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A weblog about the politics and affairs of the old and glorious City of Albany, New York, USA. Articles written and disseminated from Albany's beautiful and historic South End by Daniel Van Riper. If you wish to make a response, have anything to add or would like to make an empty threat, please contact me.


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November 17, 2013

Straight Talk About Guns

The blogger rejects everybody else’s opinions and calls for a simple, sensible solution to the gun crisis

An astonishingly large number of Americans currently believe that the biggest defect of the Bill of Rights is the Second Amendment, the one about guns. Some people don’t like the amendment and are embarrassed by it, and as a result are shy about supporting the Bill of Rights. Meanwhile, others say the Second Amendment is the only important part of the Bill of Rights, and that the rest of the Bill of Rights doesn’t matter.

Well, I’m here to tell you that both attitudes are nonsense. Some forty years of relentless propaganda by the corporate media has transformed the issue of gun ownership into an either or issue, either you claim that the Second Amendment guarantees universal free and easy gun ownership for all, or you reject the Second and believe all guns should be confiscated and banned. There is absolutely no middle ground allowed anywhere in America today.

Poorly Attended NRA Gun Rights Rally At The Altamont Fairgrounds, August 24 2013: Not A Mass Movement
Poorly Attended NRA Gun Rights Rally At The Altamont Fairgrounds, August 24 2013: Not A Mass Movement

As a result of this carefully maintained disinformation campaign, the vast majority of the people in this country have their heads so bent out of shape that they are incapable of thinking their way out of this artificial impasse. Until We The People understand that we’ve been made stupid by corporate propaganda then the gun ownership issue will continue to spiral out of control. And the longer that the corporate elite continue to use the Second Amendment as a wedge issue to pit Americans against each other, the closer we come to the establishment of a corporate dictatorship.

To begin, we’ve all heard this common aphorism uttered in support of unlimited gun ownership, “The Second Amendment protects all of our other rights.” The thinking behind this is that an armed populace can raise their guns against persons representing government if that government sends those persons to try to take away, say, our right to a fair trial or confiscate our property. Because of this possibility, they say, the government has not dared to shut down the rest of the Bill of Rights and enslave us.

Here’s what’s wrong with that. Anyone who’s been around the block a few times can tell you that if things have disintegrated to the point where the only option left is to pull out the guns and start shooting, well, the game has been over and done for some time. It’s too late, We The People have already lost. The smart thing would have been to not let things get that bad, not sit and wait in the dark for the final shootout.

Bored Security Guards, Altamont Fairgrounds NRA Rally, August 24 2013
Bored Security Guards, Altamont Fairgrounds NRA Rally,
August 24 2013

So here’s what I plan to say from now on to anybody who feeds me that line about guns and freedom. “You say the Second Amendment protects all the other rights? You’ve got it backwards.” The real truth of the matter is this:

The rest of the Bill of Rights protects your right to own and carry firearms.

For example, how do you intend to hold onto your guns if the Fourth Amendment is completely negated and the authorities can walk into your house anytime and seize your possessions without a public court warrant? How can you dare to use your firearms if you can be placed in custody on the decree of anonymous bureaucrats, detained indefinitely on secret orders, then find yourself on trial for violating secret “laws” and convicted with secret “evidence” that not even your lawyer is allowed to examine?

When the authorities can get away with such behavior then they are not going to be impressed by a few guns raised by sweaty uncertain hands. A few hastily assembled bands of fat white guys who are used to having everything done for them are not going to last 30 seconds against well-armed police, let alone the military. The only thing those guns will do is provide the authorities with a ready excuse to slaughter those fat white guys.

Albany NY Police Search Cars For Guns After A Fatal Shooting, Ontario Street, December 2012
Albany NY Police Search Cars For Guns After A Fatal Shooting, Ontario Street, December 2012

(Now, if the radical gun advocates talked about using their guns to shoot billionaires or the top executives of corporations to defend our elected government and our Constitution, then I would have to give them my respect. But all they ever talk about is shooting cops in support of arrogant corporate thieves. Thus the gun nuts receive my deep contempt because they threaten to violently support traitors.)

Indeed, an unlimited proliferation of guns will provide the authorities with an unlimited excuse to search and seize and detain without restraint. After all, if everyone is afraid of everybody else because you never know who is packing a loaded weapon, then who but a few dingalings would object to the imposition of order by a corporate dictatorship? That cry for order at any cost, my friends, is how dictatorships get established and how they get popular support. In other words:

Unlimited unregulated proliferation of guns leads inevitably to corporate dictatorship.

