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Sun Oct 21, 2012, 06:10 AM

Second Amendment wording.

Last edited Sun Oct 21, 2012, 06:54 AM - Edit history (1)

"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."

In my off time, I passably study diachronic linguistics. When read in established context of contemporary writings in English America, the tonal inference of the Second Amendment reads to the modern era:

"Establishing that a militia is necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed."

Contrary to some opinions, the primary word in this amendment seems to be "Being" as opposed to Militia. In colonial America, the use of the word "Being" most commonly established a secondary but often intertwined meaning between two thought processes, similar to how English uses the semicolon to divide yet follow related lines of thought. Likewise, the grammar associated with the contemporary use of the word "Being" tends to follow archaic grammar similar to an ungendered line of Spanish or to a lesser extent any Germanic language. The grammar structure of the colonial American "Being" applies across the entire sentence structure, not just to the lines of thought being conveyed. In the instance of the Second Amendment, the structural breakdown would be as follows:

"The right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed, (because) the security of a free State necessitates a well-regulated Militia."


Now, before anyone jumps the gun (hehe...) on the use of the word Militia, might I offer up the linguistic evolution of the word? In the modern world, the notion of a Militia is an organized civilian group devoted to certain goals of a nation under either true or false pretense (see the border patrol militias as an example.) The issue with "Militia" is that, with all words in one way or another, it is a true polyseme, having morphed enough through history as to render a non-contemporary analysis moot, only allowing for a contemporary examination of historical predicate transfer morphology and to a lesser extent subjecting the word to lexical implication rules.



Any input on this preliminary case offering would be more than welcome, as I'm looking to do further independent research of the subject matter, but only if there is appropriate interest.


(Second edit to add parenthesis instead of brackets around word "because", fifth semipara, word fifteen. Coding is not my strong suit, and the word "because" was deleted due to bracketing. Third edit to correct improper linguistic analysis; altered preceding analysis for true diagnostic.)

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Arrow 23 replies Author Time Post
Reply Second Amendment wording. (Original post)
Decoy of Fenris Oct 2012 OP
dballance Oct 2012 #1
safeinOhio Oct 2012 #2
Decoy of Fenris Oct 2012 #3
safeinOhio Oct 2012 #4
Decoy of Fenris Oct 2012 #5
glacierbay Oct 2012 #9
Clames Oct 2012 #12
Francis Marion Oct 2012 #13
Lord Magus Dec 2012 #16
Trunk Monkey Oct 2012 #6
Tuesday Afternoon Oct 2012 #7
glacierbay Oct 2012 #8
Atypical Liberal Oct 2012 #10
Tuesday Afternoon Oct 2012 #11
Eleanors38 Oct 2012 #14
Atypical Liberal Oct 2012 #15
BrightKnight Dec 2012 #17
jody Dec 2012 #18
spin Jan 2013 #22
jody Jan 2013 #23
jimmy the one Jan 2013 #19
jimmy the one Jan 2013 #20
jimmy the one Jan 2013 #21

Response to Decoy of Fenris (Original post)

Sun Oct 21, 2012, 06:43 AM

1. Thank You for an Insightful Post

Scalia says he wants to generally live and rule to the words of the Constitution as they meant when they were written back in the late 1700's. So I appreciate your giving us a view on what they might have meant to common people back then.

We all know terms tend to change over time. Just think about what one would have said in the 80's as funny or derogative versus what one would say now.

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Response to Decoy of Fenris (Original post)

Sun Oct 21, 2012, 07:23 AM

2. Could you look into the 18th century use of

"bear" arms and what the context of that term would be in that time frame? Some have said back them the term was used in a military context, as in having weapons stored in a building controlled and protected by the military group.
Others have stated that "well-regulated" meant well functioning like a clock. Wouldn't a well functioning clock need parts that are accounted for and arranged in an exact order, not just a bunch of parts spread all over in no order?

