A Moment of Political Commentary
I hope regular readers will forgive me for what is in effect a purely political posting which I feel an urge to share. I know that there will be some, especially some of my American readers who will disagree with me on what I am about to say, but so be it. The recent shooting in Florida is showing an abuse of the American Constitution. Now, in addition to being a psychotherapist I am a student of history and I do have a very good knowledge of the US Constitution. Those who are supporters of the Second Amendment which they interpret as meaning that the right to own a gun is guaranteed. However, if you read the amendment in full it 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.”
Followers of this issue may be surprised by the first thirteen words of the amendment. The founding fathers intended that there would need to be state militias immediately after the War of Independence. The amendment says nothing about the types of arms a person has the right to, nor does it state that people have the right to bear arms outside of a militia is NOT guaranteed by this.
Interestingly, the proponents of the 2nd Amendment meaning an unlimited right to weapons then turn to the First Amendment which states “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” A spokesperson for the NRA clearly abused this right by stating that the media love mass shootings and only want to see white mothers grieving due to ratings. The freedom of speech is not the freedom to lie, there are consequences which seem to be ignored. Additionally, those on the right of this issue also do what they can to undermine the media to make it sound as though the only people who know or speak the truth are organisations like the NRA.
So why do I mention this now, from the perspective of a psychotherapist, arguments like this have a real potential to damage people psychologically. The vulnerable do not know what to believe and those who abuse these rights justify what is, to any neutral observer, insidious, cruel and outright untruths. When most of us were children we were taught to know the difference between the truth and a lie, we seem to be speeding into a place where truth and lie do not matter, just say what you want no matter the consequences or facts. I am deeply concerned that what happens in America will become the norm here. We see evidence of this already in current political and social discord here in the UK.
I truly hope that we come to our senses and return to some degree of normality and respect in our discord.