Humans can be rather foolish. In America, we have been granted “rights” that were guaranteed by documents written in the late 1700’s. The writers of these documents, called the Constitution of the United States of America and the Declaration of Independance, felt that in order for a society to be free it must have a guide to refer to in order to declare the rights of all citizens. Of course, at the time this meant white men who owned land, despite the fact that the Declaration of Independence declared that “all men are created equal”. The key word in that phrase was ‘men’, because women had no rights. If they had been inclusive in this phrase, we would not have a 19th Amendment to the Constitution.
The problem we currently have in this country is the modern day interpretation of a set of documents that was written well before the advent of certain aspects of our legal system, the inventions of electricity, phone, internet, transportation, etc. I will be the first to admit that trying to use modern interpretations on documents written long before modern day advents is extremely trying.
The largest issue with interpretation as it stands is that we rely on others in our legal system to do the interpretation for us. While these people should be doing the job of interpreting these laws and rights from the Constitution and the Declaration should be unbiased and impartial, we know that that is not always the case. It is part of the human condition to want to put a little of yourself into something you are part of; most everyone does this, whether they are conscious of it or not.
The general public also does this, it is not specifically tied to lawmakers. Some people in our society feel it is up to the individuals to make their own interpretations of what their “rights” are. These boundaries on what is ‘right’ versus what is a “right” commonly get blurred today.
Take for instance the gentleman who reportedly showed up at a Georgia children’s baseball game with a gun in his holster. While that in itself isn’t a terrible thing, what he did next is. According to the news report, he walked around the adjacent parking lot approaching people and saying: ‘See my gun? Look, I got a gun and there’s nothing you can do about it’. Now, I wasn’t there so I do not know what was actually said or done. The paper did not interview the individual that was actually involved. They did speak to the Sheriff who stated that the man was within his rights, but stated that his behaviour was inappropriate. The lawmen on scene also said that they could not legally ask him to leave.
Now, here is my opinion on such behavior. It is totally unacceptable to use your “rights” to frighten, harass or act in a threatening manner with a firearm, it simply isn’t necessary and it goes against order and good judgement. Society set up rules in order that everyone should be able to go about the business of their day in relative peace, and as long as we follow those rules, there should be no major problems.
Then comes along some individual who just has to make a political statement. Someone who feels compelled to do something that will just cause disruption, knowing full well what the result will be. Trying to make a point while creating disruption in our society is generally not well tolerated. Our political system evolved to help prevent people from doing this. You want the laws to change? Contact your local NRA and donate money, attend meetings and let them do the political wrangling to get that done. This is why we have PAC’s and lobbyists. This is why we have state and federal lawmakers.
Individuals that pull stunts like this make legal gun owners and people who carry for their own protection and the protection of others look bad and give the impression that everyone carrying a firearm is to be viewed with mistrust and suspicion. The bottom line is that acting like this often backfires and does more harm than good. There are better ways to project your “rights” without creating a scene.