This is why certain persons and certain authorities want all of us to carry guns. Make no mistake about it folks. A loaded gun in every pocket and an automatic weapon in every closet is a situation designed to generate social chaos and a subsequent economic breakdown. Universal unregulated guns is a slow motion version of the neocon Shock Doctrine in action. Artificially created disorder and destruction precedes planned conquest and enslavement. It’s a very old trick.

Anti-Gun Violence Rally, Sherman Street, Albany NY, January 2013
Anti-Gun Violence Rally, Sherman Street, Albany NY,
January 2013

Lately I’ve run into to more and more people who say that privately owned guns should simply be banned outright and confiscated. Alarmed by the prospect of universal gun ownership, and horrified by the plain fact that a few years from now gun deaths in the United States are on track to exceed automobile deaths, these well-meaning folks strongly feel that allowing private guns to remain legal is absurd. The answer, they feel, is simple, outlaw all guns and gun deaths will almost disappear.

Unfortunately things are not that simple. I hear this sort of thing all the time because I live in a small City, an urban environment. In my daily life as with most everyone I deal with on a regular basis, owning guns are not necessary unless one of us intends to do something criminal, like rob a market or murder somebody. Here in downtown Albany NY firearms of any sort are at best a dangerous nuisance that one is better off not having.

But firearms are useful and necessary tools if one lives on a farm or in open country. Guns are used for pest control, for acquiring food and for defense against dangerous animals. Using a firearm is usually the most humane way to slaughter farm animals such as pigs or cows. And very importantly, in places where law enforcement is distant and as a result slow to respond, a gun can be the only defense against dangerous human predators.

Selecting A Pig to Slaughter: That's How It's Done
Selecting A Pig to Slaughter: That's How It's Done

All of this may sound specious and worthy of eye-rolling to the typical urban dweller, but these are real and serious concerns to anyone who does not enjoy convenient urban or suburban conveniences. For persons who live off the land in some way, one needs to be self sufficient as much as possible. A gun, or rather several working firearms are at the center of self-sufficiency and thus are key to survival.

The one gun matter that transcends locality is recreational hunting. Every autumn a small army of hunters outfit themselves at their own expense and pay the government for the privilege of trekking out into the woods and shooting one or two deer or other animals such as turkeys. Recreational hunters come from all over, from the City, the suburbs and the country. Hunting is possible because hunters, wherever they live, have easy access to hunting rifles.

Corn Damaged By Deer (Purdue University)
Corn Damaged By Deer (Purdue University)

Whatever one thinks of the practice, it is an indisputable fact that for many species such as deer there is no longer any sort of check upon population growth other than hunters. Deer are destructive animals that will literally strip bare forest areas and thoroughly destroy landscaped areas such as parks and suburban lawns. If left unchecked, overpopulations of starving animals will, for example, invade our farmlands and make a serious dent in our food supply.

If guns are banned outright and hunting becomes rare, then in a few years a number of species of animals will become numerous and out of control, and they will invade human habitations and wreak destruction even in the Cities. Without these volunteer recreational hunters the State would eventually be forced to hire and outfit an army of deputies to constantly comb the woods and keep the deer populations in check, and we taxpayers would have to foot the certainly substantial bill. This is the price we pay for civilization, natural management is often not pretty.

Dumbass Dick Cheney
Dumbass Dick Cheney

If we are going to be realistic, then we have to consider one more very practical point. As much as I hate to agree with someone as morally depraved and as close to pure evil that an alleged human being can get, Dick Cheney is absolutely right. Americans will never willingly give up their guns. At least not in my lifetime, or for several more after mine.

Outlawing private ownership of guns in itself will be a nightmare of civil disrupting proportions. There will be resistance, ham handed and ineffective to be sure, but it will be deep and wide. It won’t take long for gun ownership to go underground and turn revolutionary, and with new sorts of technology such as 3D printing gun manufacture will surely follow.

The problem is that in order to enforce a private gun ban effectively, the government will need to acquire extraordinary and unconstitutional powers of search and seizure. That is, the military or the militarized police will have to regularly search house to house for banned weapons, which means the police will have to be granted unlimited powers of entry and confiscation. In other words, the Fourth Amendment has to be formally or at least effectively repealed. (And yes, we are halfway there.)

