The Second Amendment frequently comes under great scrutiny in the wake of tragic events like the recent shooting at the Fort Hood military post in Killeen, Texas. This past week was no exception as Army Spc. Ivan Lopez, allegedly being treated for PTSD and depression, killed four people, including himself, in the second shooting incident involving military personnel at Fort Hood in the past five years.
Although the tragedy should inspire greater dialogue on the topics of identifying and treating mental illness and addressing the unique needs of American troops, the event instead drew out the usual cacophony of anti-gun, anti-Second Amendment rhetoric that so often accompanies such an incident.
Rather than focus attention on the perpetrator of the crime, or the underlying factors that contributed to his actions, the Left instead used the event to again attack the constitutional foundations safeguarding gun ownership in the United States.
Gun control zealot Piers Morgan almost immediately took to his Twitter account to scold Americans for their unwillingness to heed his oft-repeated demands that they abandon their constitutional rights for the chimera of a gun-free, violence-free society.
"'Why does this keep happening in our country?' - what many Americans ask about mass shootings. Well, because you do nothing about it," lectured Morgan.
Senate Democrats also used the tragedy to attempt to reignite the gun control debate in congress. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) stated, "As I was told today, this young man bought his gun a day or two before he killed these people. Couldn't we at least have background checks so that people who are ill mentally, or who are felons, shouldn't be able to buy guns?"
While questions remain as to when and where Spc. Lopez actually purchased his weapon --law enforcement sources suggest the weapon was lawfully purchased last month-- Reid didn't allow that lack of clarity to dissuade him from attempting to jumpstart the gun control debate.
It really comes as no surprise, however, as the far Left often fails to recognize what most Americans intuitively understand: That responsibility for tragedies such as the Fort Hood shooting fall on the shoulders of the individual(s) who perpetrated the act, not upon the millions of responsible, lawful gun owners of America that advocate for, and cherish, all of their constitutional rights.
An event like Fort Hood should inspire a better understanding of who committed the crime and why, not merely be seen as an opportunity to promote a broader agenda. If we are to learn from, and endeavor to further prevent, tragic incidents like this then all concerned parties, irrespective of ideology, should seek to understand each respective incident based upon the unique facts of the case.
Noted philosopher and pioneering criminologist Cesare Beccaria stated, "A principal source of errors and injustice are false ideas of utility. For example: that legislator has false ideas of utility who considers particular more than general conveniences, who had rather command the sentiments of mankind than excite them...who would deprive men of the use of fire for fear of their being burnt, and of water for fear of their being drowned; and who knows of no means of preventing evil but by destroying it."
Legislators and gun control advocates may seek to use incidents like the recent Fort Hood shooting as a mechanism to advance their agenda, but to do so in the name of protecting society by denying a free people their constitutional right to self-protection is itself an injustice. Society would be far better served if anti-gun advocates spent as much time addressing the root causes of crime and criminality as they do attempting to constrain the rights of law-abiding citizens.