A Commentary by J. D. Longstreet
It is impossible to separate the two... guns and America, I mean. Guns obtained and secured the country we now know as “America” for the people we now know as “Americans.”
As the settlers/pilgrims stepped ashore in the New World they carried their trusty weapons, guns. When the frontiersmen dipped their toes into the waters of the western sea, the Pacific, no doubt they clutched in their hands a later variant of the same weapon the Pilgrims had in their grips when their toes touched the sand of the Carolina, Virginia, and New England beaches. It had been a long journey but guns had fed, clothed, and protected these new people, called Americans, as they laid claim to a new land destined to become the leader of the free world, if not the entire world.
When these restless people, the Americans, decided their “King” was demanding more from them than they were willing to give, the gun won them their Independence. Some eighty years later, these same restless peoples decided to fight a war amongst themselves over, depending upon how you decipher history, “States Rights” or “Slavery”. (In my case, I have done the research and know that States Rights was the cause of the American Civil War simply because the facts, when laid bare, support that interpretation. Yes, slavery BECAME an issue in the war but only after the war had raged for nearly two years and when Lincoln needed political support, badly, from the abolitionists, for the war he was losing! All this is for another day, in a different venue, so I will cut it short by urging you to actually read the “Emancipation Proclamation” if you are REALLY interested in learning just how many slaves were freed by that piece of political propaganda. The answer was, of course, NONE.). In any event, the gun, carried by both sides in the conflict devastated the countries and some say forged a single entity known as the UNITED States of America. Only recently, frankly, have I begun to question that.
In all the wars since, the gun has taken the war to America’s enemies and protected the Americans wielding it and managed to secure the freedom and liberties our forefathers put their lives and their fortunes on the line for back in the 1700’s. Together, we have come a very long way the gun and America.
But, just as there were two camps in the days preceding the American Civil War, there are two camps today as regards the gun and the American citizen. One camp made up of folks who think Americans have no need of the gun, and those in the second camp who feel Americans and the gun are inseparable… and should be.
“Society benefits from ordinary people who accept the responsibilities of firearm ownership. Society does not benefit from gun control.” I have no idea who said that first, but it would make an excellent motto for the Americans who believe Americans and guns are inseparable.
The argument over guns flares up, it seems, with each new Presidential Administration’s entrance into the White House. Much the same thing happens after each congressional election and when a new Justice is vetted for the US Supreme Court. As we are just a few weeks into all three happening, both camps have applied their war paint and are looking for opportunities to make thie positions known and likewise feel out the new people in the White House, on The Hill and on The Court.
When our forefathers wrote the constitution their collective wisdom was based upon all the collective wisdom from creation up to their day. To our knowledge, there were no “seers” or clairvoyants among them. In other words, no one could see the future or what it held for this brand new country and, indeed, the world. Had there been, I expect the final version of the constitution would read much differently from the end version we have today.
Recently, the US Supreme Court ruled that the constitution actually meant what it said about US citizens having the right to keep and bear arms. The 2nd Amendment says: “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.”
It is important to notice that the decision in favor of the Forefathers won by a single vote of the Court. The vote was 5 – 4 in favor of interpreting the 2nd amendment so Americans did not have to turn in their guns or have the US Government confiscate them.
The obvious problem with this vote is that it will instigate more litigation until finally, at some point, those who wish to take away that right will succeed. In fact, many feel the confirmation of Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court may, in fact, be the final straw and the next time the second amendment is tried before this court Americans will lose their right to keep and bear arms.
Thinking about it for a while now, I have concluded that we may have at least two more chances before we lose our guns. Until the liberals in America manage one more seat on the court, we may, and I say “MAY” with trepidation, get one more case decided in favor of my side, (the side in favor of allowing Americans their right to keep and bear arms) before we lose the next case and, along with it, our right to keep and bear arms. (By the way, define “ARMS.” Does it cover knives? If so, how long? How many edges? Hilt or hiltless? , etc, etc.)
As one who favors the right to keep and bear arms I am concerned over the Sotomayor appointment to The Court. Why? Well, first of all, I accept that she will be seated on the court. It is a done deal. But there are indicators from her past that concern me. These indicators cause me to believe that when the chips are down she will vote to ignore the obvious meaning of the second amendment and support taking away the right of Americans to keep and bear arms. Lets looks at some of those indicators:
She has spoken out against the Heller decision in which the Supreme Court recognized the individual right to Keep and Bear Arms.
She has expressed disdain for private gun ownership dating back to her senior thesis at Princeton University, where she wrote that America has a "deadly obsession" with guns and that the Second Amendment does not guarantee an individual right to firearms ownership.
In United States v. Sanchez-Villar, she stated: "the right to possess a gun is clearly not a fundamental right."
And In addition to her record opposing the Second Amendment, she has also strongly advocated judicial activism. (In some ways, this worries me more about Ms. Sotomayor than her obvious problem with the 2nd Amendment!)
If this Sotomayor record does not give you pause, then, frankly, I don’t know what will.
So America edges ever closer to losing the citizen’s right to keep and bear arms, quite possibly even the right to carry a knife. There can be no doubt that a knife, in the time of our forefathers, was, indeed, a weapon. It would, no doubt, fall into the category of “arms.” There can also be no doubt as to why the forefathers felt it important to place this amendment in the constitution as a part of the original 10 amendments that made up the Bill of Rights. They had just fought a war against a tyrant to gain their freedom - and they did it with a citizen’s army composed of men who owned their own weapons!
George Washington, the Commander in Chief of the Continental Army and the first President of the United States said the following: "A free people ought not only to be armed and disciplined, but they should have sufficient arms and ammunition to maintain a status of independence from any who might attempt to abuse them, which would include their own government."
Thomas Jefferson said the following: "When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty."
And finally, words from the most well known of the tyrants of the last century, Adolf Hitler: “The most foolish mistake we could possibly make would be to allow the subject races to possess arms. History shows that all conquerors who have allowed the subject races to carry arms have prepared their own downfall by so doing. Indeed, I would go so far as to say that the supply of arms to the underdogs is a sine qua non for the overthrow of any sovereignty.”
It is good, I think to note that the Forefathers felt so highly of the right to keep and bear arms that it is the SECOND Amendment. The first being, of course, freedom of speech, religion, etc.
We must tread softly, yet boldly, as we attempt to protect our rights these days. America has two generations of citizens trained in socialism as products of the Public (Government) School System. Like “Pavlov’s Dog” they await only the ringing of the bell to respond in defense of the “greater good.” But, like the other dog, chasing it’s tail, they haven’t the reasoning ability to ask of themselves what they intend to do with the tail if, and when, they DO catch it?
J. D. Longstreet