The right to guns vs. the right to life


How unfortunate for the health of our democracy that so many Americans limit their sources of information on national and foreign affairs to Fox News, the propaganda arm of the right wing, and the twisted rantings of such phonies as Glen Beck and Rush Limbaugh, imitated by a bunch of uncredentialed bloggers on the Internet. Limbaugh makes an obscene living scaring white men, while Beck spreads alarm with his doomsday pronouncements - a big moneymaker. As Hillary Clinton was being treated for a brain clot, the Fox News nobility, led by Hannity and Krauthammer, were accusing her of a convenient "diplomatic illness" or "Benghazi fever" to avoid testifying about Benghazi. There are no limits to the shabby scurrility of the Fox News gang.

Listening to the spiels of Wayne LaPierre reminds us of the barkings of a frontier snake oil salesman. In a recent speech, he quoted Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black's public remark that "the Constitution does contain some absolutes," conveniently leaving out the justice's following assertion that the Second Amendment was not one of these absolutes. Gun ownership was a restricted right. Based on this opinion, the 1930s court, of which Black was a member, voted unanimously to ban machine guns from civilian use, weapons designed for the military.

Even our sitting very conservative Justice Scalia, echoing the '30s court opinion as expressed by Justice Black, is currently on record saying that the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms is not an absolute right. This means the right is restricted. What would he restrict? Surely not pea shooters, water pistols and cap guns. Like the 1930s court, Scalia is thinking about much heavier hardware.

The people want gun reform. Right-wing congressmen don't. They are more concerned with getting re-elected in their gerrymandered red districts than in doing what is right.

Sadly, their constituents, who are mainly middle class, have yet to understand that their representatives are protecting the very wealthy, at the expense of the middle class. The rights of gun owners end where they imperil our right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Denton May