Amendment II

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.

Such a short phrase, isn’t it? Yet subject to such intense argument and debate these last, oh, 50 years or so.

Remember who wrote this. These were men who had just recently fought for freedom and liberty from an oppressive government. They knew that there were but two defenses that a people had versus a government that was drifting tyrannical. The very first and most important was to prevent that government from acting in secret, the right of the people to be able to expose and discus and criticize any and all actions that that government might take with out fear of retribution and also t be free of religious coercion by the government.

So they wrote this:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

Sunlight, shame, ridicule, humor, righteous indignation, transcripts of ‘closed door’ meetings. Expose the fools in government to all of these things and you have a good chance, they knew, of curbing the autocratic, tyrannical influences that every government invariably develops.

But sometimes that wasn’t enough. They knew, oh and let us never forget that did ever they know, that redressing grievances could fall on deaf ears…or bayonets.

And when that happens the people have but two choices: to submit to the government’s yoke or to throw it off. Remember, this was written by people who had just a few years before successfully fought an oppressive overbearing government, and they wanted to make sure that the people who followed them would have a chance to do the same if it ever came to that, that their descendents would have the ability to defend themselves against all threats, both domestic and external.

And so they wrote the second most important amendment:

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.

Probably the most contentious word in the above to most modern opponents of the Second Amendment is “regulated”. To our modern ears it is very seductive to ascribe that word its modern connotation of “government control” but nothing could be farther from the truth or intent, most especially in an Amendment expressly designed to protect citizens from an over-reaching government; the idea that the government should have the power to grant citizens the means to protect themselves from the…government is simply to ludicrous to seriously entertain. In the 17th and 18th century the word “regulated” meant “trained” or “experienced”. Think of all those novels from that period that you’ve read. What were the trained troops called? The Regulars. The Founders knew that if People were to have a chance to successfully defend themselves from all threats they must have unfettered access to arms and also be familiar with their use.

In this rush by the government and gun opponents to take advantage of the horror of Newtown, in this mad emotional scramble to expand government’s reach into every facet of our lives and make us ever more dependent on on centralized unaccountable power for our daily existence, let us not give in to hysteria and sacrifice far more.

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