PREFACE: This is Rap No. 274. My next Rap,
“The Revolution Solution,” will be my last.
Then I lay down my pen. No one can make me write another word. I have fought monsters for 15 years. Let another pick up the sword.
I chose this Rap to be about guns. It is not my first shot. Like columns can be found at “Gun control and a Kentucky hero” (LEO, June 21, 2000) and “In defense of the lowly handgun” (LEO, Jan. 23, 2002).
The language of the Second Amendment is a good place to start: “A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”
The twisted wording of this basic right has been the subject of debate for more than 200 years. But to me, it is clearly meant to protect country, self and others.
The right to defend America
My research concludes that the Second Amendment, indeed, should be considered the First Amendment because it protects all the others. Gun rights (“shall not be infringed”) were carved into stone by the Founding Fathers for that very reason. Foremost, we have the right to bear arms to protect against foreign invaders and domestic tyrants. Those who argue we could never be invaded ignore the long view, the wheel of history, indeed 9/11 and all it implies. Those who argue we could never be enslaved by a domestic tyrant are too young to remember the Nixon years, when we were desperately close to martial law. Guns, not platitudes, will keep us free.
The right to defend self
It is said there are liars, damn liars and statisticians. When it comes to guns, the stats are all over the map. One may cherry-pick to persuade. But, however you jumble the numbers, it is plain on its face that the mere brandishing of a firearm has deterred millions of robbers, thugs and rapists. Some say Americans annually use guns 2.5 million times in self-defense (Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology). Even Bill Clinton’s liberal National Institute on Justice concluded as many as 1.5 defensive uses of guns each year.
There seems to be consensus that 95-98 percent of the time, there were no shots fired. Merely brandishing a pistol was enough. Criminal aggression is halted in its tracks when a gun, instead of a wallet, is pulled from a purse. This goes beyond statistics and into the realm of common sense.
Ours is a vicious, vile, violent and venal world. We can stack gun law upon gun law, but we cannot change human nature. Overused but true, outlaw guns and only the outlaws have guns. Those who think criminals buy guns over the counter are living in a fluffy land where rainbows rule and good intentions are all that matter. It is no coincidence that those states passing concealed-carry laws have seen a reduction in violent crime. Like the lion attacks the weak antelope at the back of the pack, criminals pick soft targets. When uncertain of the outcome, societal predators slip back into the shadows.
The right to defend others
Twelve students and a teacher were killed at Columbine. Thirty-three were slain at Virginia Tech. We can’t know for sure, but the smart money is on a lowered death count and fewer massacred and wounded had high school teachers and college professors been armed or had access to firearms.
To conclude, America — for better or worse — is a gun society. Estimates range from 192 to 215 million pistols and rifles in American households. The genie is out of the bottle. Sadly, we need guns to protect our country, ourselves and others against those who wield these very weapons of individual destruction.
The most interesting twist on this debate was argued by, of all people, Penn and his silent partner Teller. They observed that less than 3 percent of violent offenders in prison were men. Hence, to be more accurate: Guns don’t kill people, men kill people. Penn and Teller proposed that the government mail guns to all women (who can give them away or destroy them if they wish). My brutish gender would think twice, maybe three times, before assaulting a woman, knowing the victim might be armed.
But anyway, I’m Carl Brown, Louisville’s Plain Brown Rapper, and that’s just my own damn opinion. If you don’t like it, sue me. Just don’t shoot me.
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