It seems as if I’m constantly encountering people who say they want to “defend the Constitution,” and then I listen to them some more and realize there’s a great deal of the Constitution they don’t give a damn about.
I think I have some modest knowledge of the Constitution, having taken eight hours of constitutional law in college. I haven’t pored over the document frequently in the intervening years, but I can still rattle off a court decision here and there.
It’s always something. States pass laws in an attempt to nullify laws of the national government. The issue of nullification, once championed by John C. Calhoun, who resigned the vice presidency over it, was settled in the 1830s. The Civil War set a bit of a practical precedent, as well.
The world is crazy, and the latest craze centers on the irrational belief that a Kenyan, Muslim president is going to take away all the guns so that he can forge a century-long socialist Utopia.
Pres. Obama is Hawaiian by birth, Christian by choice, and not one of the 300 million guns in America is in danger of being taken away by the government.
If you disagree philosophically with the president, please exercise your right to oppose him, but there’s no need to make stuff up, and when the made-up stuff is disproven, continue to believe it anyway.
All too often, any discussion of Obama involves someone saying, in effect, “I don’t care about the evidence. I just don’t think he is.” Or isn’t. I understand disagreement. What I don’t understand is what seems to me the irrational hatred that this man inspires. I think the president is a nice fellow, and I think I’d think that even if I disagreed with him. That’s the way I felt about George W. Bush. I didn’t agree with him, but I thought he was a nice fellow. And I recognized that he was the duly elected president. My side didn’t win. I didn’t want to overthrow the government or secede from it. I just hoped for better luck next time.
I believe in an individual’s right to own a gun, but I also believe that responsible ownership requires at least as much training and licensing as driving a car. The Second Amendment obviously isn’t absolute, or else there’d be dealerships for tanks and fighter jets near neighborhoods of the rich and famous. I even understand that gun enthusiasts might want to own assault weapons, but there’s no reason for them to be able to shoot a hundred bullets without reloading. There’s a reason for the U.S. Army to need weapons that seldom require reloading. There’s no reason for a citizen to be his own army. Or have one.
And by the way, for those who think the right to bear arms is absolute, and quote the phrase “shall not be infringed,” please note the presence of “well-regulated” in the Second Amendment. When the framers of the Constitution made use of the term “militia,” they weren’t talking about a military group formed to oppose the duly elected government. They were talking about settlers protecting themselves from Indians or roving bands of desperadoes on the frontier. It was closer to the National Guard than the Michigan Militia.
Watching TV is great fun, though. I heard one politician claim that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. would oppose any gun control were he alive today. This is the Martin Luther King who was … anyone? … assassinated. Another politician said that, had slaves been allowed to bear arms, there would have been no slavery. Now think about that. Imagine a slave ship dropping anchor in Charleston Harbor and all the freshly imported Africans, as they became African-Americans, being handed muskets as they emerged from the bowels of the insidious vessels. Yes, it would have made it more difficult for cruel slave owners to administer 40 lashes. Then there’s the notion that Hitler banned firearms, so if anyone today bans the Bush Master, he must be Hitler.
Now we are told that the best way to protect ourselves from mass killings is to arm everyone. That’s like saying the best way to control drunk driving is to make sure everyone has a bottle of liquor. Armed guards? I suspect people envision Chuck Norris when they’re more likely to get Don Knotts, or Kevin James instead of Clint Eastwood. “Go ahead, punk. Make my sandwich.” Every time I think of arming school teachers, I think of Miss Agnes Davis, the ancient fourth-grade teacher of my youth, who spent Sundays fussing at us teens for sitting in the back pews of the First Baptist Church. I just don’t want Miss Agnes Davis waving a pistol around, and I don’t think she would have wanted it, either.
When’s the last time you heard the term “domino effect”? Remember back when we absolutely had to make a stand in Vietnam, less the communists proceed to take over Malaysia, Australia, the Pacific atolls, Hawaii and, yes, land on the beaches of Santa Monica and invade the good old U.S. of A.? Now it’s the notion that, if law-abiding citizens are prevented from packing heat that can fire 100 bullets without reloading, eventually Little Timmy’s going to have his cap pistol confiscated.
I guess the whole issue comes down to this. I think an America armed to the teeth increases the likelihood of violence, whether in a school, a church or between squabbling siblings in the home. The problem is never what people will do in their right minds. It’s what people will do when they are overwrought. Guns don’t kill people, but they sure do come in handy when they’re lying around and people feel a sudden urge to kill.
But that’s my personal view, and it governs my behavior, no one else’s. I grew up hunting quail, rabbits, squirrels and wild turkeys. I don’t do it anymore, but it’s more because I don’t have time than because I don’t want to. I’m too busy with books and songs and … this blog.
To each his own opinion. This just happens to be mine.