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derby378's Journal
derby378's Journal
March 2, 2013

Michelle Obama, they're called "rights" for a reason

As President Obama is urging Congress to pass legislation to curb gun violence in the wake of the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary school last year, Mrs. Obama said it's important to remember the children who have been lost to gun violence -- such as Hadiya Pendleton, the 15 year old who was shot and killed in Chicago after participating in inaugural festivities last month.

"She was standing out in a park with her friends in a neighborhood blocks away from where my kids...grew up, where our house is. She had just taken a chemistry test. And she was caught in the line of fire because some kids had some automatic weapons they didn't need," she said. "I just don't want to keep disappointing our kids in this country. I want them to know that we put them first. That, you know, our rights and our privileges take a back seat when it comes to the safety of our children in this country."


Mrs. Obama, I love you. Everyone on DU loves you. But I'm sorry - it's time we had a little talk.

It should go without saying that no child should have to worry about being gunned down by gangsters or criminals of any stripe. A child needs to feel some measure of safety in the neighborhood where she lives and plays with her friends. That's a no-brainer. We were all kids once.

But when someone hints that freedom of speech, the right to keep and bear arms, and the right to a trial by jury can be endangered by calls to "keep our children safe," a phrase from the late, great George Carlin comes to mind - child worship.

Now, I realize that Carlin and I hold widely divergent opinions on gun control, no argument there. But one reason we all want safe neighborhoods for our kids to grow up in is because children won't stay children forever. They grow up and become adults. And when that child's corpus callosum finally matures and that person is entrusted by society to vote, to serve on a jury, to own a firearm, and to enjoy more alcohol than the occasional sip of wine at Mass, we want to have some reassurance that this person is ready to take on the responsibilities of an adult.

Part of the reason people like me harp on our Constitutional rights so much is because the Constitution treats us like adults. It was drafted by some folks who were already figuring this "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" shit out. It's been tweaked at times, sometimes unwisely so (re: 18th Amendment). But it still retains the potential to be tweaked, as long as the rights that are guaranteed by the Constitution are preserved. Rights, Mrs. Obama. The sort of thing that adults require in order to make our form of society work. If it weren't for our rights, the government could encase us all in bubble-wrap, forbid us from using scissors with pointy ends, outlaw the consumption of alcohol (and soda, and coffee, and...), and treat us all as though we had just stepped into third grade. And the government could justify it all "for our safety." And the safety of our children, no doubt, provided some of us find a way to strip off enough bubble-wrap to reproduce.

We want kids to laugh, love, and thrive. More importantly, we want them to grow up into adults with some measure of character and responsibility. That way, maybe they can help solve a few of the lingering problems that we jackasses cannot. As adults. Preferably, as Democrats. But most definitely with rights.

Okay, off my soapbox for now...

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Home country: USA
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