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Monday, September 25, 2023

Politics and money fuel lenient gun laws

Guest Writer

It is bad enough that we are experiencing shootings in the USA that far exceed the number found in any of the countries we compare ourselves to which are known as OECD member countries.

As I have written, the Parkland, Florida school shooting was a disgusting failure of police and other officials, particularly the FBI, to prevent and deal with the killing and wounding of 34 students and school workers.

And just when you say that it cannot get worse than that we get a repeat in a place called Uvalde, Texas where, according to reports, 19 police officers failed to act appropriately while the shooter killed 19 children and 2 teachers.

The Uvalde police also reportedly prevented a Border Patrol Tactical Unit from storming the classroom until it was too late.

This is all happening while children are calling 911 for help, which never came in time.

It should be noted that Texas Governor Greg Abbott stated in his remarks that Law enforcement officers showed amazing courage, which is absurd. He also completely avoided any reference to “guns” and directed his comments to mental health issues. The Governor has loosened gun restrictions during his term.

Then, to top it off we have Donald Trump as the prime speaker at the NRA annual meeting and, of course, completely blaming these shootings on “mental health issues.”

As author Nick Bryant stated in his recent book, “When America Stopped Being Great,” the United States is on an irreversible decline from their days and years of greatness.

On another subject I want to write a bit about the Second Amendment and the Supreme Court decision in 2008 that loosened gun control. The case is DC v Heller and was written by Antonin Scalia.

Due to very high crime rates, Washington DC had the most restrictive gun control laws in the United States. Even a Security Guard named Heller who was armed on duty could not bring his weapon to his home after work. So Heller filed suit claiming that his Second Amendment rights were being denied to him.

The Second Amendment reads as follows: “A well regulated Militia being necessary for the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”

The lower court ruled against Heller stating that the right to keep and bear arms applied only to members of a militia and not to individuals.

The Appeals Court ruled in his favor and Washington DC appealed to the Supreme Court. In a 5-4 decision, which became a “ Landmark Case,” the Court ruled that the right to keep and bear arms applied to individuals and not just to militia members

The decision, which allowed individuals to keep a gun at home for self defense,  provided for more questions than answers which have left some States with strict and others with lenient gun control laws.

And now there is a follow up case, “New York Rifle and Pistol Association v Bruen,” which is awaiting a decision and could make for even more lenient gun control laws.

Stay tuned since the decision will be made public in the next few weeks.

The sad thing about this whole subject is that there is nothing to restrain States from banning assault weapons and other reasonable restrictions except for politicians who are on the payroll of the NRA and that comes before the common good.

On a related subject there seems to be a lot of confusion about precedent and the doctrine of “stare decisis” as factors in Supreme Court Decisions.

Stare Decisis is a Latin expression meaning “to stand by things decided,” but it does not mean that the Court must adhere to precedent.

On the contrary, over the years there have been about 232 cases where the Court overturned precedent and Roe v Wade could be one more if the leaked draft is adhered to.

The prime factor in overturning a precedent is just how strong a link to the

Constitution the prior case had and as Ruth Bader Ginsburg stated in her opinion the link was weak. I believe that the Heller decision also has a weak link.

On Memorial Day I thought a lot about my experiences while serving during the Korean War and the 33,652 who did not come home.

It is a fact that many who died in Korea were World War 2 veterans who had fought in Europe and the Pacific and survived.

They came home, used the GI Bill for College, got married, settled down and then were recalled in one of the most unfair events in our history

Lest we Forget:

In Flanders fields, the poppies blow

between the crosses row on row

that mark our place, and in the sky

the larks, still bravely singing fly.

scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the dead. Short Days ago

we lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,

Loved and were loved,

And now we lie

In Flanders Fields

Take up our quarrel with the foe:

To you from falling hands we throw

the torch, be yours to hold it high

If ye break faith with us who die

we shall not sleep, though poppies grow

In Flanders Fields

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