By John Lawrence
It has come to my attention that some of my conservative friends think that the American Constitution was chiseled in stone. Well, no, actually unlike the Ten Commandments which were written in stone, the American Constitution was written on parchment. I have a lot of respect for the Founding Fathers who came up with this document based on the best Enlightenment thinking at the time with the help of French philosophes such as Montesquieu who believed in the separation of powers and checks and balances. Unfortunately, the Founders didn’t heed the advice of the Marquis de Condorcet who came up with a better voting system than majority rule.
Condorcet and my other friends, Voltaire and Rousseau are entombed in the basement of the Pantheon in Paris where I visited them a while back and thanked them for their efforts in getting the fledgling United States off the ground. But speaking of being “written in stone”, did God really hand Moses two tablets or did Moses have a little workshop up on the mountaintop where he meticulously chiseled out the Ten Commandments?
If Moses had handed them out on a piece of paper to his constituents, they would have laughed in his face so he had to make them believe that they were inviolable because they came directly from a Higher Power. That vested them with considerable authority, much more so than if Moses had told his followers, “Here, follow these rules that I came up with for it’s really in the best interests of everyone concerned.” Human beings will not always do what is the best for everyone concerned as has been demonstrated time and again especially in the mass denial of global warming. Moses knew what he was doing when it comes to human nature.
But I digress. Whatever the case with Moses and the Ten Commandments, the Constitution of the United States was definitely created by Homo Sapiens. No one concerned believes it was handed down by God. So it represents the best thinking up to that time which was considerable. However, I think some of my conservative friends could really go for a rewrite to correct some of its obvious defects. Take the Second Amendment for instance. Now some on the left including myself would just leave it out entirely, but the right would probably seize the chance of a rewrite to strengthen it. You could just leave out all the nonsense about “a well-regulated militia” and just go for it – something like this:
New 2nd Amendment to the Constitution of the United States: Every American citizen is free to buy, sell and own firearms of any description and any quantity without restriction.
Just think of how this would boost the economy. There would be such a commerce in firearms for people of all ages that guns would be as ubiquitous as smartphones or tatoos. This would add immeasurably to GDP. And the trick would be to come out with new models every year just like the iPhone. People would be induced through advertising to get rid of their old models in order to have the latest. Planned obsolescence would be built in as gun manufacturers planned a few years ahead to add enticing bells and whistles one step at a time.
Already pink rifles are being sold directly to little girls with blue ones reserved for little boys. The .22 caliber Crickett rifle is already being manufactured and marketed. Not only should the market be expanded more to little kids, but special models should be designed for senior citizens as well.
Every resident in the retirement home would be encouraged to own one because you never know when some nut would go in to these mostly unsecured facilities and start shooting. The senior citizen version could have a button installed on it: the Help, I’ve Fallen and I Can’t Get Up button. That way there would be no need for any additional, superfluous medallions worn around the neck. The senior citizen gun would cover all the bases.
And speaking of unsecured venues where some nut might just go in with a load of guns and start shooting, there are a number of them that are just accidents waiting to happen. Take hospitals, for instance. There’s no security in most hospitals, no metal detectors. That’s why doctors and nurses should be encouraged to carry guns. Especially in the operating theatre the Doc should always have a sidearm as he performs surgery. Otherwise, the blood spatters might not end up being just those of the patient. We have already seen how unsecured churches, schools and movie theaters have interested twisted minds. Sports venues by now have been mostly secured with metal detectors, because it’s common knowledge that those venues attract a lot of gun nuts.
Of course, principals and teachers should be carrying guns. We’ve already seen what happens when some nut chooses to take out his anger on innocent school children.Along the same lines, no one attending a movie theater should do so without packing heat. Venues where people congregate are prime targets for nuts with guns which is their right as American citizens according to the Second Amendment as presently constituted. Librarians should also obviously be armed as libraries are an obvious place to mow down defenseless people and shoot up a bunch of offensive books at the same time.
