The Well-Regulated Militia

Amendment II, ratified December 15, 1791:

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.

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Last Saturday, my daughter and I spent the day at the Museum of the American Revolution in Philadelphia. Our republic is 243 years old, and we still cannot agree on what the above amendment to our constitution really means. I’m not a constitutional scholar or an attorney, so I’m not going to fix this here (and you probably won’t either).

The shooting in El Paso happened while we were at the museum, relearning about the sacrifices that different people, in culturally different colonies, had to make together (as Ben Franklin’s 1754 image suggests) to begin this experiment of a self-governing republic… a representative democracy.

1200px-Benjamin_Franklin_-_Join_or_Die

The political cartoon largely credited to Benjamin Franklin, which first appeared in his Pennsylvania Gazette, May 9, 1754.

After the immediacy of the horror Saturday, the same tired talking points emerged, either on television or social media. And we now live in a time where you can get whatever argument you want validated; an unfortunate drawback of the information age is the prevalence of bad information.

So let me say this up front. If you want a gun, or even a few guns, to protect yourself, your family, your property, your farm, or your ranch… you should be able to have them. I hope you have the sense to learn how to operate them correctly and keep them away from children. If you want to hunt, you should be able to do so. In fact, I love it when my brother-in-law brings me ground venison at Christmas.

But that’s not what this is about.

The question at hand is this: “Is there anything we can do about this problem?”

The answer is certainly not to take away everyone’s guns.

But that’s what the Democrats want, Sean!

No. They don’t. You’ve let influential blowhards in the media or in politics (or perhaps behind a pulpit) convince you of that. And your response smacks of sloppy and poorly thought-out paranoia.

Yes, they do, Sean! They want to disarm the population and install a socialist state!

No. You’ve lost the good sense God gave you. You are letting people ignite your otherwise well-buried fears and insecurities.

Well what do you expect when we’ve removed God from all traces of public life?

Spare me your arrogance. Spare me your smug self-righteousness. It is not the job of the government, or you for that matter, to tell me how or when to worship. I’m rather tired of hearing such a simplistic and cowardly argument tossed around.

There are people (mostly men) who pervert Christianity and its scriptures to build personal wealth and to maintain power. The examples are numerous and go back centuries, and it goes on to this day.  The people I know who do not follow a religion walked away from it for just this reason. It wasn’t because they were lost. It was because they grew tired of how people in power abused it. This is a country of 300 million people. Not everyone needs the same theology as you. Go twist scripture for your own benefits on your own time.

Guns don’t kill people. We need to punish the criminal, not the gun. We are punishing the responsible gun owners.

Yes. We need to punish the criminals. Yes, people need to be held accountable for their actions. But what level of weapon is enough to defend yourself? You don’t need an assault rifle. Are you just that delusional? Or worse, does it just make you feel more like a man? Go back and read the first few words of the Second Amendment: A well-regulated militia.

It’s not a free-for-all. Regulation is spelled out in those first few words.

Criminals don’t obey laws.

You can’t even be serious. Why have any laws to begin with? To dissuade us from our darker nature. Humans repeatedly make poor snap judgements. Easy access to this level of weaponry only invites problems.

But Sean, all these violent video games…

Again, you are being lazy.

No other Western country has this problem. Not Canada, not Great Britain, not Germany, not Australia. They have the same video games, they have people with mental illness, and if anything, they are far more secular than the United States.

This is a uniquely American problem. Too many of us are too hard-headed to learn how other Western nations have dealt with this level of weaponry. Too many are too stubborn to have the courage to mold other ideas into a solution that improves the situation while still preserving individual liberties.

What about personal responsibility?

There are mentally ill people in this country who have been teetering on the edge. Some for a long time.

When the chief executive repeatedly uses the power of his office to denigrate and dehumanize others, it justifies the feelings of these ill people. Enough so that they act upon them. Words matter. This is not policing of thought or forcing political correctness, this is dangerous. The current executive has done this over and over during the last several months. He sows this hatred and violence, and he does not care. No, he didn’t pull the trigger, but he motivated the shooter.

But Antifa…

Stop it. You’re changing the subject. The current executive is an individual who is supposed to represent all citizens of the United States. There is no reason to support him any further. He is a reckless, power-hungry demagogue who has benefitted from Russian interference in our elections.  There is no comparison.

***

Article II, Section 4:

The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.

Based on the testimony of Robert Mueller, Obstruction of Justice would be my charge.

***

At the end, this is about fear.

Older Americans, generally Christians who are of European descent, have held power for the entire history of the republic. And world history has shown that ethnic groups who have long dominated in government will not suddenly begin to share power. On the contrary, they will dehumanize others and fight to the teeth as soon as they feel threatened by something remotely out of their comfort zone. Witness the madness in some of them at the election of our republic’s first mixed-race president. We have seen many of them wrap their fears around their faith and the flag, denigrating those who dare to question them. Taunting others like bullies on a middle-school playground, insisting theirs is the only right way for the republic.

It’s not. History will remember them as it does George Wallace. Don’t be George Wallace.

About seansublette

Meteorologist at Climate Central. Broadcast meteorologist in Virginia from 1995 to 2015. Born and raised in Richmond, VA. Penn State alumnus. Loves baseball and the rock band Rush. Views are independent of my employer. Past performance does not guarantee future results.
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