The Second Amendment Debate

This post on a friend's blog got my writing blood flowing again. This time, there's actually some substance to my rambling, which should scare anyone who knows me.

There are a couple of problems with the Second Amendment debate in this country beyond the fact that there is even a debate to begin with:

First, too many on the left view all guns to be bad and think that getting rid of them will reduce gun crimes. This is a naïve argument at best and fails to acknowledge that criminals by definition break the law and breaking one more isn't gonna phase them one bit. Need proof? Go check out all of the "Gun Free Zone" signs in Blacksburg, Virginia and then check out all of the blood stains on the classroom floors.

Second, too many on the right are too willing to change their argument to something that they think they can sell to the public instead of standing on principle and arguing for the truth. The second amendment is not about hunting. It's not even about national security. It's about freedom. The reason not enough people understand that comprises the rest of this article.

Too few have even read, much less understand, what our founding documents actually say. At best, they might have a 3rd grade knowledge of them in that they can probably sing the Preamble to the Constitution thanks to Schoolhouse Rock. (I'm not knocking that - it's certainly better than nothing...) But there is so much more substance in there that rarely gets talked about and never seems to get air time.

If you asked most people to recite something - ANYTHING - from the Declaration of Independence, they might be able to come up with the following

We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed, by their CREATOR, with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.

Those are great words and they do, indeed, have a lot of meaning standing by themselves. But to ignore the rest of the paragraph diminishes them.

That to secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed, that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these Ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its Foundation on such Principles, and organizing its Powers in such Form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate, that Governments long established, should not be changed for light and transient Causes; and accordingly all Experience hath shewn, that Mankind are more disposed to suffer, while Evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the Forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long Train of Abuses and Usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object, evinces a Design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their Right, it is their Duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future Security. Such has been the patient Sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the Necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The History of the present King of Great-Britain is a History of repeated Injuries and Usurpations, all having in direct Object the Establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States.

Read over that again. But don't just read it. Really soak it in and understand each word and phrase. Go ahead - I'll wait.

This paragraph laid the foundation for everything that our nascent country was about to go through. It made the case for why revolution would be necessary, why their current situation fit that case, why they were proceeding on that course and how it wasn't just a whim.

Now - couple this with the Second Amendment:

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.

Again, this says nothing about hunting. You might be able to construe it to mean national security and say that it only refers to the armed forces as some are wont to do these days. But the key word for me in there is "free." It doesn't say, "being necessary to the security of the state." It says, "being necessary to the security of a free state." [Emphasis mine.]

Our founding fathers were smart enough to know that any government, including the one that they were forming, was susceptible to abuse and to losing sight of it's raison d'être - namely, "to secure these Rights." Go back 8 paragraphs and re-read if you're confused.

To keep that from happening, they understood that there had to be an underlying threat of overthrow if they reached that point. That, if they became tyrannical, it was the right - even the duty - of the people "to throw off such Government" and that the people needed to have the means with which to do so without infringement.

And then Linus said, "That's what the Second Amendment is all about, Charlie Brown."

2nd amendment

L, I have discovered a wonderful place where the constitution is discussed and explored almost nightly, and it has kept me sane during this past season of being on bedrest. It is called BlogTalkRadio, an internet radio service with a wide variety of shows, many conservative or political in nature. Check out the link to this one in particular, a favorite of mine: <a href="" title=""></a> This is only one of many, this one airs Saturday at 8 eastern. You can also listen to any of the shows on BTR in archive, even download to an mp3 player. I am totally hooked. Wow this sounds like a commercial, and I guess it is, but I really have learned a lot from these guys the last 6 months. Email me sometime, dude!