The second amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees every American the right to bear arms. Has any law ever been so ambiguous? What are arms? What does it mean to bear them? At least with the first amendment we know exactly where we stand: Freedom of speech. It couldn't be any clearer. But, the right to bear arms leaves the second amendment open to different interpretations. We need gun permits to carry a concealed weapon. Do we need knife permits? No. Yet both can, and often do, cause death. We can own a gun, or a rifle, or a sub-machine gun, or a machete, and dozens of other tools to kill, even our own bare hands. So, gun control is a debate in our country that makes no sense unless you broaden the ban or acceptance to include all instruments of death.
According to Population Stats, www.xist.com, America has the highest crime rate in the world. Everyday 30 people in the United States are murdered by a gunshot. That means 11,000 people. However, there are more than 25,000 murders each year in the United States. In other industrialized countries, Germany has 381 each year, France 255, Great Britain 68, Australia 65, and Japan 39. Based on population to make it a fair assessment, it turns out to be guns in America murder 1 out of 25,916 people every year. Compared to Canada where the amount is 1 out of 190,387, and 1 out of 864,546 in Great Britain, and only 1 out of 3,254,508 in Japan, America is the killing field of the world.
Gun expert Robert J. Spitzer, political science professor at SUNY Cortland and author of the book The Politics of Gun Control points to America's 'mixed ethnicity.' "Our diverse cultural background, composed of many different ethnic, religious, social, and other groups leads to inter-group rivalries, suspicion, hatred, fear, and sometimes violence,' Professor Spitzer said. "Most other Western nations, by comparison, are more homogeneous than the U.S."
Which brings us back to the thesis that America does not need a gun control law; it needs a crime control law.
The number one concern in America today is safety: Safety from terrorists, safety from drugs and violent drug dealers, safety from gangs, and safety from those whose evil ways affect our lives and our children's lives everyday. However, we have no safety of which to speak. Our police departments are as overwhelmed by the size of the enemy as are our troops in Iraq. Without safety, we are prisoners of our own society. Safety and security are more important than any other issue, for, without it, we cease to live. We merely exist. We must first feel safe, and be safe, before we can think about curing our other ills. With 14,000 of the homicides each year being committed without guns (11,000 with), we must look at the bigger picture.
We must build more maximum-security prisons. Enough so that everyone convicted of first-degree homicide, or of a felony three times, is sent there for the rest of their life, without any chance of parole. (There is no reason to spend millions of dollars on each death row prisoner's appeals that last ten years or longer when it has been proven not to be a deterrent and when housing them is substantially much less expensive.)
Within a federal partnership with select American manufacturing companies, these companies for the work they would be required to do would pay these prisoners minimum wage. The product they create would then be infused into mainstream American commerce. In return for these jobs, the prisoners would pay the government for their room and board, and any security, medical, and utility fees. If the prisoner has any dependents, their paycheck would reflect that deduction. Cut off from society, these prisons would be a society of their own. Away from us forever.
Crime control, rather than a gun control, is a stricter and more effective deterrent than the failed alternatives. It would not just deter murder with guns, it would deter murder with any type of weapon, as well as rape, aggravated assault - ALL felonies. It would reduce crime and get these criminals off America's streets once and for all, saving the American taxpayer substantially in law enforcement: Money that will instead be used to build and staff these new prisons. Our safety is what we have to take care of - what we must take care of - before we do anything else. We owe it to our children.
We teach our children to have pride in America. We teach our children safety first. We teach our children about good and evil, right versus wrong. What must our children be thinking when they see murder after murder on the news, and walking the streets with the fear of a drive by shooting, or of being abducted? We are raising a society born of fear and mistrust. This is why we need a stricter crime bill. This is why we must - we have no other choice - take back our country from these criminals.
Yes, Americans should be able to have handguns in their home for protection, as long as it is responsibly locked up and away from children. Yes, Americans should be able to have rifles to hunt for food. However, these are still weapons of destruction and they must be registered with personal background checks. There is absolutely no need or reason for any person, other than law enforcement and the military to have assault weapons that are aimed to violently kill masses of people. We must compromise through common sense. We must understand and follow the true intent of our forefathers when they penned the second amendment to the Constitution.
All it takes is the determination, the moral strength of our elected representatives, to enact tougher laws, so we can finally take back our country and make it a safe haven once again for every American man, woman, and child.
Bruce Schwartz is a lifelong political activist. THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY, his novel on politics today, discusses this subject as well as others that affect every American. It is on sale oon the Web at http://www.thetwentyfirstcentury.com and at http://www.amazon.com. All of the author's royalties is being donated to the Alzheimer's Association.