On the road again..!
Acer rubrum To Zyzyphus jujuba
Essays, Stories, Adventures, Dreams
Chronicles of a Footloose Forester
By Dick Pellek
Guns Take Their Toll
In these times of a national subconscious fear about the next mass shooting, we all find ourselves choosing up sides regarding our own views about the issue of gun ownership and the deepest meaning of the words, “the right to bear arms shall not be infringed” as found in the 2nd Amendment of the US Constitution. Some people believe that the more guns we have around, the safer we will be. Other people believe the opposite; the greater the number of guns, the higher the level of gun violence. While proponents on both sides can point to documented cases to prove their point, the statistics show overwhelmingly that guns are deadly instruments that kill and maim on a grand scale. Truly, it is people who kill people but guns are the only instruments designed to kill.
The poular AR-15, said to be the most popular long rifle in the USA
Nobody should dispute that guns are designed to kill. And nobody would dispute the fact that military organizations want to equip their soldiers with efficient guns that can be used to defend themselves. It is presumed that members of a militia would be armed and members of well regulated militias like National Guard units in every state have access to modern weapons. But their availability and their use are clearly restiricted; unlike the unresticted availability of guns to law abiding adult civilians.
Except when they are being used in target practice and during supervised assignments, the assault-style weapons of US military units are kept in an armory under lock and key. Even active duty soldiers in the US Army have to fetch their weapons from the armory and return them there when the assignment is over. And the loaded clips, magazines, and unused ammunition containers are also returned to the armory and do not remain in the hands of individual solders. As if the leaders don’t trust the soldiers who have qualified in the care and firing of their individual weapons, nobody gets live ammunition until there is an immediate need. The ammo is locked up in a separate location. Why all the precautions? Doesn’t the Army trust its soldiers to act responsibly with live ammunition? The answers are surprising.
US Army commanders don’t want to take chances in having live ammunition everywhere, when it can be regulated by apportioning it only when needed. So although every soldier carries his personal rifle while on guard duty, the rifle is usually not loaded. A full clip or magazine is carried separately; to be inserted only when warranted. Needless to say, the rules that apply to stages of preparedness may have changed over the years since the Footloose Forester was a soldier; and individual commaders have the authority to set their own policies in regard to circumstances.
Switzerland is noted as one country where there are a lot of guns, per capita. Most of the guns carried and owned by members of the Swiss military are kept at home. But if those guns were issued by military authorities, the bulk of the ammunition for those guns is kept under lock and key, at military armories.
The issue of guns and 2nd Amenment rights in America is a very emotional subject, for those on either side of the debate. The majority vote in the sitting membership of the Supreme Count currenly favors the right of citizens to bear arms, including those with rapid fire capability and high capacity magazines. In contrast, 16 former Supreme Courts did not interpret the 2nd Amendment in the same unrestricted way. Although the United States is polarized as regards our presumed rights and priviledges, we must continue to keep the subject open as a national priority. There is no solution in the short run, but we cannot arrive at a workable solution until we reach consensus as a nation.
About the author
This draft essay was written on 27 January 2014 and kept there until today. It deserves to be read as a fresh story, since the issue of guns and gun violence is at fever pitch.