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Response to safeinOhio (Reply #2)

Sun Oct 21, 2012, 07:51 AM

3. Incorrect, at least in part.

Characteristic analysis of the word "Bear" has proven that the word is largely, though not entirely, unchanged. The morphology following the evolution of the word "Bear" from the American Colonial era is largely cosmetic, keeping pace with determined grammatical and structural alterations in logical progression of the language as a whole. "Bear" arms in contemporary works indicates the generalized possession, manufacture, recreational use, and military use commonly utilized within modern English. American Colonial English makes the distinction between the overarching generalized statement "Bear" and the less common but more definitive "wield", wherein "wield" is the act of actively utilizing a weapon or other implement. See "Bear witness" for the most commonly known use of the American Colonial English "Bear", wherein "Bear" is effectively and rather succinctly used as the modern "Have".

Therefore, to "Bear" arms according to contemporary linguistic analysis would be to "Have" arms, or to "Own" or "Possess" arms.

Likewise, while linguistics is all fun and games, it is also important to point out the historical implications of state-established Militia. Firsthand testimonies from George Washington himself lament the state of the given Militias, writing in his letter "Sentiments on a Peace Establishment" that... "the Citizens of America (with a few legal and official exceptions) from 18 to 50 Years of Age should be borne on the Militia Rolls, provided with uniform Arms, and so far accustomed to the use of them". Given the period piece and his further sentiments on the nature of Militias, Washington is calling for an -additional- equipment of "Uniform" arms to be provided by the State. To supplement this, Washington states (in his Letter to the President of Congress) that relying on Militia as a form of defense is "as resting on a broken staff", stating explicitly that Militias are neither trained nor organized, or (to make it relevant) "well-regulated", and are unreliable at best in the theater of warfare.


To answer your question slightly more directly: To "Bear" arms is to "possess" them personally while Militia arms are to be uniform and to be provided by the state, and "Well-regulated militia" was an oxymoron of the time.

I can answer more fully about the nature of uniform and nonstandardized weaponry on the field of battle on request, if you so wish. Indeed, I would be happy to do so in full when my workweek ends, but could produce a passable succinct analysis prior to that.

(Edited for clarification of quotations.)

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Response to Decoy of Fenris (Reply #3)

Sun Oct 21, 2012, 08:08 AM

4. Would the example of Switzerland's

militia model be the closest to what they had in mind? Not a standing army, only citizens armed with military weapons that meet and train in military type situations? My guess is that is more what they had in mind and would pass any constitutional rules in our country.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gun_politics_in_Switzerland

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Response to safeinOhio (Reply #4)

Sun Oct 21, 2012, 08:17 AM

5. Yes and no.

Last edited Sun Oct 21, 2012, 09:17 AM - Edit history (1)

I concede that based on afforded linguistic evolution that militias as intended by the post-revolutionary Americans would indeed have met the form utilized by Switzerland's "Civilian soldier" model. However, contrary to that line of opinion, it has been made clear in several documents of both State and Federal constitutions that a Militia of the time would be more comparable to our "selective service", or the draft, calling upon citizens as a whole into an established standing armed force and therein trained and armed with standardized weaponry. Even in the post-revolutionary era, the differences between a "militia" of armed citizens and a trained, well-funded armed force were vast. Quoting him again, Washington in his letter to Congress (February, not September '76), states "To expect ... the same service from raw and undisciplined recruits, as from veteran soldiers, is to expect what never did and perhaps never will happen. Men, who are familiarized to danger, meet it without shrinking; whereas troops unused to service often apprehend danger where no danger is."

It is my view that in this light, the Militia and the Army were indeed viewed as highly separate, with Militias consisting of essentially civilians with a crash course, and with the Army being a professional fighting force.


(As an aside, I am aware that I quote Washington often, but what better military and political mind to pick than one who lived history itself? When questioning intent, it is often best to go to the source, rather than to speculate.)


(Reason for edit: I forgot an S. )

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Response to Decoy of Fenris (Reply #5)

Sun Oct 21, 2012, 10:20 AM

9. I admire your style of writing

 

how would you like to come to MO and teach some of the officers in my Division how to write a decent, coherent report?

