Gun control and the Founders

I don't usually post things from Facebook on to my blog but this one really struck a chord with me. 

"A LITTLE BIT OF HISTORY TO THINK ABOUT.......December 29, 2012 marks the 122nd Anniversary of the murder of 297 Sioux Indians at Wounded Knee Creek on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. These 297 people, in their winter camp, were murdered by federal agents and members of the 7th Cavalry who had come to confiscate their firearms “for their own safety and protection”. The slaughter began after the majority of the Sioux had peacefully turned in their firearms. The Calvary began shooting, and managed to wipe out the entire camp. 200 of the 297 victims were women and children. About 40 members of the 7th Cavalry were killed, but over half of them were victims of fratricide from the Hotchkiss guns of their overzealous comrades-in-arms. Twenty members of the 7th Cavalry's death squad, were deemed “National Heroes” and were awarded the Medal of Honor for their acts of [cowardice] heroism.

We hear very little of Wounded Knee today. It is usually not mentioned in our history classes or books. What little that does exist about Wounded Knee is normally a sanitized “Official Government Explanation”. And there are several historically inaccurate depictions of the events leading up to the massacre, which appear in movie scripts and are not the least bit representative of the actual events that took place that day.

Wounded Knee was among the first federally backed gun confiscation attempts in United States history. It ended in the senseless murder of 297 people.

Before you jump on the emotionally charged bandwagon for gun-control, take a moment to reflect on the real purpose of the Second Amendment, the right of the people to take up arms in defense of themselves, their families, and property in the face of invading armies or an oppressive government. The argument that the Second Amendment only applies to hunting and target shooting is asinine. When the United States Constitution was drafted, “hunting” was an everyday chore carried out by men and women to put meat on the table each night, and “target shooting” was an unheard of concept. Musket balls were a precious commodity and were certainly not wasted on “target shooting”. The Second Amendment was written by people who fled oppressive and tyrannical regimes in Europe, and it refers to the right of American citizens to be armed for defensive purposes, should such tyranny arise in the United States.

As time goes forward, the average citizen in the United States continually loses little chunks of personal freedom or “liberty”. Far too many times, unjust gun control bills were passed and signed into law under the guise of “for your safety” or “for protection”. The Patriot Act signed into law by G.W. Bush, was expanded and continues under Barack Obama. It is just one of many examples of American citizens being stripped of their rights and privacy for “safety”. Now, the Right to Keep and Bear Arms is on the table, and will, most likely be attacked to facilitate the path for the removal of our firearms, all in the name of “our safety”.

Before any American citizen blindly accepts whatever new firearms legislation that is about to be doled out, they should stop and think about something for just one minute- Evil does exist in our world. It always has and always will. Throughout history evil people have committed evil acts. In the Bible one of the first stories is that of Cain killing Abel. We can not legislate “evil” into extinction. Good people will abide by the law, and the criminal element will always find a way around it.

Evil exists all around us, but looking back at the historical record of the past 200 years, across the globe, where is “evil” and “malevolence” most often found? In the hands of those with the power, the governments. That greatest human tragedies on record and the largest loss of innocent human life can be attributed to governments. Who do the governments always target? “Scapegoats” and “enemies” within their own borders…but only after they have been disarmed to the point where they are no longer a threat. Ask any Native American, and they will tell you it was inferior technology and lack of arms that contributed to their demise. Ask any Armenian why it was so easy for the Turks to exterminate millions of them, and they will answer “We were disarmed before it happened”. Ask any Jew what Hitler’s first step prior to the mass murders of the Holocaust was- confiscation of firearms from the people.

Wounded Knee is the prime example of why the Second Amendment exists, and why we should vehemently resist any attempts to infringe on our Rights to Bear Arms. Without the Second Amendment we will be totally stripped of any ability to defend ourselves and our families." ~ Jeffrey E.

I have friends whose opinions place them on both sides of this issue. Most of my friends are intelligent, well-read, and relatively open-minded so I would hope that they would be willing to listen to and consider the viewpoint that stands in opposition to theirs. I'm not saying anyone has to change their minds - that's not my goal. But I would hope that people would at least think for themselves. 

