The 2nd Amendment doesn’t need a “safe space”

Photo credit: Ben Carlson, Editor of The Anderson News

On New Year’s Eve, I found myself at Urgent Care. My flu had been getting worse over the past few weeks (though I’d had a flu shot) and I woke up on Dec. 31 with two realizations: I wasn’t getting any better on my own, and this was the last day my insurance would pay for a doctor’s appointment and medication, as Jan. 1 sets a new clock for meeting the new and dreaded deductible.

Welcome to our convoluted American healthcare system, where you find yourself hoping you’re sick enough on the right day.

The day got even more convoluted — Lucky me! — when, after picking up three prescriptions and restocking my supply of Puffs Plus with Lotion and a variety of chicken soups, I read this newspaper’s front-page headline, “Push on to make county 2nd Amendment sanctuary,” and Editor Ben Carlson’s corresponding editorial.

Having just received medical care, I considered this sanctuary push alongside the fact that people often have to set up GoFundMe accounts and pray for donations because a child needs life-saving medical care. America, where “healthcare for all” is roundly ridiculed, but “guns for all” is worthy of signing petitions to challenge the Constitution. With the added irony of declaring ourselves a sanctuary county — a “safe space” — for guns, while blowing nine kinds of gaskets at the idea of being a sanctuary for human beings.

Tell me what I’m missing.

Some time ago, I had a long conversation with a friend here in town about his reasons for being, in his words, “a big 2nd Amendment guy.” (Note that yes, it is still possible to be friends with people you disagree with politically, no matter what your TV tells you.) It was dead of winter, and we were the last two standing outside, building locked, in downtown Lawrenceburg. The wind kept blowing harder, but we kept debating and wrapping our coats tighter until finally the cold won out and we were forced to give closing arguments.

“What if, one day,” he said, “the government showed up to take my property, your property, or the town’s property? If that happened, our last defense would be a well-armed militia.”

“So what you’re telling me,” I said, “is that if President Trump sends the Marines, with all of their equipment, manpower, and firepower, to take your house, you’re going to be able to fight off the Marines?”

“That’s not the point,” he said. “The point is that if they know they’re dealing with an armed citizenry, they’ll think twice.”

I understood his point. Still do. But folks, if we ever get to the point that the Marines are rolling into Kentucky in tanks and taking our property, we’ve got exponentially worse problems than a few guns in the house are going to solve.

Perhaps this is where you remind me of the “good guy with a gun” theory by pointing to the recent shooting at the church in White Settlement, TX. If so, this is where I remind you I am not anti-gun. But the story here is not the former reserve, deputy sheriff, a member of the church’s voluntary security team, who took down the shooter with one shot. The story is that, with his long criminal record and psychological history, the shooter should not have had access to a gun. Any gun.

Tell me how being a 2nd Amendment sanctuary makes our community safer in a situation like this.

Noah Pruitt, the local resident who started the petition to make Anderson Co. a safe space for the 2nd Amendment, said last week, “We just want the county to declare this a 2nd Amendment sanctuary, and if any unconstitutional laws are passed that they would not be enforced locally.”

Please explain how Mr. Pruitt with his petition, or law enforcement, get to decide which laws are unconstitutional and which ones are not. Laws which, by definition, became laws when they were passed by elected lawmakers who took an oath to the Constitution.

Mr. Carlson argued in his editorial “that if state and federal lawmakers declare some of the firearms and magazines locked in my gun safe are suddenly illegal or require registration, I’ll have a simple choice to make: obey the law or become a criminal.”

Being required to register a deadly weapon, or giving up a few guns used for recreation, is worth becoming a criminal?

And last, can we talk about the photo that ran with the article, the one of two high school boys posing with “a large flag which bears the image of a military-styled rifle and the words ‘Come and Take It’ fixed to the bumper” of one of their trucks?

Be honest. If the two boys in that photo were black, wearing hoodies and baggy pants, would you look upon it so admiringly? How might law enforcement react to such a photo of two young black men pointing to a weapon like that while daring them to “come and take it?”

On New Year’s Eve in Harris County, Texas, a state which has some of the most lax gun laws in the country, a 61 year-old woman died in her driveway after she was shot by celebratory gunfire. Consider the abject absurdity of dying by something called celebratory gunfire.

On New Year’s Eve in Anderson Co., coughing myself into a massive headache, I took my meds and got ready for bed at 6 p.m. My husband offered to heat me up some soup, but I insisted on making a grilled ham and cheese I couldn’t even taste because by God after three weeks of chicken/vegetable, chicken/rice, and chicken/noodle, I refused to swallow one more bowl of soup, even if broth would have been the best thing for me.

Guns don’t need sanctuary, people do. And petitions like this are a reminder that we are all capable of getting het up and making nonsensical declarations and decisions, big and small, for no other reason than to prove a point.