Opinion » Bill Cope

Repeal the Second!

I'll say it again: Repeal the Second Amendment!

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One more time, just to make sure you heard me: Repeal that goddamned Second Amendment!

Throw the blood-stained thing out. Dump it like the anachronistic trash it is and start over. We have tolerated this travesty for too long.

The gun runners, the killers, the insecure fools and one-track loons, they hide behind it as our streets run red. They bend it to justify their distortions, to make the unnatural seem natural, to mask perversity as patriotism. They use it to make their cowardice sound like bravado and their weakness look like strength. They sacrifice our innocents at the altar of their false machismo. They are dumb brutes, and they defend their savagery with that obsolete junk. That ill-written, ill-conceived Second Amendment of our Constitution.

We know who "they" are, those bastard jackals whose fortunes are made by ensuring that every Adam Lanza and Dylan Klebold and James Holmes, that every Crip and Blood and Aryan Brother and Norteno, that every cranked-up biker and every slobbering hillbilly and every gibbering ape whose idea of a well-spent weekend is to shoot up kitchen appliances, that every twisted kid and every disturbed soul and every sick loner can get their hands on the most efficient killing apparatus they can afford to buy.

"They" are not just the National Rifle Association, but we know that the cancer of rampant weaponry which ravages our country is at its most malignant in Fairfax, Va. In the head offices of the NRA. In the septic heads of Wayne LaPierre and Ted Nugent and David Keene. Even the majority of NRA membership are calling for restrictions on assault weapons, ammunition clips, gun shows--which have become little more than farmers' markets for misfits hungry for untraceable firearms--yet LaPierre and his fellow Second Amendment mafiosi insist the solution to too many guns is more guns.

We, the 300 million-plus who call ourselves Americans, are being herded like bewildered cattle into a slaughterhouse that churns out 30,000 gun deaths a year. And we put up with it only because a tiny fraction of our population--I place it at 2 million give-or-take, approximately 1/160th of the population--will tolerate no infringement whatsoever on their access to any shiny thing an arms dealer waves in front of them. Loudly, obnoxiously, crudely, these mindless nuts demonstrate daily that they don't give a damn who or how many get killed, that the death toll is insignificant next to their "right" to scurry out like ghouls and snap up whichever gun it was that made news in the latest incident.

They are stealing our neighbors from us, our children--even our cops and firefighters--in batches of four or 12 or 26. We have been cowed into believing there is no chance of taking the machinery of mass murder from them, not even from their cold, dead, stupid fingers, because 240 years ago, some men in powdered wigs believed anyone could possess a flintlock and a powderhorn if he so chose.

Would we allow any other tiny minority to do this to us? To hold us hostage to their addiction? To bully us into submission? To shout us down when we object? To make us dance like the old drunk on a cowtown street as the bullets kick up dust clouds at our feet?

No more. To any sane person, it's not a right to own these crowd killers. It's a fetish. Worse, it's an insane symptom of a diseased perspective. And with a regularity that will continue to accelerate as more and more demented assholes rush out to get their AR-15 or Kalashnikov knock-off before somebody says they can't, that symptom is translating into body count.

The idea to repeal that stinking amendment is not mine. Sorry to say, it would have never occurred to me that it could be done had I not heard of a retired lawman, former Seattle Chief of Police Norm Stamper, who has introduced the suggestion into the general debate. My immediate thought: It could never happen; Americans would never dare to alter the Constitution in such a fundamental way.

But that's not true. We've done it before. Every amendment from the 11th on was an adjustment to what the framers considered important or a clarification to what they didn't get right in the first place. Before 1913, regular citizens could not vote for their own senators; that choice was left to state legislatures.

We, as a people, decided that allowing only a select few to select our leaders was a crap idea, and we changed it. In 1920, we believed it vital to ban booze from our society. In 1933, we believed it vital to allow booze back into our society. We have tinkered with the Constitution in matters of who to call "citizen," who could vote, how many terms a president might serve, and who his successors are.

Since 1795, we have amended the Constitution 17 times, so to say we can't rid ourselves of something so destructive, so corrosive and irrational, as the Second Amendment is false. Another, better, amendment would protect sportsmen, yet define more clearly what is reasonable self-protection, taking into account the fact that 240 years of technical advancement in armaments has evolved weapons to which few people should have access.

The effort to right this wrong would take years--possibly decades--to complete, no doubt, and untold thousands more of us will be slaughtered before it's accomplished. But tragically, that's what it will probably take--when the Americans who have lost a loved one to an obsessive gun nut's bullet outnumber those Americans who haven't. Yet.

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