A friend recently passed along an informative video that taught me a lot about the third amendment to the US Constitution, which, I admit, I’ve not thought about in a very long time. Unfortunately, it did little to address other more important questions. The main premise is that we citizens need to be ready and able to defend ourselves from harm that our government might potentially inflict upon us. I would suggest, however, that most people feel far more threat from other directions.
An extreme example would be to visit a neighborhood rife with gun violence. Do you think that a mom living on the South Side of Chicago, who might have already lost a couple of members of her family to gun violence, feels safer because there are plenty of guns in the hands of the citizens around her to keep the government at bay? I think that the threat of “home invasion” by government troops is so remote compared to the threat of an attack by gun-toting hoodlums that she would feel far safer in a neighborhood devoid of guns!
Let’s look a bit closer to home. I live in a comfortable suburb with no significant risk of burglary, let alone home invasion. So, the threat of the government quartering troops in my house is relatively higher to me than to our hypothetical South Chicago mom. Do I feel safer having guns in the house knowing I can keep the soldiers out? No, of course not. Instead, I worry about the possibility of an accident should one of those guns get into the hands of a youngster, a drunk, or an otherwise unstable person.
I’m not particularly fond of gun control as a solution because it is impractical to think we’ll ever “recall” the 300 million guns already in the country. I am deeply saddened by recent news stories of one school shooting after another. I agree that guns don’t kill people, but I lament that people with guns do. As long as untrained and/or unstable people have guns, senseless gun violence seems inevitable. The conundrum for which I have no answer asks: Which is easier, to rid our neighborhoods, schools, and malls of unstable people, or to reduce the number of guns available to them?
Unfortunately, hearing a dummy talk about the government quartering troops in my house does not help me get closer to answering that difficult question.