By Steve Hansen
Former QCS Managing Editor
The tragic death of Tucumcari teenager Patrick Gonzales and the recent shootings at Umpqua Community College in Oregon are again opening the debate about gun control.
I am not going to pretend to resolve the issue. I leave that to better minds than my own.
I will settle for making some observations about guns, Quay Countians and Americans.
The Second Amendment states: “A well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”
Much of the debate on just how absolute that prohibition on government infringement should be hinges on that first clause.
To me, however, that first clause makes it clear the Founding Fathers were not talking about deer-hunting clubs. Militias are armed to protect humans from other people, implying that individuals may keep and bear arms intended for use against other humans.
To Quay County farmers and ranchers, among the most responsible people I have ever met, guns are as much a part of their lives as the family dog. They live in isolation and shoot to hunt and to defend livestock. They also cannot wait an hour for police if people threaten their lives or property. This gets back to the purpose of a militia.
If most Americans were responsible farmers and ranchers, as we used to be, I would, like them, give the Second Amendment my full, unqualified support.
Two of the best-armed nations in the world, Switzerland and Israel, also have low crime rates. In these countries, people share values and unite in arms to protect national interests.
The U.S. does not have a strong system of shared values. Our violent crime rates are among the worst.
Guns are dangerous, but I think too many of us are hostile enough to be dangerous even without guns. We glorify violence as the first option to settle a score. With movies and TV setting the example, fists fly and guns blaze before talk is attempted.
Does that mean we should restrict guns? I don’t know.
Whether or not we need to tighten gun controls, however, I think we need to work on ways to stop glorifying violence and to instill admiration for other ways to resolve conflict.
Steve Hansen writes about our life and times from his perspective of a retired Tucumcari journalist. Contact him at: