Thursday, March 14, 2013

It's Not A Hard Concept

I really don't understand why the people that have somehow managed to get elected can't seem to comprehend how this nation's system works. The Founders laid it all out in two relatively short documents. Much less reading than your average week in college--even a community college requires better retention of the required material than our elected "leaders" have shown. If the past four plus years were a take-home examination on American government, John Houseman (remember Paper Chase?) would be handing them a dime and telling them to go home and tell their mothers they will never be American citizens.
The Declaration of Independence lays out the case for the formation of the new nation quite succinctly, rooting it firmly in natural law, asserting specific pre-existing rights, and explaining what government is for:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed[.]
Is that so difficult to grasp? God gives us rights to which we are entitled (a word woefully misused in this age of food stamps and welfare). These rights belong to us by virtue of our status as free men and women. Government has one, and only one, purpose: "to secure these rights."
The purpose of government--federal, state, or local--is not (pay attention, Mayor Bloomberg) to educate us. It is not to bring about (pay attention, President Obama) fairness. It is not (pay attention, Governor Cuomo) to substitute its judgment for that of the people, as expressed in the Constitution.
Today we are verging on a nation half-slave, half-Constitutionalist. Everywhere we look, the rights of the Bill of Rights (without which the states refused to ratify the original Constitution) are under (you'll excuse the expression) assault by the well-meaning ignorant, as well as those with evil intent and no respect for our system of government.
In particular danger is the Second Amendment, the discussion of which has ranged from the thoughtful (rare) to the almost comically misguided (nearly every episode of Piers Morgan since the Sandy Hook massacre). It has been promulgated that the Second Amendment is all very well and good, so long as one limits one's gun ownership to the intention of hunting--or, perhaps, defending one's self with a genteel firearm of no large size and as few bullets as the mayor of New York, the legislature of Colorado (operationally now one and the same), and the President of the United States believe you "need". This is utter foolishness.
It is immaterial to what extent the Founders may have hunted (in those days, known as "shopping"). The fact is that nothing was further from the minds of those who wrote the Second Amendment than where one's daily meal was coming from (you'll note there is no "right to go to market" enshrined in the Constitution--were side dishes of no import?). The Founders were finishing a bloody war against a tyrannical King who had done everything within his considerable power to prevent their becoming a nation. This war was pursued not with knives, forks, karate, or rape whistles--but with guns. Unregistered, unaccounatable guns--obtained, owned, maintained, and used without benefit of any form of background check.
They knew how freedom had been won and how it was to be kept. By force of arms, when necessary. Those who ridicule this notion by asserting that the government cannot be fought by its citizens, because it has tanks and rocket launchers merely prove the case for the Second Amendment. If, indeed, the government has become able to overcome its citizens fighting for the right to be free, then it has become a potential danger to that very freedom. At the very least, the people have the right to a fair chance against those who would abuse them and their precious liberty.
Justice Scalia founded his opinion in the Heller decision in the pre-existence of the right to bear arms as protected in the Constitution and stated conclusively and clearly that:
the Second Amendment right is exercised individually and belongs to all Americans.
The President believes this right is his to bestow, as he will. But he is wrong. Wrong on the issue, and wrong on the law. What other right does he deem optional at the whim of the president?
Certainly not the right to privacy as expressed in the use of birth control. It is strange indeed that the Administration will fight to the death to protect an interpreted Constitutional right--not only for its protection, but for its unhindered and fully-funded exercise by all, paid for by even those who choose not to exercise it. Yet he has no concern to protect a right explicitly stated in the Bill of Rights itself, requiring no logical acrobatics to read, and no imagined "penumbra" to inhabit. By the logic of the comically-named Affordable Care Act and the Secretary of Human Services, guns should not only be easily available, they should be free to all who want one (or one a month, I suppose).
The Supreme Court has ruled that the government cannot place an "undue burden" in the path of someone exercising a Constitutional right. Yet, the current web of governments is not shy about admitting that stopping people from exercising their right to keep and bear arms is precisely their aim. Diane Feinstein, the queen of gun bans, seeks to eliminate "assault rifles" (for which is there is no technical manufacturing definition), "high-capacity" magazines, and guns with one "military characteristic."
The objection of the gun-grabbers is that "assault rifles" fire quickly, can fire many bullets, and have been used in high-profile massacres. The first two characteristics might be seen as the features of any decent product (i.e., it is efficient and useful), while the last is statistically irrelevant.
While the "assault rifle" (specifically the AR-15) has been showing up in massacres, such presence is easily explainable by the fact that it is the most popular gun in America. The better statistical question is not how many assaults have these weapons been involved in--the better statistical question is, "of these weapons in circulation, how many have been used in a deadly assault?"
But Democrats will never ask that question, because it makes the "assault rifle" uncomfortably irrelevant in the gun discussion. Most sources estimate that there are something like 250,000,000 guns of all kinds in America. Of those, according to the FBI, 323 rifles were used in homicides. 323. That's a percentage so small I can't even do the math. Knives, blunt objects, hands and feet and unspecified "other" weapons did more damage than the guns Feinstein wants banned.
I say, let's ban "other."
But all of this is irrelevant. Even if there were any evidence that gun bans, background checks, or other nannyish interferences in the ownership of guns in America had any effect whatsoever, it would not matter.
Because there's this Second Amendment, and it protects the right you have as a free person (with or without a government) to have those arms.
One more time: You have rights. Government exists to protect them, or it does not legitimately exist at all. And the promise of the Constitution is that your right to keep and bear arms "shall not be infringed."
Got that? Good. Now go tell the Senate.

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