Friday, February 15, 2013

Second Amendment: Obsolete

"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. 
Second Amendment to US Constitution

"A well regulated militia being about as necessary as having a place to tether one's horse while shopping, any right to bear arms said to flow from that need has been abridged by the inexorable forces of obsolescence."

Put the Second Amendment where it belongs: not on a pedestal, but in the dustbin of  history.   .

This is not 1776,  the year of the America Revolution and the publication of Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations.  It's not 1787,  when the U.S. Constitution was adopted and sent to the states for ratification..  It’s not 1791, when the first ten amendments to the Constitution, the Bill of Rights,  were adopted,

Times have changed.  The historical context  has changed.  American demographics have changed.  Weapons have changed. Slaves are free.  We elect U.S. Senators.  African-Americans can vote.  Women can vote.

The Constitution is the framework of our democratic republic, and we revere it's democratic ideals, but it’s been amended 27 times!  It’s been interpreted and re-interpreted, revised and re-revised, for over 250 years. It's a living document, subject to change, not the Dead Sea scrolls. So why  hang on to archaic interpretations without reference to present conditions, concerns, and contexts?

Could our Founding Fathers have imagined, let alone condoned in the hands of ordinary citizens, AF-15s and AK-47s?  Fully- or semi-automatic assault weapons?  Plastic guns that security Xrays cannot detect?  3D printers that will soon enable you to create a gun and download it from your laptop?   

Why do citizens NEED the right to have weapons of war?   Why do the people  need  "high-capacity magazine" weapons that can spray bullets into any crowd without reloading, 20 times and more?. The security of our nation doesn't depend on militias anymore, on vigilantes taking the law into their own hands.   For that we have the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines, and federal, state and local law enforcement agencies..     .

So why such hysteria (see the NRA's new ad on high capacity magazines) over an outmoded amendment  that no longer fits  the circumstances and  needs of  modern times?  The NRA spins nightmare scenarios of  a noir America in chaos, taken over by thugs and criminals, but the nightmare scenario of  the murder of 20 children (most with multiple bullet holes in their heads) and 6 teachers does nothing for them. Not one thing. The NRA simply becomes more hysterical in the face of polls that show a  majority in favor of  a ban on weapons of war, as well as universal background checks.

Who, besides the multi-billion dollar arms manufacturing industry,  is gaining from this hysterical adherence  (to put it mildly) to an amendment that has been rendered obsolete?

For this we are supposed to stand on a powder-keg of principles that are about to explode, and that do more harm than good?

Time for common sense. Time for a change.   .


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