THE BLOG
01/11/2013 12:40 pm ET | Updated Mar 13, 2013

Americans Preach the Second Amendment, but Shouldn't Rely on Their Historical Knowledge

Defended with unrivalled passion and argued fiercely until the likes of Piers Morgan is left speechless, the debate on gun control in the United States will change nothing. Regardless of an individual's opinion, American or not, this idea that an American's right to bear arms is "sacrosanct" runs too deep to influence a difference in thought process. It was in the Constitution, and that is a part of American history you just don't mess with.

Every country can reference a point in their history books to be proud of for different cultural reasons. Britain is proud of it's leading role in the industrial age, the Czech Republic is proud of the Velvet Revolution, Russia is probably proud of its reign over Europe for a reasonable chunk of the 20th Century, but most, certainly not all, but most will acknowledge and learn from their mistakes. Britain is weighing up the decisions to reform their press laws after the responsibility of newspaper's freedoms has been hugely ignored, the Czech Republic has made statutes to ensure their country's freedom is never threatened, and Russia... well the jury's still out on Russia.

The same can be said for the United States of America, which, in true Hollywood fashion, has captured the life and times of that great American hero, Abraham Lincoln in what is expected to be a blockbuster success. The period of Lincoln's tenure was a tumultuous one with the Civil War dividing the country as well as the potential split of the Union, the results were of course rather successful in the long run; slaves were freed, the Civil War ended and the Union survived and expanded to eventually become the United States of America. Much of this was caught in Steven Spielberg's latest dramatic offering Lincoln, with the title figure being a protagonist of epic proportions, leading to some movie reviewers calling it a "civics lesson". However, Davi Barker at Examiner.com believes the film is essentially propaganda and filled with mistakes that many Americans will now consider fact. He says, "The ugly fact is that, despite Mr. Spielberg's revision of history, Lincoln did not believe in equality for African Americans" and uses quotes from the 16th president of the United States himself, "If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that." The point is, he didn't care about black people, unless it meant their freedom could help save the Union.

What is especially worrying is that many Americans have no idea what took place during Lincoln's presidency. Throughout the National Basketball Association, perhaps the professional sports league with the highest percentage of black sportsmen in the world, knowledge of the former U.S. president is shaky. Superstar Kobe Bryant jokes about some of his teammates not know who he was -- "It came as a big shock to them when he was killed" -- and retired player and analyst on TNT Overtime, Charles Barkley said, "He's my favourite president... he's the reason we're not calling Ernie [the white host of the show] boss."

This culture is worrying, as is the intensity in which the American public fight for their freedom to own a gun. They believe it is an outright principle that they should own a weapon of such horrific destruction, largely because under their country's historical and cultural standpoint, it is. The Constitution is a Bible for Americans, but it is a Bible that can feature amendments. Regardless of President Lincoln's feelings toward black Americans, the right to make amendments is what he and his government made use of when abolishing slavery in 1865. The American people should understand that an amendment can be made in reference to the right to bear arms. If times can change, so can laws.

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