240 some odd years ago a bunch of white, privileged males gathered in a room to decide the fate of a nation. Sounds dramatic? What they really wanted was the ability to decide for themselves who they were going to hang around and what price they were willing to pay for that to happen.
Way too many people seem to get hung up on their Second Amendment rights. That would be the one that says the government makes an exception for people to own guns to form a militia. No army, we weren’t a country at that point! But this was also a legal distinction that they wanted to provide since what they were attempting was to succeed from another country that had far superior armory. History class would call that a response to the Sedition Acts passed by the British Parliament.
Anyway, let’s back track to that First Amendment. The first thing that they addressed was the ability for people of different religions, economic backgrounds and depending on what part of the country you were living in at the time racial makeup to gather without fear of government interfering. [They didn’t get it all right, but it was a start?]
Every now and then I see a sign that invites Lesbian Druids to gather at a Ice Skating Rink to discuss their cancer diagnosis while eating Organic Cat Food. An exaggeration for sure, but if this group might exist, there’s no reason they should feel safe.
I don’t know if biology, society, or a random flip of the coin this morning is behind how people turn out. But that also shouldn’t matter. While religion is not a part of my life, I do believe that people really shouldn’t point fingers at others. Maybe for the person dressed as a clown, juggling sex toys standing outside a Whole Foods might be worth the chuckle. But I can walk in the other way rather than pick up some piece of garbage and throw it in their general direction.
Sure, I’m tall, white, overly-educated and came from a privileged household. It’s easy for me to make statements like this without fear of others. But I have also read as much as I can about my uncle who was present during those Colonial times. He was in the room and all of the letters between him and my aunt are public documents (that would be anything about John & Abigail Adams). There were so many times he wasn’t sure they were doing the right thing and she called him on it. Do the right thing, even if not easy. [another reason why I have a fascination with strong women, history taught me well.]
There are several life lessons I have drawn from their conversations held via the postal service. Imagine if they had email or even worse Twitter?
To be clear, I’m not against guns. I learned how to handle them as a kid. Do I think someone needs a weapon like a AR-15? I’m not sure. I don’t see the point. But some people buy $300,000 cars to drive on public streets. Overkill? Poor choice of words…
Is it ironic to find that in order for some groups to gather and talk, not plot to kill, not smuggle children in for repugnant activities, just sit across the table and find a way to advance their own thoughts; they some times need armed guards? Heavily armed people to protect speech.
We no longer want to hear opposing views, just our own? How can I possibly learn anything. Would the world still be flat? That we are the center of the universe and everything revolves around the Earth? Zeus is ticked off and throwing bolts of energy? Until we understood why these things happen, we tried to at least explain them.
I’m very sorry some families had to learn that their brother, sisters, children and friends didn’t get a chance to come home simply because someone didn’t let them. It’s not the first, won’t be the last. And there’s nothing I can suggest that will stop it either.
But I will be willing to stand at the door and tell others that the people inside have ever right to gather and enjoy music, poetry, a lecture, movie or anything in the world. They should have gone home and thought about the nice time they had. The new people they met. They should have seen the sun come up.
So the next time a bunch of Asian Power-lifters want to gather and dress in togas to re-enact the eruption of Mount Vesuvius, let me know.