Written by Ben Wiseman   // 06/25/2016   // 0 Comments

art copyright 2016

Dear my Red State Brother:
Honest people can argue the meaning and scope of the second amendment. Where it effects individual’s freedoms, we can argue priorities over other guarantees undervalued in these times. But we must agree that the recent incarnation of 2nd amendment absolutism, that the framers wanted unlimited access to guns as defense against the government itself is inarguably bizarre rhetoric. You want me to believe that the founders, as one of the checks against abuse of power, included armed insurrection.

I’m to believe that while crafting the guidelines for a free country we concluded that first everyone is free to worship, to assemble in groups of their choosing, to petition the government to address grievances, and we can never interfere with an independent press telling our doings. Then, and next most importantly, let’s make sure if the people are not happy how that goes they have an absolute right to come shoot us.

Why then all the other rules? It’s a perfect model, complete and concise. You’re free to be free and happy and if you aren’t happy you can shoot us and start over. Yet this document goes on and on about controlling government’s rights, and what rules they don’t take go to a different level of government, and on forever. Not to mention elections. The constitution prescribes elections, an orderly and democratic overthrow of the government.

I’m expected to believe that the founders of our nation were somewhere between stupid and suicidal. Then I’m asked to believe that our foundational democracy was never intended to be democracy but anarchy. We’ve built into the laws of our country the coup d’etat. At the same time we’ve guaranteed a democratic solution. I’m sorry, but this sounds like the last gasps of a dying movement on the wrong side of history. We can agree that the second amendment is critical, and we can agree that it’s true purpose is being abused. We can agree it’s something about which to get haughty. But we can’t agree why.

We need a clear interpretation that includes all the language and not just the bits that prove our point. Bad reading habits characteristically fail to reach the end of a treatise, but here it fails to reach the beginning. ‘A well-regulated militia’, the law begins, then it refers to the necessary security of the state before it references the people.

Considering that these guidelines were conceived against the threat of a global empire, added to plenty good evidence in the writings of our founder’s themselves, we might conclude they meant a national defense force and not an indigenous revolutionary force. We might reason they meant to have a ‘well-regulated’, or as Hamilton refers in his writings on the subject a ‘well-practiced’ militia; a military force capable of being prepared for the national defense without the commander-in-chief having at his availability a standing army. Like say… the King of England. That interpretation doesn’t give you access to weapons of mass destruction necessarily, but it is a thing to be rankled over. That Presidents have abused this authority might better be an issue we can pool our collective outrage as common citizenry and speak truth to power instead of being divided against ourselves. Or the founders may have been suicidal, who can tell?


2nd amendment


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