The Connecticut tragedy has, rightly, focused attention on the US constitution’s second amendment and the right to bear arms.
The second amendment states: “A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” This implies that the right to bear arms is only justified in the context of a well-regulated militia, in other words an organised body that exists for the common defence of the freedom of a state. It is, therefore, the right of the people as a whole to bear arms collectively, not “people” ie individuals.
The individual’s right to bear arms is therefore restricted, since the individual is not necessarily part of a militia.
Rightly so, as unregulated armed individuals or groups could in themselves be a threat to the state.
The irony of Morgan Freeman’s take on the Sandy Hook massacre (your report, 15 December) is that his own celebrity status is the only reason why his thoughts have been so widely and quickly spread on the internet.
While his suggestion that the tragedy is compounded by the fact that we are unlikely to remember any of the names of the victims is undoubtedly true, the reality is that his suggestion that perpetrators of such horrors are denied publicity simply won’t happen. The only victims of violence that are remembered by name are celebrities such as John Lennon. But the 10,000 people killed by handguns or 30,0000 killed in road accidents in the US every year won’t.
And, what about the 20,000 children who die every day from the violence of malnutrition?
What intentional value do we express towards those who serve us in shops, buses or in the workplace everyday? Only when individuals habitually receive and give experiences of being valued can we fulfil our potential as unique human beings. This is not a political or social problem, this is our greatest individual opportunity and the answer lies in the hearts, minds and actions of each parent, manager, colleague or friend. This is what another “celebrity” victim of violence, Mahatma Gandhi, called “enlightened self-interest”.
Linlithgow, West Lothian