Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Second Amendment Certainty

"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."
 --Second Amendment, United States Constitution (one sentence, four clauses)

I heard a man say, on the radio, "The Constitution guarantees my right to a gun."

Mad Dog is humble before the Constitution.
But Mad Dog has read through the Constitution, which is not a very long document, although it is quite a dense document.

And nowhere,  but in the Second Amendment,  do the authors of this document bother to explain why a particular right is granted, or why a particular right is denied. Even the 18th amendment (prohibition) is not explained. The amendment simply forbids the manufacture, importation or sale of "intoxicating liquors." It doesn't explain why this has been done, simply gives the law.  

But in the 2nd amendment, fully one half of the four clauses are devoted to explaining why the government wishes to protect the right to bear arms. We don't have a standing army, see--so we need guys with guns who volunteer to defend us against Indians and Redcoats, see?

Only in the 2nd Amendment, is there an explanatory clause, unique in the document, to explain the reason the framers want citizens to be able to keep and bear arms--for the purpose of using those arms to defend the security of a free state, as a well regulated militia.

The idea that those arms would be regulated is stated right there, as a part of the description of who would be allowed to use (i.e. to keep and bear) those arms--as part of a  militia. Do you see it? Tom Jefferson and Ben Franklin and George Washington, we are speaking to you, and we all want a group of men, acting together, until the direction of the officers of the militia to bear arms to defend us from forces which would impair the freedom of all of us. 

We're not talking about defending yourself in some bar room brawl, or even in some dark alley. We're not talking personal freedom here. We are talking about defending a free state.

Until relatively recently in our nation's history the lack of ambiguity in this sentence was understood as self evident: We want guns to be available to those who organize to defend the free state.

Those bewigged 18th century gentlemen who voted in 1791 to ratify the first ten amendments could hardly have imagined gun shops selling assault rifles, bazookas, fifty caliber machine guns, grenade launchers, to wandering psychopaths, schizophrenics who hear voices and feel vibrations taking control of their bodies, sociopaths, resentful men and women who can only feel whole and worthy when they hold an AK-47 in their hands. 

But they damn well could imagine a well regulated militia.

What sort of mind does it take to leap from the militiaman to the gun in every home--to my God Given Constitutional Right to an attack rifle-- imperative?

Mad Dog thinks we need Chris Rock to explain this distinction to the president of the NRA.  You see, there is a difference between you and your home howitzer and the minute man in his three pointed hat with his flintlock. For one thing, he's a lot thinner. And I don't see any tatoos on the minuteman. It's true, you are both white and you both like shooting animals.  But he has friends, unlike you. And he makes his own bullets and it takes about ten of him to kill five Redcoats in half an hour.  You, on the other hand, are not what Tom and Ben and George had in mind.



  1. Mad Dog,
    When did gun ownership go from simply the ownership of an inanimate object to something fundamental to life, a person's most important and primary right? I'm sitting here right now flipping through the pages of the most recent"The American Rifleman", the magazine put out monthly by the NRA-have you ever read it? If not, you really should -it's fascinating reading.You wouldn't think they'd be able to squeeze so much paranoia,hatred of Obama, fear of the government and impassioned craziness into just one publication but they actually pull it off. The front cover touts an "NRA Banned Gun Raffle" of "guns that Obama,Biden Feinstein and Bloomberg want to ban!"-which is a comforting thought don't you think-an assault weapon give away. You have Wayne LaPierre's letter to the faithful reminding them that "all to often life is not possible without the fundamental right to use firearms in self defense" and he gives a warning about the UN which now can be added to the list of evil entities trying to steal their guns.

    But the ads in this are the most fun-there are ones for trucks,cigars, one for Viagra but mainly it's weapons ads. Oh and weapons accessories-who knew there could be so many other products you could buy to enhance your enjoyment of your weapon.. I liked "One Gun,twice the Fun" from a company called Savage Arms and the one for "Sneaky Pete" holsters. My favorite though-and I thought of you immediately-is the one for the Colt "We the People" tribute pistol. It's a darling little number with "We the People" in brass on the side. Oh, and for those true "patriots" there are instructions on how to will all your assets to the NRA so they can continue the good fight, because life fulfillment is impossible without owning a gun-or rather lots and lots of guns. Scary.

    That is the cutest picture of your pup-such a sweet face. Don't you wish they could stay the cuddly little fur balls for a lot longer-before you know it they're six months old and jumping on the guests and dragging you down the street. Dogs are great-the antithesis of the spider wasp wouldn't you say...

    1. Maud,

      The dog pictured is reacting to the news that his last issue of American Rifleman provided the in house training diaper for another dog.
      Looking through photos of Ellis Island immigrants from the early 20th century, the astonishing diversity of faces, costumes and expression might make one think the United States as the most bizarre and interesting nation on earth.
      Looking around American airports now, as Mad Dog travels he has a strange feeling of disconnection from his fellow citizens, who are, in increasing numbers tatooed, struggling with weight, dressed like the children who accompany them, and when they have any reading material with them, it's stuff like American Rifleman, USA today, Rush Limbaugh magazine, People or the latest zombie novel.
      Angela Giron, the Colorado state legislator unseated by the NRA and the Koch brothers for her opposition to guns and her efforts to limit carbon emissions, has a piece in today's Washington Post saying why her recall is not a reason to quake before the power of the fanatical right wing.
      What saddens Mad Dog is the emergence of the numbers of these paranoid, underexercised, nacho eating, sports fan, determinedly and willfully hostile anarchists as a powerful interest in this nation's social fabric.
      Once upon a time, we had proud racists who constituted a force field. That was more pernicious than what we've go now clinging to their guns and their, mostly bogus, "religion."
      Once upon a time we had "the silent majority" who voted for the War in Vietnam, who considered those who opposed it "traitors" and "bums."
      Mad Dog liked it better when they were silent.

      Mad Dog