By Philip Drucker
Having 2nd thoughts about the 2nd Amendment? Believe me, you are not alone. For such a short Amendment, it has managed to cause a great deal of unnecessary drama, discord and dissension. Here is the 2nd Amendment in its entirety.
"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."
At first glance it does not appear to be a terribly complex or "tricky" Amendment. For nearly 200 years, it wasn't. No great disputes about gun ownership and the government's ability to limit an individual's right purchase a gun, the number of firearms purchased, or the kind of weapon one could legally and importantly sensibly, buy.
Since day one of our republic the government, like every government on the planet before it, issued laws and regulations in the interest of public safety and well-being.
For example, when Al Capone's mobsters started shooting up the streets of Chicago including innocent bystanders with Machine Guns, Congress produced and passed without much fanfare, much less opposition, several statutes, you guessed it, banning the use and ownership of automatic weapons with little social utility, if any.
Not a problem. Taking bad guns out of the hands of bad guys was thought to be a good idea. I was not there at the time, but I find it hard to imagine anyone arguing about the efficacy of removing a Tommy gun from the hands of a Bruno behind the eight-ball trying to bop a G-man before he can snap on the nippers and send him up the river to the big house. They really had style back then, didn't they?
That all changed in the 1980s with the rise of the National Rifle Association as a political entity and all of a sudden without any particular reason, THE authority on all things 2nd Amendment. But they weren't back then just as they are not now.
What the NRA did was convince not necessarily everyone mind you, but a significant percentage of the population, meaning legislators, to buy into and expand the theory of unlimited gun ownership for everyone all the time, in return for political donations. A classic that apparently never gets old. As the bribery and graft grew, so did gun sales and gun deaths.
How did the NRA get around earlier case law and the 2nd Amendment to present an almost mythical, certainly nonsensical view of gun ownership rights thereunder to the degree we today continue to suffer from what in a sane society would be an untenable amount of unnecessary pain, grief and suffering based on Alice Cooper in Wonderland rights to gun ownership that have no discernible credible basis for their supposed existence.
Unless, you flimflam the maroons, feed 'em a line or two followed by more than an artificially flavored dollop of faux-patriotism and, as I said, gun sales are through the roof, even as gunmen are mass murdering the general public and get this, most likely coming to a rooftop by you soon.
This is merely the low hanging fruit of the poison tree. The deleterious and material effects of UNregulated weaponry in the hands of UNtrained civilians flooding our streets has only gotten worse. Way worse, like, Black Lives Matter worse, and beyond. Let's go back to 9-11.
9-11, a day that will live in infamy. The day where more than 2000 Americans lost their lives for being nothing more than Americans. The cowardly attack also ushered in a new era of American precautions, preparedness, and paranoia. For my six adjusted for inflation cents, the so-called Patriot Act remains one of the worst laws ever to see the light of a star-spangled day for all of a sudden anyone and everyone who literally had ever read a Koran was on the no-fly list. You know, the list of suspected terrorists who can't fly, but can still, you guessed it, own a gun.
Bush the Lesser, or perhaps Dick Cheney, dubbed it the War on Terror. A war to be carried on anywhere and everywhere, and importantly without a discernible end. The endless war was here. Orwell laughed in his grave while we began incrementally giving up our rights to life, liberty and getting on a plane without taking off our shoes.
Oh, don't get me wrong the threat was real, but never as real as they wanted us to believe it was. How do you fight a war that largely doesn't exist? Our answer was to militarize the police. We gave them an unlimited visa card to go shopping at the nearest army surplus store and guess what happened? Domestic law enforcement, the protect and serve crew in blue became the quasi-military search and destroy tactical units we apparently always wanted roaming our streets, looking for the enemy.
This too, did pass. Today few of us wake up every morning thinking there is a jihadist Taliban, Iraqi, Iranian, anyone but a Saudi terrorist hanging out at the local bowling alley trying to radicalize the next generation of blood thirsty homicidal teens (is there any other kind?) waiting to become freedom fighters for a cause they have little or not actual understanding of. We have ISIS and the internet for that, or at least we did for a while.
The point being the War on Terror, at least in the minds of the general population, has largely if not completely moved away from the brick and mortar Streets of San Francisco (great show) and onto the less than immediate world of cyber-space. But the paramilitary goon squads with no identifying name badges or insignias are still carrying out their war games with tactics including shoving a 75 years-old antifa enemy combatant out of their way and to the ground, splitting his head open and watching him bleed without stopping to offer assistance.
This so they can get as quickly as possible to the real "threat" of overwhelmingly peaceful protestors lawfully exercising their First Amendment rights to free speech and assembly. The singular most important rights they are sworn to protect under the Constitution.
Now, keeping in mind, while racists, religious zealots and gun nuts don't need an actual reason to hate, it doesn't help when a White Supremacist narcissistic ego ogre is using the bully pulpit to spew out his evil bile filled with hatred against our fellow citizens based on nothing more than the color of their skin.
Against this backdrop, let me summarize our current situation. We have possibly as high as 3% of the America population armed to the teeth with weapons they have no right to own under the 2nd Amendment. We have an unnecessary and unwise militarized version of what should be civil law enforcement officers driving around in armored transports armed with at this point who knows what, throwing tear gas and firing rubber bullets into the eyes of peaceful, lawful protestors exercising their First Amendment rights to air their grievances regarding the murders and/or executions of unarmed innocent people trying to live their lives, pursuing happiness, because they are, well, not white.
And the what's left of our president and his heinous, shameful, administration think this is just fine and dandy sugar candy. As long as it's red licorice, not black. What could possibly go wrong? This is not the way it is supposed to be.
Black Lives Matter. Yes, they do.
Time for a Re-Phil?