Albany And NYS Police Searching A House On Dana Avenue, 2012
Albany And NYS Police Searching A House On Dana Avenue, 2012

So we can see that a ban against private ownership of guns will create the same kind of problems that universal private gun ownership will create. Banning privately owned guns outright will paradoxically result in a universal proliferation of guns. The end result will be just as bad as universal unregulated gun ownership. In other words:

Outlawing all guns is as harmful as having all guns unregulated

In one scenario violent chaos generates universal confiscation followed by corporate dictatorship, in the other scenario universal confiscation generates violent chaos followed by corporate dictatorship. And that is why we have been given an either/or choice with no alternatives, because either choice leads to the same corporate enslavement. I think this is deliberate manipulation, but if you don’t think so it doesn’t matter. It all leads to the same disaster.

And one last sticky little consideration. What exactly does it mean to ban private ownership of guns, what do we mean by “private?” You know that means that you and me and Joe Jerk who lives down the street won’t be able to own guns, but what about corporations and their loyal personnel? After all, corporations are “legally” considered individuals and therefore enjoy all the rights and privileges that are due to every American Citizen equally.

Blackwater XE Corporation Mercenaries Train At Their Private Military Base In North Carolina
Blackwater XE Corporation Mercenaries Train At Their Private Military Base In North Carolina

Unless you’re a lazy TV ideologue or some other kind of pro-corporate pseudo-libertarian, then you know as well as I do that corporations have all of our rights and none of our personal responsibilities. A private ban on guns will not apply to private corporations. Major corporations will be able to buy, sell and stockpile guns as much as they want while you and I will not have these privileges.

With no restraint by the Bill of Rights, these corporations will use their guns at will against you and me, and soon they will assume the law enforcement privileges that are today still reserved for the police by the Constitution. No matter how it comes about, a ban on private guns will be one more transfer of power from the American People to the corporations. Like it or not, the narrow set of choices that have been presented to us by the corporate media brings us the reality of a dictatorship by the corporations.

SNUG Anti-Gun Violence Rally, Morton Avenue And Elizabeth Street, In Response To A Nearby Non-Fatal Shooting, November 2013
SNUG Anti-Gun Violence Rally, Morton Avenue And Elizabeth Street, In Response To A Nearby Non-Fatal Shooting,
November 2013

What will life in America be like when guns are completely unregulated, when anyone who wants to can carry and use a firearm? To learn what happens to a society with unregulated guns, you don’t have to go to a war zone or use your imagination, just take a look at the inner Cities of America. Here in Albany all you have to do is look at downtown sacrifice zone neighborhoods such as Arbor Hill or the South End.

(I’ll confine myself to discussing the South End where I live.) For the last two decades of the 20th Century and the first decade of the 21st, the South End functioned, in effect, as a model Neocon Laboratory, just as Baghdad did some ten years ago after the unprovoked US attack and invasion. Like most inner Cities of America, the South End was the end result of the simple minded pseudo-libertarian attitudes glorified in Ayn Rand novels.

Government services were gradually withdrawn from the South End, this became a strict policy after mayor Jerry Jennings assumed office in 1995. Basic infrastructure repair such as fixing streets and sidewalks and sewers, which had gradually decreased throughout the second half of the 20th Century, came to a complete halt. Instead, the City government engaged in periodic bouts of destruction such as wrecking entire blocks of houses, privatizing public amenities and denying basic teaching materials to our South End schools.

Albany Police Chief Steven Krokoff Ended Denial Of Service
Albany Police Chief Steven Krokoff Ended Denial Of Service

Perhaps the worst aspect of this neocon laboratory experiment was strict Police Denial of Service. This is a familiar story in all too many inner Cities in America. We here in Albany are fortunate that Police Chief Krokoff defied Jennings and publicly ended the police war against the citizens of Albany in January of 2010. Most other American Cities have not been as fortunate.

In practice Denial of Service meant that a small number of irresponsible persons were allowed to acquire handguns and use them at will against the rest of the South End community without much fear of reprisal by the police. Occasionally the police would mount military type raids against the South End, conducting an incursion and pullout as if they were invading a foreign country. But between these raids against us Denial of Service remained the policy, and as a result the criminal activities of the handful of gun toting “gangbangers” (for lack of a better word) were effectively protected by the police.

As countless observers have noted, the gangbangers of the South End and of most inner Cities are almost invariably underclass young black men. The unspoken rule has always been, the gangbangers can shoot each other or prey on other black and/or underclass people but they are not allowed to shoot at white middle class people or use their guns outside the neocon laboratories, the sacrifice zones. Such actions would almost guarantee reprisals.

