Thursday, September 01, 2005

Constitutional Study, part two

Well, here I go again. I'm kind of on the rampage these days over so many things. I'm totally sick over all the violence and commotion and savagery that's taken ahold of New Orleans. I've heard these reports of people running around with firearms and terrorizing those who don't have them. They have even fired on a helicopter. It's clear to me that these outlaws are DOMESTIC TERRORISTS. Maybe they should set the National Guard loose on them and allow them to treat them as such, and if that means killing them, well, so be it. Desperation is no excuse for terrorism. These barbarians are only taking advantage of a situation for their own benefit. That's not the American way, and it's not the HUMAN way.

All that said, let's look at the Second Amendment to our Constitution.

Article [II.]
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.

The country's founders intended to make the Constitution vague so that it could grow with time and the interpretation of it could be adjusted to changing times. It's a wonderful document that way. I do believe that the Second Amendment was probably intended to protect the rights of the Colonists to have 'arms' so that they could defend their Independence from attacks from England or other countries trying to regain a hold on claims to America.

But the founders also looked far enough ahead to ensure that this right to "keep and bear arms" would be protected in the case that some future government or regime (think dictatorship or some other extremist group) might become so corrupt and powerful as to try to overtake the country and totally destroy the Republic. In that case the 'regular' people would still have the right to own and bear arms to protect themselves, band together in militias, and fight for their freedom. In this sense I think it does still apply to the people in general.

However, I also believe it's important to regulate the ownership of guns to certain people who have forfeited their rights by committing crimes or otherwise demonstrated the inability to handle the responsibility of gun ownership. My rights end where someone else's begin. That applies to all rights that are guaranteed by the Constitution. With great freedoms come great responsibilities. To totally ban gun ownership would be about as successful as the Prohibition on alcohol.

What the Second Amendment does not guarantee is the right for thugs to bear arms and terrorize their fellow citizens. And the 'well regulated militia' is basically the National Guard. I think the Second Amendment gives the National Guard the right to do what it needs to do to protect the People. Those gun-toting gangs are nothing but threats to the security of the free State. Let's declare war on them.


DHammett said...

I'm struck by your statement, That's not the American way, and it's not the HUMAN way. I agree that it's not the American way. Unfortunately, I believe it is the human way. The reason it's not the American way is precisely what you set out later in your post: the incomparable work done by our founding fathers in setting up this republic, with a system of laws that is applicable and relevant to every segment of American society. It's laws that have defined all of our great civilizations throughout history. Those laws were devised by a few men and enforced to define how a civilized populace should conduct itself. Where there is no law, anarchy prevails. That is the lesson of William Golding's Lord of the Flies. Without law we are savages.

In New Orleans, law took a vacation. There were stories of law enforcement officers unwilling or unable to stop looting in the first day or so after the hurricane. Now, ever so slowly, law enforcement in the area is beginning to return to a semblance of normalcy. I saw an article and photo in today's USA Today where police had arrested two looters outside a gas station/convenience store.

I try not to be hard-hearted. I can understand and forgive people stealing food and water in an effort to survive. It's not right, but I understand. I think my tolerance stops with TVs and other luxury items. What I'd like to see is those looting the groceries setting up a distribution point outside the store they are looting, giving the goods away to all who are in need. That would be the American way, but certainly not the human way.

Rae Ann said...

dh, again you are the voice of reason here. I guess you're right about humans. I really wish it were true that we all could self-government without external forces. This whole thing just overwhelms me with sadness. Are you calling me hard-hearted? I didn't mean to sound that way. I just feel so much anger at the ones who are running around terrorizing others.

Kristi said...

Great points by both dh and you, Rae Ann. Isn't it amazing how much wisdom and foresight our founding fathers possessed?

I, too, am sickened and ashamed by the unabashed looting, terrorizing and other sensless acts occuring in New Orleans. I understand these people are hungry and confused, but they are conducting themselves more like animals than humans.

The looters have no logical thoughts! What are you going to do with a Phillips Flat Screen with no house or power? I would be for looters being shot on sight. Is there a reason martial law has not been declared in the city?

I can only imagine the killing free-for-all that is going on. Thugs taking advantage of the situation. How frightening.

Gun ownership has always been a sticky topic. I believe people should be allowed to own guns if they can prove they deserve the privilege. I don't think it is an innate right, but rather, one that is earned.

DHammett said...

Rae Ann -

I wouldn't think of calling you hard-hearted. I think I know you better than that. I just know that I can be a little draconian sometimes. And, since I commented last, I have read a little bit more about the looting. I didn't realize that looters were not just stealing, but hijacking vehicles at gunpoint, forcing the elderly and infirm out of nursing facilities and more. No punishment is too severe for these scum. There you go, Rae Ann. Feel better? ;-)

Martial law...good. Shooting on sight...not so good. Only if they present a danger to somebody else's life. Even a Phillips flat screen isn't that important. And it's all about karma. What goes around, comes around.

Innate rights would be those given us by our Creator...things like life, liberty, pursuit of happiness. The right to bear arms is one given us by our nation's creators. We all start with that right, but we can lose it (i.e. felons). The problem with gun control is that if these jerks can't follow other laws, what makes us think that they will follow gun control laws? IMHO, gun control is one of the dumbest laws ever thought up.

Rae Ann said...

kristi, yeah, I am constantly amazed at how wonderful our Constitution is and how it was crafted. I really do believe our Founding Fathers had divine providence. Even if they were flawed humans they were able to create something special.

dh, thanks. I was just feeling really terrible this morning. I do feel a little better now. I had to turn off the news and think about other stuff for a while. And people always forget that the vast majority of gun owners are good, law-abiding people.

mr_g said...

I've said for years that it should be allowable to shoot looters on site. I even wrote a post back in April about a similar idea for taggers. All sarcasm aside, I truly have no problem with citizens protecting themselves and their properties with weapons. When armed gangs as you describe descend, it is incumbent upon the government to protect. And with our guard troops stretched to the extreme overseas, we may not get the response we want or need. THAT's what the guard is supposed to be there for!

SierraBella said...

Although we have a Sheriff's Department in this county, they're stretched thin, leaving us pretty much on our own.
Yes, most of us own guns... we pretty much have to.

Chris said...

I agree with the notion that if someone is taking food or water, stuff that's just going to rot on the shelves long before there's somone there to pay for it, there should be some understanding. Though I do like the distribution idea. That's a good way to make it less like looting and more like foraging. However, I totally agree that someone stealing a TV in the midst of all this is just simply a criminal taking advantage of the situation.

And yes, if you're toting a gun around, threatening the people around you and, even worse, the people trying to HELP you, than you deserve a bullet in the face.

eatmisery said...

Rae Ann...where's MY link on your sidebar?

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Rae Ann said...

mr g, yeah, I can't blame the rescuers for turning back when fired on. It's insane.

chris, this reminds me somewhat of Stephen King's The Stand and the way that the survivors had to choose between Good and Evil and all the horrors of trying to survive the chaos.

eatmisery, oh Sorry! I haven't updated my links in a while. It's there now. Thanks for reminding me!!

mm, that's fucked up! shit. I'll miss you!

DHammett said...

I haven't seen anything to indicate that there is a shortage of responders, national guard, military or otherwise, based on our engagement overseas. Can somebody show where that's been documented?