Harold Pease, in “How ‘red flag’ laws violate Bill of Rights” (See Times, Aug. 22, 2019), insightfully warns us how knee-jerk reactions to genuine problems can have harmful results. Similar to how our Congress passed the USA Patriot Act and The Authorization for Use of Military Force, the first which seriously compromised Americans’ Constitutional rights and the second led to the Iraq War, the greatest and most expensive debacle in American military history. So, we should be very, very careful to enact “solutions” that are quick and easy, but not thought through for potential conflicts and infringements on the liberties we enjoy. Artificial intelligence and programs, as shown in the sci-fi film “The Minority Report,” are prone to prejudice and manipulation.
However, he mischaracterizes the Second Amendment as “giving the people the ability to resist tyrannical government as the Founders had, even by revolution if required.” First, no state in history has ever provided for its possible violent overthrow, and it strains credulity to believe that the Founders would anticipate the demise of their creation.
Second, history shows that the actual motivation for “the right of the people to bear arms” was 1) the necessity to fight and destroy the indigenous peoples’ resistance to settler-colonialism; and 2) the ability to put down revolts by the African-origin enslaved peoples in America endemic at the time. Neither of these conditions is currently operable, so the Second Amendment argument is factually challenged.
The issue should be how the American people right now are suffering serious infringements on their lives and liberties, as too many people endure precarious lives. I speak of stagnant wages, outsourced jobs, unreliable health insurance, and so on, not “invasions” of brown people. Some are troubled enough to act out in response to their unhappiness and fear. If they did so with sticks and stones rather than automatic weapons, perhaps no one would notice, but these people have access to guns and use them. The easy answer would be to just remove all guns, or maybe the most dangerous kind. Another would be to identify “troubled” men (and mass shooters are almost always men) and take away their guns (but knives can kill, too).
I propose identifying the cause of the underlying societal suffering and address it rather than superficialities. I am confident that Mr. Pease would agree with me.