Bruce Thompson is an adjunct instructor of philosophy at Palomar College. His Ph.D. is from the University of Colorado. His major emphasis in philosophy is critical thinking, formal logic, and American pragmatism. He is also a poet, violinist, and raiser of back yard chickens
Bruce Thompson is an adjunct instructor of philosophy at Palomar College. His Ph.D. is from the University of Colorado. His major emphasis in philosophy is critical thinking, formal logic, and American pragmatism. He is also a poet, violinist, and raiser of back yard chickens.
April 24, 1998, 20 years ago, a teacher was shot (and killed) at Parker Middle School in Edinboro, Pennsylvania. Three others were seriously injured. The assailant, Andrew Wurst, was 14 years old at the time. He is currently serving a sentence of 30 to 60 years in prison. He will be eligible for parole in 2029. This was not the worst school shooting in U.S. history; but, it matters to me because I was there at the time. I was the librarian at the Edinboro library. So, of course, I was in San Diego today, marching for our lives.
That said, I have a complicated relationship with the Second Amendment. The Constitution is the basis of U.S. law, and I recognize that that U.S. Supreme Court is the final authority on the meaning of the Constitution. Until recently the consensus of legal opinion was that the Second Amendment granted states the right to muster a "well-regulated" militia in defense of the nation-- an obsolete right, since the U.S. now has a professional military, and therefore no need for civilian militias!
The Second Amendment was not understood as an individual right to "bear arms." Then, in 2008, the District of Columbia v. Heller decision changed all that. Now, the right to bear arms is a right comparable to First Amendment rights, i.e. the right to free speech, freedom of religion, etc. It is a right that applies to all members of the civic community, a concept that is broader than "citizens," but narrower than "persons." What this means is that children and the mentally disabled have a "right to bear arms." After all, even children and the mentally disabled have a right to free speech and a right to practice the religion of their choice. Hence, if the right to bear arms is a comparable "right," then it cannot be denied even to children and the mentally disabled!
Common sense gun laws are unconstitutional! Just as we must appoint Supreme Court justices who will overturn the (wrong-headed) Citizens United vs. FEC decision, we must appoint justices who will overturn the (equally wrong-headed) Heller decision.