Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Colo., and I have a few things in common.
We are both white women. We are both mothers. We have both lived in Florida and Colorado (she is from the former; I am from the latter). But that is where the similarities end.
When I saw one of my state’s representatives in Congress post a Christmas card from hell with a picture of her and the kids around the tree and clutching their military-style weapons after a deadly school shooting in Michigan – I had to say something.
To be clear: Boebert’s brand of outrage is nothing new; she’s a wannabee Donald Trump in a dress. Her heartlessness isn’t even really worth writing an opinion column about except to point out that people like Boebert and Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., who don’t give a damn about the gun violence and trauma we are constantly cycling through as a nation, are the problem.
Mass shootings are a ubiquitous part of American life. But we don’t have to accept that as the status quo. Similarly, we must not accept that our representatives in government threaten other members of Congress and taunt traumatized families with their armed tyranny.
These displays of wanton disregard for peace and security must have consequences.
Now, I’m not about to tell you that the Second Amendment doesn’t say you can’t have guns, because it clearly does, and the U.S. Supreme Court agrees. That question has been asked and answered.
But in our failure to adequately teach American history and civics, we forget that the Second Amendment has an important context that should accompany its interpretation. Specifically, the Founding Fathers were absolutely terrified of standing armies – and gun ownership was common for a variety of practical reasons that didn’t always have to do with self-defense.
The American crisis
Where did America go wrong? The problem isn’t the guns. The problem is us. Our taste for gun violence is a uniquely American crisis. And I say that as someone who has lived in Switzerland, a country armed to the teeth but with zero school shootings, annually.
James Madison tried to save us, from us, back in the late 18th century. He anticipated that the project of American democracy would fail if left entirely in the hands of the people.
It is the sense of exceptionalism our nation is known for, and the reckless interpretation of those 27 words in the Second Amendment by gun lobbyists, the NRA and their supporters that have, since the late 1990s, had a devastating effect on American life. I mention the ’90s because it was in 1999, at Columbine High School in Colorado, when two students went on a gun rampage, killing 13 other people.
Every time a Republican posts a picture of themselves and their families snuggled up to the muzzle of a semiautomatic rifle immediately after a mass shooting, I wonder what the Founding Fathers would think if they knew that this was what was to become of the Second Amendment.
Surely they would find it infinitely sad, infinitely pathetic that we have not made necessary changes.
We are the source of our own tyranny. We are also the solution. We must look to our God-given common sense to solve this uniquely American crisis.
And common sense begs us to do better in electing our representatives and getting rid of them when they cross the line.
Carli Pierson is an attorney and an opinion writer at USA TODAY. Follow her on Twitter: @CarliPiersonEsq
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