Given the opportunity, I would delete the 2nd Amendment – Longmont Times-Call

Second Amendment

Bill Ellis / St. Vrain Valley Voices

At one point in its history, the NRA developed the mistaken policy that everyone should have a gun so everyone would be protected. When the gunman entered the movie theater in Aurora and started shooting, according to this theory there would be someone in the audience armed who would “put him down.” An eyewitness, a member of the audience, reported that his fellow members were panicked and running amok in such confusion that it was impossible for anyone in the theater to shoot without hitting an innocent person.

A corollary to NRA thinking has been to create SWAT teams armed and armored that would rush into the melee and, again, take down the shooter. Anyone viewing videos of Columbine and Uvalde, among other tragedies, would see such swatters waiting for the all clear before rushing to the rescue, when it is too late.

Recently the best prevention of mass shootings has been from nearby, unarmed citizens who jumped the would-be shooter before any damage was done. And that “sophisticated” technique was recommended to me by noted psychiatrist Jack Watkins, who cracked the case of the “Hillside strangler” near Los Angeles. Could I do that if the opportunity arose? I don’t know. Jack had convinced himself that he would, and he was in his early 90s last time I spoke with him.

But how would that work when the shooter opens up with an automatic rifle or pistol spewing up to 30 rounds quickly?

I am appalled when I see news reports that the police are investigating yet another shooting to discover motive. Why does anyone shoot another person? Answer, because that’s why they bought a shiny new pistol or AR-15. Because they want to shoot something, or someone. Or someone fired them or ran off with their woman. There are probably as many motives as people. Where does that get us?

Regardless, other writers have used this space to explain the origin of the Second Amendment. In the late 18th century every man needed a gun to enable him to serve in local militias which did not provide weapons. Thus the mandate is explicit for such service to be in a well-regulated militia. Today we have multiple levels of law enforcement for protection: city police; state patrols; military reserves; and our national Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard. Specialized law enforcement is found in the FBI, DEA, ATFE and Homeland Security. All of this amounts to a militarized culture with redundant and overlapping responsibilities.


Finally, our defense weapons manufacturers, also known as the military industrial complex, lead the world in selling arms so that combatants in most civil uprisings are all using U.S. made weapons. Thus the appropriate title for this article.

Then there is this bit of information from Mother Jones: “Gun violence costs America $229 billion annually — more than $700 per person every year to pay the tab for first responders, legal procedures, medical treatment, lost wages, and long-term care for victims. That’s six times what the U.S. spends annually on foreign aid.”

In hindsight, the Second Amendment to the Constitution is by far the most destructive and maligned “right” in our history. Who knew it would be used as the excuse to create a nation where its people owned 400 million guns and killed each other willy-nilly? We should have listened to Thomas Jefferson, notably the best writer of his time, who recommended revising that noble document every 20 years or so. Given the opportunity, I would delete the Second Amendment and insert this:

Because we have proved total irresponsibility in gun ownership and use, the right to bear arms is hereby abolished. Exceptions are for law enforcement and military use.

Ike warned us about the military industrial complex. Instead, we have embraced it as a major factor in our culture as an everyday occurrence.

Bill Ellis is an Army vet and Longmont resident. Respond to

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