Dana McLendon, a Franklin alderman, will see the NRA’s insanity and raise it the pot limit. But it’s a crackpot bet. He wants to allow guns in municipal buildings on the premise that, as he put it, “When the bad guy with the gun arrives, the only effective response is the good guy with a gun.”
McLendon’s zany theory is like saying that the “only way” to prevent people from making bombs and killing other people is to have the “good guys” blow up the “bad guys” first. But obviously a much better way to protect innocent people from being blown to bits is to regulate the distribution of chemicals that can be used to create bombs. And our government does just that. But if we can regulate the distribution of potentially lethal chemicals, why can’t we regulate the distribution of obviously lethal weapons and ammo?
Yes, the Second Amendment creates the right of citizens to bear arms. But it has never been an unlimited right. Bombs are a type of arms. But surely no one with a functioning brain thinks American citizens have the “right” to own and bear nuclear bombs. There must be sane limits to our rights. If every human being has an inalienable right to bear any type of armament, then obviously Iranians have the right to arm themselves with nuclear weapons. So why is our government trying to stop Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons?
There is a glaring problem when politicians say two contrary things. Tennessee’s lunatic fringe leadership is saying, on one hand, that ordinary citizens have the unlimited right to own and bear arms, because of the Second Amendment. But none of them think that Muslim citizens of Tennessee have the right to own and bear nuclear weapons, or any type of arms that might be used in acts of large-scale terrorism.
If Tennessee legislators have the right to protect themselves from terrorists bearing super-lethal weapons, why don’t we have the right to protect innocent schoolchildren from madmen bearing super-lethal guns? Are the lives of adult legislators more valuable than the lives of children?
One or the other must be true: either citizens have the unlimited right to own and bear arms, or the government has the right to regulate the distribution of arms which are too lethal for private use. And if anyone deserves to be protected, it is our children, not self-serving politicians.
And let’s get real: Tennessee politicians and judges don’t believe for a second in the right of ordinary citizens to bear arms in their august presence. They are never going to allow us to carry guns into their courthouses and legislative plazas. The only armed people they will allow near them while they work are trained professionals. Nor do they believe for a second in the “right” of ordinary citizens to exercise their unlimited freedom of speech during court sessions and government proceedings. (If you want to test my theory, just try standing up in the middle of a trial and screaming the First Amendment at the top of our lungs. If you don’t quickly shut up and sit down, the judge will have you arrested, hauled off to jail and fined.)
Tennessee’s politicians and judges are raging hypocrites. They are willing to allow us and our children to become targets in a shooting gallery. But they will never accept that risk themselves. Dana McLendon has a pipe dream. His fellow legislators are not stupid enough to risk their lives. They are, however, hypocritical enough to risk our lives, and our children’s lives, while protecting their own.
Why are we paying cowardly, self-serving hypocrites to protect themselves while turning our children into sitting ducks for madmen armed with super-lethal weapons?
Michael R. Burch is a Nashville-based editor and publisher of Holocaust poetry and other “things literary” at www.thehypertexts.com.