In Defense of the Second Amendment

The Supreme Court will take a shot at the Second Amendment sometimes next year. So for the foreseeable future, we’re all going to be subjected to a million opinions about gun legislation. It’s already started. Both sides of the gun ownership debate have been gearing up for this battle for years. We’re going to be bombarded with propaganda until the SC makes some kind of decision. Hell, even after that, we’re going to be bombarded with analysis, cross-analysis, debate and rhetoric regarding the decision; so the topic isn’t going away any time soon. I’m already tired of it just thinking of all the mess to which we’re going to be subjected. Still, that doesn’t stop me from putting my two cents into the pot.

First off, a caveat: I’m not a lawyer. I’ve never even researched the Second Amendment seriously in any professional or scholarly way. Oh, I’ve read enough about it, enough to know the basic arguments against private gun ownership. I’m not going to recap them. Frankly, most make very little sense to me. And the arguments that do hold some weight seem insignificant in the face of what I believe is the main reason private gun ownership should be allowed in the US: Private gun ownership is essential to a free society. It is only through gun ownership we citizens can ensure that the rest of our rights are not violated.

I firmly believe that the reason why we have suffered under no Mao, No Pol Pot, no Castro, or no other despot is because of private gun ownership. After all, what is the first thing a successful despot does once they gain control of a government? They restrict gun ownership among citizens.

Their second act is to restrict free speech and the right to assemble. And, of course, they get away with it. Why wouldn’t they? The public doesn’t have ready access to firepower. It’s tough to overthrow a despotic government when your one weapon against the government’s well-armed military consists of your good throwing arm and a bag of rocks.

So what recourse is there for a subjugated unarmed citizenry who wants to change their despotic government? None. That’s why would-be despots work so hard against gun ownership when they are rising to power and ban it altogether once they are in power. They can’t restrict free speech (and thus remain in power indefinitely) unless they first restrict weapons.

This is why the thought of the Second Amendment being argued before the Supreme Court makes my skin crawl. What happens if we lose our right to bear arms? Despots often rise to power under the guise of socialism (or its kissing cousin communism). And socialist dogma is becoming more popular and more acceptable in the US. It worries me.

But for now, I’ll set aside history. I’ll pretend to know nothing of past despotic behavior and I’ll look at the people who, this very minute, want to restrict gun ownership in the US. The same people who want to restrict gun ownership are the ones we hear about in the news all the time. They “protest” at campuses. But these protests aren’t the peaceful hippie sit-ins of the sixties. There’s no love in this crowd, free or otherwise. These protesters storm stages when opposing views are scheduled. And, most often, they drown out the different opinion such that it can’t be heard or has to be cancelled. Specifically, I’m thinking of campuses where conservatives were supposed to present an opinion to the students and were forced to leave before that opinion was rendered. It has happened all over.

Those protesters are the same people who want to restrict gun ownership. And they seem to have problems with free speech. Any thought that is different than theirs is one that cannot be tolerated – it is to be drowned out if it is allowed to be said at all. What would happen if they were allowed to dictate who gets to voice an opinion and who doesn’t? We already know. In their minds, opposing opinion is not allowed.

More than that, opposing thought is not to be allowed. Along with socialism, hate crime legislation is becoming more popular in the US. Criminal activity perpetrated upon another because of the victim’s differences is deplorable. But should criminal activity motivated by the way a perpetrator thinks or feels about the victim be treated differently than the same crime with no “hateful” motivation? That’s what is happening; Criminals are being charged and sentenced based on what they were thinking.

It’s one of those weird places for me. A person has every right to hate others for whatever reason, but I have to agree with the basic premise of hate crime legislation: “hate crimes” are deplorable. At the same time, my inner libertarian is twitching and screaming: do we want the government to be in the business of regulating thought? And how big of a step is it to go from regulating thought-based criminal activity to regulating thought-based opinion* to just plain out regulating thought?

Back to topic, the people who want to restrict gun ownership have been pretty clear: in their minds we only have free speech if we agree with them and we are to be punished for thoughts that don’t agree with theirs. These are the people who want to take away our one defense against a government powerful enough to act on their beliefs.

Hell, no.

A well-armed citizenry is not only a right, it is also a necessity for people that want to preserve their rights. And that is exactly why the Supreme Court’s upcoming look at the Second Amendment scares me. What happens if we lose the right to bear arms? I think we all know. Both history and current events have made pretty clear what will happen to our other rights if we lose this one**.


*Snarky thought: Thought-based opinion versus what? Opinion based on something other than thought? I guess it happens. Still, “thought-based opinion” is a weird turn of phrase. And it is easily mocked, even by me and I wrote the thing. I kept it in there anyway because I was trying to draw a comparison. Still, weird.

