Thursday, July 26, 2012

2nd Amendment

It has been two years since I last wrote anything, my apologies.  I have been very busy with school and work.  I make no excuses when real life takes away from the Internet, since it would be pathetic if I avoided real life for an online existence.  With that intro, I will not talk about someone that lost touch with reality (Aurora).  Yet what they did is threatening to have ramifications on us all as a nation!  I am talking about the call for gun control in the wake of the Aurora shooting.

Before I attack the position of gun control advocates I must clarify my understanding of the Constitution and the Second Amendment.  As someone who has a history degree, I believe we must understand the intentions of the Founding Fathers when they wrote the Constitution.  The USA was a young country and the Articles of Confederation were not doing their job in a way that empowered the country.  So there was a battle in the direction that the country needed to head.  That battle is one that still is going on today, State vs Federal power/rights.  Yet with the Articles of Confederation the Federal Government was basically impotent.  So right or wrong a group (The Federalist) attempted to increase the power at the Federal level and replace the Articles of Confederation with a different document that would enable the country to grow and become powerful.  The intentions of the Federalist are questioned to this day (just as State rights are still an issue), but we must remember how and why the country was born.

The fact is that English Kings were oppressive over their minions.  This oppression was less in England than in various colonies around the world.  Within colonies the power of the King was almost absolute.  We are all familiar with the call, "No taxation without representation."  This is because the King increased taxes to pay the debt incurred from his wars around the globe with France.  There is much more, if taxes were the main issue our Amendments would be in a different order.  The English Crown had a very long history of using its power to limit the threat of the masses in two key ways.  The first was by locking up radicals, limiting Free Speech.  The second was by not allowing serfs to own weapons (Right to Bear Arms).  Those who owned weapons owed a direct duty to the sovereign.  This cycle of oppression had kept the English Crown in power for 710 years prior to the US Revolution.

The Founding Fathers were actually a divided lot.  Thus you have the Federalist vs the Anti Federalist, during the debates.  There were also many minor factions within each group.  In the end they realized that free flow of ideas and though was required to prevent tyranny.  So we have our First Amendment, speech, religion, press and assembly (short version).  Remember that this was also a time of religious oppression and the first settlers at Plymouth Rock were religious outcasts from England.  In short they wanted to respect the rights of the individual and their ability to live a happy life free from oppression. 

This promise is not enough unless you put teeth into it.  That is where the Second Amendment comes into play.   "A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to bear arms shall not be infringed."  This insured that states would be able to have militias to protect themselves from Federal tyranny.  It also guaranteed the people's right to bear arms (weapons).  It does not guarantee the militia's right to bear arms, the militia served the state.  Yes the militia is made up of people, but since the militia is a military force it is obvious that they would bear arms!  The reason the people had to have the right to bear arms was that the history of the English Crown in preventing the possession of weapons by the masses.  The Founding Fathers realized that the best defense against tyranny was an armed populace.  No matter the problems caused by said populace that was a lesser evil than that caused by tyranny.

Doubt the accuracy of my assessment?  Serfs were only armed when they were put in service of the King and then the arms were always less than those of those who served the King directly.  This is common practice throughout history on this planet.  In Japan the people were forbidden to own a sword, which was reserved for the Samurai.  The shots that started the US Revolution were the Battles of Concord and Lexington.  The purpose of the English excursion?  To confiscate/destroy weapons and limit the ability of the Colonist to resist English Law/oppression.

The Second Amendment, with the threat of an armed populace is the cornerstone of the Constitution!  The foundation is Free Speech.  It is the threat of armed citizenry that makes it difficult for a potential tyrant to gain absolute control over the masses.  This is paranoia, but it is so ingrained in our culture that no President, no matter how much power they wielded ever thought about touching the Second Amendment.  The outcry of the people would be absolute.  Right or wrong, we as a people do not trust our leaders that much.

Now gun control advocates say that the Founding Fathers would have thought twice if they saw the firepower that exists in today firearms, plus the degree of violence that we perpetuate on each other in society.  I disagree and I will give you some historical examples.  First there is the famous duel between sitting Vice President Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton.  Hamilton was one of the main influences amongst the Federalist and Burr fought in the Continental Army.  There is also the famous physical confrontation between Griswold and Lyon during a session of Congress.  Violence, even among the elite was commonplace.  In 1850 Henry Foote pulled a pistol and pointed it at Thomas Benton on the Senate floor.  Finally in 1856 Preston Brooks severely beat Charles Sumner with a cane.  Does this sound like a people that abhorred violence?  I am sorry but our culture is based in violence.  The Founding Fathers were the well to do of society and they put their lives and livelihood at risk for freedom.  I believe they knew the risk it entailed, along with arming the populace to prevent tyranny. 

"Well times and technology have changed.  Those were muskets and now much more firepower is very easily accessible."  Your point is?  Yes times and technology have changed drastically.  However I do not hear people saying we need to limit free speech.  Two hundred years ago we did not have radio, television or the Internet.  Times and technology do change, where is the outcry to limit free speech?  Just because technology has changed at a rapid pace does not mean that human nature has changed as quickly.  Our mentality is still lagging decades, if not centuries behind technology.  The good and bad of that fact means we have not outgrown the Constitution and how it protects us from ourselves.  There is a reason that much of what the Founding Fathers wrote still strikes a chord over 200 years later, because we are not so different.  Maybe one day we can sit down as a people and say, "this can be changed, that can be updated."  Today however, with how polarized our society is, I do not believe we are there.

