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Tyrannical government is not the problem here

Pro-gun zealots, in response to mounting evidence that 270 million privately owned guns haven’t made America a “polite society,” have retreated to higher ground, arguing that the Second Amendment is really about protecting our ability to resist tyranny. They conjure up the poetic images of 1775: the “embattled farmers” and the “shot heard round the world.”

That’s all very lyrical, but the argument falls apart when it comes to defining “tyranny.” After all, some people think it’s tyrannical for a government to collect income taxes, fluoridate water or limit patriarchs to a single wife. Others decry the despotism of a government that issues Federal Reserve notes. Still others see tyranny in public schools that encourage kids to eat carrots. Currently, angry “patriots” feel that mandated health insurance is conclusive evidence of totalitarianism.

If every Tom, Dick and Harry takes up arms to “water the tree of liberty with the blood of tyrants,” then where are we? Lexington Green? Concord Bridge? More likely, it’s Baghdad, Kabul, Mogadishu, Tripoli or Timbuktu – places where chaos reigns, and every tribe, political faction and religious sect is armed to the teeth. Is that really what we want to become? Another failed state with warlords, militia-run enclaves and breakaway provinces?

Let’s get real. The problem we face in 2013 America is not a tyrannical government, but a society in which criminals and troubled people have easy access to high-powered weapons and commit mass slaughter on a regular basis. Let’s solve the problem at hand, and not the one that resides only in some people’s darkest, deluded imaginations.

George Morse

Hamburg