Liberty and Security. Power and Words. (The Dirty Harry Rule)

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 2nd Amendment

Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.
-Benjamin Franklin

At least 294* Americans have been killed by a gun since the slaughter of the innocents in Connecticut. 22 of them were children under 18, and four of those were under the age of four. The number keeps going up*. Last Friday, Wayne LaPierre delivered a statement that made Clint Eastwood’s RNC speech sound like Cicero orating on the Senate floor. I watched the whole thing over a delicious dinner at the Mayweathers and we chewed over both the dish and the worshipers of Moloch. Mrs Mayweather pointed out that the speech we just saw was put together by more than one person and that a room full of high paid individuals had agreed that this was the best possible statement that could be made and then sent this stammering Quisling out to make their indefensible argument to the public, and I had to admit she was right and that it meant that the people we are arguing with saw that speech and thought that it made good plain sense.

This is a large part of the problem.

My friend Huck gave me the Franklin quote as a prompt, and so I looked up the original and found the words ‘essential’ and ‘temporary’ generally don’t make it into most paraphrases yet do make the specific meaning utterly unusable to justify assault weapons in the hands of the general public. There is nothing essential about these kinds of weapons and there is no credible argument to be made for them in the hands of anyone but the military. In fact, they clearly demonstrated their availability is a tremendous threat to public safety on repeated and frequent occasions while never demonstrating any constructive use towards the cause of liberty. They have only deprived people of life, liberty, and any sense of security they may have had. An immediate full reinstatement of the assault weapons ban would not infringe a whit on any essential liberty while providing a small step forward in achieving true security. Furthermore, extended magazines, hollow point and armor piercing ammo should also be banned outright as none of it serves any legitimate civilian purpose. No civilian weapon should be able to fire six shots before it requires reloading; call it ‘The Dirty Harry Rule’. Ammunition needs to be progressively taxed with purchases tracked; the larger the personal stockpile, the higher the tax rate; call it ‘The Chris Rock Rule‘.

Those ideas are just a beginning. The idea of ‘original intent’ is essential to the intellectual underpinnings of modern conservatism, and the Second Amendment is where the idea of original intent is exposed as more ‘Republican Math’ that doesn’t add up. Justices too rigid to extrapolate the concept of an individual right to privacy from the Ninth Amendment seem flexible and poetic when interpreting the Second Amendment. The Second Amendment was crafted in an age of muskets and a frontier with no police force or standing army; the people were the government and the great mass of the continent was yet unexplored, with diverse hostiles lurking at every degree. A musket required time, training, and patience to successfully fire a single shot where today someone who can’t handle a trip to the barber by themselves can spray death as easily as squeezing a fist; looking at the carnage around us it is clear that we are not correctly interpreting the wishes of the Founding Fathers in regards to the Second Amendment.

Consider this alternate reading; Gun ownership is not an individual right but a collective right of the People that protects their communities and their government. In order for an individual to possess a gun, that individual must demonstrate to the People that they are not a threat to the community or government via criminal background check and passing a comprehensive firearms training program and joining a local militia. These militias would be on call for various community emergencies from sandbagging in storms to looking for missing children and the like. Owning a gun is a higher form of citizenship and should require responsibilities and duties beyond cleaning it.

I hope that these words are heard in the right tone and as part of a conversation.

*I started this post a week ago and have revised it several times before publishing it today. Last Friday, a week after Newtown there were 75 additional deaths by gun, on  Boxing Day the number was around 219. By sunset today it will surely be over 300**.
**It was at 306 by 6:44 pm.

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