On a cold night of March 1692, all was quiet except the chilling moans escaping from a house belonging to the village minister, Samuel Parris, of Salem Village in Massachusetts. In a back room of the house, a nine-year-old girl clutched her throat and began spinning around as if in a trance. Elizabeth Parris then flung her frail body on the hard wood floor in a fit of passion. Another young girl, Elizabeth’s eleven-year-old cousin Abigail Williams, followed suit; and soon, both girls were screaming hysterically. They fought and clawed the air as if fighting against a supernatural beast. The floorboards beneath their small bodies creaked, and the noise echoed throughout the small house. Elizabeth’s father called for the village physician immediately. After much deliberation, the doctor pronounced that the girls were suffering from “bewitchment.” Soon, the two girls accused other villagers of witchcraft; and for the next several months, the small New England community was in an uproar.
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From June through September of 1692, the Salem Witch Trials condemned hundreds of people as witches. The accused were men, women, and children and included people from surrounding neighborhoods. Once the fervor against the “witches” began, there was no end to the accusations. People from all levels of society were accused and tried as witches, including the Governor’s wife. At least nineteen condemned men and women died from hanging. Other witches either died in jail or lived the duration of their lives as social outcasts-always afraid of the authorities.
No one explanation provides the answer to why the Salem Witch Trials reached such a great height. Indeed, the Salem Witch Trials remain curious even today because of the magnitude of people who were accused, convicted, and executed for it. Historians have stated economic, social, and frontier troubles with Native Americans and petty jealousies as a few of the reasons why so many accusations arose. Whatever the cause(s), one thing is certain: many innocent people lost their lives because of the hysterics prompted at the behest of a few.
As with those hunting for witches in 1692, today, the liberals are also looking for “witches.” The unfortunate and inhumane killing of innocent children in Newtown, Connecticut on December 14, 2012 has renewed the liberals’ taste for vengeance. Unfortunately, criminals are not the focus of their wrath, but it is the Bill of Rights. Liberals feel that the law needs to be “reformed.” Indeed, they would like to do away with the Bill of Rights completely if at all possible. They are not interested in finding true solutions that work to keep such tragedies from recurring; instead, their ultimate goal is the destruction of our liberties as American citizens. To achieve this goal, they have shamelessly used the tragedy of the Newtown shooting to promote their own political agenda: banishing the Second Amendment altogether. Their argument is that by banning guns, there will never be another tragedy in America.
Indeed, their argument would serve well if only it made any sense. In most states, law-abiding citizens who own guns must first pass a thorough background investigation and fingerprinting/ identification process before they can acquire any weapons. Some states require firearms safety training before they issue permits. Suffice it to say, those people who own guns legally must meet state standards (which differ widely by individual states) to own guns. For someone to go through the stringent process of becoming a gun owner only for the sake of going on a shooting spree seems illogical to say the least. Of course, there are always exceptions to the rule; but most law-abiding citizens are aware of the risk they take if they use their guns to hurt innocent people.
The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.