The Philando Castile verdict and you

“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.” 2nd Amendment

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized. 4th Amendment

“Guns don’t kill people, people kill people”– Things stupid people say.

Officer Jeronimo Yanez was formerly a police officer in the Saint Paul Minnesota suburb of St. Anthony. Almost a year ago, he pulled over a car with a broken tail light, with three people in it. The driver, Philando Castile, a cafeteria worker, told the officer that he had a CCW license, and was reaching for his ID. Officer Yanez, shot and killed Mr. Castile, without seeing the weapon, because he “thought” Mr. Castile was reaching for his weapon. The passenger, Mr. Castile’s girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, became facebook famous for live streaming the event. Her daughter was in the back seat.

This video is still painful to watch.

Yesterday, Mr Yanez was acquitted on charges of second degree manslaughter and endangering safety by discharging a weapon.

If this verdict is allowed to stand, police around this country who chose their career “to serve and protect” should have some serious reconsidering to do. This verdict, could forever change every interaction between police officers and their communities. Never mind the case in nearby Cincinnati where a college cop, Ray Tensing is in the midst of his second trial on a similar traffic stop murder of Samuel DuBose, which was captured on the officers body cam.

When we have instances with well trained, supposedly trusted and respected professionals, killing innocent citizens, we are getting dangerously close to losing all freedoms that a civil society provides. The ones most Americans have always seemed to take for granted. As in we own this craptastic myth without having to pay for it- it’s ours by birthright. “It’s an inalienable right”– which almost sounds funny these days- in-alien-able – we don’t like aliens much here lately, especially those damn illegal ones.

If we are truly going to be “America the beautiful, home of the brave, land of the free” and all that goes with it, it’s time to do some serious reconsideration of what that means.

Not being murdered by a trusted officer of the state who pulled you over for a broken tail light sounds like a good place to start.

Owning a gun legally got Mr. Castile shot dead. That he may have smoked some pot is not enough to make him a menace to society (the whole pot legalization can of worms is another subject for another day, however, in Minnesota where this shooting took place, pot was legal for medical use at the time). This “defense” of the shooting is using reefer culture like rape culture- “she was dressed like a hoe, so I had to rape her.” Wrong.

There is a question on an internet dating site that is an instant dis-qualifier for me. “Do you believe your country would be more or less safe if every adult owned a gun?” If they answer more safe- I’m out of there. It doesn’t even stop there, another question asks “In a certain light, wouldn’t nuclear war be exciting?” and some fools say yes.

Which brings me back to the fundamental issue of our crazy interpretation of the 2nd amendment. It does not talk about guns- it talks about arms. A handgun, a long gun, a machine gun, a flamethrower, a tank, an artillery piece, an intercontinental ballistic missile, a nuclear bomb? All of those are arms, and accordingly, Americans should be allowed to own all of them- and do. That’s why we have a military. As to your individual right to own one, unless you are part of a well regulated militia, the answer, according to our founding fathers, is no.

If you need a reminder of what passed as arms back in the day- I think this commercial makes it clear.

They too, believed in the freedom from being shot randomly- they mentioned it- “being necessary to the security of a free State“- security comes from the safety that an organized form of government is to provide. One where random shootings aren’t a daily occurrence. Something that isn’t happening in America. Everyday, hundreds of people are shot, because somehow, “guns make us safe.”

Which weapon was banned for killing too many Americans?We banned jarts, a lethal “toy,” because a few kids died when someone had bad aim. For those of you too young to remember them, they were a version of bocce ball- or corn hole, that used a weighted dart as the thing you threw at your target, or accidentally at young children. It was advertised as “Outdoor fun for the family” – until someone dies.

Yet, even in the wake of a congressman getting shot while playing baseball– “Americas favorite past time”- we still believe we can’t regulate or control guns.

We can’t demand that gun owners actually are engaged in “a well regulated militia” as part of gun ownership. We can’t demand that guns be kept under armed guard, as they are in the military. We can’t demand that owners must proved not only proficiency, but mental competence (which is a slippery road) and for why? We need guns to defend ourselves is the answer. The question is, how’s that working out?

In America, you are more likely to get shot than in any other first world country. The cost to our country of gun ownership, when you figure out the medical costs, the crime costs, the legal costs, the deaths, is astronomical. It’s a tax we pay without getting a bill.

Talking about gun control is considered political suicide. If you don’t see the irony of naming a warship after Gabby Giffords, a congresswoman who was shot, and became an anti-gun crusader, you have bought our fantastic lie, hook line and sinker.

Guns don’t make anyone safe. Guns are made to efficiently kill people.

But, but, what about the hunters? Until the insane people in the Ohio statehouse legalized silencers, pretty much any hunter would tell you, you shouldn’t be considered a hunter if it takes more than one shot to bring something down, because, you don’t really get a second shot most of the time (even animals skedaddle when they hear a gun go off). Real hunters are fine with a double barrelled shotgun or bolt action rifle, it’s only when hunting people that you need a 20 round magazine.

The number of people hunting people in our country lately far exceeds those hunting bambi. Is this really what the founding fathers envisioned?

And don’t start with the talk about how some idiot in London killed people with trucks and knives. Just don’t. It puts you in the same basket as this basket case:

But, but, we have so many guns. We can’t take them away? We banned jarts didn’t we? We mandated seat belts in cars, airbags, we stopped selling cigarettes and booze to minors, we put a man on the moon. We can do anything we want to do. And, if you need proof it can be done, cue Australia, who decided after their first mass shooting to restrict gun ownership. We have people who believe the Newtown school shooting wasn’t real. At what point does crazy count as sane? Cue President Donald Trump.

We talk about the values innate in the principles of democracy. Yet, about half of us exercise the right not to vote. On our money, it says “In god we trust”- yet we claim a separation of church and state. None of this works when we stop believing it works. Our safety, our security, our money, our freedoms- all are based on a blind belief that our country and “free society” is built on laws and constructs that are fair and true.

Allowing Officer Yanez to walk free, should make us doubt everything we know as truths to be self-evident, aren’t.

 

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4 Comments on "The Philando Castile verdict and you"

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Glenda LambWilson
Glenda LambWilson

Of interest – Scalise advocated for the severely mentally ill to own & carry guns.

Mary Sue Gmeiner
Mary Sue Gmeiner

Race is missing from your article. Cultural conditioning in our society has people, white and brown and black, fearing black males. The officer’s reaction is seen over and over because we call young black men thugs, we portray them in the media in a negative light, we whisper about going into “certain neighborhoods” as if we should get a medal for courage. White people perpetuate these myths, and white people need to change the narrative.

dexalin

There seems to be a snag in this line of thinking. We have a police force which has proven time and time again that they cannot be trusted to use firearms responsibly, and your proposed solution is to take everyone else’s guns away except for those people? Why should the cops be the only ones with guns? Your attempt to take a literalist approach with the Constitution is going to get you into trouble. Who are you to say “well regulated militia” is a more essential clause than “necessary to the security of a free State”? “It’s in the Constitution” is about as compelling of an argument as “it’s in the Bible” anyway.

Arm the poor, arm the homeless, arm all those who have nothing to lose but their chains, I say. Empower the powerless.

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