Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Present from the Supreme Court: NRA Rules

Jeffrey Toobin, in the New Yorker blog, recounts the history of the Supreme Court in its opinions regarding the 2nd Amendment, with no less a conservative than Warren Burger saying the whole idea of a individual American citizen's right to bear arms is an absurdity, explicitly contradicted by the "because" clause which begins the amendment.

The link to his very concise article is above.

Our country of 300 million, stretching across an entire continent, comprised of people from thousands of different cultures, who speak hundreds of languages as their native tongue, who worship in different institutions, or not at all, has always been seen as a chimera which is in imminent danger of blowing apart. 

Closely linked to this fear is the fear of change: We have held together, just barely, for so long, and the visible symbol for our divisions can be seen in the red and blue states displayed on the maps on election night.  

So, we do not change easily or quickly. We fear and we quake at the idea of tampering with our institutions and we only do change when the pressure to change builds to the exploding point, and even then we fear to change.

So, Martin Luther King was correct to say we have to change now, when he was advised the people were not ready for a multi racial society. Lincoln was correct when he pushed through the 13th amendment before the new Congress could convene.  The Supreme Court was right when it forbade school segregation and affirmed one man one vote.  

Almost every time there has been the call for substantial change, the reply is, not now, too soon, too dangerous. 

And now we face the need to change the Supreme Court. Not just because of Antonin Scalia or even because of Antonin Scalia and Alito and Thomas. These are individual problems, unique personalities, why change an institution because a few flawed people have poisoned it?  

The answer has to be, the problem is not Mr. Scalia but the fact there can be an Antonin Scalia. We need to recognize there will always be Scalias who can slip onto the bench and and we need a way to check their power and balance their unbalanced minds.  To institute a new system for the Court, a system which would bring change to the court as we bring change to the executive branch and to the legislative branch would ensure a sort of cleansing, or if that sounds too much like "ethnic cleansing" then a renewal, a refreshing, a healthful cycle. 

Jefferson wrote about the importance of our government undergoing "a little revolution now and then."  We need to remember that.

Clearly the number of Americans with psychopathology has been underestimated--you can see it in the blogs and letters to the editor predicting revolution and blood in the streets if we ever try to take their guns away.  But this is an argument for change, not against it. 

Opinions about the need for mental health care in addition to gun control only serve the interests of those who opposed gun control--these mental health murmurers simply deflect attention from the practical solutions. And, of course, there is the problem of motivation--so many who argue for mental health efforts would stand to gain financially from federal dollars flowing in that direction. And, truth be told, there are no mental health solutions for the shooters. They are too good at hiding their disorders, and even those who are well known are uncontrollable, unless you propose locking them up in some deep and maximally secure hole.  No medication, no psychotherapy works for these deeply damaged psychopaths. Whenever you see a Congressman saying, "Let's let the experts handle this," know that Congressman has not clue about how ineffectual any of those experts are.

No, we need to change the institutions which underlie the pathology in our national organism. We need to change the Supreme Court.

Merry Christmas, one and all.

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