The results of this great neocon experiment, withdrawal of government services combined with careful maintenance of armed thugs can be seen all throughout the South End. Abandoned houses, heaving sidewalks, empty lots and poverty. The few larger business, such as slumlording, street-level drug dealing and charter schools have been entirely exploitative, designed to suck out the remaining wealth or use the community as a funnel for government money.

Make no mistake about it folks. Unregulated gun ownership imposed upon the entire nation will ghettoize every corner of this country just like it did to the South End. When every American community is saddled with a small number of gun-toting thugs that are protected by a corporate controlled government, then eventually every single suburb and urban neighborhood will resemble the worst inner City ghettoes of today.

When (and if) all this comes to pass, then the mild, meek and gunshy majority of Americans will desperately call for military type intervention into their neighborhoods to restore order. Freedom of movement and association mean nothing if you are afraid to step outside. Freedom of speech and the right to fair trial are useless if the worst sorts of people are allowed by the authorities to rule your community with their guns.

So that’s the future that the corporations want for you and me. But believe it or not there really is a very simple solution to this problem of what to do about guns in America. In fact it is ridiculously simple. Once you clear away the pro and con ideologies that are making everybody stupid the solution becomes obvious.

Dick Metcalf, Fired For Political Incorrectness
Dick Metcalf, Fired For Political Incorrectness

Recently a fellow named Dick Metcalf wrote a short piece for his column in the magazine Guns and Ammo, a periodical which represents the radical unregulated gun lobbyists and advocates. (Read the entire column here.) His argument made plain sense, and it also got him fired from the magazine, along with the editor who allowed such heresy into print. From the article:

I also receive bags of mail every year, much of it from readers who... typically argued (I’m paraphrasing) that “The Second Amendment is all the authority we need to carry [guns] anywhere we want to” or “The government doesn’t have the right to tell me whether I’m qualified to carry a gun.” I wondered whether whose same people believed that just anybody should be able to buy a vehicle and take it out on public roadways without any kind of driver’s training, test or license.

I understand that driving a car is not a right protected by the Constitution, but to me the basic principle is the same. I firmly believe that all US citizens have a right to keep and bear arms, but I do not believe they have a right use them irresponsibly. And I do believe their fellow citizens, by the specific language of the Second Amendment have an equal right to enact regulatory laws requiring them to undergo adequate training and preparation for the responsibility of bearing arms.

I’ve seen too many examples of unsafe behavior on too many shooting ranges to believe otherwise. And we’ve all read too many accounts of legally armed individuals dealing with the consequences of not being properly trained or prepared when confronted with a bad situation.

There you have it, a censored voice from the other side. You can’t get behind the wheel of a car unless you can prove that you know how to operate it, and that you are responsible enough to use it. If as a driver you act irresponsibly, such as drive drunk or run over pedestrians, then your right to drive (your license) is taken away from you. It is in the public interest to stop you from using that car to kill people.

All rights demand responsibility. But somehow during my lifetime personal responsibility has become a laughable, politically incorrect notion. Indeed, the readers and investors of Guns And Ammo magazine who forced Mr. Metcalf and his editor to resign sneer at the notion of personal responsibility, or perhaps they have no concept of it at all. Like spoiled children they believe their personal rights are the most important thing in the world, and the rest of the world has to suffer the consequences of their selfishness.

And in that sense, the readers of Guns and Ammo remind me of the irresponsible gangbangers of the South End of Albany. In fact, those fat white exurban boys and those underclass young black guys are exactly the same kind of people. Both groups think alike, and their behavior will lead to the same corporate dictatorship. I’m almost inclined to think that someone is coordinating their activities.

In his controversial column, Mr. Metcalf fell into the trap of justifying his argument by parsing the wording of the Second Amendment. His idea about how the meaning of the phrase “shall not be infringed” does not mean “shall not be regulated” is interesting and has merit, but really is a meaningless and pointless argument. Take a look at the Second Amendment and see what I mean:

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.

From years of listening and speaking with local politicians, I’ve come to understand that the art of political speaking is all about seeming to say very specific things without really saying anything. A public office holder has to please every voter but at the same time not upset anybody. With the Second Amendment we have a beautiful example of this kind of indefinite politician-speak that somehow got enshrined at the very heart of our civilization.

