The Second Amendment and our right to self defense
It may be time to take a page out of the left’s play book. To the best of my recollection, the left began writing its new dictionary back in the early 1970s. They quickly learned that changing words could affect the argument by reshaping the public’s perspective. To name the most obvious, a baby became a fetus (which word, BTW, means an unborn calf – Ed.), sex education became a family/life curriculum and sexual perversion became a lifestyle choice. Regardless of their objectives, this strategy has proven to be effective. Therefore, I think those on the right side of issues might be wise to start calling a spade a shovel. My first suggestion would be to stop using archaic words when defending our Second Amendment rights.
What the Second Amendment really means
The Second Amendment reads:
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
Due to the outdated words “militia” and “bear”, some of our leaders (such as Eric Holder) have sought to re-define the meaning of the Amendment by re-defining the words. I will also discuss the meaning of the word “infringe” at the end of this post.
In a 2008 United States Supreme Court Case (District of Columbia v. Heller), the Court ruled that the Second Amendment ensures an individual the right to bear arms. Regarding the word “bear”, according to SCOTUS, the word means to have and be entitled to and to have and use, among other things.
Mr. Holder disagrees. He stated that he doesn’t believe that the Second Amendment gives individuals the right to bear arms. So what does Mr. Holder believe about the Second Amendment?
Holder has argued that a “well regulated Militia” means our Armed forces or our National Guard. Does that make sense? Logically it would seem absurd that any country needs to protect its right to keep Armed Forces and at the time the Second Amendment was written there was no such thing as a National Guard. (Nor a standing army, either – Ed.) It is even more absurd when you realize that our first 10 Amendments to the Constitution were written in order to preserve and protect the rights of citizens against the government – besides which, running our nation’s military had been clearly defined within Article 1, Section 8 of our Constitution.
What did “militia” mean at the time of our Revolution?
Since the meanings of words are subject to change and interpretation, it would make sense to refer to how the words in questions were used at the time of the Revolutionary War. Thomas Fessenden, who fought at the Battle of Bunker Hill (also known as Breed’s Hill), was deposed on April 23, 1775. At that time Fessenden stated:
I, Thomas Fessenden, of Lawful age, testify and Declare, that, being in a Pasture near the meeting house, at said Lexington, on Wednesday last, at about half an hour before sunrise, I saw a number of Regular troops pass speedily by said meeting house, on their way towards a Company of Militia of said Lexington, who were assembled to the number of about one hundred in a company, at the Distance of eighteen or twenty rods from said meeting house; and after they had passed by said meeting house, I saw three Officers, on horseback, advance to the front of said Regulars, when one of them, being within six rods of the said Militia, cryed out, “Disperse, you Rebels, immediately,” on which he Brandished his sword over his head three times; meanwhiles the second Officer, who was about two rods behind him, fired a Pistol, pointed at said Militia, and the Regulars kept huzzaing till he had finished brandishing his sword, and when he had thus finished brandishing his sword, he pointed it Down towards said Militia, and immediately on which the said Regulars fired a Volley at the Militia, and then I ran off as fast as I could, while they continued firing, till I got out of their reach. I further testify, that as soon as ever the officer Cryed “Disperse, you rebels,” the said Company of Militia dispersed every way, as fast as they could, and, while they were Dispersing, the regulars kept firing at them incessantly: And further saith not.
(Bold added as emphasis. This deposition is listed as #13, p.346 in the Concord, Middlesex Co., Massachusetts Historical Appendix Index http://files.usgwarchives.net/ma/middlesex/towns/concord/histchapp.txt
In his deposition Fessenden makes a clear distinction between “Regulars” and the “Militia.” During the 18th century, a Militia was a body of citizen soldiers as distinguished from professional soldiers. Our Founders appreciated the importance of citizens being able to defend their local turf and their necessity to bear arms in order to do just that.
The most liberal Circuit Court in the nation, the Ninth, in Nordyke v. King seemed to agree. They stated:
The right to bear arms is a bulwark against external invasion. We should not be overconfident that oceans on our east and west coasts alone can preserve security. We recently saw in the case of the terrorist attack on Mumbai that terrorist may enter a country covertly by ocean routes, landing in small craft and then assembling to wreak havoc. That we have a lawfully armed populace adds a measure of security for all of us and makes less likely that a band of terrorist could make headway in an attack on any community before more professional forces arrived.
What those Executive Orders do
Among the 23 Gun Control Executive Orders recently signed by Mr. Obama, #4 is even more disconcerting when considering Mr. Holder’s interpretation of words. This Order states:
Direct the attorney general (Mr. Holder) to review categories of individuals prohibited from having a gun to make sure that dangerous people are not slipping through the cracks.
This EO imbues Mr. Holder with the authority to categorize individuals that he believes are dangerous and should be denied their Second Amendment rights. Of course Mexican Drug Cartels are not subject to our Constitution, but the Fast and Furious debacle can serve as a further indication of Mr. Holder’s reasoning skills. In this topsy-turvy world where up is down and down is up, only God knows how Mr. Holder will interpret the word “dangerous.” To him “dangerous people” can mean anyone that challenges the Administration’s agenda in any way, shape or form.
What does “infringe” mean?
Lastly, the Second Amendment also states that our right to bear arms shall not be infringed. The word “infringed” is perhaps the most powerful word in the Amendment, as well as the word we discuss the least – an unfortunate combination. In a March 27, 2009 interview, Holder stated that we should re-institute the ban on assault weapons. But Mr. Holder isn’t the only public official infringing upon our Second Amendment right to bear arms. Governor Cuomo and Mayor Bloomberg, both from the State of New York, are ardent Second Amendment “Infringers.” My apologies for making up a word but none that I know off seem adequate in this instance.
Webster’s 1828 dictionary gives several meanings for the word infringe that apply. The ones that speak the loudest in this circumstance are: to break, to violate, to transgress, to neglect to fulfill or obey, to destroy or hinder, to injure, to hurt, to interrupt, to disturb, to oppose, obstruct or defeat the operation or effect of, to pass over or beyond any limit, to surpass, to demolish, to pull down, to ruin or annihilate, to lay waste or to make desolate, to cause to cease, to impede or restrain or obstruct.
The Second Amendment in modern English
The Second Amendment in modern day vernacular might read something like this:
An organized group of citizen soldiers who are not part of our Armed Forces are necessary to protecting the freedoms of their local communities and defending themselves and their families. Therefore, the right of all people to have and use firearms should not be violated, transgressed upon, destroyed or hindered, injured or hurt, interrupted, disturbed, opposed, obstructed, defeated, surpassed, demolished, pulled down, ruined or annihilated, laid waste, made desolate, caused to cease, impeded, restrained or obstructed in any way.
If all of the above isn’t enough, remember that our Founders based the principles of our government upon our inalienable God-given rights. Who can argue that one of these rights is our right to self-defense? When all is said and done and all arguments regarding the Second Amendment are laid to rest, our right to defend ourselves, our families and our communities is about as inalienable a God-given right as any right can be.
In conclusion, it just may be high time we start re-defining our Second Amendment right to bear arms as our right to self-defense. Infringing upon our right to self-defense might be a more difficult case to make than taking guns away from those deemed dangerous.