**Another thought: my liberal friends mock me for my views. “The commies are waiting out there over the hill, waiting and ready to take over the US once they finally outlaw guns,” they snark. They don’t take it seriously, this idea that we must protect ourselves from both our own government and others that would take over it. Well, for all we know, someone might be lurking over the hill, waiting for opportunity. And yes, it’s possible that our government may one day be corrupt enough to warrant defending ourselves against it. I can’t prove either scenario will happen. But you know, my liberal friends can’t prove that neither scenario won’t happen. I think that’s an important distinction. What’s the worst that could happen if they’re right and we’re allowed to own guns? In their view, law-abiding citizens would own guns. What’s the worse that could happen if I’m right and we’re not allowed to own guns? We would be unprepared and unable to defend our rights against those who would subvert them. I think that’s pretty powerful incentive to keep gun ownership legal.

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Survival Instinct

People view man’s history in different ways. How they see man’s survival methods influences their daily lives, political views, and religious convictions.

Some see our history as a biological evolution, a theory that sets in opposition man and his environment; constant change is seen as the primary survival mechanism. People with this view tend to have very fluid beliefs which can change or adapt as needed; in their mind, they can only survive by this constant adaptation to meet each new obstacle. Firm long-held beliefs are seen as the surest way to obsolescence or extinction because believers cannot change without compromising belief.

Others see man’s history from a religious or spiritual perspective filled with omnipotent, unseen, sometimes supernatural power(s) fighting amongst, through, and/or with man; in this way, survival often is seen as triumph over the power(s) and/or as triumph via the power(s). People with this view tend to have firm, long-held beliefs that do not change; in their mind, their survival depends on the belief in the power(s) – to change belief is to risk survival. Change of belief is seen as a path to destruction by the power(s) or by the power(s)’s opposition.

These two opposing views seem irreconcilable. They are not on opposite ends of the philosophical spectrum because one has to do with science and the other with religion. Instead, these two views are so different because of how they view survival itself. I’m not going to debate the views; frankly, I don’t know which one is right. Man has survived a long time with his religious beliefs as a compass; modern psychiatry acknowledges the need for belief in our lives. Perhaps evolutionary theory is a new one; yet, man has changed and adapted many things, including those religious beliefs. [Personally, I think that, over time, the two balance each other out. The trick is to find the right time to change and the right time to remain.] With such deep philosophical differences between the two views, is it any wonder that our two-party political system has divided, generally, along these lines?

But how do these two opposing survival mechanisms find common ground? Can each side find a way to compromise without risking survival?

Rain is What the Thunder Brings

Let’s hear it for divine intervention. What I find amusing is the title of the AJC piece, “Georgia’s water crisis: God can make it rain tomorrow.” The article was published yesterday. It’s raining heavily right now.

What I find less than amusing is some of the reaction to Sonny’s little show. Frankly, some of it has me pretty steamed.

Predictably, some are bashing Southerners for it. In their view, we are inbred toothless idiots fit only to cast in movies like “Deliverance” so therefore we deserve what we get. Sigh. We are the world’s favorite punch line, after all. There’s really no use bemoaning it; until the rest of the world gets over their bigotry towards Southerners, we’re just going to have to suffer. But it does piss me off dearly.

Some see the drought as further proof of global warming. And they say we deserve it because we live in a red state (and therefore elected Bush who hasn’t pushed the global warming agenda as far as some would like).

Some see the drought and subsequent water crisis as fitting justice for metro-Atlanta’s rampant growth and lack of planning. Look, in a former life I worked as a water resource engineer; I mainly worked with municipals, state agencies and federal agencies in the bridge design process for sites all over Georgia. So I know a little bit about getting public works projects designed and built. It takes years to plan, design, and build water storage systems like Lake Allatoona or Lake Lanier. Cobb County has had one such lake in the works since 2000. You have to get through local opposition, municipal opposition, environmental opposition, ecological opposition, political opposition, federal opposition, and pure NIMBY hysteria-induced opposition. That’s a lot of opposition to get through. For small projects that don’t make the news, opposition can be mitigated. For large news-worthy projects, opposition can shut the entire project down.

Let’s take the Northern Arc for example. The Northern Arc was to be a multi-lane, high volume highway paralleling I-285 in the northern suburbs of metro-Atlanta. It had been in the planning stages for years at GDOT. Metro-Atlanta has been growing, particularly in the northern suburbs, since the late 1980s. In many ways, the local municipals were caught with their pants down; they simply weren’t prepared or able to pay for the needed traffic improvements resulting from the population explosion. So GDOT offered the Northern Arc as one solution. It was mired for years in opposition, political maneuvering, bad press, cronyism, and nepotism before GDOT officially killed the entire project. (Interesting 2-year old rumor from a reliable, somewhat close source: GDOT still plans on building parts of the Northern Arc. They’re just not going to call it the “Northern Arc.” The pieces of the roadway built will have the same general plan/locations as before. They just won’t be connected. How a disconnected east-west highway is supposed help congestion, I don’t know.)

