Friday, May 11, 2007

Re: "Second Amendment becomes anachronism"

Some dolt wrote an opinion to The News-Press titled in the headline. Had run across it at Keep and Bear Arms today. It is so full of misinformation and error that I felt obligated to respond.

The author starts off with the typical lie-beral 'tug at the heart-strings' ploy;
Literally, in the wake of the disastrous events at Virginia Tech University and the daily murders in our own streets, the issue of the proliferation of guns in our society needs to be looked in the light of when and why it was included in the Bill of Rights 218 years ago.
I'd say I'd have to agree with that statement, howbeit for entirely different reasons. For it is my contention that the real reason that events such as what transpired at Virginia Tech occur. Is because of government usurpation on our Pre-existent Natural Right.

Then the author starts mixing in a little truth into his batter of deception (commentary interjected in parenthesis) -
Our founding fathers were rightly concerned about a government having a standing army at its disposal. (True) Standing armies were the means by which political power was enforced, the most notable example having been the Crown's abuse of that power and the response of the Colonies via the American Revolution. Our need to protect against such means and abuses was found through the use of the militia, bodies of men raised from the general population "to provide for the common defense." (Partially True). Militias were not provided with the necessary arms but were required to provide their own weaponry, powder and shot. (Some were and some were not. In the early period of the Revolution militia men brought their own arms). Thus the Second Amendment did two things at once; it authorized population arming and established the principle of a militia over that of a standing army.
And the above is where the author starts to go way out into left field. The Second Amendment didn't authorize ANYTHING. There are two clauses in the Amendment; Declaratory and Restrictive, To Wit -

Consider the preamble to the Bill of Rights itself:
The Conventions of a number of the States having, at the time of adopting the Constitution, expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added, and as extending the ground of public confidence in the Government will best insure the beneficent ends of its institution;
Resolved, by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled, two-thirds of both Houses concurring, that the following articles be proposed to the Legislatures of the several States, as amendments to the Constitution of the United States; all or any of which articles, when ratified by three-fourths of the said Legislatures, to be valid to all intents and
purposes as part of the said Constitution, namely:

declaratory; (Common Defense)
A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state,
restrictive; (Self-Defense/Preservation, The First Law of Nature).
the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.
Doesn't get much plainer than that, does it? However, if further proof is necessary. Let us examine the Natural Right of the British-American subject as it existed BEFORE the Constitution;

"The First Law of Nature is that every man ought to endeavour peace, as far as he has hope of obtaining it; and when he cannot obtain it, that he may seek and use all helps and advantages of war."

- Thomas Hobbs, "Leviathan", (Outlines the Laws of Nature), 1651.

"The obligations of the law of nature cease not in society, but only in many cases are drawn closer, and have by human laws known penalties annexed to them, to inforce their observation. Thus the law of nature stands as an eternal rule to all men, legislators as well as others. The rules that they make for other men's actions, must, as well as their own and other men's actions, be conformable to the law of nature, i.e. to the will of God, of which that is a declaration, and the fundamental law of nature being the preservation of mankind, no human sanction can be good, or valid against it."

- John Locke, "The Second Treatise of Government" - Chapter 11 - Of the Extent of the Legislative Power. (1690).

"Among the natural rights of the Colonists are these: First, a right to life; Secondly, to liberty; Thirdly, to property; together with the right to support and defend them in the best manner they can. These are evident branches of, rather than deductions from, the duty of self-preservation, commonly called the first law of nature."

- Samuel Adams and Benjamin Franklin, "The Right of the Colonists", Nov. 20, 1772.

"The fifth and last auxiliary right of the subject, that I shall at present mention, is that of having arms for their defense, suitable to their condition and degree, and such as are allowed by law. Which is also declared by the same statute I W. & M. st.2. c.2. and is indeed a public allowance, under due restrictions, of the natural right of resistance and self-preservation, when the sanctions of society and laws are found insufficient to restrain the violence of oppression."

- William Blackstone, 1 Commentaries on the Laws of England 136, 1765–1769.

That was the right of our forebears while under the ever increasing tyrannical rule of British law. The following outlines the vastly improved Natural Right of the new American Citizen;
"The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed, and this without any qualification as to their condition or degree, as is the case in the British government...."

"....This may be considered as the true palladium of liberty....The right of self-defense is the first law of nature; in most governments it has been the study of rulers to confine this right within the narrowest limits possible. Whenever standing armies are kept up, and the right of the people to keep and bear arms is, under any color or pretext whatsoever, prohibited, liberty, if not already annihilated, is on the brink of destruction."

"...In America we may reasonably hope that the people will never cease to regard the right of keeping and bearing arms as the surest pledge of their liberty..."

- St. George Tucker, Blackstone's Commentaries, (1803).
BIG difference before and after, wouldn't you agree? The author that spewed forth this drool then goes on to claim;
Militias have a long and distinguished history in providing armed protection to the populace against all forms of aggression. By 1903, however, with the experience of the wars of 1812, Mexican War, Civil War, Indian Wars and Spanish American War in hand, the National Guard came into existence at the state level with provisions for incorporating state units into the larger defense establishment in time of national emergency or war. Thus the militias became extinct. National Guard units provide their personnel with all necessary weaponry, thereby negating the need for an armed citizenry.
And here is where is theory getrs thoroughly debunked. The Federal government had been increasingly working towards erradicating the militia after the Civil War. And, it angered and dismayed more than quite a few people. (The whole article from which the following quotes are from should be read in order to fully comprehend the intent). To Wit;
EVERY one knows what is meant by the words State militia ; they have been used in conjunction since the States were formed. As yet, the term United States militia has not become familiar; but the name national militia has of late come into such frequent use that it sounds like a very natural combination of words....

...In respect of the employment of regular army officers, drawing their pay from the general Gov-ernment, and taking commissions from governors of States to superintend monthly drills, and five-day encampments once a year, it is believed that the regular army would not be benefited by such assignments, nor would the benefit of such association promote the spirit of general military education among the people.

- CHARLES E. LYDECKER, "AN UNCONSTITUTIONAL MILITIA", June 1882. The North American review. Volume 134, Issue 307.]
Then the author of the of article in contention finishes his drool with;
It's important to note that the "right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed upon" is tied directly to the need for "a well-regulated militia." Times have changed with the establishment of the National Guard, thus raising serious doubts as to the necessity for the Second Amendment today.
Let's see what one of our more distinguished Presidents, that was AT the debates concerning the Amendment in question, had to say on the subject;
"The right of self-defence never ceases. It is among the most sacred, and alike necessary to nations and to individuals."

- President James Monroe, Nov. 16, 1818 message to the U.S. House and Senate. [Journal of the Senate of the United States of America, November 17th, 1818.]
"Never ceases", hmmmmmm. It is important to note that the uneducated person that wrote the article in contention is a "retired regular USAF officer with nearly 27 years of service beginning in the infantry and holding the ratings of command pilot, navigator-bombardier and as an armament systems staff officer". Frightening to say the least......


Brian Duffy said...

Hang in there brother, there are many more out here that have the same fears.

E. David Quammen said...

Would it be that we could unite and let them know that they cannot possibly win! There would be no cause for any type of contention if they just returned to following our Constitution.

Something has to change, or we will be forced into the same predicament our forefathers were.