This exact wording of the Second Amendment was produced by a closed committee of Congress in the late 1700s. No minutes exist of that committee meeting, nor any member’s notes or even a reference in a diary or a letter. We have no idea what the committee members had in mind. Alone of all the items that are part of the Bill of Rights, the Second was written in secret by politicians and was not properly vetted in public.

There is one thing we can be sure of, though. The “Founding Fathers,” those rich white slave-owning men who crafted the Constitution and grudgingly consented to the Bill of Rights, the last thing they wanted was for a proliferation of privately owned guns in the hands of “The Mob,” the people. When Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia insists that the “Founding Founders” wanted unlimited universal gun ownership he is spouting a lie, plain and simple.

Back in the 1790s, the moneyed elites granted the Bill of Rights to the new nation because they were terrified that the very people who had just fought and won the Revolution would turn against them. Actually, firearms were few and hard to come by in America in those days, and they would remain rare for decades. A proliferation of guns by either citizens or the government was not a problem in those days and did not need to be addressed. Thus the “Founding Fathers were willing to allow gun ownership, but they didn’t like the idea.

So what does the Second Amendment mean to say, exactly? The Second Amendment was written by nervous politicians specifically to have no specific meaning. It was carefully crafted as an indefinite statement that means whatever you want it to mean. Anyone who says otherwise is lying, or living in a fantasy world, or has a hopelessly twisted head because of all that corporate propaganda.

Entire legal, academic, political and business careers are built upon one interpretation or another. But I’m here to tell you that all these careers are built on shifting piles of dried bullcrap. Like the old song says, nobody’s right if everybody’s wrong.

The negative response from the readership and from the investors of Guns and Ammo to the idea of licensing guns the same way autos are licensed was summed up by the outgoing editor Jim Bequette’s pathetic apology for publishing a politically incorrect viewpoint:

Let me be clear: Our commitment to the Second Amendment is unwavering. It has been so since the beginning. Historically, our tradition in supporting the Second Amendment has been unflinching. No strings attached... In publishing Metcalf’s column, I was untrue to that tradition, and for that I apologize. His views do not represent mine — nor, most important, “Guns & Ammo”’s. It is very clear to me that they don’t reflect the views of our readership either... “Guns & Ammo” will never fail to vigorously lead the struggle for our Second Amendment rights,

If this guy were being truthful, he would have written “Our commitment to our interpretation of the wording of the Second Amendment is unwavering.” That doesn’t have the same ring to it and implies other interpretations, which makes it a lousy sound bite. But the faithful had spoken, and it is clear their blind commitment to chaos and a corporate dictatorship up the road would not be shaken.

Fat Freddy Buys The Miracle Weapon (Freak Bros #5, Gilbert Sheldon)
Fat Freddy Buys The Miracle Weapon
(Freak Bros #5, Gilbert Sheldon)

I have one final thing to say. Earlier I pointed out that those of us who live in Cities and suburbs usually have no use for owning guns because the police are available at a moment’s notice to apply violence, there is no need for a citizen to run a risk to him or herself by carrying a loaded weapon. I have always kept two rules in mind:

1. Never carry (or own) a weapon of any sort unless you intend to use it

2. Weapons tend to attract other weapons

So for those two reasons, and living in a crowded urban environment, I’ve always been happy to let the professionals have a monopoly on gun violence. Let the cops attract bullets. I’d rather stay out of the way of the gunfights and not participate, naturally. Call me a cowardly wimp if you want, but I’ve got better things to do than cower behind barricades.

But I want everyone to know that at the end of the last decade, when it looked like the Albany Police were going to continue their policy of Denial of Service for the indefinite future, I was seriously preparing to acquire a firearm. Actually I was going to get for myself several guns. Without question, if Denial of Service in Albany had not ended in 2010, then today I would be a gun owner.

John Nielsen, Who Presided Over Denial Of Service As Albany Police Chief, Now Trains Police For The UN In Haiti And Liberia
John Nielsen, Who Presided Over Denial Of Service As Albany Police Chief, Now Trains Police For The UN In Haiti And Liberia

 

Why? Because under urban Denial of Service I was in the same position as someone living on a farm or in an isolated cabin. If someone attacked me or The Wife then I would have been completely on my own and would have had no choice but to defend myself or die. My first task would have been to stay alive and healthy, I can’t account for my actions if I’m dead.

