Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The Clackamas Mall Shootings and The Critical Mom

Mall shootings are becoming a holiday habit--we've seen enough of them to justify a Wikipedia entry on "spree shootings."  But are the folks who fled the latest maniac at the Clackamas town mall, which was packed with Christmas shoppers--including a Santa Claus who zigzagged out of harm's way--now in favor of gun control?  Only around 40% of Americans believe that the founding fathers would never have wanted the "right to bear arms" to mean the right to own and use repeat-fire weapons capable of taking out a mall filled with holiday shoppers. In District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570 (2008), the Supreme Court of the United States interpreted the Second Amendment as protecting the right of an individual to own a firearm for the purposes of self-defense, especially within one's own home, while at the same time reaffirming the constitutionality of a wide range of long standing gun control laws.  Why is the definition of "gun" never questioned in what the historian Richard Hofstadter called American "gun culture?"  Since frontier days, muscular masculinity has meant shooting your own meat--or your favorite enemy.  Davy Crockett, Daniel Boone, Pecos Bill--in fact every single American frontiersman except for Johnny Appleseed--sported a rifle.  When in 1791 the Second Amendment to the constitution was drafted, the only available form of "gun" was a single-shot fiream that had to be loaded through the muzzle.  In other words, if you were after a deer, a rabbit, or a wifestealer, it helped to be a crack shot, because if the first shot missed, your target had plenty of time to get away from you while you were re-loading.
Money makes the world go 'round, and the folks who manufacture guns are making a lot of it.  And selling to dudes who want to feel like "men."  How many "men" who need to kill to feel strong will it take before we no longer have the right to bear "arms?"

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