"So you think you can fight the government if they become tyrannical?  That is foolishness and suicide!  How do you expect to be able to stand up to tanks, jets and drones?  No matter what weapons you own!"  You are right of course, but some people would rather die free than live as slaves.  Which when you do not have freedom, you are little more than a slave.  Yet I do not expect anyone to accept such an idealistic statement.  So I will attempt to package a different response.  An armed insurrection is difficult to discredit and keep quiet.  I am not talking about a small group of militia nut jobs or rogue criminal elements that are easily dismissed.  I am talking about a segment of the population that chooses to stand up and fight.  This will create doubt in those who are serving the tyrannical government and are supposed to crush said insurrection.  Much the same thing happened during the Russian Revolution and the civil war that followed.  People doubted if they were truly serving the right cause when they were expected to kill their fellow countrymen.  This adds to the difficulty of a tyrant coming to power because of an armed populace.

On the other hand, if the people are disarmed and come under the grip of a tyrant you are left with only two options.  Civil disobedience (sorry it is joke and an entire blog in itself) and terrorism are the only choices for those desiring freedom.  The reason terrorism is the second choice is because it will rely on improvised munitions, which homemade explosives are the best example.  To use explosives in a way to promote your cause and avoid being captured/killed means you will set off bombs in various ways and at various targets.  Since there is no direct confrontation the tyrant can dismiss these actions as those of criminals and with no face attached to rebellion the masses are more likely to buy into it.  Plus we have to remember that such actions are not guaranteed to affect their planned targets in the ways desired and collateral damage will be much higher.  In short a bombing will look more like a cowards way out to the masses than the romantic ideal of a freedom fighter standing up against oppression.

"Well President --BLANK-- (insert the name of any President; past, present or future) can be trusted, they are good and honest person that would never abuse power or commit any wrong!"  Just for argument I will accept that you are right and that a better person has never been a leader.  They can avoid corruption, such an amazing leader we make them President for life and they live a long life.  Eventually, somewhere down the line someone will come into power that will not be so good and perfect.  This person that falls short maybe tempted to abuse the power in which they have been bestowed.  Without arms the masses are left with no means to resist and many people will die for no reason other than the fact that the masses accepted the oppression because they had no other option.

This brings me to the loss of life caused by mass shootings and other acts of violence.  The USA has a population of over 300 million and in 2011 less than 10,000 were murdered with firearms.  That means that less than one in every thirty thousand Americans is murdered with a firearm every year.  How many die from drug overdoses, car accidents, insufficient medical attention, drownings, and suicide?  Did you know that you are seven times as likely to die from diabetes in the USA than be murdered with a firearm?  That means diabetes is a greater killer than guns, it does not seem to make sense, but check the CDC website.  Where is the outcry to deal with all these ills of society that take more lives every year than guns?

Violence is tragic, but it will not be stopped by gun laws.  Criminals will always have access to firearms.  Do not let gun bans or promised laws fool you.  When a product is outlawed access does become more difficult, but that only increases the value of a product.  When there is a profit to be made from an illegal item an underground economy will pop up to fill that need.  This happened during alcohol prohibition during the 1920s and today with drug laws.  Do you want to add guns to this mix?  No longer will criminals be gaining access to guns designed for civilian purpose, they will get weapons with military specifications.  It is cheaper to buy a military AR-15 or AK-47 than it is one that has been modified for civilian use.  I know you do not believe me, so I will try to explain it.  Gun manufacturers do not build these weapons with civilians in mind, so these guns must be bought as military weapons and then modified in a way that prevents their return to military ability for civilian sale.  No, you cannot single these weapons out for a ban (as Clinton did).  The reason I give you is logical and personal at the same time.  Someone I discussed the Second Amendment with online let out a Freudian slip, "Can't we start by banning assault rifles and high capacity magazines?"  NO!  We cannot start anyplace!  Because I do not trust you in the least about where this will lead! 

To close this up, I will point out that we cannot mess with the Constitution and the rights of three hundred Americans because 10,000 people are murdered with firearms.  We have no guarantee that any additional laws would have been effective enough to save any of those lives.  Gun control advocates say, "If a single life is saved, it is worth getting rid of the Second Amendment."  Hell no!  I already said that the lives of 10,000 are not worth touching the Constitution and you are willing to trash it for a single life?  All those people that died fighting for and defending the Constitution and you want to give it up for a single life?  I am sorry but that has ZERO rational.  Because as I tried to point out; without the Second Amendment the only protection that there is for all the other Amendments is the good will of those in power.  The only Presidents that I would have trusted with that power I can count on one hand and none of them are living today!  Even though I say I trust them, I am unsure if I could have trusted the Congress that existed during their term or the Supreme Court Justices that served on the High Court at that time.  The present status quo must be preserved and not touched in anyway what so ever!