Guns: Americans Dislike Their Government, the Government Ignores the Constitution . . . but Americans Continue to Feed It
It is hard to miss. Federal laws come from Congress, so the story goes, yet Congress has roughly a 16% approval rating. Many Americans do not trust their government, and why should they? It is the most expensive government in the history of the world, far too powerful according to the Founding Fathers who sought limited government. Just how many times does government run afoul of the 9th and 10th Amendments?
Even though the “American Way” has always meant Liberty and Freedom, many Americans want neither. The 10th Amendment was written down, so it wouldn't be all that easy to forget. Yet, we are apparently quite good at forgetting. Although the Federal Government does not have authority it does not derive from the Constitution, although Congress is mired with 16% approval ratings, too many Americans start begging Congress (and the President) to “do something” though both are prohibited by the Constitution from doing a lot of things.
The Second Amendment commands the United States to “not infringe” upon “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms.” Yet, some people apparently want big government infringement. Military Arms are the Arms Protected by the Second Amendment.
No one likes gun violence. Shouldn't it be so very obvious, so blatantly self-authenticating, that the 100 million law abiding citizens that own guns in the U.S. hate gun violence more than any other group? It is obvious. Legal gun owners are taxed, harassed, regulated, and denigrated mercilessly . . . all 100 million, because of what one idiot did. One maniac, one idiot . . . and 100 million American Citizens pay the price.
Where would anyone get the idea that people around the world aren't killed because of Free Speech? Free speech kills people every day, particularly free political and religious speech. That's why it is precious, so precious it was afforded Constitutional protection. We should take a whiff of the stench from 60,000 dead Syrians if we don't believe that the 1st and 2nd Amendments have little importance in 2013 or 2018.
There is no mistake about the 2nd Amendment-- it guarantees the individual right to keep and use weapons. It is hard to find an American that feels the Bill of Rights is an old, rusty, worthless document. There is no distinction about "sporting purposes." Quite the contrary, it refers to weapons suitable for military use and self-defense use. Our military is comprised of civilians, our government formed from the same. It is the civilian power that rules, according to the Constitution, not the military and not the government. The people's use of weapons and the military's use (comprised of the people) are one and the same. There are lots of people that given their druthers, would restrict speech, religion, right of assembly, etc. And of course, there have been those in government who have tried it . . . successfully.
Surely it is obvious to dimmest lights among us that the United States government is capable of heinous errors. Armed guards on campus aren't always a good idea, particularly if they are the Ohio Army National Guard firing M1 Garands at Kent State. Those students need not have died. It took the ATF, FBI, Texas National Guard, Texas Rangers, U.S Army Special Forces, and British SAS 50 days to take Waco. Seventy-six men, women and children were left dead. Those 76 men, women, and children need not have died. It took USMS, FBI, and ATF ten days to take Ruby Ridge.
Yet, no one is calling for the abolition of the National Guard, FBI, ATF, and Federal Marshals. Yet it was a Federal Marshal that shot 14 year old Sammy Weaver in the back, killing him, and the FBI's Lon Horihuchi that put a bullet through Vicki Weaver's head while she was holding her ten month old daughter in her arms. The murders committed by government agents, the atrocities committed in Vietnam, none of these were ever seized by the media as a basis for dismantling of the military, the FBI, or National Guard units. They are not at all representative of our military, the vast majority of who serve with valor and distinction.
The soldier hates war, for he has the most to lose. The FBI agent hates the heinous mistakes of a Waco or Ruby Ridge, the National Guard member hates the Kent State shootings. It is only with an illogical and broad paintbrush that the brave men and women of the U.S. Military and law enforcement can be tainted by the tragic actions of the few.
So it is with the 100 million American Citizens that own weapons, a protected right. It isn't reasonable to condemn the many based on the tragic actions of a maniac. We must remember that a right is no right at all if you need permission from the government to use it. The Bill of Rights, all of them, serve to limit government, not the people. Free speech can be misused, and those that threaten the lives of others by the misuse of speech should of course be punished. That is no excuse for prior restraint upon those who have committed no crime. Great harm, great pain, and great misery has been inflicted upon innocent people by government officials intoxicated with power. Senator Joseph Raymond "Joe" McCarthy became such a man.
Edward R. Murrow had this to say, back in 1954: “We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty. We must remember always that accusation is not proof and that conviction depends upon evidence and due process of law. We will not walk in fear, one of another. We will not be driven by fear into an age of unreason, if we dig deep in our history and our doctrine, and remember that we are not descended from fearful men ... We proclaim ourselves, as indeed we are, the defenders of freedom, wherever it continues to exist in the world, but we cannot defend freedom abroad by deserting it at home.”
There never was any distinction between military weapons and weapons of the People, for the military is the people, the government derives its powers with the consent of the governed. The founders knew that government must always have a healthy fear of the people and that the People of the United States should not live in fear of government, for that is no freedom, no proper life, and no liberty.
As a further safeguard, they wrote it down to make it clear: the 1st and 2nd Amendments are there so government cannot easily enslave or oppress the citizen, for the citizen always needs the power to defend against government. The Constitution of the United States is, of course, the Supreme law of the land and statute that is unconstitutional cannot be a law at all, no matter how well-meaning it may sound, no matter how convenient it may be to enact. The people are immune from unconstitutional laws. By definition, there is no such thing.
Considering the Revolutionary War, a Civil War, World Wars, all the horrific conflicts the United States has endured since its inception to preserve its union and defend its Constitution, the singular tragedy of the day can only be rationally viewed as a lamentable inconvenience. If Liberty and Freedom was always easy, the world would enjoy it. Surely we know it has come at great and bloody cost, and we must always retain the deepest respect for how American Liberty and Freedom was brought into existence in the first place. The government of the People is controlled by the people, the military power is derived from the civilian power, and military weapons have always been the People's weapons. Sometimes, we apparently need reminding so as not to "misremember" all of this.
Copyright 2013, 2018 by Randy Wakeman. All Rights Reserved.