“Find the cost of freedom
Buried in the ground
Mother Earth will swallow you
Lay your body down”
After hearing the news of yet another elementary school massacre, these lyrics written by Stephen Stills kept rattling in my head over and over again. The song was originally the B side of a single of the Vietnam protest song “Ohio” by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young back in 1970.
But given the price of our pathetic and sick allegiance to the Second Amendment, this mournful song still has relevance. Take a minute to listen to it on YouTube. Take some time to grieve the loss of innocent lives at the hands of a country that loves guns more than children.
Scientific American reported that the leading cause of death in youngsters aged 24 to age 1 has been our allegiance to the Second Amendment. Gun deaths overtook auto accidents in 2017 in this demographic and this has been true every year since then.
Can you imagine this–that our society would evolve through the miracle of vaccination to do away with all the childhood killer diseases like diphtheria, smallpox, cholera, measles, and a host of other illnesses; that we would make our cars so much safer for kids that child and young adult automobile accident mortality has been steadily falling through industry innovation and government regulation.
But there is a radical fringe in this country that has been steadily working towards increasing the rights of gun owners while doing away with laws that work in reducing gun deaths. This is so twisted.
Last week my kid took some time off from her job working for Bill Gates to come home. She proudly showed me a new pistol she bought. This 22-year-old female loves guns. She was on the women’s pistol shooting team at MIT in Boston. That must be an East Coast carryover tradition from the colonial period when Aaron Burr killed Alexander Hamilton in a duel in 1804.
Anyway, this intelligent young lady has always been a good shot. Her skills with a BB gun were legendary. So, she joined the pistol target team out east and they beat the cadets from West Point in a shooting match. The MIT nerds bested the Military Cadets which makes me laugh.
I asked her last night what she thought of a Texas law that lets an 18-year-old kid buy a couple of military style weapons. Her words: “I don’t think 18-year-olds should be allowed to have anything (guns); they are dumb as hell.”
Remember the good old days when the NRA was mostly about gun safety? They should go back to being an organization that teaches people how to handle guns and get out of the way of common-sense gun laws, such as background checks, that are supported by 90% of the population.
And if you can’t legally buy a bottle of Jack Daniels at age 18, there is no way a kid should be able to buy two assault weapons with 1,600 rounds of ammunition.
The real problem is the vague way the founders wrote the Second Amendment. President Nixon appointed Warren Burger, a Republican from my home state of Minnesota, to be the Supreme Court’s Chief Justice. He retired in 1986. In 1991, he said: “The gun lobby’s interpretation of the Second Amendment is one of the greatest pieces of fraud, I repeat the word fraud, on the American people by special interest groups that I have ever seen in my lifetime.”
The current Supreme Court is expected to end a woman’s right to an abortion, but this Supreme Court also took on a case that may strike down concealed carry laws. We are rapidly becoming a society where guns have more rights than women.
Is this the sort of country we want to live in? A country where it would be illegal for a woman to obtain an IUD while an 18-year-old male, with no training, can openly carry an AR-15? The fact that Kyle Rittenhouse is a hero among the extreme right wing sadly demonstrates how barbaric this country has become.
Perhaps the best solution is just to scrap the whole thing. Repeal the Second Amendment. That is what Justice John Paul Stevens argued in a famous New York Times op-ed in 2014. Stevens was a registered Republican and was appointed by Republican Gerald Ford. Of course, we probably will see the State of Jefferson come into existence before the Second Amendment ever would be repealed.
In the meantime, I fear we will have Stephen Still’s song lyrics continue to haunt us before these senseless deaths end.
The 1980s had some great baseball films. Eight Men Out, The Natural, Major League and Bull Durham are some excellent examples. But my favorite of all those movies was Field of Dreams.
It was sad to see the man with the piercing blue eyes who played Shoeless Joe Jackson pass away at the age of 67. Ray Liotta was the perfect choice to play the part. RIP Ray. Now you know just what lies beyond those first few rows of corn. If you don’t know to what that image refers, I highly suggest you rent the film.
Allan Stellar is an RN and a freelance writer who moved to Red Bluff after the Camp Fire. He can be reached at Allan361@aol.com.