Due to the weather, some customers may experience late delivery of The Roanoke Times. We apologize for the delay.
Sunday, March 24, 2013
So according to Lance O. Hunt (“Gun ownership is an inborn right,” March 12 letter), we have this inherent right to gun ownership? Mama mia! If this were the case, every baby born here would exit the womb packing heat. This by itself would be bad enough for any woman giving birth, but is it also an inherent right to possess 30-round ammo clips, too? If so, the poor woman in labor would probably be begging for enough pain killers to stun an elephant.
But perversely and curiously, the newborns of homo sapiens are among the most helpless beings on Earth, and they remain this way for a good while. Perhaps this goes a long way in explaining our propensity for violence and our constantly inventing and tinkering with weapons yielding enough power to destroy this planet many times over. And why some of us think that having guns that are able to tear living creatures to shreds in seconds are just dandy.
Hunt says too that he does not need words on a piece of paper to defend himself. Quite frankly, we need the words of all rights, which are basically agreed upon laws, to be spelled out clearly and concisely on pieces of paper, which at least would give us something concrete to point to when any questions arise, as they have consistently since we became a nation. Such is not the case for the disjointed clauses of the Second Amendment.
This may be straying a mite from the straight-and-narrow topic of inherent rights, but even conservative Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia has opined there are “undoubtedly limits to a person’s right to bear arms under the Second Amendment.”
While pondering the subject of inborn rights, there is still much controversy from the business community on the right to breathe clean air and from religious and medical communities concerning the right to die with dignity. Straying even further from this path, we humans have the right never to let our animals suffer terminally and to demand that they leave this world without having to rasp out that last miserable, painful breath. As we careen back to this constricted trail we need to ask just how we came to this point, and take a trip back in time.
All the rights we have stem from those that a radical group of white men in the 1700s gave to us via America’s founding documents, a compromise that is daring enough to be called the grandest bargain of them all, one to make any compromise contemplated today laughable in comparison. This was a group of men who, coming of age in a period called The Enlightenment, had vastly differing views about many subjects, including belief in a God or lack thereof, but nevertheless managed to give us powerful freedoms in the arena of religion.
But their vision went only so far — held in the thrall of tradition and history. Sometimes the fulfillment of these rights (think women and African Americans) have come centuries apart and had to be fought for again and again. And also for those who are seeking only the authority to be themselves (think anybody who does not, or more correctly, cannot hew to the sequestered “normalcy” of heterosexuality.) They are now locked in the process of finally showing up, like those shimmering, shifting molecules of somebody trying to beam aboard the Starship Enterprise.
Following this winding road to its logical conclusion, sooner or later we have no choice but to enter the real world where the wild things are — a place some have forgotten exists and is as alien to them as the dark side of the moon. For others who are attuned to the outdoors in one way or another, they understand Mother Nature should get the last word.
When it comes to defense, you can expect gangsta rap, not lullabies, from her. Skunks have a debilitating spray to drive away anything they perceive as a threat, an example that many of us and our four-legged companions have experienced firsthand. The animal world, on land and in the ocean, lurks with creatures who use poisons, silken webs, shocks and blinding inks for self-protection and disabling prey. But they are born with these abilities. These should be thought of as genuine “God-given” rights, since it is certainly not within the provenance of humankind to bestow such power.
Weather JournalMany very icy despite 'bust' claims