“‘The liberty of any person to own a military-style assault weapon and a high-capacity magazine and keep them in their home is second to the right of my son to his life,’ he said, noting that the Constitution says Americans are endowed with the inalienable rights of ‘life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.’
‘Let’s honor the founding documents and get our priorities straight,’ he concluded, to a standing ovation.”
These are the words of Dave Wheeler, whose son Benjamin was one of the 20 children killed in Newtown.
Of course he is right, but he also raises a very interesting point – those words “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” mean something different to a lot of the people on the other side of this social divide over gun control. To many, “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” means life, if you’re lucky enough to have the means to live; liberty, if you’re lucky enough to have the means to freely choose without suffering debilitating social responses, indifferent neglect and dislocations at the hands of others exercising their “freedoms”; and, pursuit of happiness, if you’re lucky enough not to have to worry having the means to pay off loan sharks for the happiness you actually dare to pursue.
What those words mean to some people on the other side of that social divide is “freedom for us, no freedom for you.” Win-lose.
What those words should mean is that real freedom, for all, needs to be our new way of life. Win-win is possible, and it’s time for others to share a bit of that liberty they yack about all the time. You expect us to care about your rights? _Give_ us some real, substantive rights, not just paper rights that do nothing for us, and defend them, and maybe we’ll be more protective of your rights.
Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for all, not just the privileged few. What a concept! Consider it.