Since it is the week of Thanksgiving, I thought it might be time to give thanks to the National Rifle Association for all the work they have done to protect our freedom to have a well regulated militia, and to make sure that our gun culture is such a vibrant one.
Because of our gun culture, in just the past week we have had the following expressions of freedom. A 12 year old boy was shot and killed by Cleveland police. He had a realistic looking fake pistol in his pants, and the police, fearing that guns are everywhere, shot first and asked questions later. Of course, this follows another incident in Ohio where police rushed into a Wal Mart and killed a man holding a toy gun.
Meanwhile, over in Missouri, a woman who bought a pistol to protect herself from expected violence from Ferguson, MO., accidentally shot herself in the head and died. The news is hardly surprising since gun sales in the area were up 700%.
In Washington state a 3 year old boy was shot in the mouth by a 4 year old. The boy’s father is a gun enthusiast and dealer who has a sign on his front door which reads “We don’t call 911″ with a cut out of a Colt 45. He probably made an exception.
No discussion of freedom is complete without a trip to Florida, otherwise known as the wild, wild west. At Florida State University a week ago, a freedom fighter with a gun decided to express himself by shooting 3 people in the library. Also going down in Tallahassee, a law enforcement officer was ambushed and killed by an anti-government nut who set fire to his own house to lure the police there. Coincidentally, the trial of the Tampa ex police captain who shot a guy in a movie theater for texting was postponed.
Finally, what the heck is going on in Utah? According to Salt Lake City Tribune, a citizen is more likely to be killed by police, than by gang members, drug dealers, or by child abuse. Just this past Saturday, police in Jordan, UT shot and killed a man who was trespassing in a horse corral. 2 months ago, Utah police shot and killed a man who was carrying a fake Samurai sword. The police claimed that the man charged at them. However, he was shot four times in the back.
Whenever I read these stories I’m reminded of the famous quote from Thomas Jefferson that was co-opted by the present day Tea Party, “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.” The N.R.A.’s website proudly proclaims, “We’re proud defender’s of history’s patriots and diligent protectors of the Second Amendment.” Unfortunately, I don’t think any of the people who died in the above cases thought they were being patriots by refreshing the Tree of Liberty with their blood.