“This, milord, is my family's axe. We have owned it for almost nine hundred years, see. Of course, sometimes it needed a new blade. And sometimes it has required a new handle, new designs on the metalwork, a little refreshing of the ornamentation . . . but is this not the nine hundred-year-old axe of my family? And because it has changed gently over time, it is still a pretty good axe, y'know. Pretty good.”
― Terry Pratchett, The Fifth Elephant
Whenever I'm in the midst of research I'm not really enjoying or when I'm under a lot of stress I give myself permission to load up something comforting on the iPhone, plug in the ear bugs and go for a long walk. For me, audiobook in question is almost always something by Sir Terry Pratchett. Almost every time I listen to Sir Terry's words they say something important about whatever is going on, whether it's something in my private life or the daily news. Yesterday, the topic was gun control and the United States Constitution.
Too many times I hear the erroneous argument that the US Constitution provides white dudes the absolute right to own a personal arsenal regardless of age (have a video of a 13 year-old boy buying a 22 caliber rifle without a single question from the seller.) Frankly, I've read it. The amendment in question ("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.") is extremely out of date. Assuming that by "well regulated Militia" the authors of the constitution meant "untrained amateur with a personal arsenal of military grade weapons and all the ammo they can buy." That doesn't sound terribly well regulated, if you ask me. Even if it did mean that, the interpretation is ridiculous to the point of being laughable. Seriously? You honestly think you're going to be able to take on what amounts to an unlimited number of professional soldiers with high tech surveillance, drones, explosives, tanks, bomber jets, and so on all on your lonesome? You've been watching too many Action Movies. Also, I'd be willing to bet you look nothing like Arnold Schwarzenegger.
The Good Guy with a Gun™ argument is horse shit. If you honestly know anything of the psychology of emergency situations, you'd know that a) most non-First Responders freeze during emergency scenarios (and as in the case of a certain police deputy sometimes First Responder training isn't even a guarantee of bravery.) b) it's difficult to assess details during an emergency and c) do you really want to be wandering around an active shooter scene with a million cops on a hair trigger hunting for a white dude with a gun? Cops apparently have a hard time determining whether an unarmed child in a park with a toy is a threat.
Heinlein claimed that an armed society was a polite society. Not only was Heinlein a fiction writer which, speaking as a fiction writer, does not make one an expert in such matters--he was dead wrong. Even the American Frontier had gun control--more than we do now.
From an article in the Times Union:
As legal scholar Adam Winkler explains in his book "Gunfight: The Battle Over the Right to Bear Arms in America" (2011), no gun-control law was more common in the late 1800s — on the frontier and elsewhere — than bans on concealed weapons. The first bans on possession of concealed weapons in public were adopted in Kentucky and Louisiana in 1813.
Courts usually upheld the bans, with an Alabama court in 1840 declaring that the legislature was within its power to "suppress the evil practice of carrying weapons secretly." The restrictions spread from the South to the frontier, and eventually led to the first court cases dealing with the constitutionality of gun control.
Leaders of frontier communities wanted to promote their towns and cities as safe places for settlers and commerce. According to historian Robert Dystra, author of "The Cattle Towns" (1968), a visitor arriving in Wichita, Kan., in 1873 would have seen signs declaring, "LEAVE YOUR REVOLVER AT POLICE HEADQUARTERS, AND GET A CHECK." A street sign in Dodge City, Kan., in 1879 warned: "The Carrying of Firearms Strictly Prohibited."
The free distribution of guns does not support civilization. (Neither does Libertarianism or Objectivism, but that's a different essay.)
There are those who have insisted to me that the US Constitution is immutable. Never mind that that too is bullshit because the constitution has, in fact, changed over time. The Founding Fathers were never godlike creatures with the ability to accurately predict the future. If I learned anything from reading American history, I learned they were people with flaws who made mistakes just like people today. They did really stupid shit. They weren't saints and even they knew it. The only reason the constitution remains an effective document is because it's like Rhys Rhysson's grandfather's 900 year old ax. It gently changes over time.
And that's why I feel it's time to repeal the Second Amendment.
 At the moment, that would be "Classic" SF--specifically The Mote in God's Eye. Goddess save me from sexist Square-Jawed Hero MacHeroson™ characters. Seriously, the more I read these supposedly hollowed texts, the more I suspect the people who insist these "Golden Age" classics are better than anything being produced today a) haven't read SF since 1982--let alone recently re-read the thing they claim is so great, b) aren't professional writers, or if they are, they haven't given any thought to improving their craft since 1982, and/or c) have opinions based entirely upon the shiny moment they first discovered SF at age 13. (See Sometimes Your Experience is What You Bring.)
 Say, being on a tight deadline and/or reading the news that a) Russia has decided to cosplay being the Bond Villain™ all over again because as you know the outfits, fluffy white cats, and atomic missiles are really cool and b) Nazi boy-children are shooting up school their peers and then grown ass adults are trolling the surviving school kids because they dare to tell the world how much this sucks.
 There's something about the combination of hopeful, smart, social criticism that really does it for me. Also, he's beyond brilliant and funny as fuck.
 I say white dudes because I've seen too many news stories about armed black men being murdered by cops--even when they are being extremely careful to follow the laws of concealed carry.
 May I recommend some history reading? How about The Troubles in Northern Ireland? Yeah, that didn't go so well, did it?
 Fiction writers are professional bullshitters. We make up shit for a living. If we do our job well, we even sound plausible while doing it. This is why I tend to back up my statements with researched links when I write about non-fiction issues. Well...that and I'm a woman on the internet.
is a Science Fiction and Fantasy author living in Texas.