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Response to glacierbay (Reply #9)

Sun Oct 21, 2012, 01:10 PM

12. DA PAM 600-67

 

...isn't that enough?

Myself and a fellow soldier who happens to be a pediatric plastic surgeon had a discussion on writing in the military. Using the built in clarity index tool in MS Word we compared paragraphs from one of his research pieces vs. those pulled directly from DA PAM 600-67 (Effective Writing for Army Leaders) and his writing came up with a lower rating...

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Response to Decoy of Fenris (Reply #5)

Sun Oct 21, 2012, 04:58 PM

13. 18th century colonial militia trained

... as seriously or as halfheartedly as their likelihood of impending combat varied.

Some observers record militia 'training' in peacetime as a light, social occasions with little emphasis on correcting clumsy drill.

In contrast to the months prior to April 19 of '75, when both sides' correspondence and behaviors bespoke an expectation of imminent fighting.

Isaac Davis of Acton trained his Minuteman company in marksmanship very rigorously in this period, for example. His company would not have been alone in ramping up the seriousness with which their units drilled.

The attrition of subsequent years of fighting, or more correctly, of marching around and staying in camps getting sick while getting ready to fight, of not getting paid or supported (fed, sheltered) properly; the field of battle was a compartively 'safe' place. You were probably going to die in camp if you were going to die. However- despite such morale sapping and physically debilitating conditions, despite '...fighting, getting beat, and rising to fight again,' despite terms of enlistment that spanned several month instead of 'for the duration', despite having crops and shops at home in need of attention, militia served perhaps as best they could- not as professional soldiers, but as a the farmers and shopkeepers they were.

Judged from professional military standards of combat effectiveness, colonial militias may not have been 'effective'. But think about what they did accomplish: by continuing to fight and resist, they contributed to the political/military calculus which ended the English will to fight. So the steady drumbeat of resistance was a valuable military contribution, even if it was never as militarily spectacular as the successful conclusion of a proper military campaign, as in Yorktown. Everywhere colonial militas operated, they drew and tired English forces. '

Despite their obstacles, despite their lack of prominent military victories, like the Vietcong, they simply showed up for 'work' every day. It's interesting that the descendents of successful Revolutionary warriors seemed to forget how it all happened.

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Response to safeinOhio (Reply #2)

Mon Dec 24, 2012, 04:15 PM

16. It says "keep and bear arms".

That clearly would include individual ownership.

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Response to Decoy of Fenris (Original post)

Sun Oct 21, 2012, 09:05 AM

6. I really have nothing to add to this thread

 

but I would like to thank you for the time you've put into this post and your subsequent replies

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Response to Decoy of Fenris (Original post)

Sun Oct 21, 2012, 10:03 AM

7. The Right of The PEOPLE shall NOT be INFRINGED because the Founding Fathers

were not going to provide it for you. Keeping you and your own safe was your responsiblity.

In time of war it would be expected that you defend the country as that would be paramount to keeping you and your own safe.

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Response to Tuesday Afternoon (Reply #7)

Sun Oct 21, 2012, 10:11 AM

8. Correct

 

The police are not responsible for the safety of individual citizens unless in our custody, we're only responsible for the general public's safety. We usually arrive after the fact, rarely are we there to prevent a crime from happening.
That's why I'm a huge proponent of citizens being able to CC, they should have the same tools as I do to protect themselves if needed.

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Response to Decoy of Fenris (Original post)

Sun Oct 21, 2012, 10:32 AM

10. Yup, nothing new here.

 

A very verbose way of saying that the second amendment is about the people keeping military-grade small arms appropriate for infantry use so that they can function as military troops in an emergency.


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Response to Atypical Liberal (Reply #10)

Sun Oct 21, 2012, 12:46 PM

11. he twisted and contorted the sentence structure into a pretzel.

