Truth is often stranger than fiction. Examples that amaze and delight us get a smile, even a laugh out loud. But other examples can confound us, pulling out of us an anguished groan.

Imagine a teen boy who wants to play kickball with his buddies in the street outside his house during a block party. “Dad, can we?” His father says, “The street is blocked off, so sure, go and play in the street.” It was raucous but safe, and a good time was had by all.

A few days later, the father sees the boys out in the street, playing just like before. He storms out and shouts, “Get out of the street! You wanna get killed?” His son says, “You said, sure, go and play in the street.” Dad says, “Don’t play games with me! Don’t quote back the part you wanted to hear and blow off the rest. You’re putting your lives at risk!” That’s a good, responsible parent.

That’s fiction. But here’s the ugly, even appalling truth: The Second Amendment stipulates that gun ownership is permitted for people who are or can be members of a “well-regulated militia.” In context, it was passed in colonial days, when our nation was just getting organized and had no standing army to face off against the army of a hostile power.

Our context is totally different. So calling gun ownership and bearing arms a “God-given right” has allowed our society to descend into the great chaos we see daily. That demand flies in the face of the amendment’s purpose and intent — no matter that the Supreme Court blatantly ignores the historical context in which it was formulated.

Give full and due consideration to the facts, legislators at all levels of government, and pass laws that put stringent limits on who can possess these tools of mayhem and death and, in particular, forbid anyone outside our well-regulated and disciplined military to have military-grade weapons like AR-17s in their hands. 

Don’t allow this situation to continue to be the truth that is truly stranger than fiction … in the worst possible way.

Fred Reklau
Oak Park

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