goes…
Adam Lanza’s parents were divorced. So are/were the parents of a lot of violent criminals. Is it time, maybe, to re-evaluate the wisdom of granting automatic no-fault divorces during child-rearing years?
And I pose that question as someone whose parents divorced while my siblings and I were growing up, yet none of us has killed anyone (yet). But isn’t this a serious societal problem we should be talking more seriously and openly about?
Or if you really want to hit a raw nerve, how about a discussion on the potential ramifications of single motherhood/fatherless households?
Indeed, Wade Horn, Assistant Secretary for Children and Families for the Department of Health and Human Services under President George W. Bush, noted in a Hudson Institute study that “Among long-term prison inmates, 70 percent grew up without fathers, as did 60 percent of rapists and 75 percent of adolescents charged with murder.”
Or maybe it’s time to talk about the effects on children who are being raised during the day by non-family child-care workers.
No, we do NOT want to go there, do we?
Think about it. Which is easier for our “courageous” elected leaders in Washington to do:
1.) Go to war with the pharmaceutical industry over tighter controls of psychoactive drugs?
2.) Go to war with society over possibly re-tightening our divorce laws?
3.) Re-stigmatizing out-of-wedlock births?
4.) Discouraging the outsourcing of parenthood?
5.) Or banning “assault weapons”?
Exactly. Because each and every one of us either falls into one of the first four categories or knows close friends or relatives who do – none of whom are going to go on a murderous rampage in a gun-free public school anytime in the near future.
So gun control it is!
And one final thought so I can successfully irritate just about every liberal in the country today (and a fair amount of conservatives, as well)…
Did you read about the guy in New York, William Spengler, who set a house on fire last week and ambushed the firefighters who showed up to battle the blaze, killing two of them?
Existing law, by the way, prohibited this human piece of garbage from possessing the guns he used in the shootings. So he just had a friend buy them for him. Real effective law, huh? Yeah, let’s pass some more, right?
But that’s not the point.
You see, Spengler had served 17 years in prison for killing his grandmother in 1980 – not with a gun, but by beating her to death with a hammer. Time to ban “assault hammers”?
But that’s not the point either.
The point is, we, as a society, have moved away from “take a life; lose a life.” And for those who claim, stupidly, that the death penalty is not a deterrent, allow me to point out the obvious…
Had Mr. Spengler been executed for murdering his grandmother instead of being paroled 17 relatively short years later, he absolutely, positively, without a shadow of doubt, would have been completely and totally deterred from killing those two firefighters!
Instead of coddling cold-blooded murderers in prisons at taxpayer expense, perhaps it’s time to again embrace “eye for an eye” as punishment and send a powerful message to future would-be killers?
I say yes. And we start by executing child-killer Brenda Stokes, in the most excruciatingly painful manner possible, within 24 hours after her final, expedited appeal is over…preferably by Labor Day.
And do it in public.
Beats limiting a fundamental right, wouldn’t you agree?