The Zimmerman case now threatens the Second Amendment, and laws dealing with its exercise. Activists and legislators both call for repeal of such laws. And recent executive actions suggest that this is not coincidental.
Exploitation of the Zimmerman case
Activists are already exploiting the case of George Zimmerman, the one-man Neighborhood Watch force in his gated community, for a racial angle. Trayvon Martin, the 17-year-old who died on the night of February 26, is black. George Zimmerman has a “white” name. That he is actually of Hispanic origin seems not to have earned him any sympathy from the usual rogues’ gallery of racialist activists. One group has actually set a price on his head: ten thousand dollars, “dead or alive.”
But anti-white activists are not the only ones exploiting this story, nor even the most disturbing. That dubious honor goes to another set of activists, who look for a future in which no person, except a duly sworn and salaried law-enforcement officer, government intelligence officer, government or government-approved bodyguard, or military service member, shall carry, much less own, a firearm. They seek to repeal, or at least re-construe, the Second Amendment to the Constitution. It reads:
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.
The Second Amendment is the “reset button” on the Constitution. Indeed, the American War for Independence began when British troops tried to disarm the populace at Lexington and other cities. More recently, the present Supreme Court has ruled that the Second Amendment defines and protects the right of a person, not merely some amorphous group known as “the people,” to “keep and bear arms.”
But most Progressive activists have never accepted that. The most prominent anti-Second Amendment activists today are the Brady Campaign. That group takes its name from James Brady, whom John W. Hinckley III shot in the head while also trying to kill President Ronald W. Reagan. Brady’s wife Sarah insisted ever since that if only the laws did not allow anyone but a privileged and “cleared” few to carry a gun, the injury to her husband might never have occurred. And so the Brady Campaign has worked tirelessly to disarm everyone not having a government job having to do with projecting force.
Kurt Hoffman, as the St. Louis Gun Rights Examiner, last week criticized the Brady Campaign for exploiting the Zimmerman/Martin affair. They are still exploiting that case. Their home page has a photo of Zimmerman (whether they have the right to use it is an open question), with this caption:
I AM THE NRA.
Smith and Wesson M&P Victory model revolver. User: Oleg Volk; CC-BY 2.5 Generic License
The new evidence that exonerates Zimmerman doesn’t matter to the Brady Campaign. Nor does it seem to matter to Senator Charles M. Schumer (D-NY), who has never respected the Second Amendment. And it especially does not matter to The Reverend Jesse Jackson, head of Rainbow/PUSH. All three have the same target: a class of laws called Stand Your Ground Laws. Twenty States, including Florida, have them. Under them, no person has the duty to retreat from an assailant. Any person carrying any sort of lawful weapon may use that weapon, to deadly effect if he must, to defend against a homicidal attack.
The Brady Campaign, Senator Schumer, and The Rev. Mr. Jackson will not bother with whether Zimmerman somehow abused the Stand Your Ground Law in his State. (Witnesses now say that, however Zimmerman and Martin met face-to-face, Martin, not Zimmerman, turned the meeting into a deadly fight.) Instead, the anti-gun activists and politicians insist that Stand Your Ground Laws somehow grant a hunting license to civilians to execute summarily any person whom, for whatever reason, they do not like. Zimmerman, they say, used his “license to kill,” and he killed. Therefore, the law must reimpose a duty to retreat.
But of course that is not their sole object. Their final goal is to repeal, or at least re-construe (or mis-construe) the Second Amendment. They have always argued that “the people” that the Second Amendment mentions are not a collection of persons but a collective. That is, “the people” means all the people, and only few of them need “keep and bear arms” in the name of all. Those few are, to repeat:
- Law-enforcement officers.
- Members of the military.
- Intelligence officers.
- Official or “approved” bodyguards.
By this interpretation, the Second Amendment defines not a right but a privilege to keep and bear arms. In the minds of the Brady Campaign officers, and of Senator Schumer and The Rev. Mr. Jackson, George Zimmerman not only abused that “privilege” but ought never have had it to begin with. The Stand Your Ground Law, they say, granted him that “privilege” in a way that played fast and loose with public safety. That is because no person, except someone trained in a government academy or training camp, ought to have this privilege.
Executive action against the Second Amendment
Two recent executive actions almost shout that the government wants to make the Second Amendment useless. First, the Department of Homeland Security recently ordered 450 million rounds of .40 caliber ammunition, and 175 million rounds of .223 caliber rifle ammunition. Why does the Department of Homeland Security, and not the Department of Defense, need so much ammunition? Perhaps for two reasons:
- To corner the market for ammunition and make it unavailable for ordinary persons to buy.
- To arm and equip the “civilian security force” that the man now holding office as President, Barack H. Obama, said during the campaign that the government should train and equip, to make it just as strong as the regular Army, or stronger.
Obama also signed an Executive Order, the latest in a series that gives the President the power to seize everything in the country and call it a “national defense resource.” The latest change from earlier EOs: it redefines national defense to include almost any activity that the government wants to include.
The first leader in the last century to recruit and train an “internal security force” as strong as, or stronger than, his country’s army was Adolf Hitler. Nicolae Ceaucescu of R0mania did the same. As a result, in the revolutions that swept the Communists out of power throughout the Warsaw Pact, R0mania’s regular army fought a civil war with Ceaucescu’s private security service.
Obama seems to want to try Ceaucescu’s experiment in America. He probably is doing this because several regular and retired officers have formed a group called Oath Keepers, to oppose Obama should he issue any unconstitutional orders to the military. Leading their list of the Ten Orders We Will Not Obey: any order to confiscate people’s weapons, in violation of the Second Amendment. (The other unlawful orders they list seem to expect Obama’s latest Executive Order, three years before Obama signed it.)
Many Patriotic activists hold that the Zimmerman case distracts the people from other, deadlier assaults on human liberty. That might be correct, except that the government and its allies have reacted to the Zimmerman affair in a way to advance their agenda. That agenda poses a direct threat to the Second Amendment, in fact and perhaps in letter also.