A comment in response to my July 4 question “What’s great about the United States?”:
The right to keep and bear arms, of course! Do I need to elaborate? I should think that the readers of this blog wouldn’t need the lesson to understand why it’s so important to millions of Americans. Tens of millions of your fellow citizens exercise that right every single day, year in and year out, and aren’t ashamed to be armed citizens despite the mendacity and lack of respect shown to them.
Our current media and cultural environment may label me a pariah, but I’m not afraid of people calling me names based on a twisted, biased, and ignorant interpretation of what the 2nd Amendment really means to the average person. To me, it means that our country values the individual so much that ordinary people are trusted to own and keep weapons that belong to them. It’s a fundamental statement of the worth of the individual and it just can’t be overstated. I think everyone will miss it greatly if it ever stops being so.
We started out with laws, including the Second Amendment, designed for a population of 4 million yeoman farmers who accepted both risk and personal responsibility. Now there are 330 million residents of the U.S. and risk-aversion grows every year. Flying a little Cessna was considered an acceptable risk back in the 1950s, but most people today insist on a higher level of safety and idiot-proofing. Similarly, any risk of being shot by an unhinged person is enough to drive a lot of people to demand (at least on Facebook) protection from an all-powerful government (as in Leviathan).
Readers: What’s the chance of the Second Amendment surviving in our society on its current trajectory?
- Neil deGrasse Tyson’s unsuccessful attempt to comfort the cowering with data (gun homicide rates are down roughly 50 percent compared to 1993 (Pew), but pointing that out on Facebook would be a good way to get defriended and it is unclear that half of the risk level of 1993 is in any way tolerable by the current generation of Americans)