Sunday, June 29, 2008

The US Supreme Court rewrote the Second Amendment

The news media, especially CNN, likes to make a big, big issue out of Senator Obama's "flip flops" on gun control or gun banning laws being constitutional, at least until the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the Washington, D.C. gun banning law designed to control gun violence in that city. Now that the U.S. Supreme Court spoke, what is a Democratic presumptive nominee for the presidency supposed to do, especially when Barack Obama is trying to appeal to the gun nuts. What the news media did not choose to do was to parse, dissect or take a truly close look at what was decided in a 5 to 4 activist judicial majority on the behalf of the NRA as special interest group.

I do not have the exact quote of the Second Amendment at hand but I do know this: It first speaks of militias in the defense of a free state. A free state which is no less than a government and its people. Militias were not in fact, as some erroneously assumed a "police force" but in fact the only military force this infant revolutionary nation could field during its latter revolutionary stages. Any able bodied man of a certain age could join a militia and indeed was expected to, in the defense of a free state. But because these were not organized military units then each militia member would also expect to take his weapon home with him. Even further, because the infant democracy wasn't the most stable, and threats from criminals to Indians were a fact, gun ownership as self defense would have been implied if not specifically coded into constitutional law. Guns would have been a necessity, not a luxury. So, for the time that the Second Amendment was written, the rights of the people (who formed the militias) to keep and bear arms (in the defense of a free state) shall not be abridged. By the time the 19th century rolled around, unless you were a pioneer heading into the wild west to create new settlements there, guns were only a necessity for hunting and self defense against yes, criminals and Indians. But, by the 19th century, the local militias were swiftly giving way to organized military forces, both Army and Navy. The local militias may still exist on a state by state basis, their successors being the National Guard: Idaho, Washington, etc. But, the federal gvt fielded the general Army and Navy since the time of Thomas Jefferson. Thus, not all able bodied men were being called upon to bear arms for the defense of a free state. Not when they could carry a gun and "go west" instead. In this summary of the history of the Second Amendment, from the time of its drafting and eventual 2/3rds majority approval, it is the most dated of laws in that for the purpose in which it was originally written, ceased to exist when the federal gvt created the Army, Navy, Marines, and Air Force to defend the free state as opposed to calling on the general populace to do so. As was the case when we had first entered this country as colonists. And militias were necessary to defend the colonies and then ultimately the new United States of America. An Amendment where it's original intent existed only for 2 or 3 decades after its initial drafting and approval into law, and becoming outdated so quickly, the eventual aim of the NRA and how much that special interest organization has evolved should actually be discussed.

Precisely, the NRA can not claim to be a militia that protects a free state. No, they must resort to the second portion of the Second Amendment: the right of the people to keep and bear arms. Of course, against the common and certain to be violent criminal. But, from letters to the editors that I have seen in both the Spokesman-Review and the Coeur d'Alene Press, those of the NRA membership have shown a particularly hysterical fear of the government (part of the free state, after all) and secondly, demonstrations as to why they should have the latest toy, even when it serves no useful purpose in hunting, the gun as a luxury item. To put it bluntly, the NRA has managed to completely divorce itself from the original intent of the Second Amendment and applies a whole lot of liberal applications to what it wishes to define as a "right to keep and bear arms." ———And here you would have thought that the Roe v Wade decision was an act of supreme liberalism, writing a "right" into the U.S. Constitution that actually did not exist.——— Using the Second Amendment to defend one's gun collections is surely more liberal still! But that is precisely what the NRA now wishes to do.

And it is the liberal 5 Justice majority that rewrote the Second Amendment, just for them. Do take note that Justice Antonin Scalia did not suggest taking into consideration the gun ownership "in defense of a free state" but only supported the argument of "self defense." Thus cutting out altogether exactly why the Second Amendment could exist in the first place. That is, in its original meaning. A cop is going to "bear arms" for a fact, defending a free state by enforcing the laws on the behalf of the citizenry in his city, county and state, or even on a federal level. At no time has anyone declared that cops defending a free state should ever be disarmed. While I was in the U.S. Army, I bore arms in the defense of a free state. I would certainly have argued that should I be called to war against an enemy, that I should not meet him on the field of combat without an M16 A1 in hand. Being trained to use one, I would use it, in my own defense and that of my fellow soldiers. And on the behalf of this nation and the U.S. Constitution. When I was in the Army, I was both a beneficiary of and a defender of the Second Amendment in its original meaning. But, that is not what the NRA can claim to day. Their's has been a liberal rewriting of the Second Amendment, to include ideologies that the founders themselves would probably have been shaking their heads over. Do you really need a 50 caliber rifle in your gun case? Don't you already have a military in existence to defend you from foreign enemies? And cops to defend you from domestic ones? In high crime rate areas, I can definitely see a need for the gun as self-defense. In rural areas where hunting is a fact of life, I can see a need for the gun to supplement the food put on the table. But I see no need, as a pro-gun Republican, to create an arsenal. Against whom do you plan to use it, anyway? Your neighbor? The NRA now has the backing of the U.S. Supreme Court as it continues to slide off the liberal left end. But given the trend that the same court granting certain rights to terrorist suspects under U.S. control; the same liberal re-writing of the Second Amendment, won't necessarily make this nation safer from crime. Because the criminals need only wait for the NRA to challenge other gun laws and then take advantage of the consequences. Not what you would call a moral argument.

The only continuity that the NRA can legitimately claim is the "self defense" argument. An AR15 or its equivalent, doesn't exactly support the "self defense" argument, any more than it supports useful for hunting argument. No, it instead makes the statement, that I value my toys and oppose any means that would curtail my obtaining more of them. How about your neighbor, when the criminal breaks into your home, steals your toys and then makes use of them against the little old lady who lives next door to you? Didn't you just give them a green light? Think about it.

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