Once again, there has been yet another massacre of innocent people, simply by going about their daily lives at Borderline Bar and Grill in Thousand Oaks, CA. They were enjoying themselves, when their lives were senselessly taken from them. They were deprived of three fundamental human rights, which were recognized by the Declaration of Independence, namely, “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
Americans are not facing a sporadic problem of gun violence, a shooting “here and there.” Rather, it has become an epidemic, which is “sweeping” throughout the country. Nothing, it seems, is sacred anymore; no place is “off limits.” People can be gunned down anywhere, at any time and in any place. Right now, there is a “war” against America itself. Its most formidable foe is from within, namely, its own citizens.
Indeed, the Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States recognizes “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms.” I am not disputing that right. But it does need to be evaluated morally and legally by recta ratio, “right reason.” I call it a ‘rational evaluation.’ The right, then, to bear arms cannot be absolute, that is, guaranteed to every American, at all times and in all places, because of the fact that mental illness may preclude a citizen from having a weapon, being a danger both to himself or herself and others. That is precisely the problem Americans are now facing, as they attempt to address justly the issue of gun violence.
In writing about the issue, I do so not as a Democrat, nor as a Republican; not, ideologically, as someone on the Left, nor on the Right. Rather, gun violence affects human beings and, as such, it is, first or foremost, a human issue. And precisely because it is a human issue, human beings from all political perspectives and “walks of life” may come together to find humane solutions to the problem.
In a country divided by “heated” political differences, prejudice and hate, my hope is that our elected officials may rise above their differences and, for the sake of the American people, find bipartisan solutions to addressing the problem of gun violence, starting with the issue of mental health. In particular, more, much more, can and should be done to help people who suffer from mental illness.