Slaughter of the Innocents, the 2nd Amendment, and Political Humbuggery

Last week’s horrific mass-murder of little schoolchildren in Newtown, Connecticut has once again spurred the usual hysterical cries from politicians and the chattering class for further restrictions on the right of citizens to keep and bear arms, and demands that the federal government must “do something.”

While those of the Washington ruling class shed the appropriate crocodile tears over this “tragedy” (as with other mass murders, it was not in fact a tragedy, but a deliberate act of monstrous evil), no doubt “liberal” statist politicians and “gun control” advocates were in fact delighted over this perfect storm of an exceptionally senseless and despicable crime involving a firearm combined with a left-dominated government, as its cheerleaders in the “mainstream” media gleefully declared a “tipping point” in the national second amendment rights debate.

At least this time around, there was not (at least to my knowledge) any media premature speculation tying the killer to conservatism or the Tea Party movement, as there had been with the Aurora, Colorado movie theater shoot-up and the Tucson Arizona shootings (though there was chatter concerning the killer’s mother being a survivalist).  They just went straight for the “gun control” demands.

And as usual, the debate continues over the second amendment, which would be flagrantly violated by infringements on the right of citizens to buy and own so-called “assault rifles.”  Today’s “liberals” (who are anything but liberal regarding the rights protected in the second amendment) are fond of referring to the “well-regulated militia” phrase in the second amendment to dismiss the right of citizens to own and bear arms as concerning only some archaic and irrelevant 18th-century institution irrelevant to modern life.

But when we actually study the written thoughts of the American founders, including the framers of the Constitution, it becomes clear that this phrase is in fact quite relevant to the correct interpretation of the second amendment, though not in the way “liberals” think it is.  The second amendment was not written up with concern to squirrel hunting, or even merely to personal self-defense. The founding fathers envisioned the “militia of the several states” as a citizens’ army made up of every citizen capable of handling arms.  The founders were wary of a standing army, which they saw as an instrument of oppression and tyranny by European governments, including that of Great Britain, whose yolk they recently overthrew.  In the founder’s vision of a self-governing republic, the army defending American soil would be the people themselves, fully armed with their own weapons, and trained to defend themselves against professional soldiers – whether foreign armies, or, should the need arise, their own government.   It’s much harder for a government to forcibly oppress the people when they are the army – professionally armed and trained.

Sadly, today a majority of Americans are quite happy with tyranny, so long as the tyranny advances their own preferred socio-political agenda.  And after all, isn’t it to the best to curtail citizens’ rights in order to ensure that “such a thing never happens again”?

But even assuming that gun-control legislation is actually effective in keeping guns out of the hands of murderous lunatics, they would in reality have little power to prevent those keen on indiscriminately killing large masses of people (as the Newtown school killer and the Aurora, CO “Joker” killer). For such purposes, firearms of any kind are in fact unnecessary.  Various home-made bombs, or arson, can kill rooms full of people quite handily.  Remember, the most massive and infamous mass-killing on American soil was conducted on September 11, 2001, without a single gunshot fired.  The only way to truly prevent the possibility of killings from happening, would be to keep every citizen locked away in a padded cell, so they won’t be able to harm others.  (Okay, maybe I should shut up before I give politicians any ideas.)

Some right-leaning folks have insisted that rather than guns, the government should instead focus its attention on mental health issues.  While it may not involve quite the blatant contradiction to the Constitution that “gun control” measures do, the implications of giving the federal government greater control over citizens on the basis of such a nebulous measure as “mental health” are even creepier.  It sort of calls to mind how dissidents in the old Soviet Union were locked away for “mental illness.”  But I’ve been known to suffer from bouts of right-wing paranoia.  Time to call in the boys with the straightjackets.

Murderous violence has been with us since the days of Cain and Abel, and predates the invention of firearms by millennia. It is the height of hubris to think that it can be legislated away by government busybodiness.

Beyond the obvious second amendment issues, and the government’s steady chipping away at our constitutionally-guaranteed rights and liberties, is the underlying mentality—which seems increasingly prevalent—that more government action is the cure to all that ails us.  Whatever the problem – acts of violence, bad weather, kids too fat—the answer is always the same: more government.  More laws, more regulations, more taxing, more spending, more erosion of personal liberty.  Whether or not the proposed government solution is often brushed aside as irrelevant; what’s important is that government’s doing something, anything!

Today, many scoff at the idea of objective morality, can’t be bothered with tiresome old-fashioned ideas like personal responsibility, and ridicule religion.  Yet many of these same folks piously look to government and politicians to save us all from our sins.

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