Gun control vexes still-young America
Advocates on gun control issues vent their passions quickly and openly, sometimes using language more polarizing than constructive.
Upcoming in Viewpoints, a “pro-con” exchange will focus on prominent issues related to gun violence in our country. The cases made by two area residents are calm, on-point discussions of issues we’ve heard debated ad infinitum since that terrible mass killing at a Connecticut elementary school. No doubt they will draw fierce comment from both ends of this controversy, which, historically speaking, vexes a still-young America.
Meanwhile, an interesting side of that debate appeared on our website this week in response to a letter on the topic. It’s a subject that relates not just to gun control, but myriad issues wending through the halls of Congress and state legislatures: Should assumed commands of an almighty God be invoked to bolster public policy debates?
It unfolded this way on our website:
The rights of our people, one writer said, are “granted by our Creator, recognized and supposedly defended by our government. It is difficult to have a reasonable discussion on the topic of gun violence when law-abiding citizens are treated like criminals.”
A reader responded, “It is even more difficult to have a reasonable discussion about gun violence and public policy with someone who believes that ‘our Creator’ has anything to do with it.” Another joined in, writing, “I am so weary of seeing God’s name dropped in order to bolster a position. Please, keep your religion and provincial ideas private.”
Respectfully, the original commentator answered by quoting our 1776 Declaration of Independence:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
Of course, one can respect that core American document without believing “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” includes ownership of semi-automatic assault weapons. That’s important, since the Declaration of Independence continues: “Whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”
Therein, perhaps awaiting future comment, lies the Oregon story of sheriffs pledging to disregard “unconstitutional gun laws.”
Jeb Bladine can be reached at jbladine@news register.com or 503-687-1223.