When Lebron James retires from professional basketball, surely in his 40’s, he should enter politics and use his considerable influence to help solve some of the nation’s nagging problems. He was quoted in the news recently offering his opinion on the issue of gun control. As a top NBA player, he likely exercises security precautions that most people do not even consider in their daily lives. Nevertheless, public safety is a common concern that every individual in society share.
The spate of killings including the 10 recently gunned down at an Oregon community college brought guns into the spotlight once again. This year alone there have been close to 300 mass shootings year-to-date and close to 1000 mass killings in the nation the last 1,004 day. Mass shootings are defined by authorities to be incidents that include 4 or more individuals.
There is strong disagreement on both sides of the political spectrum on how this problem should be solved. The left’s solutions include disarming Americans and essentially abolishing the 2nd Amendment, which protects the right of Americans “to keep and bear arms.” Those on the right including some highly respected crime fighters argue that issuing more gun permits to law abiding citizens will serve as deterrent and reduce gun-related crimes.
At a distance, living in a small and safe California city, some of the proposed solutions appear counter-intuitive. For a nation with centuries old traditions of gun ownership abolishing the 2nd Amendment will likely bring pockets of resistance eventually evolving into a revolt of some form. That may be extreme but not entirely farfetched. Disarming Americans is a solution widely prescribed for densely populated cities. Rural areas in America do not have the same security challenges found in cities like Chicago, New York City or Los Angeles where the incidence of gun violence are elevated.
The 2nd Amendment provides the people the right to gun ownership stating:
“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed..” (Amendment II, US Constitution)
However, it is not the exclusive source of gun ownership rights. The 9th Amendment of the US Constitution was added by the framers as a means to preserve all those other rights and privileges that individuals had prior to the drafting of the US Constitution. The framers wrote:
“The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.” (Amendment IX, US Constitution)
In essence, the amendment secured all those lawful and necessary activities that predated the Constitution, which included hunting for food and bearing arms as a means to protect one’s own security and property. It can also be invoked by gun collectors, who could rightly resist the government’s meddling in their personal choices for wealth accumulation.
The lower incidence of gun-related crimes in Japan, UK and Australia are often used as examples of successful gun control policies. However, the statistics are often interpreted to favor a leftist political narrative when killers merely utilize other tools for murder – such as a knife or other blunt instruments. Moreover, the US has demographic and geographic features that do not exist in those countries. First, their aggregate population only represents a percentage of the US population. It is a known fact that racial tensions and gang activities that precipitate shootings are most prevalent in densely populated areas.
Second, Japan, UK and Australia are island nations that have natural barriers preventing ease of smuggling firearms. Criminalizing gun ownership in the US will require the government to secure the borders on the north and the south. Porous as it is, the only individuals who will end up with guns are criminals and criminal organizations.
Gun-control has several elements to the problem. One of the most essential that requires attention is the lethality of weapons available. Murders and suicides have such elevated rates because of a firearm’s capacity to inflict harm. We have yet to hear a gang successfully execute a drive by knife attack. But we have all heard incidents of Uzi-like weapons spraying lead indiscriminately on a crowd. Furthermore, committing suicide using pills have a slight chance of success compared to a bullet chambered and trained on a person’s temple. Many of the recent studies on veteran suicides point to easy access of firearms as one of most critical enablers. Then, there is also the often avoidable incidence of accidental firearm discharge that can injure, maim and kill.
The common thread among murders and suicides is a degree of mental instability or illness among the perpetrators. Any person who wishes to kill himself or others for reasons other than self-defense, by definition, is mentally ill. Instead of doing a buckshot approach that essentially curtails everybody’s right to gun ownership, resources should be focused on predictive technologies to find those individuals likely to commit such acts before harm could be inflicted. Chief in this search should be individuals who have declared destructive intentions on the social media.
Another area that deserves attention is the approach that law enforcement units deploy in the field. Having personally experienced the FBI’s amateurish approach to their work, it is easy to say that they are ill-trained to handle many such situations. In the first place, they are noisy and clumsy. When they should be working secretively, they are telegraphing their often unclear intentions to subjects of their investigations. Even when they mean to investigate, which is not often, their subjects react negatively, enraging them more and creating potentially harmful situations. Many of these FBI operatives come with impressive pedigrees and often are products of exceptional schools. The by-product of which is the often misplaced air of superiority. They dispense their cures almost frivolously. One of their biggest fears at the moment, is for me to be able to acquire a gun of my own – not to protect myself from criminals but to protect myself from them, the FBI. And this is what the framers of the Constitution had contemplated when crafting the 2nd Amendment – the potential for a tyrannical federal or state government.
Before anything else could be done, we should secure a guarantee from the federal government that they will cease all operations amounting to staged events of shootings and massacres designed to advance anti-gun legislation. Furthermore, using an independent body reopen the investigation of the 9/11 WTC Attacks, the Boston Marathon Bombings, the Sandy Hook Elementary School Massacres, among others, that are now accepted as staged events carried out under the supervision of the Federal Bureau of Investigations.
Celebrities like Lebron James can be of great service to the American people if they wish to lend their voices and demand for much needed change.