We should never forget that technology is a neutral force—each inch of “progress” has repercussions miles long on history’s grand timeline, irrespective of how we feel about them. Technology gave us the wheel, the automobile, the computer, and eventually, the mobile phone. But technology’s laps on the track of human advancement have too given us the musket, the atomic bomb, and the assault rifle. It put a powerful personal computer in every pocket, but shrunk down firearms so they could fit there too. Technology gave us Windows, but it also gave us Columbine. It gave us The Dark Knight Rises in thrilling high definition and surround sound, but also the unmatchable hail of bullets of a rifle in an Aurora, Colorado movie theater. We define our world with a lexicon of tragic names and places, a language built from the acts of a long line of well-armed sociopaths. And as we should, we question with each new incident what we could have done, whether the terror could have been prevented.
We can no longer curiously ask these questions. Technology’s blind march didn’t truly “give us” tragedy, it gave us an opportunity—the opportunity to regulate it and control it. In failing to seize that chance, we claim responsibility for placing deadly weapons in the hands of madmen.
The United States can no longer respect any amendment that offers a citizen the right to self-defense via a lethal weapon. Technology dictated decades ago that that scenario was no longer necessary. Political structure indicated two centuries ago that we had moved beyond that point.
We must accept that the U.S. Constitution’s boundaries sometimes stretch in ineffective ways. To expect our Founding Fathers’ principles to properly cover the nation’s issues in spirit is one thing; to anticipate them applying equally appropriately in real-life struggles, domestically and internationally, is quite another. We have proven time and time again that today’s accepted interpretation of the Second Amendment is misguided, ineffectual, and downright dangerous. Now is the time that we must stand against the insidious, unchecked march of the conquistadors’ tools. We must now declare that enough is enough.We must accept that the right to bear arms—ones that can unload eight hundred rounds in sixty seconds, no less—is not a human one. We must take away the guns.
How many school shootings, random acts of violence, and targeted destructions does it take? How much carnage must the US citizen witness until we recognize technology’s dispassionate advance? We must reach into our souls and pull from them the compassion every human life deserves. Indeed, those lives could be our own.