Permanent victims or undaunted champions?

People take part in candle light vigil following a mass shooting at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon Thursday. | REUTERS/Steve Dipaola

By Gregory John Campbell
Guest Contributor

The mass shooting at the Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon was tragic and despicable, reflecting the troubled state of the young man involved. For the victim’s families and his, nothing can change their loss and betrayal. Our prayers go to them.

Nonetheless, this citizen is firm advocate of our 2nd Amendment rights. But in this framework, safe legal gun ownership is garnered upon the privilege of our behavior, i.e., character; it’s not carte blanche. Accordingly, if someone doesn’t exhibit the proper moral responsibility and emotional control with a gun, they shouldn’t own one, nor have the right to do so. For with every “right” comes an equivalent moral duty, because owning or “carrying” a gun is not a “badge of honor”; it is a critical task of moral restraint and responsibility.

The two most problematic factors in behavior and gun ownership are a lack of moral depth and emotional control (balance), and the pivotal absence of both has involved our nation in every domestic and international fiasco it’s stumbled into; ditto for ourselves. But in this context, gun owners need to be familiar, but never complacent, and competent, but never arrogant with a gun, and so should nations.

And so to help prevent tragedies like Roseburg I offer these suggestions: 1) Full background checks for all gun purchases and venues. If someone has something to hide, they’re not responsible enough to own a gun. 2) A full seven day review process for long and short gun purchases. If someone can’t wait seven days for a gun, they lack the emotional stability and character to own one. This will give authorities time to screen out questionable applicants. 3) If the review doesn’t come back OK’d, the dealer can’t sell the gun; no exceptions. 4) All gun sellers licensed through the Federal government. This will eliminate “gun show,” “back door” and “trunk” sales. Only licensed dealers should be permitted to sell guns. 5) No gun sales to immigrants. As only citizens can vote, only citizens should own guns.

If gun owners don’t take the initiative to discipline themselves, others will, and they won’t be as affirmative as they can be to themselves, because if they don’t, they may lose their gun rights. And in this case an ounce of their prevention is definitely worth the pound of a cure that could. Furthermore, they must do so to earn the non-gun owning public’s trust, because owning a gun demands this of them.

But more importantly, if we allow every tragic “event” that occurs to change our way of life or erode our enumerated rights, we’ll eventually have no way of life and lose our enumerated rights won’t we? For if we can’t accept that there’s adversity in life, how can we learn to overcome what comes to us unfavorably, rather than just favorably? We can’t.

This is so, because the rain falls on the just and the unjust, but to allow the rain to turn the just into the unjust is unconscionable. For if we permit these tragic events to change our thought and behavior, we’ll continue to pass more laws and impose more restrictions on ourselves until we live in a “prison nation.” Then it won’t be the actions of others imprisoning us, but ourselves doing so through our own fears and insecurities, real or imagined. How pathetic then, for the “land of the free and the brave,” to live so “chained and afraid.”

For the day we cede to our collective fears, than embrace the character necessary of moral individual freedom, is the day we become permanent victims, rather than remaining undaunted champions. America, choose what you want to be.

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