So shoot me

Let’s be real here, folks, and come clean with the simple truth: nobody seems to give a damn about their “constitutional rights” until someone comes along and threatens their own personal view on exactly what rights they are entitled to. And yes, I state this due to the absolutely ludicrous amount of incorrect information that’s being force-fed the American people by ... well, it doesn’t matter who’s to blame. Conservative media, liberal media, call it what you will. If they can find a way to spin a topic – any topic – to advantage and a boost in ratings, that’s exactly what they’ll do.

That’s why they’re still in business. And let’s be honest, you will keep watching, won’t you?

By “they,” of course, I mean the 24-hour news networks behind the two-sided political juggernaut that is the divided America we’ve come to know and love in the 21st century. Let’s just say people have short memories, apparently, because the last time I checked, it wasn’t all that long ago that women didn’t have the right to vote – nor African Americans – and don’t forget the fact that it took decades after that for same-sex couples to receive fair treatment under our Constitution.

Oh wait, we’re still waiting for that third one, aren’t we?

As for the raging gun debate, I can honestly say I don’t care. People will have guns, legally and illegally, both those who responsibly own their firearms and those who should never be allowed near a BB gun, let alone the real deal. And I have yet to see any proof, whatsoever, that some mysterious Big Brother type is on his way to “take all my guns away.”

That is simply not the case. Do some research. Read the new state legislation concerning firearms and what’s allowed. If you don’t agree with it, contact your state representatives and voice your concerns. If they don’t listen, vote them out. That’s how the system works. It’s not that complicated.

My mentor, in life and in all things music, said it best, in my opinion, when we delved into the gun debate over the holidays. And while he’s certainly not what anyone would call an avid gun collector, he does own a small number of collectible firearms, passed down to him by his father (and possibly his grandfather, I can’t recall). When was the last time he fired a gun? I have no idea, but I’m guessing it’s been decades. His thoughts on the entire debacle?

“If taking my guns away will save one innocent life, particularly a child (who shouldn’t have to worry about gun violence in the first place), then so be it.”

A humble and noteworthy sentiment, yet obviously not realistic. Americans, under the Second Amendment, absolutely have the right to bear arms, although many should seriously consider reading and actually understanding exactly what rights said amendment does and does not guarantee. It’s as convoluted and controversial a topic one could ever hope (or despair, I suppose) to find, and one that brings up an interesting ... philosophical ... question, for lack of a better term.

Can we fix anything in this country? Or is it going to be the same old, he said/she said, right versus left, my political agenda and personal feelings come foremost and – no matter your opinion – if you’re not with me then you’re against me, the consequences be damned? Because let’s face it, we have any number of problems in this country, yet very few solutions. And while those solutions may not please everybody, that’s really not the point. As Bob Marley so wisely sang, “You can fool some people sometimes, but you can’t fool all the people all the time.”

The same goes for pleasing people ... that’s life.

And then, of course, there’s the why-punish-all-of-us-for-the-crimes-of-a-few argument, which, if I’m not mistaken, is a lesson I learned in first grade. It kind of goes like this ... if little Billy is misbehaving, why is the entire class punished? You see, little Billy likes to make a mess of the classroom’s shared bathroom (a truly disgusting mess, to say the least, one that could only have been made by a male student), therefore – until little Billy comes clean and admits to his behavior – the other boys in the classroom will not be allowed bathroom privileges, according to the teacher. Granted, this kind of thing probably wouldn’t happen nowadays, the lawsuits would be outrageous. Thirty years ago? You’re damn straight, as this is a true story.

Sad to say, such is a fact of life, and while it took me years to understand why we all had to suffer thanks to little Billy, that’s how life works at times. It is not fair ... life, I mean. It’s not meant to be fair. And if it were fair, we wouldn’t have to worry about school shootings, drugs in our communities or – gasp! – Uncle Sam says I can’t own a fully automatic, 80-round capacity machine gun.

Regardless, we license drivers to drive and require them to register their vehicles; in many states it’s required we insure our vehicles; and there are punishments in place for those who do not abide by the rules of the road. If one is incapable of safely driving a motor vehicle, we do not allow them the privilege. That said, what’s so God-awful about the same approach with guns ... any kind of guns? And yes, I realize gun ownership is already regulated. And yes, I realize that cars weren’t included in the Bill of Rights, although neither were semi-automatic, assault weapon-like firearms, if I’m not mistaken. And no, I honestly do not think more guns in the hands of more people is the answer. And if that is the answer, why do we need law enforcement? Let’s just give everyone a gun and let them figure out their own problems, right?

I believe in an American citizen’s right to bear arms, I truly do, but what kind of country are we building for our children? Or is that even the goal anymore? Because lately, it seems more important for many to have their personal armory than it does to actually address the problem in a reasonable, intelligent way.

Is that what our forefathers had in mind?

Follow me on Twitter ... @evesunbrian.

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