Let me start by saying that my heart goes out to the parents, children, and town people affected by this tragedy. I am not a parent and I cannot fathom the heartbreak and pain that has been caused by this evil. I know that recovery for many of those involved will never come, but I wish them a measure of peace within good time.
While the investigation continues, I’m sure a great many details will come to light but the one thing that will never be known is “why”? Fact is that evil does, and always will, exist in this world. Trying to comprehend the mindset of evil is as fruitless as trying to count grains of sand at a beach. Those that would commit such acts of violence are, by most definitions, lunatics and lunatics are incomprehensible. Evil is not a mental condition, it just is. There is no ability of good people to understand evil, all we can do is be ever vigilant in the recognizing and thwarting of evil.
It is this desire to thwart evil that leads many people to knee-jerk, harmful actions which invariably result in unintended consequences. Today we hear countless people, those with a political agenda and those without, rise in calls for action and demand safety. As I’ve oft written about, we are once again witnessing a period of shifting in the Overton window. With images of slaughtered children and distraught parents, pushed by a ideologically driven liberal media, good people are being asked “what more should be done?”. Those with purposes of ill-intent are, as Rahm Emanuel would say, not letting a crisis go to waste and using emotion to push the people into a conclusion that they most likely not arrive at otherwise; they are shifting the Overton window to the left.
I could layer mountains and mountains of facts and studies concerning gun control laws and their unintended consequences into this post, but I won’t. This information is readily available, both via the internet and history books, to any that choose to look and educate themselves. My factual stance on the fallacy of gun control is well known and I do not feel the need to overload my readers with countless footnotes and links, however, if you wish to discuss this with me, feel free to reach out. No, today, I’m just going to speak to 2nd amendment and it’s place in our society.
First, let me clear, there should never be any legitimate debate on gun control. Our right to bear arms is enshrined and protected by our constitution. It is absolute and should be above such petty attempts to diminish our freedom, but it is a right that is under constant assault by the left. For a clear understanding, it is important to read the 2nd amendment very carefully to dissect it’s meaning. The 2nd amendment states:
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.
To me, the 2nd amendment is one of the most important additions to our constitution, second only to the first. While many would disagree, it is my belief that the ordering of these amendments were done deliberately and with purpose. Our first reaction and avenue for change should always be in the freedom of speech and the assembly of citizens to address grievances in a peaceful manner. This a powerful advantage given to the American people and in most cases all that is required, but in extreme events, where our freedoms are jeopardized from either foreign or national power, the 2nd amendment affords us our only ability to preserve liberty. That said, let us look at the dissection of the meaning and intent of the 2nd.
The right to bear arms is not something granted to us by our founders via this amendment, but rather it is a protection of an inherent right already present. It does not state that congress “bestows, grants, or gives” the right to the people, but instead states “the right of the people to keep and bear arms”. That simple statement acknowledges that this was a right already present, but one that our founders felt necessary to define as protected.
Protection extended to the People, not the State
The purpose of our constitution was to define the explicit realms of authority for the federal government, conceding all non-specified authority to the states or the people. However, the 2nd amendment does not call out the states, but rather “the right of the people” or the individual. In this manner, the right to bear arms is a right held by the people alone, not subject to any diminishing control. It is an individual right, which by proxy, conveys to a collective right of the “people”. This notion of an individual right was communicated and upheld by the Supreme Court in District of Columbia Vs Heller.
Statement of Purpose
“A well regulated militia” has been subject to many debates, with the leftist most often stating that the right only extends to those actively engaged in an “organized militia”, such as the National Guard. However, this is not what the amendment reads. In this statement “necessary to the security of a free state” states a purpose for a militia, and conveys the reasoning for right to bear arms to not be infringed.
NOTE: Our founders explicitly called out opposition to quartering of implied “standing armies” in the 3rd amendment and could possibly provide an argument against the National Guard as the only proper existence of a “militia”, but that is not my point here. I include this note only as a frame of reference.
Based on quotes and statements by the founding fathers during ratification, and upheld by the Heller case, the premise of a “militia” included all “able bodied men” available for conscript. A militia was to be comprised of the people, which as the “purpose statement” within the amendment conveyed, was necessary to prevent the usurpation of the people by a despotic state.
