Friday, August 15, 2014
"Constitutionalists" (sic) Still Don't Get It On the 2nd Amendment
We all know that any attempt to "square the circle" must end in failure given the contradictory properties of the two geometrical figures. Yet, for self-proclaimed "constitutionalists" (for whom I drop the euphemistic label and just refer to tea baggers) such a feat evidently is as simple as eating an apple pie along with a cherry pie. This is especially true in relation to the 2nd amendment, which I referenced in an earlier (Aug. 11) post, viz.:
The Second Amendment and right to bear arms is another case in point, which the Tea bagger crowd clearly sees fit to ignore when it suits their purpose. They insist the amendment gives them the "right to bear arms" but it does no such thing. The 2nd amendment in fact assured an equipped MILITIA (because no standing army existed when this section was written). Thus, you were regarded as part of a state or local militia and that conferred the right!
This take, when the country was once sane as opposed to insane, was roundly supported by FDR's Solicitor General who framed the argument correctly to the Supreme Court in a 1939 case:
"The Second Amendment grants people a right that is not one which may be utilized for private purposes but only exists where the arms are borne in a militia or some other military organization provided by law and intended for protection of the State."
The SC decision was unanimous. But then, sanity more or less prevailed back then, unlike now.
Even before that decision, a common sense take was prevalent regarding the 2nd amendment which our illustrious "Constitutionalists" seem to have forgotten or never learned in the first place. For example, Adam Winkler, a professor of constitutional law at UCLA in a book entitled 'Gunfight: The Battle Over the Right To Bear Arms in America', has masterfully documented how guns were regulated from the earliest days of our Republic.
As an example: laws that banned the carrying of concealed weapons were passed in Kentucky and Louisiana in 1813, in Indiana in 1820 and in Tennessee and Virginia in 1838. Similar laws were later also passed in Texas, Florida and Oklahoma.
The then governor of Texas in 1893 was heard to proclaim:
"The mission of the concealed weapon is murder. To check it is the duty of every self-respecting, law abiding man".
WOW! How times have changed!
While such sane and sober perspectives prevailed for several more decades, they started to unravel by the 1970s as various Right wing groups coalesced to challenge gun control based on spurious "private gun ownership" interpretations, and successively overturned laws in state legislatures.
Undissuaded by the gun lobby's arguments, especially that the 2nd amendment granted every man the right to keep and bear arms on his own, Chief Justice Warren Burger responded that this interpretation was:
"one of the greatest pieces of fraud on the American public by special interest groups that I have ever seen in my lifetime."
He meant "fraud" in the sense that it betrayed the very original context set out in the Constitution which these "constitutionalists" profess to hold so dear. But as I showed in the earlier blog post, this just discloses how these tea bagger pretenders are not really invested in that document at all. They're only invested in how THEY can interpret it to suit their own convenience.
Fortunately, Justice Burger didn't live so long as to see the arrival of automatic weapons and the claim that the 2nd amendment provided for the ownership of those too! (Especially given the text of the 2nd amendment as it applied to standing army and militias were only allowed muskets with bayonets, not AR15s, Bushmaster .223s and the like) But this is what happens when meanings are stretched to confer perversions of the original - despite the fact these folks claim to adhere to the original meaning. Squaring the circle anyone? Anyone?
What do we derive from this historical perspective? That the REAL un-Americans are those who have twisted the meaning of the 2nd Amendment to their own ends, with the result that the fallout has created a never-ending sea of maimed, crippled and murdered gun victims like those victims of the Aurora, CO massacre back in July 2012.
None of this will change until we return to the gun control concepts and legislation common 70 or more years ago, and flush the current memes down the toilet! And the doctored versions of the Constitution with it!
Free speech allows people, even tea baggers, to their opinions. But not their own facts. And the historical facts clearly show the 2nd amendment has been steamrolled and perverted by the people who know the least about the original meaning of the Constitution.