I think this is the last I’ll say on this topic (and that includes responses to any irate gun owners.)
Do I think rights are important? Yes.
Do I think they are guaranteed or owed? No
Do rights really exist? One would think a right is something that can’t be taken away or given. Life, liberty, pursuit of happiness, bearing arms… all can be taken away. They are not guaranteed.
Unfortunately, there is little in this world that can not be taken away. Most of the “rights” we have are “rights” that were given to us, either by law or religion.
We are born into this world naked. We don’t come from our mothers equipped with a full set of rights.
According to Wikipedia and the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, rights are defined as follows:
Rights are legal, social, or ethical principles of freedom or entitlement; that is, rights are the fundamental normative rules about what is allowed of people or owed to people, according to some legal system, social convention, or ethical theory.
To me, the key word in this passage is entitlement. I see a fair amount of abuse directed at Americans online, especially by non-Americans. We’re “bullies,” we’re ignorant, we’re arrogant.
While I do largely agree with that assessment, it still rankles me to see an entire nation discriminated against based on the actions of a few, namely the government.
But, America does have a problem, and I think it comes largely from a sense of entitlement. I honestly think our problem with violence in this country largely stems from that feeling of entitlement. And we got that sense of entitlement from our own government and judicial system. Our country was founded on some “fundamental rights”, enacted by Congress. Fast forward a couple hundred years to the land of frivolous lawsuits, some of which are actually won.
Between laws set forth and court rulings (judgments) on criminal cases and civil suits, our country has set a dangerous precedence. They have given a lot of people in this country the mentality of a three year old, that being, “I deserve to be happy, I deserve to get my way, and if I don’t, I’m going to
have a temper tantrum sue.”
I am sick to fucking death of seeing all the people who have been proselytizing about their “right to bear arms” in the wake of Newtown. Between the gun rights advocates and the gun control advocates, it seems there can be no middle ground either. You would think some of the gun control laws being proposed or already in place are common sense. But lately it feels like people are immune to common sense, or even facts and statistics.
You’re pissed about your “right to bear arms?” Well, guess what. Those 20 dead little kids should have had a right to go to school without fear of gruesome death! I’ve got news for you; most of the rights you have were given to you by the government, and thus, can be taken away by the government.
Some people would argue our “rights” are what separate us from less civilized people and places. I agree that rights are important, but what I am trying to get across is that people are letting their perceived rights make them arrogant and ambivalent to the plights of others. Believe it or not, I actually support the right to bear arms. That said, I do not think that right should be without restrictions. My problem is with the people placing their “right to bear” over the safety of our children, with lame arguments that “guns don’t kill people,” and opposition to even statistical data that supports the fact that easy access to weapons means the weapons get used more often in crimes of violence (case in point, the statistics on victims of lethal domestic violence and gun ownership.)**Someone the other day argued with me that by this logic, since his whole family owned guns, I was insinuating that one of them must be an abuser. Such ignorant misinterpretation of the facts is a symptom of the arrogance I mentioned. This person simply did not want to acknowledge any factual data that ran counter to his own desire to “keep his guns.”** What this basically boils down to is, in the case of domestic violence, if a gun is around to be used, there is a higher chance it will be used. I realize most gun owners are not abusers, but I’m going to extrapolate to violent crime in general and say if a person has easy access to a gun (whether it’s their own or a family member’s or friend’s), they are more likely to use said gun.
Maybe it seems like I’m picking on the “gun people.” It’s only because the news and social media sites have been flooded with knee-jerk speeches about gun rights and gun control since the Newtown tragedy. But the basic idea applies to everyone.
Maybe it’s a stretch, but I think if you take the idea of entitlement one step further, you are on your way to understanding the cause of a lot of violence too.
“I want something, you can’t keep me from having it, I have a right to have it, I’m going to take it. “
It seems to be pretty obvious that all the media coverage on mass killings like this seem to encourage other unstable people to air their grievances in a similar manner. People who are dissatisfied, feel “wronged,” are unhappy with their lot in life, now feel entitled to be noticed, to force their pain on others.
Anyway, though I digressed (at length) and
maybe vented a bit, everyone is entitled to their opinion…and that’s about the only “right” you have that can’t be taken away.
*** Like I said, everyone is entitled to their opinions (the above is my opinion,) and you are welcome to share yours as long as it’s respectful. Just please don’t expect a response from me regarding “gun rights,” because I think I’ve said all I have to say.