On Speech and Gun Control

My personal beliefs in the last several years have turned away from the conservative-intwined christianism of my twenties and early thirties. My beliefs have gone back to what I hope were always my core beliefs in the individual dignity of each human being, and our responsibility to acknowledge and champion that dignity in both ourselves and others.

While those personal beliefs would be considered – especially these days – as far more liberal than conservative, I am passionate in the fundamental American – no, the human – right of freedom of speech. And not as passionately, but still as fundamentally, I believe in the second amendment protections of access to arms, even as interpreted on the individual level. I believe in the individual right to own guns, given sensible restrictions, and I don’t want to see those rights unreasonably curtailed.

But I want to point out that the second amendment says “well-regulated” – and at a minimum, the phrase means “well disciplined” or “well trained”. The debate is whether governments or individuals are responsible for that. Smarter people than me have argued about the meaning of those words, from Alexander Hamilton to our current Supreme Court – and that debate will be had again in the coming weeks, amplified by the 24×7 news cycle.

In the wake of yesterday’s tragic shooting in Arizona, where as of now, six have lost their lives – I hope that each of us will hold those words “well disciplined” to be individually self-evident. In gun ownership and in speech.

No, there is no amount of gun or speech control that will stop the insane from indiscriminately taking the lives of others.

But what each of us have to hold self-evident is this: reverence and responsibility in gun ownership and speech means that you are disciplined enough that you don’t put gun crosshairs on real human beings, you don’t hold fundraisers to shoot an M-16 with the opposing candidate.

And last but not least – every last American has the constitutional right to express the following, and as a fellow American I fundamentally support your right to believe and express them:

But I hope beyond hope for those that espouse these things – that in your heart of hearts you will know that there is absolutely nothing “pro life” and “pro god” about “pro gun”.