Sunday, July 29, 2012

Understanding the Second Amendment

The following was posted on and is an easy to understand, slightly tongue in cheek, common American English unveiling of the Second Amendment to our Constitution, its meaning and rationale. Please bear in mind the writer wrote this as a comment, and I think it stands strongly as it is. I post it here with a big THANK YOU to the original writer! To find the entire story and conversation please follow the link and look for the picture of the blonde below:

["Portrait Of Beautiful Young Angry Blond Woman With Revolver In Hand" on Shutterstock]

### sorry, rather long but hopefully worth the read ###
Dictionaries and Thesaurus are wonderful things.
define - control or supervise by means of rules and regulations
similar - SUPERVISE, police, monitor, check, check up on, be responsible for, manage, direct, guide, govern.
origin - late Middle English (in the sense 'control by rules')
Perhaps you're just a bit slow.   Lets take the 2nd Amendment one word at a time.
A                    - used when referring to something
well               -  to a great extent or manner
regulated     -  governed, supervised, monitored...
militia          -  a military force that is raised form the civil population to supplement a regular army in an emergency... all able-bodied civilians eligible by law for military service.
Perhaps if we say this in a less eloquent way it will sink in.
-   Because the security of a free state requires a closely governed and monitored civilian military force, the people have the right to own firearms.
There are two crucial parts to the 2nd Amendment, one so crucial they begin the Amendment with it separated by a comma to denote it is a truth that stands on its own.  It is the point of the amendment.   "A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state"  .. therefore.. "the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."
Because it's accepted as fact that the US required a militia for it's safety, for this specific reason, the 2nd amendment ensures the populace who would make up said militia are allowed to bear arms.  It doesn't say 'Because you might want to bring a deadly weapon into a political convention, the right of the people to bear arms shall not be infringed'  or 'because you have manhood issues or hero fantasies or you're afraid your slaves might one day walk free, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.'
Since Conservatives just LOVE to claim we can only look at the Constitution to mean exactly what the founders intended it to mean in the 18th century or at the point amendments were ratified.. let's go with that and ignore the fact The Founders could never have imagined reliable tear gas grenades, semi to full automatic weapons with high capacity magazines, or body armor....
Where did they draw their inspiration for the 2nd Amendment?
The English Bill of Rights of 1689 is often considered an inspiration for the 2nd Amendment.  It guarantees Protestants specifically the right to keep arms to protect themselves from "Papists" after King James II attempted to take their guns.  However, it literally states "the Subjects which are Protestants may have Arms for their Defence suitable to their Conditions and as allowed by Law"
First thing you may notice, the right to bear arms in the English Bill of Rights is very specifically granted to one group.  Further, it's only granted "as allowed by Law".  This is not a so-called 'god given right', it's a right regulated [there's that word again] by other Laws.
So.. it's generally considered a given that the 2nd Amendment was built upon a limited, regulated right granted to a sub-set of English citizens.
What was their motivation for ratifying the 2nd Amendment on Dec. 15, 1791?  What was going on?
The Continental Army was disbanded after the revolution and the security of the nation was handled by.. wait for it... state militias.  Militias that were raised from civilian ranks.. specifically white males of fighting age.  We didn't have a standing Army when the 2nd Amendment was drawn up , debated, and ratified.
We [the state militias] also just happened to be getting their butts handed to us by Native American tribal forces.  General Arthur St. Clair was routed in the Battle of the Wabash by the Blue Jacket and Little Turtle's tribal confederacy in Nov. 1791.   That was such a big event that it directly lead to the creation of our 2nd standing army, the Legion of the United States in 1792.
So..  Why did we get the 2nd Amendment?  Because the rag-tag state militias were getting crushed [of 1000 Militia at Wabash only 42 escaped unharmed].  It was so bad that the very next year, in direct opposition to the Founders well-known distrust of standing armies, George Washington raised another standing army.
What did we do before allowing the creation of another standing army?  We passed an amendment intended to strengthen our state militias.   
### .. almost done, I swear..
Want more evidence the 2nd amendment was enacted to strengthen militias and not to give military weapons to socio/psychopathic and/or paranoid wanna-be warriors?  In 1792, a Congress with 17 Framers passed a statue that required all able-bodied men to buy firearms.*
Right-wing gub'er'ment haters like to claim the real motivation of the 2nd amendment was to arm us in case we ever need to overthrow a tyrannical government.  If this were the case, it wouldn't specifically mention the right to bear arms was required for the existence of "well regulated militia[s]".  And a "well regulated militia" in 1791 wasn't a bunch of hicks in the wood shooting at Obama targets, it was a force of 1000 commanded by a General appointed by the state.    The framers gave us better ways to stop Tyranny.. checks and balances, and Judiciary not depended on populace or political pressure (life terms), and most importantly the right to vote.   And, of course, they didn't Force the populace to buy weapons to overthrow the government when They were the Government.
*  What's this?  The Framers mandated the populace buy guns from private industry!?!  Washington signed it into law !?!?!  That's tyranny!  It's Socialism!  I bet they were Kenyan-Muslims from the Muslim Brotherhood!!   Even more Framers [20 of them] also mandated ship owners buy.. get this.. INSURANCE! for their seamen in 1790.  

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Comments are very welcome. Democracy thrives on the open exchange of ideas. Moderation exists only for purposes of spam and advertising detection and prevention. I believe strongly in ALL amendments to the Constitution!