Less than a month ago, Denver East High School students marched on the state capitol to protest gun violence. Luis Garcia, a 16-year-old who played on the East boys soccer team, was shot and killed, allegedly, by two teens who later flipped the stolen SUV they were driving (poorly) after the police took chase. No news yet on the charges.
Those East students marched on the wrong capitol, of course – the only one that can take legislative action to stanch the literal bleeding is in Washington, D.C.
Now this morning, two East faculty are being treated for gunshot wounds as about 2,500 kids are in lockdown in their third-period classrooms.
The details remain murky (the shooting happened about an hour ago as I type), but it sounds like the two faculty stopped an armed student from entering the building. A heroic act that could have cost them their lives, if true.
The problem boils down to yet another idiot/twisted motherfucker with a gun based on an outdated Constitutional amendment. That amendment, the second, reads:
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
You don’t need to be a constitutional scholar to know that the militias we have these days are problems, not solutions.
Add to that the modern irrelevance of two historical interpretations: 1) That arming people in the states would provide a viable check on federal power and 2) that arming people would help make every citizen a soldier after some Greco-Roman ideal.
Given the standing army of 2.1 million and their access to drones, tanks, armored personnel carriers, HIMARS, fighter jets, satellite surveillance, C4ISR, yadda yadda yadda, the balance of power has shifted away from the states just slightly. So argument 1) is bullshit despite all the Don’t Tread on Me rattlesnakes on pickup trucks. And those citizen soldiers? They’re mainly good at shooting other citizens and, more so, themselves.
So that leaves us with limp-dick arguments about self-protection and only good guys having guns can stop bad guys with guns and hunting (which is fine, but you don’t need a handgun or an AR to hunt, and integrate GPS technology and you can stop a hunting rifle from discharging within, say, the city limits of Denver) and and and. Bottom line is, the Second Amendment leaves much room for interpretation, which the gun lobby has exploited. That interpretation should now evolve in a direction based on modern reality. And that reality is that sane civilians aren’t part of a militia, that modern militias have no kinship with the ones that fought in the Revolutionary War, and that, by extension, civilians don’t need guns.
We would not be the first country to benefit from such thinking.
There are plenty of solutions if the gun-drunk Right would get its head out of its ass and man up (being a gun proponent is anything but brave, let’s be honest – much harder to advocate for what’s right than what moneyed interests have convinced you to believe). One would be to impose a mandatory buyback of all but hunting rifles among non-law-enforcement and treat such weapons’ continued possession, after a brief grace period, like you would if if caught with a kilo of cocaine.
My daughter has said, without irony, that she thinks she’s going to get shot at school. Two faculty just did, and so did Luis Garcia just last month. We are way past the point at which alleged Second Amendment Constitutional rights shoot up those of too many others.
Addendum: Police found the body of the shooter in the foothills a few hours later.