More Tales from the Public Prattle:The 2nd Amendment Argument Misses the Target Every Time, by Radhia Gleis
The other day I received a group-email from my NRA/Fox Noise-brainwashed, gun-toting relative, who continues to send little anti-gun-regulation screeds to his friends and family, all of whom — other than me — are nothing more than his agreeable echo chamber. Most of the time I just ignore his fulminations, cuz there is really no point in arguing. But sometimes the urge to shut this guy up is just too irresistible. Here’s what he said this week (sic):
“What do you know, the Supreme Court saw the part of the United States Constitution that says “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed” Remember, when seconds count and your life or the life of your family is on the line, the Police are just minutes away. YOU are the militia.”
Here was my reply:
The 2nd Amendment was ratified in 1791. Not long after, the colonies took the country from British rule. The Founders, suspicious that a standing army could be used by some future tyrant, created a system of checks and balances to thwart a federal army from ever threatening the liberties of American citizens. Following the Revolutionary War, the militia was to be organized not by independent citizens, but rather by the state governments. Today it would be the equivalent of our State-based National Guard, not a bunch of bath-towel-caped couch crusaders. Of course, today’s US Army could take out an entire country in an afternoon. So, if our government really wanted to threaten our liberties by violent force, anyone who thinks their little guns could thwart our US military should have their meds adjusted.
The Founders’ solution to this threat was “a well-regulated militia.” Note the phrase “well-regulated.” You can’t drive a car without a license or buy a box of Sudafed without showing your ID. Yet we can’t even regulate a deranged 16-year-old on psychotropic drugs. Alexander Hamilton explained the meaning of the phrase “a well-regulated militia” in the context of 1789 America.
But before we go down that rabbit hole, I’d like to further emphasize the context of the 18th-century language. First of all, “We the people” referred to white, male property-owners only. Not women, not…