Thoughts, prayers, hopes, dreams

Thoughts and prayers vs. hopes and dreams

Commentary by Ted Potrikus

I’m scared of guns. I’ve never held one and I don’t want to. With the dual murderous massacres in Buffalo and Uvalde still sickeningly fresh in what’s left of our nation’s conscience, I’m foursquare behind calls for more gun control. Governor Hochul and others are right, in my opinion, looking to prohibit the sale of automatic weapons to anyone under the age of 21. I’m nutty enough to go further and, personally, support banning the sale of Kevlar and prohibiting entry to gun shows for anyone under the age of 21. The last thing some adolescent male jacked up on testosterone needs is to take a walk around a gun show to look at all the pretty things he could buy to amp up the killing spree he’s got on his mind. If he can’t go into a nudie bar or buy a drink legally, then he can’t go shopping for the latest rifle bling.

I’m also a realist, though, and I fear every one of what I consider well-intentioned gun law proposals will get tossed out by a court somewhere along the long trail of American jurisprudence. Every time a court rejects a state, local, or — if they had the guts to do it, federal — gun control law, it’s one more chapter of case law that the next National Rifle Association lawyer will wave around to prove they have the United States Constitution on their side.

Take a look at what the San Francisco-based 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled just days before Buffalo and a couple of weeks before Uvalde — they threw out a California law banning the sale of semiautomatic weapons to “adults” under the age of 21. “America would not exist without the heroism of the young adults who fought and died in our revolutionary army,” wrote a judge. “Today we reaffirm that our Constitution still protects the right that enabled their sacrifice: the right of young adults to keep and bear arms.”


That sound you hear is the tapping happy-dance feet of the NRA’s phalanx of attorneys, thrilled that a federal court in a liberal state just wrote their arguments for every state that tries to block the sale of weapons to kids younger than 21.

I do try to be optimistic and think that lawmakers can use those same court decisions to learn where they’re getting tripped up, then write the next draft to correct where the court objected. That doesn’t seem to work.

Every overturned law emboldens a gun lobby that need never play defense. Like it or not, they have the Second Amendment on their side. I’m one of those naive guys who thinks that courts, Supreme or otherwise, should exploit the latitude to interpret the Constitution in terms of the times in which we live. “America would not exist without the heroism of the young adults who fought and died in our revolutionary army?” Please. Give me a break, says the argumentative Ted. Hang on, says the frumpier, less rose-colored-glasses Ted, the framers wrote the Constitution not to be a bowl of Jello that wiggles with every jolt, but as a bedrock that is going to fantastically be difficult to alter.


There’s a process, as we know, one that even the White House calls “onerous.” “An amendment may be proposed by a two-thirds vote of both Houses of Congress, or, if two-thirds of the States request one, by a convention called for that purpose. The amendment must then be ratified by three-fourths of the State legislatures, or three-fourths of conventions called in each State for ratification. In modern times, amendments have traditionally specified a time frame in which this must be accomplished, usually a period of several years” (www.whitehouse.gov).

Today, with so many Americans longing for a more up-to-date interpretation of the Second, or any other, amendment, it’s pretty darn depressing. It’s impossible to get half of the country to agree on anything, let alone two-thirds.
For every one of us who think it’s common sense to look around and say, “Yeah, but back in 1791, things were a whole lot different; don’t you think it’s a little wacky to evoke memories of barefooted musket-toters in the Revolutionary War in a judicial decision handed down in 2022,” there will be a countervailing originalist voice saying “the Constitution says what the Constitution says and that’s why it’s so hard to amend it so kindly keep your lefty mitts off my guns and ammunition.”

It’s impossible to get it right — even calling for mandatory background checks and red-flag confiscation leads to admonition from some in the mental health advocacy community that such laws “criminalize mental health.”
“Thoughts and prayers,” they say whenever a roomful of innocents gets obliterated by an AR-15. That leaves some of us with little more than hopes and dreams for a modicum of common sense during times that have bcome all-too-common.


2 thoughts on “Thoughts, prayers, hopes, dreams

  1. Mark Alesse

    Respectfully,
    Do our enemies have the wherewithall to assemble unstable people, groom and equip them for ops involving mass murder? If the answer is yes, then we need more guns in more private homes everywhere not fewer, because this isn’t going to stop.
    Don’t harden the schools. Harden the country.

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