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Sun Dec 16, 2012, 03:01 AM

The 2nd Amendment was NOT written "to protect us from our gov't," FFS... [View all]

And I'm getting beaucoup weary of hearing that BS.

If you don't understand the full historical and political context of the second amendment, go and learn before you shoot your mouth off about it being a way of allowing us to "protect ourselves from our own government."

The Revolution was over when the Constitution and the Bill of Rights were adopted and ratified. The individuals charged with creating an infrastructure that would allow a newly-independent nation formed of disparate ex-colonies to retain that independence, recognized the pragmatic necessity of empowering a citizen military for defense of the newly-formed nation.

We had mustered out the Revolutionary Army and sent almost everyone home. We had bupkus in the way of standing military forces and bupkus in the way of resources to recruit, train, and maintain such forces. Having had experience with such forces being used to keep uppity colonials in line, we didn't want to go that route in peacetime.

We also had a bunch of ex-colonies who (frankly) didn't think much of each other, weren't really sure they agreed, and didn't much want to cohere if it meant giving up what they thought was the correct way to live & govern themselves in favor of what those other assholes thought was a good idea.

The second amendment was a way of ensuring that should England, Spain or France decide we were a soft target, we as citizens could mobilize an effective response quickly, by having militias available. And since the government couldn't afford to arm or equip those militias, it would be important to ensure that able-bodied potential militia members were able to keep their weapons handy, and that no state would opt out of having a cadre of potential recruits available by restricting people from owning weapons, as was common practice among the major superpowers of the era, who DID have standing armies.

It was a practical measure to ensure we all had the right to defend ourselves and our new nation against anyone who might want to grab back or assert control over any of our sovereign territory. That's why it starts with the words "A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free State..."

It's also important to remember that the Bill of Rights represented two key concepts essential to the building of our nation: 1) The establishment of common ground among some very disparate colonial cultures and beliefs; and 2) the assurance that our central government would protect that common ground for all citizens regardless of which state they lived in.

Most of those protections were aimed, not at protecting citizens of the new nation from their own central government, but from the encroachments of STATE governments, which had different traditions and practices regarding which powers were appropriate for them to exercise over their citizens. It was a way of saying, "In every state in America, you have these rights. You don't need to worry, if you move from Virginia to New York, that the Governor of New York might decide to quarter troops in your home or appoint a gigantic unpayable bail if you're accused of an offense. You don't need to worry, if you're a Catholic from Maryland, that the Protestants in Virginia are going to be able to restrict your access to public office based on your faith."

If you look at the the entire Bill of Rights in the context of a new nation struggling to weld together diverse notions and traditions about self-government, and at the same time empower themselves to stay viable as a nation, the second amendment makes sense.

In a very real sense, the spirit of the second amendment is best exemplified in the modern era by retaining ultimate civilian control over our military establishment, and by ensuring all citizens equal access to service in the armed forces. We now have a standing military force, but it remains, in essence, a citizen military, controlled by civilian elected representatives, and comprised of all citizens regardless of gender, ethnicity, religious belief, state of residence, etc. We still have militias, in the form of national guard units, available for immediate response and our states are empowered to train and arm those militias.

These are the real spirit of the second amendment, not the paranoid nutnicks hoarding canned goods and wearing camo and muttering about the President setting up FEMA camps and conspiring to take their gunz away.

wearily,
Bright



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