Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Pennsylvania Tackles the 2nd Amendment

So I feel that there are plenty of reasons to compel one to write this night (early morning):

I am currently reading an immensely intriguing book concerning a Jew’s experience in labor camp, entitled, Survival in Auschwitz; I was recently engaged on the listening-end of a very interesting lecture of what it means to be sociopathic (the discussion-worthy significance being that I found the description presented to be much like a description that I would present concerning my own psychological makeup; at least in as much as the description of the sociopath’s mentality was similar to what motivates me and what keeps that motivation often short-lived and highly sporadic); The surprising news, received today, that American University has awarded me a Dean’s Scholarship of 10,000 dollars per year despite the very fact that it is highly unlikely that I will ever attend the institution as an undergraduate; I could even discuss the satisfaction that grew when I received an email from an inexperienced soldier waiting to deploy to war – having found my work, my experiences, to be helpful in his own preparation. In fact, I can think of plenty more worthy to discuss including a detail as yet unmentioned that may be the most noteworthy:

I am currently celebrating the Thanksgiving week in the rustic and chilly Northeast. Have you never had the opportunity to celebrate late fall / early winter in this corridor of America, the great experience that you have missed. The Holiday Season captures this area like no other in America; only here does it seem full and real. In my parents’ yard, trees are in their autumn colors. Across an entirely subdued country highway lives a silenced and endless cornfield. Only in the Northeast, during this season, can overcast weather be accepted with so positive a reaction. Cars at night pass more deer and fox than vehicles of other humans. It’s an amazing place up here this time of year. Even outside of the rural area, should one enter the urban complexes, it becomes completely obvious that the Northeast assumes a new character during the Holiday Season. I can think of no place where I would choose to spend a Thanksgiving or Christmas Holiday than a location in the Northeastern United States.

However, despite the text that could be inspired by any of the factors above, I want to discuss something else. As a result of being in lower and western New Jersey currently, I have been watching the news from Pennsylvania. News from P.A. is the topic that I currently want to extend discourse.

Today (officially, yesterday), P.A.’s governor, Ed Rendell (D), traveled to Harrisburg to implore congress members through testimony to pass three separate bills concerning the sale of handguns. Each of the bills, expectedly, was restrictive in nature. The idea was to “get the guns off the streets.” While memory will prohibit me from being able to properly describe each of the bills (and my current slow internet connection is going to preclude the search for a hotlink), I can attest that none of the bills, at first glance, seemed particularly overbearing from the eyes of this NRA member. In fact, in light of Philadelphia’s exceedingly high homicide rate, I found the governor’s testimony to be genuine in its cause to protect citizens. Because of these feelings, I momentarily questioned my position concerning the second amendment and whether it should be limited. Now, I would like to explain why this moment of dubiety was a brief one indeed.

While personally considering these possible new laws (two of which were immediately rejected, the third tabled), two things became clear to me: 1) Laws prohibiting the sale of weapons only really inhibits those with lawful intentions and 2) That, although I am highly sympathetic to the problems that Philadelphia is having, I personally hold the problems as products of a city that has more dilemmas of moral decay than with the sale of handguns.

Concerning my first discovery, I present this: I find it highly likely that the persons whom committed the majority of the 300-plus murders this year in Philadelphia were of low economic class. If one is to agree with this premise, than it follows that one would also agree that such a person (the murderer) would be unlikely to purchase an expensive handgun by any sort of legal means. More likely, they obtained the weapons through means of a “black market,” or, in other terms, “off the streets.” If these premises are true, than by what means would someone conclude that adding more red-tape to the legal purchase of handguns would result in less violent crime? In fact, I would argue that by restricting well-intended people from purchasing arms themselves, the government is – in fact – causing them to become more susceptible to crime in places precisely like Philadelphia. Moreover, there exist citizens such as myself and former military personnel like me, whom would desire to purchase weapons of all sorts to use on ranges to hone skills that are critical to our chosen profession. Bills like those touted by Governor Rendell today only limit my ability to purchase a weapon and only limit another law-abiding citizen’s ability to protect him or her self.

My second conclusion derived from the contemplation concerning these bills is more controversial. However, I will proclaim highly from any mountaintop, despite the loudest of protests, that the welfare status that has gripped many of America’s most urban areas is also killing those cities. In places like Philadelphia there is a tear in the moral fabric that holds the rest of America tight. The economic condition of the people who tend to commit murders may be a common trait among the perpetrators but it is not the ultimate reason for their crimes. People are poor in many places. People don’t choose to kill each other at alarming rates in many of these other places. They do in Philadelphia because many of these people are developing values in dwellings that contain parents reliant solely on the government’s providing. Children are learning their morals in cities where it is acceptable practice to have abortions. Yet, nearly half of us outside of these scenarios want to restrict the weapons used in the crimes instead of attempting to improve the decency in the environment in which people are raising their children.

To me, it is ridiculous that bills concerning gun-laws are even still being considered these days. There is so much more on America’s plate. Yet a Governor chooses to testify on behalf of an action that will never have any working effect on the biggest crisis facing his state. What a joke. Once states figure out how to educate their children, teach them morals, and develop in these children a sense of responsibility for their decisions, we will see an America that doesn’t have slums like “Killadelphia.”

Of course, by realizing that I may be wrong, I immediately reflect on my fascination with presidential candidate Fred Thompson’s promise to reinvigorate federalism. This is something that I think is an extraordinarily important idea. It is also, however, something that will have to be discussed at a later time.

Thanks for reading…