If we are to have a revolution in gun ownership in order to eliminate senseless violence, gun manufacturers need to start getting creative about their offerings. Already video games offer 5-year-olds the thrills of vicariously murdering their enemies, but what if they had an actual AK-47 with associated software where you could hook it up to a computer or a Play Station or an X-box with a USB cord? Instead of using a joystick to murder villains and enemies, kids could use a real AK-47 in virtual reality mode of course. A switch on the gun would change between reality and virtual reality modes.
Also information could be wirelessly downloaded to compute the statistics of how many targets the kid had successfully vanquished. Kids could compete online with each one trying to outdo the other in the number of kills in real time. When the gun is taken out in the field, the flip of a switch would take it out of virtual reality mode and back into reality mode so that actual bullets could be fired. Here’s another idea: the gun could be fired automatically and remotely from a smartphone!
Guns could be a fantastic component of the Internet of Things that is now all the vogue. San Diego based Qualcomm is looking to be a major player in the Internet of Things that hooks up every household component and device to the internet so that it can be controlled from your smartphone. Guns should be a prominent part of the Internet of Things. myAK-47.com would handle all ancillary merchandise, such as bullets and ammo, which could be ordered from amazon.com and be delivered in two hours!
All the practice of using the gun in virtual reality mode would transfer directly to reality mode with kids developing sharpshooter skills at an early age. Then when they went into the Army, the task of training them to kill actual enemies would be a lot simpler. Some of those kids would have been training for ten years or more at home.
There is a slight problem in that some people would get to the point where they wouldn’t know the difference between virtual reality or fantasy and reality so that a few accidents might occur along the way where someone thought he was dealing with virtual reality and in fact the switch was turned the wrong way and the guy was actually operating in real world mode. That is always a possibility, but that is why everyone should be armed with several different types of weapons for several different types of situations. The gun manufacturers shouldn’t stop with selling just one gun to every American. There’s one gun out there for every American now. The US leads the world with almost one gun per capita. So advertising should be directed in such a way as to make every American a gun collector, not just a (single) gun owner.
There are some that decry violent video games as the source of narcissistic pleasure for those who seek to be famous by committing a violent act:
I’m horrified that Bryce Williams was live tweeting his own footage of his murders within minutes of the story hitting the headlines — that he waited to shoot himself until after his Twitter and Facebook accounts were suspended, that he very directly sacrificed others’ lives and his own for the immediate dopamine rush of getting hundreds of retweets.
I’m horrified that the video is still up and easily findable on Google. And I’m horrified that when I watched the video — I admit it, I’m human — it was shot to resemble the point-of-view of a first-person shooter video game.
I’m someone who loves social media, and who loves gaming. I’ve staunchly defended both in the past, and I would say the negative things about them are symptoms of broader negative social trends, not their cause.
But I can’t ignore anymore the toxicity that comes with the world of social media or that the gaming world is the birthplace of deranged social movement after deranged social movement — so much so that the biggest terrorist organization in the world, ISIS, uses video game tropes as a recruiting tool — and succeeds in getting Westernized middle-class teenagers to join up so they can feel badass.
Every place that people congregate is fertile territory for some gun wielding nut with a grievance against the world. That’s why Americans have to follow the Boy Scout motto, “Be Prepared.” We shouldn’t trust that there are any places that are safe any more. And statements like “No one saw this coming” or “Who could have imagined such a thing happening?” are ridiculous in light of the fact that we are averaging more than one mass murder per day in the US. Mass murders are commonplace. They’re as American as apple pie. Now they don’t even make the evening news unless they are really spectacular.
Of course, if I had my way, I would replace the Second Amendment, the Right to Bear Arms, with the Right to Have Health Care. It seems that some societies have gone that route – restricting gun ownership while providing free health care. Somehow that seems more decent, and gun homicides are a rare happening in those societies. Some people have even suggested that a high incidence of gun ownership is correlated with a high incidence of gun homicides. However, you can’t get around the fact that if everyone owned a gun, criminals would not be the only ones with guns.