School kids ask: Am I the next to die?

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I’ve always lived by this rule: Your rights end where mine begin. And, conversely, mine end where yours begin. Far too many people think their right to bear arms obviates others’ right to life. I say, “No.”

The U.S. Constitution guarantees that the rights of the individual citizen will not be subject to the tyranny of the majority.

This means that even if a majority of the country’s citizenry would like to prevent African Americans from marrying Caucasians, the Constitution protects mixed-race couples and their rights. In 1967, when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Loving v. Virginia, the majority of Americans disagreed with the decision. Too bad.

Inalienable Rights

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We’ve faced a number of these challenges in U.S. history. And now we face one that means life and death—too often, the lives of our children.

The Second Amendment to the Constitution says that because a well regulated militia is needed for the security of a free state, citizens have the right to keep and bear arms. But the Constitution would never have existed if not for the document that set the stage: the Declaration of Independence.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness... inalienable… This founding document for the rights of U.S. citizens tells us that the right to life is something that cannot be taken away. 

Your Killer Owns Your Life

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And yet, in mass shooting after mass shooting, from Columbine to Sandy Hook to Orlando to Parkland and in far too many places in between, people claiming their right to bear arms are rendering the right to life moot. Individuals armed with weaponry not remotely conceived of by the Constitution’s authors are rendering the lives of multiple citizens very, very alienable. According to Merriam-Webster online, this means the ownership of the right to life is effectively being transferred to the individuals who slaughter them. 

So Dylan Roof owns the lives of the nine churchgoers he gunned down in Charleston. Omar Mateen briefly (before he was shot by police) claimed possession of 49 other lives when he opened fire randomly in an Orlando night club. 

Your Child's Killer Owns Your Child's Life

Many of the lives obliterated forever during this muscle-flexing of the second amendment have been children. 

We are massacring our children. The second amendment was never intended for this. Its current application was never what the authors of the Constitution had in mind. 

The amendment needs to be amended. Until we do, Americans school kids will be haunted by this terrible question: AM I NEXT?

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