When Does Life Begin and When Does Life End?

Addendum: I have recently committed myself to being focused on the solution rather than the problem in this deep divide we find ourselves in with regard to mass shootings and gun violence versus gun ownership. To that end, I believe we need to re-evaluate what the Founding Fathers may have meant when they included the right to bear arms. Did the Founding Fathers intend for the word “arms” to include assault weapons typically reserved for warfare and the military and the like? In those days perhaps cannons would be classified as reserved for warfare and the military? If we go back to the Constitution, can we say in all likelihood the Founding Fathers were not intending for the typical citizen to own and to use cannons against his or her neighbor?Can we go back to the Constitution and say that bearing arms likely referred/refers to self-defense? So how can we determine what arms are for self-dense, what arms are intended for military warfare and what arms simply perpetrate senseless violence? If arms are focused on self-defense can we not say that those guns that protect our ability to defend ourselves should be allowed? But arms that allow us to actively perpetrate violence without regard to self-defense like military assault weapons should be limited or removed from the public’s hands? Shouldn’t the use of cannons or the modern-day equivalent of cannons be reserved for the military? I do not have the answer necessarily but to me it feels like we need to take a look at the “intent” of the Second Amendment. Surely our Founding Fathers did not seek to condone mass gun violence or even to suggest that cannons be used by the typical citizen against his neighbor. Rather they more simply sought the right to defend oneself with “violence-appropriate” weapons. Perhaps that is where the conversation should start? What are “violence-appropriate” weapons or arms in the context of self-defense, in the context of military action, and in the context of mass shootings? My answer is that military style arms stay within the military just as cannons stayed within the military back in the day. This means no military grade weapons (no cannons) extended to the civilian population ever.

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I find myself to be very preoccupied about mass shootings in the US in recent weeks. I am fixated on the fact that we continue to have mass shootings in the US but there is very little movement to curtail access to guns because of the Second Amendment. While the Supreme Court has jurisdiction over overturning Roe v. Wade, it does not appear to claim any responsibility or jurisdiction over mass gun violence, purportedly because those rights are protected by the Second Amendment.

The question to me is a matter of what you propose to stand up for and where does the buck stop. Are you able and willing to stand up and protect the beginning of “life” as seen in a heartbeat of an unborn child or fetus? But you are not willing to stand up and protect the definitive lives of those lost (past, present and future) to senseless mass shootings across America?

I find it hypocritical that the people who would like to get rid of Roe v. Wade are the same crowd that say interventions about access to guns don’t work to curtail mass shootings and violence. How do they know that if these measures have not been tried? Why do you propose to save the rights of a few people (those with guns) when the rights of the rest of us to live in a violence-free society are ignored? Could that not be considered what “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” is all about? Certainly gun lovers are threatening the right of others to pursue happiness on a daily basis when the gun sellers and the gun owners cannot contain their own right to bear arms without inflicting mass casualties for the rest of us to witness and to bear and to make sense of.

I would say that the Founding Fathers might stand today for “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” when that Happiness avoids victimization of some other segment of society. Certainly, we cannot give carte blanche to gun owners at the expense of the Lives of those lost to mass violence, the Liberty associated with the right to breathe in an atmosphere free from violence and the Happiness that makes our society thrive at its very core.

If the Supreme Court is so set on protecting the rights of Americans to bear arms, why are they not equally set on preserving individual members of society’s rights to Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness? In my book these rights need to be extended to all Americans. When all Americans are protected by the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, the Second Amendment is put into perspective. If you cannot own guns and cannot avoid obliteration of Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness in society at large, then you do not have any claim to the Second Amendment.

Cannot the Supreme Court stand up for Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness? Surely massive lives lost to gun violence does not constitute Happiness in any one’s reality.

One more thought on the subject – if people can be sued for assisting a woman in getting an abortion, should we not be able to sue all those who allow gun ownership and gun violence by people who pose a threat to self and others. I realize that gun manufacturers cannot be sued due to some sort of federal protection. But it seems to me that if there is a precedent for suing the taxi driver who drives the woman to the abortion clinic, we should be likewise able to sue all those who participate (actively or passively) in the development of a mass shooting situation including all those in office who refuse to put proper gun ownership and access safeguards in place. Let them be accountable!

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