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Response to Atypical Liberal (Reply #10)

Mon Oct 22, 2012, 08:25 AM

14. The NYT is fascinated with the grammatical structure of the Second

Especially in their efforts to completely remove the individual RKBA, and leave a privilege to KBA, as modified by the state for purposes of militia service, the latter being seen as archaic, hence no right.

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Response to Eleanors38 (Reply #14)

Mon Oct 22, 2012, 08:38 AM

15. There is no such thing as a "collective" right. There is no right that a collective can exercise...

 

There is no such thing as a "collective" right. There is no right that a collective can exercise that an individual cannot also exercise.

And conversely, if an individual cannot exercise a right, then neither can two or more individuals together.

Any true right is a right regardless of how many people exercise it.

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Response to Decoy of Fenris (Original post)

Mon Dec 24, 2012, 09:10 PM

17. Madison wanted cheap land and labor.

Arming every settler helped accomplish both objectives. It also served as a military deterrent. I doubt that he had any deeper motivation.

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Response to Decoy of Fenris (Original post)

Tue Dec 25, 2012, 12:01 AM

18. I've read the Heller amici "BRIEF FOR PROFESSORS OF LINGUISTICS AND ENGLISH DENNIS E. BARON, Ph.D.,

 

RICHARD W. BAILEY, Ph.D. AND JEFFREY P. KAPLAN, Ph.D." see http://www.gurapossessky.com/news/parker/documents/07-290tsacProfessorsOfLinguistics.pdf

The Heller opinion used their brief so what does your OP add to it?

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Response to jody (Reply #18)

Wed Jan 2, 2013, 03:48 PM

22. Very interesting link. (n/t)

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Response to spin (Reply #22)

Wed Jan 2, 2013, 03:59 PM

23. But the professors don't explain how the following amendment would not also limit "procreation".

 

“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to procreate, shall not be infringed.”

It seems obvious that procreation is necessary for a Militia.

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Response to Decoy of Fenris (Original post)

Wed Jan 2, 2013, 09:44 AM

19. Wm Rawle, 1825, on bearing arms

To answer your question slightly more directly: To "Bear" arms is to "possess" them personally while Militia arms are to be uniform and to be provided by the state, and "Well-regulated militia" was an oxymoron of the time.

Wrong. William Rawle, in 1825, gave clear insight to the difference between bearing arms & carrying arms (Rawle was fraudulently portrayed by scalia in his 2008 ruling, as supporting an individual RKBA):

Wm Rawle, A View of the Constitution of the United States (1825,rev~1831):
In Chapter 11 (XI), Treason against the United States (+emph):

"All insurrection, the object of which was to suppress an office of excise .., and the marching with a party in arms to the house of the excise officer, and committing acts of violence and outrage there, with a view by force and intimidation to prevent the execution of the law, has been held to amount to a levying of war against the United States.
A conspiracy to subvert by force the government of the United States, violently to dismember the Union, to coerce repeal of a general law, or to revolutionize a territorial government by force, if carried into effect, by embodying and assembling a military body in a military posture, is an overt act of levying war; and not only those who bear arms, but those who perform the various and essential parts which must be assigned to different persons, for the purpose of prosecuting the war, are guilty of the crime.


This suggests Rawle interpreted usage of 'bear arms' in the armed sense, to imminently use or threaten, rather than simply to carry arms innocuously on the person. He gives fairly vivid descriptions of those conspirators who do threateningly bear arms, & clearly differentiates between conspirators who do not bear arms.
Those conspiratorial persons Rawle mentions lastly, 'who perform the various and essential parts...', leaders perhaps, could certainly have kept or carried pistols or knives innocuously about or kept them at their homes & offices but not in a belligerent manner, clandestinely. The arms bearing conspirators would have been in a military posture or threatening posture, or yes, confrontational posture (as scalia conceded).

Rawle wrote on the 2ndA in two treatises in 'A View of the Constitution..', on specific on the 2ndA, and one treatise on the military. You might read it Fenris.

