Nevaeh Alyssa Bravo, Jacklyn Cazares, Makenna Lee Elrod, Jose Manuel Flores Jr., Eliahna Garcia, Irma Garcia, Uziyah Garcia, Amerie Jo Garza, Xavier Lopez, Jayce Carmelo Luevanos, Tess Mata, Miranda Mathis, Eva Mireles, Alithia Ramirez, Annabelle Rodriguez, Maite Rodriguez, Alexandria “Lexi” Rubio, Layla Salazar, Jailah Nicole Silguero,
Eliahana Cruz Torres, Rojelio Torres
A right to live a full and happy life is at the heart of our democracy and embedded in our most sacred documents. I happen to think it is our first and most fundamental right.
The Declaration of Independence (bold font mine) outlines: "... unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." While the Declaration is not the law of the land, its purpose was to declare what our founders wanted and desired for the people, including the children, of this nation.
The introduction of the United States Constitution begins in this way :
"We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."
Signed in 1787, the Constitution enumerates the limits and branches of government. It was a few years later in 1791 that ten amendments, the Bill of Rights, was ratified and added to the Constitution. One of those rights is the right to bear arms.
But long before that right was enshrined into the Constitution, both the Declaration of Independence and the Preamble to the Constitution called out the need and the right for a just, civil, and fair America, one that values the dignity and livelihood of human beings.
I value our Constitution and understand that while it is an imperfect document it exists to offer freedoms and protections that no other nation has. But I look at it and the Declaration of Independence, the two key and uniquely American expressions of liberty and justice, together and bound as one. And in the aftermath of the racial terror of Buffalo or the brutality of Uvalde, Texas I am frustrated that any person, politician, or political organization can continue to ignore the original words in the Constitution that demand we "promote the general welfare" and "secure the blessings of liberty" for our citizens, our neighbors, and, most certainly for 19 little children at Robb Elementary School.
Yes, there is a right to bear arms in the Bill of Rights. I get it. As a media pundit said recently as he tried to explain why it's important both to support the right to have guns and keep guns away from certain people: "You know, this is complicated stuff."
What is not complicated is this: 19 children, who should be enjoying their summer vacations right now, eating ice cream, teasing their brothers and sisters, hugging their parents good night - doing the simple things children do - are dead. Their right to live a full life and pursue happiness was taken away because in Texas the right to arm yourself with military grade weapons and boxes of ammunition is not as important as the lives of innocent children.
It's really not complicated. Just ask the families in Uvalde and Buffalo.