As an aside, many modern day gun proponents use sport shooting and hunting as a statement of purpose to defend the 2nd amendment. Let me be clear, the 2nd amendment has nothing, zero, zilch to do with the protection of arms in sport. The purpose of the 2nd amendment was solely included as a protection of the inherent right of self defense. The founders were most concerned with the ability of the citizens to protect themselves, and if necessary, revoke the ability to abuse rights by a overly powerful government. Therefore, they enshrined the primary purpose of arms as ‘being necessary to the security of a free state”. However, with the recognition of the right to arms for self defense, and a guarantee that an individuals rights to arms shall not be infringed, then other uses of arms (sport, hunt, etc) are thereby accommodated by subordination. My only reason for calling this out is that we, as a free people, should never use the excuse of sport as a reason to defend the 2nd amendment. It waters down the intent and purpose and allows for restrictions on that right. No, the primary purpose of arms is for self defense, plain and simple. It was the intent of the founders and should be the defining factor today.
Inclusion of arms
Another argument is that the 2nd amendment was never intended to include modern day firearms, but only the arms available at writing. This is an empty argument. One need only to look back upon the historical statements and quotes of the founders to see that our right to bear arms had, as a primary purpose, the ability of self defense of life and property (freedom) from the tyranny of a despotic state. At the time of ratification, citizens were armed with muskets, same as the military. In order to prevent the abuse of government, the citizen must have access to comparable arms of those they wish to protect themselves against. Already we have a disconnect, as civilians do not commonly own automatic arms, such as machine guns, etc, but we do have availability of comparable arms for the purpose of defense. Any restriction on this intent is, in essence, a restriction on self defense. If we were allowed the use of a single shot musket only, then it does not deny our right to “bear arms” from a leftist viewpoint, however, how could the population defend itself against advanced weaponry of a state intent on tyranny. No, the measure here is not on “what arms were available at the time of writing”, but the comparison of arms against those thought to be the greatest threat to a free people. In the founders mind, that threat could come from foreign, or internal, powers, and it was their belief that the armed citizen was the best deterrent to invasion. As proof of intent, Tench Coxe wrote in the Pennsylvania Gazette in 1788, while states were considering ratification the following:
Who are the militia? are they not ourselves. Is it feared, then, that we shall turn our arms each man against his own bosom. Congress have no power to disarm the militia. Their swords, and every other terrible implement of the soldier, are the birth-right of an American…The unlimited power of the sword is not in the hands of either the federal or state governments but, where I trust in God it will ever remain, in the hands of the people.
It seems clear that the intent was to ensure that people had in their possession the tools necessary for self defense. As stated above, the idea was that “their swords, and every other terrible implement of the the solider, are the birth-right of an American”. It is no secret that the founders considered a centralized government a distrusted, but necessary evil, ever capable of tyranny. In that vein, they provided to us, via the 2nd amendment, protection of the inherent right of self defense thru the use of arms.
All of this said, I am constantly amazed at the willingness of the American to willingly concede their rights to government. Emotion plays such a large part in political process today that we must remain vigilant to ensure that preservation of all our rights thru logic and common sense. If you chose not to own a gun, that is your prerogative, but failure to exercise a right should not demand abolition of such.
We must recognize that those that wish to strip us of our rights do not wish to subject themselves to the same. Mayor Bloomberg decries the use of arms and wishes to restrict all gun ownership, while he consistently surrounds himself with armed guards. Rahm Emanuel, Mayor of Chicago, preaches that he only wishes to make America safer thru the confiscation of arms, while also protecting himself with armed guards and failing to see that Chicago, a city with a high level of gun control, is a cesspool of violent crime and activity.
Gun free zones are nothing more than advertisements of locations where criminals can act unimpeded. Gun control does nothing more than make the citizens slaves to the armed (government). The cries we hear today in the wake of the Sandy Hook tragedy have nothing to do with safety and everything to do with control. Gun control does nothing to improve the safety of a community, but does everything to ensure that a populace of victims exists.
We must remember that the 2nd amendment did not bestow upon us the right to bear arms for self defense. This is a natural law that existed before governments and is simply an acknowledgement and protection of that right. As it is is a natural right preexisting government, it is a right that government cannot rightfully take away. We must not let tragedy and emotion allow the government to attempt to strip us of our natural rights. Evil exists and it always will. You cannot legislate or wish evil away, you can only seek to protect yourself from it. To take away the primary tools of self defense, you allow evil to have unprecedented control and impact over our lives. To relinquish self defense, to relinquish your arms, you invite more evil into our lives with no guard against it. I ask you to look to history to see the effects of abolishment of self defense by arms and see the destruction is has caused. We cannot allow emotion to override logic, we must defend our rights to arms, just as arms allow us to defend our rights. They are, and forever will be, linked.