"The price of freedom is death." Malcolm X
This is a famous quote from Malcolm X. I wonder if this is true today... If it is, I believe the dynamics of his point have changed. When compared to one of his other more familiar quotes, "By any means necessary," you can see the context for which he was speaking. To me, he was speaking to the African Americans during the times. Those who were fighting the good fight of Civil Rights. He was telling them that the freedom they seek is not without a price. Equality, at times, must be forcefully removed from the oppressors. Sometimes that means folks die... sometimes that means that YOU will day. YOU will day so others can be free. "By any means necessary."
I guess that was a more selfless day and age…. If you were able to listen to our show on Sunday you heard my blog partners and I discussing this very issue; I thank them for humoring me. I’ve actually been thinking about this for a while. Just to be clear, I'm not a proponent of some extreme dystopian state where a totalitarian government has absolute control over every aspect of our lives. However, I do find some of our national debates very interesting, to say the least. Where Malcolm X was motivating the African American community to fight - to the death if necessary - to free themselves from the oppression of the white establishment, today, the fight for freedom is no longer a selfless cost. No, today, we are FAR more selfish. During the Civil Rights movement, individuals laid down their own life for freedom. Today, we appear to be accepting the deaths of others so that they can be “free.”
The issue, as I see it, is that we are so selfish in whatever it is that WE want (me included), we are willing to look past - and at times shrug off - the death of others to continue our "pursuit of happiness." To be fair, I’m not entirely convinced this is a bad thing (as crazy as that sounds), but I do think we should all be aware of this FACT. We each have SOMETHING that we adamantly believe is our right - without QUESTION. The sad truth is that the same elements that allow us to exercise of our adamantly protected rights also provide the environment where individuals with ill intent can operate or unlucky recipients become victims to external forces. I'm sure someone would respond with the old “omelet/broken eggs” adage and they may be right. I'm just not sure how many eggs would be okay with it.
And that's really my point. You want the right to own guns for your recreational (and in limited situations – civilian protection) longings? Understood. Hell, the SCOTUS said it was your constitutional right. Should it matter that the mere existence of guns results in a death daily. In 2011, over two-thirds of ALL homicides involved firearms. Nearly 80% of the guns used in “mass murders” were obtained legally. The same lack of regulation that allows NRA members to teach their children how to shoot is the same lack of regulation that put a Cricket rifle into the hands of 5-year-old who accidentally shot his 2 year old sister, Carolyn Sparks, killing her. Don’t be confused, I’m not arguing that less guns = less murder. While I believe that is true, it is arbitrary to the point I’m (attempting) to make.
My point is that freedom comes with a price. Maybe we should say "thank you" to those who were offered up for sacrifice. It only make sense. I mean, someone is losing their life in part because you don't want to lose your right. A thank you is the least we could do.
Guns are the only issues that fall under this banner. For example, we know that about one in 10 Americans dies from eating too much salt. But, as long as I’m getting my gumbo, then maybe I can overlook that one in 10. And don’t get me started on red meat!!!! A steak on a Sunday afternoon…------------------------------------->
I know that death surrounds us. To think that we can avoid it is more a plot for a movie than real life. However, when folks argue that the government is trampling on your “civil liberties” by attempting to improve/implement safety standards, then they should also be realistic and admit that without those safety standards, things are…well...less safe. And since most are okay with that (unless, of course you're one of the ones who actually lose your life) then acknowledge it. You don’t like Universal HealthCare? That is your right. But know that someone just died because they had no access to free health care. You want to take issue with the perceived unfair tactics used by various administrations in the name of “National Security?” Again, that is your right. But remain silent when a terrorist exploits a loophole to kill citizens that could've been prevented if not for giving you want you want. It is just the cold truth.
I don’t envy the decision makers. Civil liberty vs. National Security is a zero-sum proposition. If you want increased security, you will have to give up a bit of your liberty. This isn’t new to us, we do it today. Most of us accept a small encroachment into our privacy by allowing the TSA to search us and our bags before we board a plane. There, we’ve decided to give up some of our liberties so that the government can do something to terrorists off of planes. Unfortunately, the price of a safe flight
isn’t just the ticket (and taxes/fees). What about e-commerce? If you want to engage in online banking, for example, you’re going to have to provide your private information so companies can authenticate you in an effort to reduce – to whatever extent possible – the likelihood of malicious actors doing bad things to your financial accounts and records. In other areas, we haven’t been pushed far enough…yet. Maybe we will…maybe we won’t. One thing is for certain, today, we’ve collectively decided that we should be able to get what we want and do what we want, when we want. PERIOD. And, as long as those ideas don’t directly impact someone else, then the government should LEAVE.ME.ALONE. That is our definition of freedom.
Full disclosure, as you know, I own several pistols and rifles… It’s time for me to admit that for me to own my firearms, someone has died. They will pay the ultimate price so I may have a pistol. So, to avoid being hypocritical: Thank you. Thank you to every man, woman, and child, every police officer, every black young black male, every rapper, every assassinated public figure and celebrity, every individual who prematurely terminated their own life, and to every family impacted by someone’s death resulting from being on the business end of a firearm. I truly wish that life dealt you all different cards. There but for the grace of God goes I.
I know that in order for me to fully engage in my RIGHT to own a gun, someone…somewhere…who has ill intent shares that right with me. However, under the camouflage of those rights, they will make the decision to do something terrible with it. They will make you pay the price so that I may have my rights. So thank you.
How do you feel about that?
Is it sad that a lot of folks don't get involved until after a tragedy?