Some of the questions I've asked myself in the past few weeks include:

1. What WAS the original intent of the 2nd Amendment? 

2. What were the Founders' thoughts as they drafted the 2nd Amendment?

3. To whom was the 2nd Amendment aimed?

4. What constitutes a 'militia' as defined by the Founders?

5. What are the reasons for banning certain guns?

6. What would that ban look like in execution?

7. During past gun bans, what were the intended effects? What were the realized effects?

Here's what I've found thus far:


"What plan for the regulation of the militia may be pursued by the national government, is impossible to be foreseen. But so far from viewing the matter in the same light with those who object to select corps as dangerous, were the Constitution ratified, and were I to deliver my sentiments to a member of the federal legislature from this State on the subject of a militia establishment, I should hold to him, in substance, the following discourse:
"The project of disciplining all the militia of the United States is as futile as it would be injurious, if it were capable of being carried into execution. A tolerable expertness in military movements is a business that requires time and practice...To attempt a thing which would abridge the mass of labor and industry to so considerable an extent, would be unwise: and the experiment, if made, could not succeed, because it would not long be endured. Little more can reasonably be aimed at, with respect to the people at large, than to have them properly armed and equipped..."

That would be Hamilton (Federalist 29).


And then there's Madison (Federalist 46):

"Besides the advantage of being armed, which the Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation, the existence of subordinate governments, to which the people are attached, and by which the militia officers are appointed, forms a barrier against the enterprises of ambition, more insurmountable than any which a simple government of any form can admit of. Notwithstanding the military establishments in the several kingdoms of Europe, which are carried as far as the public resources will bear, the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms. And it is not certain, that with this aid alone they would not be able to shake off their yokes. But were the people to possess the additional advantages of local governments chosen by themselves, who could collect the national will and direct the national force, and of officers appointed out of the militia, by these governments, and attached both to them and to the militia, it may be affirmed with the greatest assurance, that the throne of every tyranny in Europe would be speedily overturned in spite of the legions which surround it."


In Federalist 28, Hamilton discusses the right to self-defense:

"If the representatives of the people betray their constituents, there is then no resource left but in the exertion of that original right of self-defense which is paramount to all positive forms of government, and which against the usurpations of the national rulers, may be exerted with infinitely better prospect of success than against those of the rulers of an individual state. In a single state, if the persons intrusted with supreme power become usurpers, the different parcels, subdivisions, or districts of which it consists, having no distinct government in each, can take no regular measures for defense. The citizens must rush tumultuously to arms, without concert, without system, without resource; except in their courage and despair. "

The militia is the ultimate check and balance against a state or the national government, which is why the Founders guaranteed the right to the PEOPLE as opposed to only active militia members or a state's militia. Basically the Second Amendment was designed to protect the individual right for the collective purpose. At least, that was my take-away.

You cannot legistlate or regulate evil. You can outlaw guns but criminals do not abide by laws. That's why they are criminals. And I'll be damed if I'll allow my family to be unprotected against the evil that exists in this world. 

We wail and gnash our teeth over the crime rates in this country and our knee-jerk reaction is to tighten the restrictions on guns. Where has that lead us? Look at Chicago. Look at New York. The tighter the gun controls become, the higher the crime rate goes. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing, over and over, expecting a different result. We've tried the same thing over and over and we keep getting the same result. I wonder what would happen if we were to completely repeal the gun restrictions in, say, Chicago? What would happen if, come 1FEB, all gun restrictions were completely lifted? What would the crime rate do? Any bets?

My money is on a drop in the crime rate in Chicago. I'd put large quantities of money on that bet. Because the criminals would know that they faced the possibility of being shot if they were to break into a house or attack a person - something they're pretty sure won't happen right now, given the restrictions in place in Chicago. 

Don't get me wrong - I'm not saying we should sit by and do nothing in light of Newton, CT and Aurora, CO. But there was more at play in both of these tragedies than just a gun. There's another aspect that we're not addressing: mental health. Why do we always jump to the guns as the issue? Why is always the weapon that is addressed and not the person wielding said weapon? Is it because it's easier on the collective conscience of the country to discuss the evils of guns versus mental illness? Is it because the solutions with regard to guns are much easier ('ban them ALL!') as opposed to the solutions with regard to mental illness? Is it because our mental health care options in this country (or in the world, for that matter) SUCK? Because they do. Assuming that the young man that committed the murders in Connecticut was struggling with a mental illness, his mother's options included:

1. medication - something that may or may not have already been tried. Something that is an inexact science, at best, and may have side effects that are worse than the illness itself.

2. placement in a mental health facility - tough to do, even with money, as beds and space are limited. Also, see #1. Not to mention the fact that, as a parent, no one wants to admit that their child may be SO messed up that they not only present a danger to themselves but to others.

3. incarceration - sadly, if #1 and #2 fail, this is the only other option for most people. And if you thought #2 was bad...

As a country, as a society, and as a world, we do not have the capability or the capacity to adequately deal with the more severe mental health challenges we face today. So, instead, we go after the guns. And this leaves the rest of us defenseless, if taken to its extreme. 


- hfs

1 comment:

Aadel Bussinger said...

clapping - just, yes.


Wrote this six years ago. Nothing's changed.  One of my favorite movies is 'Bull Durham'. And one of my favorite scenes in ...