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Viewpoints: Letters / Opinions

Second Amendment

By Douglas J. Thompson


May 04, 2013
Saturday AM


I write in response to an argument most recently made by David Hanger concerning the right to bear arms.  Mr. Hanger displays a complete lack of the context and history in which the Second Amendment was formulated.  

Congratulations on his achievements with the Army Rifle Team however that really has no pertinence to his assertions.  I do not believe any knowledgeable person claims that the only legitimate purpose of a weapon is hunting.  Therefore whether or not a weapon is suitable for hunting is not germane to the issue.

Keeping in mind that there are plenty of laws already on the books about reckless use of firearms.

The founding fathers were well familiar with multiple governmental infractions which required deadly force to defend home and life.  You have to read some of the history of the time previous to and directly after the Revolution.  Your sources have to transcend the grade school  fairy tales we all grew up with and seek out serious histories and biographies of this period.  The colonies were literally at war with one another in several situations and used deadly force on their neighbors.  I refer to the border wars of New York, Pennsylvania, what became New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine and Connecticut.  These were over conflicting land grants given out by the British Crown.  Forays by the French, Spanish, and Indian Tribes into the colonies could also be deadly.  There are many many such situations.  The importance of this is that the authors of the Bill of Rights had it foremost in their minds that tools were necessary to defend against governments encroaching on the citizenry.  They were not as is often erroneously cited only interested in preserving the right to hunt.  They also were by the huge majority 'State's Rights' advocates and disparaged a strong central government.  They did not trust centralized power and saw an armed citizenry as a foil to abuse of power by our own government.  They also were against a standing army as that facilitates central governmental abuses.  

Keep in mind that when the citizenry banded in defense it was rarely in an organized and government sanctioned way.  Neighbors gathered with effected neighbors to protect their property and disbanded when the threat was over.  They were not analogous as is often cited with a "National Guard" of today.  There were organizations that were but they were much more structured and formal than the majority of these defensive gatherings for "small scale" war or even the revenge raids performed on the frontiers.

When these informal and the more formal militia (they voted their own officers in and out of leadership so they still were nowhere near what the modern National Guard is) gathered they brought their own supplies.   They also responded to local calls to arms never directly to a 'National' order.  When these gatherings did occur the participants had to bring their own weapons.  So it was beneficial to the Founding Fathers to wish each individual to be armed with the latest and best firearms.  There was only a very very small national army that had issued equipment.

In light of this it is totally misleading to say that firearms not of a hunting variety (as determined by Mr. Hanger or other authority) should be banned.  The "hunting" argument has been fabricated to artfully restrict the second amendment but is not historically true.  Worse than that it evades the very intent of the Amendment.  It goes hand in hand with the argument that we are so civilized now that we can depend on 'rules' and phoning 911 as opposed to what they had then.  There is no need for personal defense or societal defense in today's world.  That is such a load of BS that it deserves no answer.

I would also respond to a charge that "times have changed" with the assertion that I think not.  Those in power also think not.  That is why no proposal to ban firearms proposes to disarm the bodyguards and private armies of the rich and mighty.  They are not about to give up their protection and they are not going to call 911 as they tell us to do.  In this same light I would remind readers of the labor movement in this country when the innocent families of striking coal miners were machine gunned by Corporate armies (Pinkerton and others), police, and National Guard.  Kentucky comes to mind. It was an outright attack on women and children without provocation as well as the strikers. The only thing that kept the murder in check was that some of the veterans among them had rifles to reply to the machine guns.  

If that is not recent enough for you think LA riots, Florida hurricanes, Katrina  In LA the cops gathered around city hall and left the rest of the city defenseless.  In New Orleans the cops deserted en masse and left everyone defenseless.  Try calling 911 then.

I bring up the countless times in history both ancient and recent when unarmed peoples have been brutally trampled  because they did not have the tools of defense.  Do Serbia and Croatia ring a bell?  Warsaw 1943-4?  Africa ad nausea?   If you need more do a little reading.  There are thousands of examples throughout history.  Some of these things must have entered your consciousness.  I emphasize that throwing rocks at bullets does not work well.

I believe our founding fathers were fully aware that a single shot .22 is not an adequate response to a howitzer so now as then assault rifles are as legitimate in private ownership as hunting weapons.

If you are so naïve that you believe in fair and just government administered by benevolent folks with our best interest at heart---then you are  ignorant of current affairs as well as history.  The fight to defend freedom is never done by government and never ends.  Those of that demented view really need to educate themselves post haste.
So yes some weapons are meant to kill people and that does not make them illegitimate.  It is a maxim that a government of a well armed people is less likely to provoke its citizenry and the opposite is also true.

I would submit also that we have proof after proof of abuse of governmental power against the citizens of this country.  Have you forgotten Nixon so quickly, are you not watching the Bush and Obhama administrations?  Does it not worry you when Habeas Corpus disappears, when Posse Comitatus is erased with the stroke of a pen, when trial by jury is no longer a right of citizenship etc. etc.?  These people used records and governmental agencies to attack their perceived enemies.

On top of all this our governmental policy of the twentieth and twenty first centuries has been and is to arm every totalitarian, strongman in the world as long as they are for oppressing and preying on their own people.  So the moral high ground has been pretty thoroughly eroded.  I might add that the government gives out weaponry several notches above "hunting" arms.

We can have no meaningful conversation nor draw any meaningful conclusions until you have become literate in the applicable history, but I can tell you that I am not a 'nut' but am staunchly against firearms restrictions.  It is a tired chestnut but no less true that Switzerland for one requires an assault rifle to be kept by every adult citizen.  
Every time a problem comes up politicians run around passing 'feel good' laws that do not correct the problem, rather than thinking out a meaningful answer.  This allows them to stick their noses back in the corporate feed bag which is what is really important to them.  These gun laws are more of the same passed by people that are not willing to put up with any restriction on the guns that protect them.

I am not sure why we have these cases of unjustifiable gun violence.  Might it just have something to do with an aggressive society that glorifies that brutality?  A country that condones and prescribes torture?  A society that has no higher moral standard than the dollar?  Might it have something to do with the mindless 24/7 entertainment coverage of these heinous acts?  Just a thought.


Douglas J. Thompson
Ketchikan, Alaska


Received May 02, 2013 - Published May 04, 2013

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