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The Second Mistake
Author: TriSec    Date: 06/14/2016 01:43:30

Good Morning.

We interrupt your regularly-scheduled "Ask a Vet" to continue Sunday evening's rant.

Let's think about the Constitution this morning.

It's been categorized as a "living document", and if you read through it carefully enough, it becomes evident that the founders intended that it should be updated and changed through the Amendment process.

Before it was even sent to be ratified, 10 of those amendments were added to actually weaken the perceived strength of the Federal government. We know them now as the so-called "Bill of Rights". Despite these being amendments and meant as changes to the original document, they have become, and remain, sacrosanct.

One of them is a quaint reminder of the times when it was written. It's really hard to imagine a soldier being quartered in a private home during a time of peace these days.

But most of the other ones found the basis of our society. Freedom of Speech, Freedom of religion..rules against self-incrimination, double-jeopardy, unusual punishments...and even the more esoteric ones trying to define whether the Feds, the States, or the People retain certain rights...we've all gotten along and tried to eke out our claims to those unalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Except for the elephant in the room.

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.

Like those soldiers living in private homes, this amendment too is a product of the times. When it was written, we had just beaten the world's only superpower with really nothing more than a ragtag collection of armed citizens. On that April morn by the Rude Bridge, there was no United States Army. The way things worked then was that all able-bodied males in a particular town or region were expected to have a musket, ammunition, and supplies always at the ready (hence, "Minutemen"), and they were expected to drill and train every Sunday after church.

During the run-up to the revolution, the British Colonial powers enacted increasingly draconian regulations on the people, not the least of which was the surrendering of all personal arms to the Crown, especially among the city folk in Colonial Boston. It was the stockpile of brass cannon and personal arms at Concord that the Empire was intending on seizing when they made for Cambridge in their boats - and we all know how that turned out.

So the Founders got it in their heads that the King tried to seize our arms and our means of defending ourselves...so the new Federal Government should probably be prevented from doing the same thing.

The local, regimental system continued to exist well into the Civil war, but after that it became necessary to form a standing army under the auspices of the United States. Some of the local flavor is preserved under the National Guard...but we're long past the point of an ordinary civilian practicing war on a Sunday afternoon with a long gun. That is what the second amendment was intended to protect.

The Founding Fathers were brilliant in some things. Jefferson's and Adams' prose in our governing regulations is well worth studying and understanding. They were all genius enough to realize that something they wrote today might not be relevant tomorrow...and they gave us the amendment process so we could continue to form a more perfect union.

Lo these many years later, it's still common to refer to the "American Experiment", as if the government were still evolving and changing to react to the different conditions we encounter along the way. Except that it doesn't. Repeated experiments that yield the same result are no longer experiments - they become proofs.

Those Founding Fathers of ours were not infallible - they were mortal men like you and me. I'm more convinced than ever that with the Second Amendment...they made a mistake.

15 comments (Latest Comment: 06/14/2016 19:19:04 by Will in Chicago)
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