Rawle wrote this in his 2ndA Treatise: "The duty of the state government is, to adopt such regulations as will tend to make good soldiers with the least interruptions of the ordinary and useful occupations of civil life."

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Response to Decoy of Fenris (Original post)

Wed Jan 2, 2013, 10:03 AM

20. 8 british scholars refute scalia's ruling & english interpretation

somebody wrote: There is no such thing as a "collective" right. There is no right that a collective can exercise that an individual cannot also exercise.

.. a naive approach - the terms are what they are today, not subject to personal interpretations such as yours, which have little to do with the argument.

Justice Scalia in his 2008 ruling, ruled that the 2ndA was based upon the english 'have arms' decree from 1688, & scalia called the english RKBA an 'individual right' to bear arms. A group of 8 british scholars have written several rebuttals to scalia's fraudulently portraying their english 'have arms' decree as an individual RKBA based upon the modern interpretation. They say it meant simply an individual right to belong to crown militia - collectively - , nowt to do with private self defense.

8 british scholars: ...the {US Supreme} Court examined the English Declaration of Rights of 1689, correctly finding that the right to “have arms” in Article VII is the basis of the right enshrined in the Second Amendment. The Court also correctly recognized that the SecondAmendment right to bear arms was an individual right to have and use arms for “self preservation and defense” as in its English predecessor.
However,contrary to discredited scholarship upon which Heller relied {to wit, joyce malcolm}, the right to “have arms” embodied in the English Declaration of Rights did not intend to protect an individual’s right to possess, own, or usearms for private purposes such as to defend a home against burglars (what, in modern times, we mean when we use the term “self-defense”). Rather, it referred to a right to possess arms in defense of the realm. Accordingly, the right to own or use arms for private purposes is not a right deeply rooted in our nation’s tradition, and should not be incorporated as against the states by the 14th Amendment.


The Court “throughout its history has freely exercised its power to reexamine the basis of constitutional decisions.” That the Heller decision is recent only weighs in favor of quick action by the Court to correct its error of historical interpretation.
As set forth below, reconstructing the historical meaning of the right to “have arms” deserves better than Petitioners’ selective reading and mischaracterizationof Blackstone’s reference to the “natural right of resistance and self-preservation,”

http://www.oyez.org/sites/default/files/cases/briefs/pdf/brief__08-1521__22.pdf

you might want to read what the 8 british scholars have to say, fenris.

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Response to Decoy of Fenris (Original post)

Wed Jan 2, 2013, 10:28 AM

21. GW & select militias

fenris wrote: Firsthand testimonies from George Washington himself lament the state of the given Militias... "the Citizens of America (with a few legal and official exceptions) from 18 to 50 Years of Age should be borne on the Militia Rolls, provided with uniform Arms, and so far accustomed to the use of them". Given the period piece and his further sentiments on the nature of Militias, Washington is calling for an -additional- equipment of "Uniform" arms to be provided by the State.

Written may 1783 shortly after the end of the rev-war (tho couple years after hostilities ended); Note readers, how washington refers to 'the citizens of america' aged 18 - 50 as those belonging on militia rolls, clearly referring to 'WHITE MALE militia members'- as per the militia act of 1792, one year after passage of the mlitia act of 1792 which pretty much washington is reiterating here.
Actually tho, washington was more in favor of a select militia (not everyone, but 'volunteers'), & felt that, contrary to his above words, not all americans should bear or keep arms in a militia. He thought that a select group trained more often than once a year, would be more effective than the motley crews he'd seen in the revolution.
The militia act of 1792 set forth that citizens provide their own arms/muskets, which proved unrealistic, differing from GW above. I think GW might've been referring to militia rolls as a form of levee en masse pool from which to draw, with his select militia as well (not sure).

To supplement this, Washington states that relying on Militia as a form of defense is "as resting on a broken staff", stating explicitly that Militias are neither trained nor organized, or (to make it relevant) "well-regulated", and are unreliable at best in the theater of warfare.

This is why GW preferred a select militia, likely later on after 1783 - confiteor I don't have the dates in my head.

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