David Stoller

Rights and Bongs

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marihuanaArizona’s conflict with Rights is hilarious. We fight for the Right to self-inflict pain relieving substances like alcohol and marijuana, yet we fight against human rights connected to marriage, immigration, and education. What’s with that? We often hear the argument that “they broke the law”, but, for those of you with short memories, alcohol and marijuana were once illegal, too. Laws need to be changed when so many people can benefit.

We have stores selling medical marijuana, bongs presumably for something other than illegal drugs, and guns of all kinds without limit. But, we don’t allow love to transcend biblical scrutiny, residency to those who can’t be blamed, or learning of better ways to do what we are told can’t be done.

Alcohol, banned as recently as 1933 in the U.S., has achieved wide spread acceptance and easy availability in most areas of the country. Even with all the furor over drunk driver “accidents”, alcohol still remains the most popular drug. Most regions have rules on public drinking, driving when drinking, and who can sell alcohol, while it’s a substance with little health benefit to the consumer. But, it’s widely accepted.

Smoking Pot has proven to help some people, but hurt others. Do drug dealers hate legal pot? Does legal pot reduce crime? Does it ease pain and discomfort?  Does Budweiser lose money where pot is legal? It’s simple, marijuana has gained wide acceptance and extensive use. So, who does it really hurt?

Owning a weapon is proven to save lives and is great for sport, but what about those murdered by the gun? What about so many mass murders in the past few years? Oh, yes, the gun didn’t kill, the shooter did. True, drivers are responsible for car accidents, not the car, in most cases. But, are we so high from alcohol and pot to believe that it’s wrong to require registration of guns? Own whatever gun you want. All that is asked is registration. True, the car didn’t cause the accident, but it is registered! Maybe driving isn’t a right protected by the constitution like gun ownership is, but I don’t think Hamilton and Jefferson had visions of cars in their view of the future. Likely, if they knew the advancement of guns into high powered multi-shot weapons, they likely would have altered their opinions on guns, while including rights to ban certain weapons or owners.

Either way, most of us have liberal rights to consume alcohol and marijuana, while we wave our guns with the flag behind us. My question…..if you have a joint in one hand and a beer in the other, where do you stick the gun? Based upon the ideals set forth by our founders, you are more than welcome to get loaded.

So, is gay marriage a right? Is immigration as a child a right? Is learning unconventional theories a right? Well, if you think about it, they are rights, but in a different, limited context. Just like our right to own a weapon, we have rights to marriage, immigration, and education. The difference is that time has not changed the definitions, like it has for other things.

Marriage is permitted in this country. We chose to limit who is allowed to marry, though. Immigration is allowed in this country. We chose to limit who is allowed to immigrate, though. Education is allowed in this country. We chose to limit education’s ability.

Why is marriage defined as a man and woman? Why is immigration defined as only those people who fit certain profiles? Why is education defined as public versus private?

We have much work to do in order to break down more barriers. We can drink, smoke, and shoot with equality for all. Now, let’s marry, immigrate, and educate with the same equality.

Laws should be made to unite people, not divide. Laws must define crime, rather than inequality. For every “right”, there is a left. For every law, there is a crime. What we must acknowledge is that our definitions of these things must change with time. If we don’t let our understanding grow, we must return to the horse for our transportation and long distant communication. In that case, apple returns to being just an invaluable fruit.

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