Saturday, March 3, 2018

Armed With Semantics

"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."

Well, shit, if you put it that way...

I'm in the camp with many historians (and good-looking handsome people) who believe that the Second Amendment was nothing more than an assurance from the new found government of the United States that, in time of war, the southern slave states would be allowed to hold back militia to put down slave rebellions and to hunt runaway slaves and bring them back to injustice. Slavery was a bigly business before, during and after the founding of this country. In many southern states, slaves out-numbered white folks. If you are white and have ever been surrounded by Negroes, you can understand the paranoia, especially if you are enslaving them. These people were snatched up from their homes and forced to work for free in another country. Despite what the folks on Fox & Friends have said, they were not happy about it, were not well cared for and were not better off than they had been back home on the African continent. As you go on in life, always ask yourself if you would like to be treated the way someone else is being treated. I mean in the bad ways, not the "Queen For A Day" ways or today's Kardashians. If you think slavery was "OK", volunteer yourself or sell your kids into slavery. Walk the talk. You'll be fine.

These days everyone who owns a gun is an expert on the 2A. Facebook and Twitter are overrun with experts on guns- and semantics. Untold numbers of people swear, for example, that the 2A expressly gives them the right to revolt against the government "if it gets too big for its britches". Well, no. That's not mentioned at all. In fact, where in the history of the world have the winners in any revolution ever said, "If you don't like the way we're running things- kill us!"? That's never the way it works. Even now, with Trump as president and republican majorities in both houses of congress, you still have people working off of that old, Obama-era script. This may be sheer laziness but it may also be due to the knowledge that Trump may not be long for the presidency. This could create ironic second amendment remedies of folks defending an oppressive government from another (seemingly) oppressive government inside that oppressive government that doesn't want the current oppressive government to oppress anyone, anymore. If you're going to choose a hill to die on, Capitol Hill run by the current grifters is a very odd choice. So, no, revolution is not an option in the 2A and neither the Bill Of Rights or the Constitution is supposed to be interpreted as if it were the Bible.

Now, am I interpreting the 2A as if it were the Bible? Am I relying on Constitutional scholars? Yep. I'll always go with the scholars rather than the drunk at the end of the bar whether it's religion or revolution. You should too but, yeah, you don't have to. Ain't nobody putting a gun at your head- even if they think the 2A gives them that right. 

Nor will I count on the drunk at the end of the bar to teach me semantics as it relates to guns. Sorry but, someone calling a magazine a "clip" does not end an argument and make you the winner. Same with someone thinking that the AR in AR15 means "assault rifle". Most people probably do not think it does but most every script available on the 'net for gun trolls probably says: "You win the argument when you post that AR DOES NOT mean Assault Rifle!" I see these two assertions all day, every day. The ambiguously worded 2A makes NO distinctions regarding the exact verbiage of the nomenclature of weaponry. You can look it up. Or refer to the exact words that begin this post. 

That's the whole fucking thing right there. There's no mention of slave rebellions either. That's probably with good reason though. Many of the founders owned slaves but, being smart guys, they probably knew that slavery was wrong and that leaving a paper trail about it on a historical document was not a good idea. I think the founders knew what they meant about militias and slave patrols and left it ambiguous for obvious reasons, the primary reason being that they didn't think it was ambiguous at all. These guys didn't know the difference between a clip and a magazine! They were simply assuring the slave states that, yeah, they could hold back some fellas in time of war to keep the slaves from rising up and killing the white folks. Duh.

Really now, was their any question at the time whether settlers could have guns when hunting was THE way of putting meat on the family table? There was no question of allowing the people to have guns for hunting or for defense. Ninety percent of what would become the US was hostile frontier crawling with Indians, many of which did not adhere to the white people's manifest destiny of killing all the Indians to take their land. Thus, settlers having firearms was not up for debate. Ours was perhaps the only revolution ever where the revolutionaries were not disarmed when the hostilities were over. And that wasn't because the winners felt like the people would need those arms to kill them if they got too big for their britches or elected a Black president. (The founders clearly never saw that coming). 

I seriously doubt they ever saw a Second Amendment debate coming either any more than they saw 100 round clips (or magazines, if you must) or atomic bombs or planes to drop them. No less a republican that the late Chief Justice, Warren Burger, called the 2A the "greatest fraud ever perpetrated upon the American public". He was talking about the NRA's interpretation of it rather than the amendment itself. It was not intended to give all Americans the right to bear arms. Just militia/slave patrols at the time of it's inception. It wasn't until 2008 when no less a republican than Antonin Scalia decided in DC v. Heller that citizens did have a right to bear arms but that that right was not "unlimited". What part of "...shall not be infringed" did that guy not understand?

Well, maybe it is time to repeal the 2A? The Civil War, Emancipation Proclamation and the 14th Amendment wiped out slavery so, in effect, overrode the 2A in the process. Even DC v. Heller actually only determined that a retired DC cop (Heller) could keep a gun in his house for home defense. I'm no expert but, it said nothing explicit about assault rifles, RPG's, tanks or other weapons of war being allowable. Remember: even Scalia said gun ownership was not unlimited. That sounds to me like it can be limited. Lets stop interpreting the 2a by either interpreting it for the 21st century or smooth dumping it. Lets have a national gun debate. And, lets do it without gun play because, you know, YOU don't have THAT right just because you think you do. It's long past time we got that shit straight.