Amendment Two – 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 bete noir of the moment, subject to all sorts of misconstruals and derision; but considered to be a fundamental and unalienable right of humanity. Why?
Well, it’s not the gun. One very foolish meme is that “I wish I had as many rights as a gun.” But of course the gun is a thing, and it has no more rights than a potato or a pine tree or a saltwater aquarium. Remember, we are the people, therefore we have the rights. One of those is the right to lawful self-defense. Hence, the gun.
It’s easy to bog down in debating what, exactly, is proportionate self-defense, but that’s an issue that must rely on the primary right, which is that we need not be passive targets. Just because you can’t shoot your neighbor when their yappy Yorkie piddles on your hyacinths, doesn’t mean that you have to sit helpless when some armed brigand tries to kick in your door. Long before there were any laws, governments to make them, or societies to require them, there was the simple fact – Ogg wants to club you and take your fire, your mate, and your bearskins. Unless you want to be unconscious, cold, lonely, and nude, you had better do something about it.
Beyond this, however, there is another consideration. We’re telling a story right now, and the first Amendment has set us up with a beautiful premise – we, the heroes, have all these rights, and we have a land we’ve set up specifically so that we promise that we will respect these things… not just from person-to-person, either, but when we exercise authority in the form of laws. Those laws will not infringe these rights.
People are, however, sneaky and greedy; they may well decide to ignore this respect and try to use the laws to get their way. After all, agreement or not, they’re in charge now. So they’re going to break up our pizza parties, close our dance clubs, outlaw our doctrines, burn our books, and we’re going to shut up and like it. What are the heroes going to do about it? It’s not like the bosses in charge are required to listen to our redress for grievances after doing all the rest, nor are they likely to act on those grievances.
Well, ultimately – and as strange as it sounds to our 21st-century ears – they had darned well better, because the right to self defense includes defending yourself against your own government. Logically, it must include this, or else the only thing preventing the destruction of your rights and the premature end to our story is if one group manages to get themselves into a public office.
And that’s how the right above comes into play. Because a free state requires a well-regulated Militia, your right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. That doesn’t mean that you, the citizen, must submit to regulation of your rights, either. The Militia – the people assembled for their own defense – needs regulating. We don’t want a mere mob. But a disarmed Militia is no practical use either. Where law and order has broken down entirely and the local police are overwhelmed, we’re back to the land of Ogg… only this time there’s fifty of him and they’re looting and burning the entire town. That’s when the Militia – a well-armed and disciplined people – assemble, and in concert exercise the right of self-defense on behalf of themselves and the defenseless. Such an ability is inestimably valuable.
Tagged: Bill of Rights, law and order, US Constitution
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