Anyway, public works projects are like that. They take forever to build if they get built at all. I wouldn’t be surprised if we suddenly hear about a habitat of some sort that should be protected on the lake’s project area. Ecological problems turn up all the time, especially on large, politically-charged projects.

Suffer the Children

Dear Parents of the United States,

I am a single, childless female who doesn’t have any experience with children. Well, my experience with children is limited to the horrifying process of buying presents for baby showers, the occasional mind-numbingly loud full-family Christmas party, and stores. Even with my small experience, I do realize that it is tough being a parent. I understand that these days, in most families, both parents work full time away from the home. It has to be hard, raising a child when your time with that child is so limited.

If your child is younger than a teenager, it is likely you’re somewhere around my age. So, like me, you’ve probably been educated in government schools; which means that you were taught in those schools, for a good dozen or so years, that government is the answer to everything. And you probably believe it, too. After all, most of you send your own kids to government schools, so it’s not likely that you have any strenuous objections to them. But truly, where and how you wish to educate your children is not my affair. True, I help pay for their education, and I can’t help that wish more parents wouldn’t subject their children to government schools, but the ultimate decision is yours. Well, whatever “decision” the government allows you to make when it comes to educating your child is yours. So I can’t rightly blame you for sending your child to a government school when that same government gives you few other practical options in the matter, especially when both parents, like so many, have made children without a thought as how to pay to properly educate them, work away from the home, and live from paycheck to paycheck with little room for anything but the basic living necessities and luxury cars.

If I feel that too many of you choose to use those same government schools as tools to raise your children instead of doing the job yourselves, well, that too is your decision; and it is one of which I can’t blame the government. That is your fault. And your unruly children are the result. So let me be frank.

I hate your child.

It is true; your children annoy me. You pamper them. You don’t discipline them. You allow them to run amuck in public. You have truly spoiled them. And most of you don’t see what you’ve done. The only conclusion I can draw is that parenthood makes you blind.

And deaf. And perhaps stupid. Whether this is a gradual process or an instant change brought on by your wee one’s wails at birth, I can only speculate. But before I’m accused of being an unnatural female or a behavior-Nazi or something equally ridiculous, let me make this clear: truly, I don’t care if your precious little hellion is pampered, or spoiled, or undisciplined at home. May they turn your home to rubble if they wish (and if you allow it). I don’t care.

I only care about their public behavior. Specifically, I only care about their behavior around me. Since I can’t wear a sign around my neck warning all misbehaving children away (though I have thought of making a tee that says “keep your brat away from me” across the chest), I write on behalf of all of the people who suffer your child. We all hate your child. Even the people who have children your child’s age hate your child.

Childless I may be, but I know enough about kids to know that most of the little future felons in Wal-Mart behave that way because of a lack of parental control. Simply put, you aren’t doing your job.

I know that child rearing has changed significantly since I was a child. Today, kids go from play date to dance class to soccer practice to gym to who-knows-what-else every single day and they don’t stop until it is time to sleep. I think a lot of that is because you simply don’t know what to do with your kids. Maybe you don’t want to put up with them either. Hey, you may hate your child, too. That’s all your business.

It is our business when you subject us to them. So get control of your mini monsters or keep them at home.

Love and kisses,

Prudie

P.S. Please do something about getting your senile parents off the road while you’re at it.

Cirque d’OJ

I don’t understand the fascination some people have for OJ Simpson. Many people think he got away with murder and many are angry over it. And they see this new legal trouble as some kind of karma, some kind of belated justice for the dead. I have a problem with that. OJ was tried in court years ago; he was found legally innocent.

That’s they way our legal system works: Sometimes the guilty are acquitted and sometimes the innocent are punished. It’s the inherent flaw in our jury system. Innocence and guilt are determined by a committee who may or may not get it right.

I think they get it right more often than not. Perhaps that’s merely optimism on my part. Or maybe it’s just desperate, unsubstantiated belief because there really is no other alternative. Whichever, OJ was acquitted. He deserves to be tried for these new crimes on their own merit without the ghosts of his past trial hovering.

Oh, I don’t know if OJ is a killer. I think it’s likely. Does it bother me? I don’t know. It does a little I suppose. I like to see justice delivered; I like to think our judicial system works, especially in such high profile cases. But sometimes it doesn’t; and I’m realistic enough to realize that 1) mistakes are often made and 2) there’s nothing to do but accept it and move on.