Guns, Guns, & More Guns
Old Fashioned Letter Exchange Design Assignment : 4.5 Stars
One death is a tragedy; one million is a statistic. – Joseph Stalin
For my old fashioned letter exchange project I decided to have a letter from Thomas Jefferson, the third president of the United States to James Madison, the fourth president of the United States regarding the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution. In this fictitious letter, Jefferson is concerned with the 2nd Amendment and thinks it might be dangerous. Jefferson is predicting that the ambiguity in the language of the second amendment could cause future problems. It would be interesting to look if any letters like this really exist about the founding fathers having fears about citizens owning guns.
In the Twenty-first Century, our country has been repeatedly subjected to the horror, terror, and misery of repeated mass killings in numbers that could not have been anticipated by the framers of the US Constitution and the authors of the Second Amendment.
This database from Mother Jones Magazine gives detailed accounting of each mass killing and provides detailed data regarding the type of weapon used and the consequences of the violence. As the grotesque quote from Joseph Stalin notes, “One death is a tragedy; one million is a statistic.” This shows how gun violence has become so common that we look at the deaths as nothing more than data.
The Federalist Papers themselves leave the reader bewildered as to the meaning of the phrase “the right to bear arms shall not be infringed.” The human toll from these mass shooting events cannot be easily discovered.
The events of the Spring of 2016 in Orlando will always remind of us the complexity of the human heart and spirit. An angry man of Islamic belief uses a military-grade weapon to kill dozens of people in a LGBT nightclub. His motives are heavily debated and remain shrouded in mystery. Yet the broken hearts that are left behind are too numerous to count. This mourning and heartbreak are brought back to mind by a gut-wrenching NPR Story Corps presentation reflecting on a similar attack in New Orleans decades before. The emotion in the voice and the points of view expressed could become the basis of novels and memorials for centuries to some.
My image of the letter from Madison to Jefferson traces the origins of this challenging and sad story – how an ambiguous sentence written in colonial rural America could rip open the hearts of countless citizens throughout the ages – a literal and figurative breaking of hearts.
Image of heart from Google Images: https://thumbs.dreamstime.com/z/wounded-bleeding-red-love-broken-heart-13167025.jpg