But even though I could see how helpless I was to the threat of attack, I hesitated to exercise my right to acquire a firearm. I simply did not want to carry the responsibility unless I absolutely had to. Besides, from what I’ve seen, guns are as popular an item for thieves as iPods. Having a gun almost guarantees that sooner or later your house will be a target for a break-in.

If we want to limit the privately owned firearms to those persons who can handle them responsibly, then it is essential that the police do their job and respond to calls for help. Because of lack of police response I almost felt compelled to increase the number of firearms in my immediate neighborhood, and almost certainly will do so if Denial of Service returns. If the police are serious about “getting the guns off the streets” and maintaining rule of law, then it is their responsibility to do their job.

It’s time to abandon this either or attitude about the Second Amendment before the situation explodes into chaos. We The People need to confront the corporate media, to let them know that their divisive shenanigans are no longer acceptable. And we have to tell both those who want unlimited guns and those who want all guns banned that they are no longer being listened to. We will never solve this problem until a majority of us acknowledge reality.


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Comments:
If you are having difficulties posting a comment, please email Daniel Van Riper. We are experimenting with our spam filters, and we do not want to exclude any legitimate commenters, just spammers!


Posted by:GAH
Posted on:11/26/2013
Comments:
It's a poorly worded amendment. In fact, a good deal of the Constitution is poorly worded and ambiguous. A policy analyst in my agency could probably shit better regs than this drivel.


Posted by:Untitled 1
Posted on:11/27/2013
Comments:
What we need is a Black Panther Party to defend our cities from the police brutality and white oppression -- the source of all violence in our black neighborhoods.

1. We want freedom. We want power to determine the destiny of our black Community.

2. We want full employment for our people.

3. We want an end to the robbery by the white man of our black Community.

4. We want decent housing, fit for shelter of human beings.

5. We want education for our people that exposes the true nature of this decadent American society. We want education that teaches us our true history and our role in the present-day society.

6. We want all black men to be exempt from military service.

7. We want an immediate end to POLICE BRUTALITY and MURDER of black people.

8. We want freedom for all black men held in federal, state, county and city prisons and jails.

9. We want all black people when brought to trial to be tried in court by a jury of their peer group or people from their black communities, as defined by the Constitution of the United States.

10. We want land, bread, housing, education, clothing, justice and peace. And as our major political objective, a United Nations-supervised plebiscite to be held throughout the black colony in which only black colonial subjects will be allowed to participate for the purpose of determining the will of black people as to their national destiny.


Posted by:Dan Van Riper
Posted on:12/01/2013
Comments:
In case anybody is wondering, that last post is actually a manifesto written by Huey P. Newton on Oct. 15, 1966. I found it in the Marxist Internet Archive, which apparently considers the Black Panther Party a Marxist organization:

http://www.marxists.org/history/usa/workers/black-panthers/1966/10/15.htm

After doing a little digging, I suspect that it was posted as a joke by a young white kid, but it's not spam so I'll leave it. Who knows, the person who posted it might be serious.

BTW, my objection to Marxism is that Marx called for a corporation to bring about his reforms, the dictatorship of the proletariat. As readers of this blog are well aware, I am firmly opposed to all varieties of corporatism and monarchism as government.


Posted by:chad
Posted on:12/07/2013
Comments:
Get back to fundamentals. The "right to bear arms" does not mean the right to carry a gun or own a gun. It does not mean the right to hunt. "Bearing arms" means service in the military.

In the 18th century as before, the notion of citizenship and military service were very closely aligned. Those who had full citizenship rights also had full rights and obligations to serve as soldiers...

Our founders did NOT want a standing army. Their idea was that the new nation would be defended by a militia composed of all free white men (in their way of thinking, that was the same as all citizens).

The NRA nuts have it exactly backwards: It was not the founders' intent to have a well-armed citzenry available to be able to fight off the government. It was the government's intent to not have a military at all and thus no fear of a cromwell-style coup. Those militia guys with their rifles would be the only means of national defense. They aren't there to FIGHT the armed forces, they ARE the armed forces.

That idea quickly became unworkable as we became a colonial power ourselves and needed a real trained and organized army and navy to protect what we had. I would argue the 2nd Amendment and its idea of a citzen militia as our national defense body has been obsolete since at least the 1840s.

The militia lives on formally, as the National Guard. But, as we all ought to know, it is effective as a military force only to the extent as it is a reinforcing tool for the real army.

BOTH sides' arguments are nonsensical, constitionally.


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