Charles Mercieca, Ph.D., President
International Association of Educators for World Peace
Dedicated to United Nations Goals of Peace Education,
Environmental Protection, Human Rights & Disarmament
Professor Emeritus, Alabama A&M University

Achilles’ heel is described as a seemingly small but actually crucial and mortal weakness in the hind part of the foot on which the whole body-weight stands. This weakness generally continues to increase as one gets older. When the USA became an independent nation in 1776, it drew up its constitution, which was based on the dire needs of those days. By the process of time, many events took place, which the nation’s forefathers apparently did not foresee.

Frozen US Constitution

As years went by, instead of having the US constitution adapted with the realities of the changing of time, it just remained completely frozen to this very day. This has resulted into the development of the Achilles’ heel of America. Over the past 230 years numerous books were written of the great contributions Americans made to the world at large especially in the humanitarian sector. An enormous good was done in the sectors of medicine, technology, education, culture and spirituality.

Unfortunately, all of this may collapse like a lightening if this nation fails to adapt itself to the changing needs of time. To understand this with crystal clarity we need to raise some intelligent and pertinent questions. How would it feel if we had to keep on wearing, to this very day, the same shoes and the same clothes we wore when we were merely toddlers? In other words, we are dealing with items that we have outgrown and we simply cannot use them any longer.

Why is it that when we were toddlers we were made to dress clothes that were so much different and smaller in size? The answer is simple. We were then different and smaller in size than we are today. This may be portrayed as plain common sense. However, scholastic philosophers tell us that common sense is very uncommon. In fact, this may be proven by putting ourselves to the test right at this moment. Let us proceed to talk in detail about the Achilles’ heel of America, which has now developed literally into a malignant tumor.  

When one is informed by the physician of having a malignant tumor, one could choose to have it removed or simply to leave it there with an absolute assurance of death.  Since it seems to be a part of the human instinct to live for ever, if that were possible, one would generally opt for surgery. This malignant tumor in the US constitution is found in the phrase which says that the American people “have a right to bear arms and that such a right should not be infringed.” Here we need to raise a legitimate question to the so called US constitutional scholars and American politicians, especially those who are pretty much under the thumb of the gun industry.

Original Intent for Right to Bear Arms

The question may run as follows: “Are you aware of the circumstances under which such a phrase was inserted in the US constitution by the nation’s founding fathers?” In case you are not fully aware, it is better to become aware, the sooner the better, if you really want to make a positive and constructive contribution to this nation. That phrase was inserted at a time when in the United States there were no airplanes, no helicopters, no trains, no busses, no cars, no telephones (far less cell phones), and no telegrams. The only means of transport was a cart that was driven by a horse, a mule or a donkey!

Besides, once you are out of town there were no police or military personnel to protect you. You were 100% on your own and your “right to bear arms” was the only means left available to protect yourself. We are now living over 200 years later where we have every single inch of the country controlled by radar. In addition, we have airplanes, helicopters, busses, cars, telephones (including cell phones) and numerous other devices such as computers.

Whereas at the time that this phrase “right to bear arms” was inserted in the constitution it was felt to be a sine qua non condition for one’s personal safety, today such a “right to bear arms” has evolved into the creation of a nation of terror. Whereas during the time when the US constitution was drafted, people were guided by love, to day people seem more to be haunted by fear.   

For those that may not know, the USA is perhaps the only nation on earth that allows constitutionally all of its citizens to bear arms. As a result, nowadays in the United States there are more people killed by the gun every year than there are people killed by the gun in all the nations of the world combined! These are verified statistics and not just an expression of one’s opinion. Needless to say, this has revealed the phenomenal weakness of the American politicians. Instead of simply amending the US constitution by changing, say, the word “right” into the world “privilege,” they keep on letting the gun violence going out of control.

Afterwards, they proceed to complicate the situation by trying to create more police in the streets and schools at all levels, creating detector devices in all the major building and institutions of any kind across the country, while pouring billions of dollars to this end to virtual no avail. It is becoming very nauseating listening to the US presidential debates, especially the Republican ones.

Open Support by Presidential Candidates

When the US Republican presidential debate took place in November 2006, a question was raised as to where they stand with this malignant phrase “right to bear arms.” With the exception of one or two they all said adamantly that they do support the “right for Americans to continue to bear arms.”  

Not only so, but almost everyone confessed that their family carries guns at home for “protection!” Ironically, statistics taken over the past several years demonstrate that Americans who carry guns have an 80% chance of being killed by the gun than those who do not carry a gun whose chances to be killed by the gun amounts only to 20%.

A couple of years ago, some teen agers in California were asked the following question on television: “How difficult it is for you to secure a gun?” The answer was quick: “It is as easy as buying a piece of candy; all that you need to have is $35 dollars!”

How can a nation, which is intrinsically so violent that follows to the letter a completely outdated constitution, moves around the world across every ocean and across every continent to bring about peace and harmony, safety and security, as well as democracy and freedom when it seems to lack all of these elements? The American people as a whole are very good and conscientious. They are kind and generous and often they would go out of their way to help anyone in need. When we hear people all over the world talking well of Americans they do so because they came face to face with the American people.

Unfortunately, US government officials, including the US President, have failed miserably to capitalize on this great and unique opportunity to establish and retain good relations with every country. Instead, steps were taken to prevent the American people from visiting a number of countries, including Cuba, which is only 90 miles away from Florida. Here we need to raise a legitimate question: “Who is the real enemy of the people? Is it that element which brings them all together or that element which sets them apart from each other? The answer is obvious.

By refusing to remove that malignant tumor “the right to bear arms” from the US constitution and by preventing the American people from continuing to act as ambassadors of peace to every single country on earth without exception, the US government has emerged to become a great enemy not only of the American people but of the people of the world at large. For example, by changing the word “right” into “privilege,” we are simply making sure of fewer opportunities for children to shoot each other and their teachers at school, and for people to kill each other in their place at work or at private residences.  

Defective US Policies

Why is it that US government officials do expect everyone to have a license to drive a car or to run a business but they refuse to require a license for anyone to hold a lethal weapon of destruction? Is there any fear that they and/or their friends in the gun industry would be making less profit? If that were to be the case, is the profit made from the gun industry more important and valuable than the very lives of the American people in every segment of society?

Ironically, during the time of elections most politicians, especially Republicans, say they want to be elected so that they will “take the government off the back of the people.” This is laughable to say the least and outrageous to say the most, when they are trying to control with iron fist every step Americans make both in the nation and overseas. We may recall here the words of former Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev when he said: “We will bury America.” Within the context, he did not mean that the Soviet Union would wage a war against the United States and eventually win, as some reporters were prompt to tell us.

Within the context, this Soviet leader meant that the USA will eventually follow the Soviet Union in the way it would be doing things, especially in controlling its own people. Today, the world is witnessing the fulfillment of this sad prophesy. It is obvious that those politicians who are determined to keep untouched that constitutional phrase relative to the “right to bear arms” and to continue to prevent Americans from travelling freely around the world, especially to Cuba, are still living in the 18th century, 200 years back of time.

These US politicians have become the Achilles’ heel of America, especially by their lack of wisdom in refusing to remove surgically the constitutional malignant tumor we have brought so clearly into perspective. Let us hope that many Americans who are deeply concerned with the good of the US constitution and the safeguard of their traditional democratic principles and freedom of movement will begin to give themselves to public service. They need to inject new life in the US constitution by removing from it the stated malignant tumor.