Sunday, December 16, 2012

Thank Michael Moore

   I guess I'm one of those rare Liberals that, until today, had never invested the two hours to experience the "Bowling For Columbine" documentary film. Although I was keenly aware of it's existence and the subject matter, I was as ignorant as Charleton Heston when it comes to the depth and scope of our gun violence "problem". And we have a significant problem. A problem that has no comparison in any other society on Earth, despite the claims made by the NRA and their spokespersons in Congress, the Media and the Echo Chamber. Michael Moore was kind enough to tweet the link to his documentary and I highly recommend an uninterrupted viewing to get the full impact.

   "I grew up with guns"

   Like a lot of Americans, my childhood memories include the family hunting trip, the locked rifle display case and the day the Police Officers in their dark blue uniforms showed up at the neighbors house because a 5 year old boy accidentally shot his sister in the garage. In all honesty, I hadn't thought about that shooting since it happened. I didn't know the family and they moved away soon afterward. Until I watched this documentary, I hadn't given it a thought. Even if there was a news report about an accidental shooting by a child. I'm not saying it's relevant or insightful, but simply observing my own odd behavior as it relates to guns. My Father, my Uncle, My Grandfather...they all owned guns and always stressed the safety, so I've always leaned toward (or maybe I've been susceptible to) the Second Amendment argument. However, the real issue we should be dealing with is the abuse of the Second Amendment. Just as freedom of expression is often abused, the right to bear arms is as well. And nothing screams abuse of both more than someone arguing they MUST have an arsenal of assault rifles to exercise their "right" to overthrow an imaginary "Dictator".  It also screams "marketing campaign" by gun manufacturers, which is another reason I highly recommend viewing Michael's documentary.
   In order to preserve the rights of law-abiding gun owners, I propose a fairly simple reform. We have the infrastructure in place already, although it will require some additional hiring. We simply treat gun ownership in the same way we regulate owning motor vehicles. It's quite likely that most DMV buildings/offices have adequate square footage to accommodate a gun licensing/testing department. It's just one idea and I'm interested in hearing yours as well. Either leave a comment or tweet me if you can, but at the very least watch the documentary and say "Thanks" to Michael Moore.