28 May, 2008

Thank god for the 2nd Amendment

Location: folk life
Mood: a little bit schizo

You've all heard about the shooting at folk life. And it turns out that the guy has a history of drug abuse and mental illness. Schizophrenia, to be specific. And yet he had a valid gun permit. The laws around this are surprisingly lenient, although in this guy's case, it was a bureaucratic error that allowed him to maintain his permit.

But still. Why is it that we have an "innocent until proven guilty", or "eligible until proven ineligible" philosophy on the books for something as utterly lethal as gun ownership? Why is it that our right to bear arms doesn't have a high standard associated with it? Wouldn't you think it would be reasonable that someone submit to an elaborate records check, and waiting period, in order to purchase and own/carry a gun? Sure, there are background checks to make sure you aren't actually an escaped felon! But how about something more stringent? Maybe we could do a basic psychological examination, and determine if you seem stable? And so what if we accidentally err on the side of too much caution! Do we, as a society need to feel bad about a borderline case where someone who is "barely sane" is accidentally tested as being "barely not sane", and denied the right to buy a gun? Oh, too bad, so sad, for that person! Because I am sure that plenty of people who are barely sane are on their way to becoming barely not sane.

But nope...

One of the foundations of this country is the right to own a gun. And bullets. Of course, the fact remains, that guns are only dangerous when used for their specific intended purpose. So I don't know what all the fuss is.

What else do we have?

Freedom of speech... great. Except that it has been bastardized into the freedom to publish and broadcast anything you want, regardless of its veracity, and leave it to the commoner to figure out what is truth, and what is rubbish.

And then, the next great right we have, beyond gun ownership and freedom to lie, is that we can buy or sell anything for whatever price people are willing to pay for it, within reason, as long as it is not a drug, other than tobacco, or alcohol.

And of course, the freedom to practice religious faith. Great that we do not burn people for their beliefs. But that's where it should stop. Instead, we have woven a pretty little web between government and religion, with politicians needing to invoke the Lord (the Christian one, at that!) in order to be representatives of the people. And so many of the issues on our agenda stem from issues that can fundamentally be seen as religious ones.

It's just so fucking ironic, this country. We regulate all the shit that we shouldn't be regulating, and we either don't regulate, or under-regulate, all the things we should be regulating!

And in the meantime, our education system is a joke. Healthcare availability is pathetic. And the tax system still seems to have a soft spot for rich people and corporations.

But I digress.

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