The Second Amendment-Part One
There is a lot of pressure right now being applied mostly by the media and attention-greedy politicians to pass more gun control. I can understand the desire. If you are the politician that caused justice for the broken and mangled bodies being blasted at us by the Shock-u-mentary press that is in constant search for more market share, more advertisers and Pulitzers, that is job security for a decade. But there is a problem–namely, the Constitution.
Firstly, the Constitution prohibits the US government from exercising powers beyond those granted it by the Constitution. Secondly, the second amendment to the Consitution says that the rights of the people to keep and bear arms “shall not be infringed”. Now, the second Amendment has is mind the idea that people will keep weapons so that they can form a homegrown militia to protect their state–remember, the founders had a clear understanding of the separation of the states. The Union existed primarily as a way of defending the states from a larger common enemy (ie, the Revolution). In 2008 and 2010 the Supreme Court established that ordinary citizens could bear arms under the Second Amendment apart from active enrollment in a militia (D.C. vs. Heller) and that the Second Amendment limited local government as much as the federal government (McDonald vs. Chicago).
Many have said that the framers of the Constitution were thinking of Muskets and Pennsylvania Long Rifles. While this is a fair observation, we have to ask why. Muskets and Pennsylvania long rifles were the most advanced weaponry of the day. Since the Second Amendment was thinking in terms of a standard militia, it is a red herring to say that the Second Amendment should be limited solely to Muskets and Long Rifles. Sad to say, the Second Amendment is actually thinking in terms of weaponry similar to that maintained by foreign governments. Before someone gets silly, Nuclear weapons are covered by the United Nations N.P.T. and are out of this discussion. So why do I think that “Assault Weapons” (a misnomer of a term) should be legally accessible by everyday Americans? Because the people who built this country believed that they should be too.
Addressing the Impetus
“But what about the CHILDREN?!” Many would ask. I would find that question semi-ironic. Why? Economics. There is an old axiom in the free market economy that tells us that the intrinsic value of an object is equal to the price that another person is willing to pay for it. I would like to add a necessary corollary: the value of an object is a composite of what another individual will pay for it and what that object’s owner/maker will pay to protect it.
Take a look at our economy– if our credit cards are stolen, we call a credit card company that will work with the FBI to hunt down the criminal and stick them behind bars for 20 years. Fraudulent online purchases lead to arrests. Insurance companies exist to refund and replace things that get lost due to theft, incompetence, fire and other natural disasters. We have 10-30 armed guards stationed at banks where the only things of real value are kept behind behind 4-6 inches of solid steel with state of the art timelocks and a combination that only two or three people have–where the only way to get inside it without destroying everything inside is to get that combination… oh, and the cops will be there long before those knuckleheads get in, stock up, and get away.
Our kids? Nah… they’ll be fine. We pay people with guns to guard our money and leave our children to the whims of the psychopaths. Then again, one has to wonder if this makes altogether too much sense–because children in this nation are an expendable choice. If a woman becomes accidentally pregnant, the first question people ask is if she is going to go through with the pregnancy… not how she is going to take care of the kid, what the name is going to be, not which adoption agency she is going to go through… IF she is going to let this child be born. If all you did was look at our lifestyles, it would become plain to us that our children simply aren’t as important to us as we like to think they are.
Reframing the Discussion
None of that is to say that there isn’t a problem. There clearly is. But I can’t say that guns are the reason there is a problem. For example, around the time of the Sandy Hook incident there was a triple homicide in Wyoming that was committed by a kid with a compound bow and in China there was a stabbing spree at a school with 22 victims. When people talk about the “gun problem”, what they are really telling you is that the chosen incident wouldn’t have happened had a gun not been involved. However, that is an assumption that you simply cannot make. Whether we are talking about Javon Belcher’s murder/suicide, Sandy Hook, Columbine, Wyoming, China, Aurora, the commonality is not the weapon. The commonality is that someone has had a severe mental break.
Ultimately, gun control is a misguided attempt at solving a problem. Like giving Ny-Quil to a Tuberculosis patient, you “may” succeed at helping part of a problem, but the overall problem will merely change into something else as horrible. So if guns aren’t “the problem”, what is? I would suggest that the problem is in how we deal with psychosis. Experimental mood-altering drugs with a pat on the back and a “hold on, it will get better”… and then we wonder why those with a psychotic break would do something as ghastly as shoot up a school.
If we want to fix the problem of mass-murders, we have to fix the mass-murderers. Why do I believe in the Second Amendment? Because there isn’t a good plan to fix mass-murderers.
(Pt. 2-“the politics” will be forthcoming.)