Ok... I realize I left off last week in the middle of the First Amendment, but I'd like to take a different direction this week, because the Second Amendment is what's close to all our lips right now.
I really thought about neglecting the Second Amendment altogether because quite frankly, people tend to go apeshit over this one. Crazies on both sides of the debate tend to blow EVERYTHING out of proportion, and some of them have the tendency to shoot people who they see as “gun grabbers.” Let's just be clear, here... I'm neither a “gun-grabber” nor a “gun nut.”
I like guns just fine. I don't own one myself, but I'd like one; if no other reason than to blow off some steam at any soda cans who have in some way offended me or gave me funny looks as I drained them of their usefulness.
Let's just refresh our memories here with the text of the Second Amendment, so we're all on the same page... ok?
“A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”
The first thing I notice is something that's never discussed in public form when regarding this Amendment. Two words: “militia” and “people.” Both terms signify a plurality of people; not a single person. Think about it... the term “one man Army” has been loosely thrown around, usually in the context of Action movies, but think about how ridiculous that ACTUALLY sounds... there's really no such thing as a “one man militia.” The only person who might be given that description is the Unabomber, and is he REALLY someone that should be looked up to?
The way I read the Amendment, it sounds like the “militia” has the right to keep and bear arms, being that the militia is a plurality of persons. Furthermore, how can we say for sure that “the people” isn't a LEGAL reference, as in “The People vs. PeeWee Herman?” If “the people” is in reference to the taxpayers (as it is in the context of legal proceedings), then doesn't it sound more like there should be some kind of arms depot somewhere, where dangerous weapons are stored so that "the people" can get to them when they need them?
Lots of people like to point out that weapons technology has changed A LOT since the framing of the Constitution, so they think that the Amendment should only really reference weapons available at that time, such as muskets.
If you ask me, that's just as crazy as the people who scream “ARM EVERYONE!!!”
The people who crafted the Constitution were no idiots... they understood history. As such, they knew that until gunpowder was invented in the 9th Century, we were throwing rocks and sticks at each other, and swinging edge-weapons. They were aware that technology would continue to develop, and that we would develop new weapons and ways to kill one another.
What the Founding Fathers didn't count on was the fact that the sad folly of humanity is that humanity is self-destructive. They wanted to believe the best of humanity. Sadly, that was a mistake.
People are emotional beings. As such, our emotions tend to overflow, which causes us all to lose our minds at one time or another. Everybody (except Gandhi) has at least one thing they would kill for. Threatening that one thing may induce an emotional over-reaction, resulting in someone “exercising their Second Amendment rights” against another person, employer, business, or organization.
People have done it to protest war (ironically).
They've done it in the name of love.
They've done it in the name of God.
They've done it in the name of their country.
They've done it in the name of their race.
They've done it in the name of their gang.
They've done it in the name of money.
They've done it in the name of drugs.
They've done it in the name of territory.
They've done it in the name of justice.
They've done it in the name of their ideology.
Mostly, they've done it in the name of their own ego.
People will ALWAYS kill each other, for one reason or another. However, that doesn't mean that we should make it any easier.
That doesn't mean taking guns away from people... ok... maybe SOME people... SOME people are simply too stupid, too crazy, or too emotionally unstable to have guns.
On that note, I think that most of the people who think that the government is coming for their guns because they might have to fight AGAINST the government are probably too crazy to have them. In that respect, they're right... the government SHOULD come for their guns!
Let's not forget, people... the Amendment DOES read “well-regulated militia.” That doesn't mean that people should be able to buy any gun they want... that doesn't sound very “well-regulated” to me.
However, if someone wants an assault rifle, then they should be able to have one... as long as they keep it at the gun range where they're going to use it. Let's be honest here... not one single person... NOT ONE... NOBODY... has ever used an assault weapon to defend their home... it's just never happened. Whether you want to believe it or not, it's true. Therefore, if people want them, they should stay locked away until they're going to be used. That doesn't sound unreasonable to me. If someone wants to keep a handgun around for their own protection or enjoyment, there's nothing wrong with that. If someone wants to have hunting rifles for their intended purpose, that's JUST FINE. Shotguns? No problem!
Assault rifles, however, tend to draw personalities who want them in case they “have to” shoot lots of people at one time. Seriously... how often does that happen? IT DOESN'T HAPPEN!!! Therefore, if people want them, then they should have them in a place where the weapons can be monitored, so we know they're not going to be used in any more movie theaters, malls, or schools.
Furthermore, there is no evidence that the “zombie apocalypse” is coming. If that's something that you fear, you probably fall into the “crazy” heading, as well. It's one thing to joke about it, but another thing to BELIEVE it.
To change directions a little bit, it occurs to me that the same people who complain that “the criminals will always get guns” are the same people who promote cutting law enforcement budgets (just like they want to cut EVERY budget). Let me make this CRYSTAL clear here... if you don't want the criminals to have guns, you can't keep slashing the budget for law enforcement. You say you don't want the criminals to have guns, and yet, you put a stranglehold on finances so that the criminals have MORE availability to get guns... you can't have it both ways, idiots... if you don't want the criminals to have guns, you want MORE cops on the street... not LESS!
Seriously... the hypocrisy runs deep in some people.
I also feel I would be remiss if I didn't point out the solid research that radio host and author, Thom Hartmann, has done with regards to the Second Amendment. His openly-displayed research shows that the Second Amendment was written, in part, to allow “militias” in Virginia to hunt down escaped slaves. (A summation of Thom's work can be found here: http://www.alternet.org/civil-liberties/thom-hartmann-second-amendment-was-ratified-preserve-slavery?paging=off)
We all know that this represents what may very well be the ugliest era in American history. Slavery is a big, fat, undeniable scar on our record. As such, when we discuss issues that have at least some root in slavery, we should consider the relevance of the fact that the Second Amendment was put in place partly to keep a race of people “in their place.”
I think that certain acknowledgements need to be made in the Congressional record. Let's be honest... part of the Second Amendment WAS written with purely malicious intent. If we're not honest about the historical intent, then it's just like denying it's there.
It's no different than people who think that the Civil War was actually about “Northern Aggression.” They deny that slavery was even an issue in the war, and that's no different than condoning slavery NOW!
The Second Amendment is an open wound in American discourse. We'll never make any progress in the “well regulated” part of the Amendment until the psychos on BOTH sides of the issue SHUT THE FUCK UP and let the “adults” in the room talk. The problem is, both sides have become so emotional and reactionary that both sides are fast approaching the point at which they would embrace the primitive inhuman condition of humanity: killing in the name of killing.