Sunday, September 12, 2010

The Right to Bear Arms

On Monday, June 28, 2010, the Supreme Court affirmed the fundamental right to bear arms (article from the New York Times). When I heard about that decision, I immediately thought of Leif and how fervently he would have approved. A paragraph he would have liked, from the article,
The decision extended the court's 2008 ruling in District of Columbia v. Heller that "the Second Amendment protects a personal right to keep and bear arms for lawful purposes, most notably for self-defense within the home.

Leif long maintained that police do not protect us, they react after a crime has been committed, and that it is up to us to protect ourselves. He also maintained that gun ownership was critical to keeping our civil liberties, and over time, although I never wanted to own guns, he convinced me of the value of those arguments.

I have often wondered, since his death, whether he would have any different opinions if he could come back and talk to me now. Would he still maintain his beliefs, or would he feel that if it hadn't been so easy for him to have guns, he might still be alive, for another chance at life?

I've thought long and hard about that, and I think Leif would still say that people should have the right to have guns . . . and, as he had before, the obligation to use them responsibly . . . AND, that they also have the right to take their own lives.

Although I will never know what the real state of his mind was when he decided to pull the trigger, or whether he thought much about how it would affect those he left behind, I know he had thought about it earlier in his life when he considered suicide and decided against it. I think he would say it was his choice and he made it, and that such a choice does not mean that the right to own a weapon should be abridged.

That will always be a problem for us, that people will use them, and make their own decisions about how to do so. I am only thankful Leif never used a gun on anyone else!

The photo is one Leif took of himself in 2002 and used as his avatar on the ZAON website.

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