I am numb over the events that happened in Las Vegas last week.
I am numb that I now seem to be able to take in stride that hundreds of our fellow citizens can be mowed down like chaff, and we mourn and lower the flag and have moments of silence, and then carry on with our jobs and homework and football games, shaking our heads and hoping that it doesn't happen again.
It always happens again.
A moment of silence and a prayer and a lowered flag is perhaps all we can do when tragedy comes from a natural disaster. But this? A guy walking into a hotel with dozens of weapons and hundreds of rounds of ammunition, and nobody says anything? That raises no red flags? This insanity?
We have no one to blame for this but ourselves.
I realize we have the 2nd amendment to contend with. (Nevermind that the 2nd and 3rd words of the amendment are "well regulated"; somehow we as a country have come to interpret it as "you can't regulate gun ownership.") And I'm sure the authors of the Bill of Rights meant it to be something that protects individual liberty from the tyranny of an overreaching government.
But here's the thing. Circumstances have changed.
In 1775, a few thousand British regular soldiers, part of one of the finest military forces in the world at the time, squared off against a few thousand plucky New England militiamen. They fought for several hours. When the smoke cleared and the battle was over, 341 men were dead on both sides.
Thousands of soldiers, using the best available weapons at the time, shot at each other for several hours, and 341 died.
And then last week, a single man killed 58 people in a matter of minutes.
The fact of the matter is, there was no personal weapon available at the time the Bill of Rights was being written that was capable of that kind of murder. Honestly, it would have been tricky to inflict casualties that fast even with the heavy artillery of the time.
Does anybody really honestly think the intent of the 2nd amendment was for individual people have the capability to inflict mass murder on a whim?
The founders did the best they could with the information they had at the time. Even so, they made some mistakes. But they couldn't have written the 2nd amendment with today's weapons in mind, because they could not have imagined that such weapons would ever exist.
Would regulating or banning personal gun ownership actually make mass killings more rare? I don't know. There are signs that is has elsewhere. That doesn't prove it will work here. But what I do know is that the situation we have today is not working. It's high time we give something else a try.
The constitution isn't a perfect document. It's not inerrant holy scripture. It's what resulted from some smart guys taking their best shot at a new form of government. And they knew they weren't going to get everything right, and that things would change over time. That's why they built in a way to amend it. I think it's time to take them up on the offer.