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Mass shooting epidemic appears hopeless
and this one hits home a little bit ...
We are away on a family vacation (the above photo is from one year ago in the same locality), so I’m trying to take a break from serious thinking — or what passes for it in my increasingly exhausted mind. I’ll be back and fully in action next week.
The news is again confronting us with a relentless urgency. The mass shooting in Maine hits home for me. If you’re interested in following the latest developments, I recommend the Lewiston Sun-Journal, which has lifted its paywall for the duration of the crisis. A Connecticut journalism acquaintance of mine, Steve Collins, is Statehouse reporter for the Sun-Journal, which has great sources in the region is doing vital work in keeping the public informed.
My late father and stepmother lived for 10 years about half an hour west of Lewiston. Dad was head of the math department at Hebron Academy and, later, the computer department.
They used to go to Bates College in Lewiston for cultural events. After my stepmother was involved in a car crash in Hebron, she spent a couple of weeks on death’s door at the Central Maine Medical Center, also in Lewiston and the facility where most of the victims were transported initially. Fortunately, she survived but was bothered by a traumatic brain injury that constrained her ability to do the things she enjoyed.
Like most of the other schools in the area, both Hebron and Bates are closed today in deference to the shelter-in-place advisory issued by the Maine Department of Public Safety, as multiple law enforcement agencies hunt for the suspect.
Over the years, I have made my position on gun safety, gun control or whatever you like to call it, quite clear. See below for an example:
Ten Years After Sandy Hook, Too Much Work Remains - CTNewsJunkie, Dec. 14, 2022
Unlike some of my progressive friends, I do believe the Second Amendment protects the individual right to bear arms, not just the collective right (as in the “militia”). This was affirmed by the Supreme Court in the Heller decision in 2008. I do not want to live in a society where only the authorities are armed.
But I also agree with iconic conservative Justice Antonin Scalia, who wrote Heller, and cautioned against thinking it conferred boundless rights:
“Like most rights, the right secured by the Second Amendment is not unlimited,” Scalia wrote as he laid out certain exceptions. History demonstrates, Scalia said, “the right was not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose.”
The question, of course, is where you draw the line. Private citizens may not own tanks or bazookas. Fully automatic rifles, known back in the day as “machine guns” or “tommy guns,” have been banned since the days of Al Capone. Does an AR-15-style semi-automatic rifle, with its ability to handle extended ammunition clips containing hollow-point bullets that explode on impact, fall within the limits described by Scalia?
I think they do, but I’m not optimistic anything will be done about it. Firearms are so deeply ingrained in our society and so many politicians would be booted out of office for voting to ban AR-15-style rifles that the issue is effectively moot.
I know I sound defeatist but I think the best we can hope for is to limit the damage.
I’ll be posting some photos of our adventures in the next few days.
Peace. And be well …