Everyone thought the Gabby Giffords shooting was just what the anti-gun crowd needed to finally get new gun control legislation enacted. Well, how’d that work out? A few neutered attempts at magazine capacity limits and some crazy talk about making it illegal to carry guns near members of Congress. What did you expect with the same old players uttering the same idiotic soundbites. New York representative Carolyn McCarthy’s spokesman sums up their excruciatingly painful logic: “Running out of bullets is kind of a critical point where the shooting stops. If there are less rounds in a clip, usually you can expect that there will be a lot less casualties.” It doesn’t take a rocket scientist . . .
– hell, it doesn’t even take a model rocket scientist – to figure out that there are plenty of other ways to send lots of lead downrange. Once again, our elected leaders have failed us. No one enacted a damn thing that could keep this from happening again. Which it did.
Another young white male satisfied our country’s statistical need for crazies-per-capita. This time the general news media and blogosphere are ramping up for a battle royal (I won’t go labeling any specific site as left or liberal – many are way past the point of making sense as any one ideology). As always, the tinfoil hat brigade can be ignored; they don’t bring in enough curious readers to make a dent in public opinion.
However, they are not the only cum laude grad of the “How much crazy shit can I make up and get people to believe it” school of web journalism. Major sites like CNN, Forbes and HuffPo (along with the usual NYC rags) are making it a Big Deal to talk about guns as if there’s no one keeping score of fact vs. fiction. And, I’m not talking about calling a magazine a clip.
Yes, it’s stupid, but get over it; there’s not much point in arguing with a guy who calls a power window button a door handle. It only shows their general lack of understanding of a subject. Arguing mags vs. clips or bullets vs. cartridges won’t help maintain our rights. The shit being made up by these denizens of disinformation is of a more sinister nature.
Did you know that anyone can buy an automatic weapon over the Internet? Are you familiar with the huge national market for grenades, “multi-chamber weapons” and rocket launchers? Heard that terrorists and psychopaths buy ammunition online in “stockpile” quantities? Does a first grade teacher have the answer to settle the Second Amendment debate?
These are the types of questions I’m being led to ask by some extremely popular websites. It’s misleading, disingenuous, and dangerous. And it is time to accept their challenge, and expose their vacuous lies and mistruths to the world. Where shall we start?
How ’bout with Flora Nicholas, a writer/producer/director for stage and screen. Flora just penned this lengthy and completely unresearched piece in the Huffington Post about the Second Amendment and the original intent of our Founding Fathers. Her writing appears to be aimed at a readership that thrives on exclamation points and flowery, silly catch-phrases:
“I took it upon myself to hunt down the Second Amendment (without a rifle in tow of course) to see whether it DOES actually grant all the rights claimed by those in possession of guns, machine guns, semi-automatic weapons, hand grenades, rockets and otherwise.
So here directly from the pages of that great legal journal called Wikipedia is the text itself.
The Second Amendment to the constitution, as ratified in 1791 by that real life American super hero, Thomas Jefferson, says this:
“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.”
Now, it must be said that the writings of our 18th century ancestors seem a little clumsy and 18th century-like by modern-day standards. But as any first grade teacher will tell you, and as the anti-gun lobby claim, a sentence is a sentence is a sentence, and the Second Amendment should be read as such and interpreted in its entirety.”
You’re kidding me, right? She hasn’t heard of Heller vs. DC? Oh wait, she has:
However, I know that millions of gun-owning folks vehemently disagree with that interpretation. So let’s put aside everything we learned about comprehension in grade school, and focus our analysis of the Second Amendment on just the latter half of the key sentence, i.e. the bit that says, “…the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”
Well, yep, that half-a-sentence does actually say, in a half-a-sentence kind of way, that people are entitled to bear arms. So there you have it. The right of every Tom, Dick and James to bear arms is enshrined in the constitution!!
And further more, judges on the highest court in the land totally agree. (Well, by 5-4 republican/democrat margins most of the time, but nevertheless, they agree!)
In just a few “Hey, how ya doin’, yeppers, by golly gee whiz” paragraphs, Flora has given a big middle finger to the Supreme Court (oh, only 4 of them matter, so hey, it’s a handy excuse!), not once giving consideration to the half-dozen other decisions handed down by the Supremes since 1865.
Flora also ignored what her “real American Super Hero,” ol’ TJ had to say about a citizen’s right to self defense. Jefferson wrote quite often about guns and their benefits, offering advice like, “Games played with the ball, and others of that nature, are too violent for the body and stamp no character on the mind. Let your gun therefore be your constant companion of your walks.”
On the subject of a citizen’s right to own and bear arms, he was quite clear:
No freeman shall ever be debarred the use of arms.
Flora’s constitutional grammar lesson didn’t end there, no sir. She reminds us that there’s no way in hell that the framers of the Constitution could have ever imagined automatic multi-chamber semi-assault black rifles of death.
Well, considering the amendment was written in 1779, the Founding Fathers certainly gave us all the right to bear, er, muskets. Yes, muskets — those long, old fashioned, single shot things that were used to fight the Revolutionary War!
So the question is, does the Second Amendment say, “The right of the people to keep and bear the kind of arms developed hundreds of years after 1779, shall not be infringed”?
Um, no it doesn’t.
Does the Second Amendment say, “The right of the people to keep and bear numerous
multi-chamber, rapid fire assault rifles, shotguns and handguns per individual, and all at the same time (as per the Aurora shooter), shall not be infringed”?
Er, it doesn’t say that either.
And does the Second Amendment say, “The right of the people to keep and bear an entire arsenal of battlefield weapons when they’re not even part of an army, or even a militia, shall not be infringed”?
Well, I just read the amendment again, and I couldn’t find language like that anywhere!
Well butter my butt and call me a biscuit! (Dontcha just love redneck colloquialisms?) Flora, did you really think this one through? Let’s have some fun, you and me. What do you say we apply your stellar thought process to the First Amendment. Those pesky Founders could never have imagined television, or radio, or the Internet, so constitutional protections on free speech don’t apply to these newfangled technologies.
Or the Fourth: today’s society is different and the original framers could never guess how untrustworthy everyone is. We need National Stop-n-Frisk to keep our children safe. You don’t mind if NYC’s finest give you a pat-down on your stroll through the park, do you Flora?
We won’t even get into the shift in firearms technology that was occurring during the late 18th century. To discount the beliefs of Jefferson and others with regard to the future settings in which their document would be found, well…it’s wholly disingenuous, and frankly insulting to their memories.
She calls for compassion, reaching out to pluck our heartstrings for those “poor souls who died in Aurora.” Flora Nicholas, if you really want your words to have any purpose, why not write about what we can do to dampen the crazy, intrusive thoughts that lead people to kill? Blaming the gun and outlawing sales of online ammo won’t do a damn thing to stop this from happening again.
Even if the Ghost of Thomas Jefferson himself magically turned all the country’s guns into plowshares tomorrow, you’d still have rental trucks overloaded with ANFO, sarin gas in the subway vents, blocked exits while the children burn. Don’t you get it, Flora?
Makes me wonder if another of my favorite redneckisms fits Ms. Flora: “If she were any dumber, we’d have to water her.”