Wednesday, July 17, 2013

It Was A Different Time -- 2nd Amendment

On CNN's Piers Morgan's show, actor Jeff Daniels opined on the Second Amendment to the US Constitution. He exhibited the false notion that the US Constitution's meanings somehow change due to moral relevance and whims. He stated:

 "I'm one of the guys that goes back to the Second Amendment and just goes, you know what, it was a different time..."

His understanding and knowledge of the US Constitution rivals that of fellow actor, Adam Baldwin, at least in Daniel's own mind. Adam Baldwin has been known to quote portions of the Federalist Papers from memory. Those who have had the honor to discuss the history of our government with Mr. Baldwin know he is a bit of a history buff.

With his statement quoted above, Mr. Daniels is correct -- it was a different time.

However, Mr. Daniels is incorrect in assuming that the Second Amendment is out of date and new infringements are necessary. It was a different time. The necessity for the Second Amendment was not as great as it is today.

The founders had fought a long 6-plus year war against a tyrant six years before the Constitution was drafted. It was still fresh in their minds. Being history scholars themselves, the framers understood that history has a habit of repeating itself. It is only through knowing what  happened the previous time that people can prepare for a better outcome the next time.

The war's historic first "shot heard 'round the world" was over, you guessed it, guns. The Redcoats were sent to disarm the citizens of Lexington and Concord. The colonists replied with "Molon Labe" (not their exact words). Some jackass fired. A battle ensued. Six years and six months later, Cornwallis surrendered at Yorktown.

"It was a different time... ," yes, because the tyrants were gone. There was less of a need for them to protect against their current government. However, they saw that even the best-intentioned system of government can be corrupted and overreach its power beyond its lawfully ascribed limits. Remember, the UK under King George was not an absolute monarchy. The Magna Carta was in effect. It was a "constitutional monarchy" where the king's authority was limited. It didn't stop him from overstepping his bounds and being a tyrant.

"It was a different time... ". Yes it was, Mr. Daniels. Violent crime was, per capita, much much lower then. Theft was also much lower then. Though crime statistics were not well tracked and reported, history shows that there wasn't as much violence. Constables were fewer, per capita. So it was expected, then, that private citizens were free to protect their land and their families. Gonzales v Castle Rock affirms, in modern times, the same premise. It is the constable's job to respond to crime, investigate, and apprehend the accused perpetrator. Then that suspect could be tried in a court by a jury of peers. However, during the commission of the crime, the private citizen had the right to protect himself and stop the crime in progress, using his own gun.

It was the prevalence of firearms in the "wild west" that actually kept crime down. People tend to mind their manners more, and keep their hands to themselves, when 60% of the people around them are armed. In modern times, areas with constitutional concealed carry add the increased deterrent that every non-felon over 21 could be carrying, legally. A potential criminal would not know who or how many are actively carrying. If he has a brain, he could assume that all of them are. His likelihood of attempting his crime approaches 0%. He moves on to find a "soft target".

It was a different time, Mr. Daniels. Under the shiny-new US Constitution, the federal government wasn't threatening to forcibly disarm the people. They weren't kicking in people's doors, conducting illegal and immoral searches and seizures while claiming to be looking for a criminal who may have hopped their fence while fleeing.

It was a different time, oh yes. The framers feared invasion by a foreign power. Our military was relatively small, counting on private citizens to rise and protect their lands should we be invaded. Today, our military is strung around the globe. We still face foreign invaders coming up from the south. Contrary to false narratives, not all of them are from Mexico. There are far too many from Asian lands who ascribe to religious extremism. They hate our freedoms and what we believe in to a degree they want to die killing as many Americans as they can. They fly planes into buildings in Manhattan. They drive car-bombs into Times Square. They murder peaceful ranchers in Arizona. They kidnap and extort ranchers and their families in Texas. They abduct our children, taking them to foreign lands to serve as sex slaves.

And our federal government has proven incapable of providing adequate national defense on its own. They even look for excuses to provide fewer assets and capabilities dedicated to securing our country and our blessings of liberty. Then they sue the states when they are left to plug the gaping holes in the defensive lines.

So yes, Mr. Daniels, it is a different time. Now is one of the times that Madison, Hamilton, and Jay prepared us for. Now is a time of challenge such as Benjamin Franklin issued "...If you can keep it".

NOW is when the Second Amendment is not a preparatory luxury born of caution and distrust, but a necessity of self and national preservation. Now is why all Americans need to recognize that our right to own and carry arms, and self-defense "shall not be infringed".