I disagree with Hightower.

What you will find here is: a centrist's view of current events;
a collection of thoughts, arguments, and observations
that I have found appealing and/or amusing over the years;
and, if you choose, your civil contributions which will make it into a conversation.

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Sunday, December 16, 2012

Mass Murder in Connecticut

A gunman armed with military style high fire power weapons just killed two dozen at a school in Connecticut.  Most of the dead were between 5 and  10 years old.

I just heard a congressman say that these shootings always occur in places where guns are forbidden and therefore the solution is to have lots more armed people around who can take these guys out when they do these things.

Poppycock.  There is no group of public spirited citizens, John Waynes all, who are looking for the opportunity to put their lives on the line to save the public.  Not to mention how many of them might shoot each other.

There are solutions of all kinds offered.  More mental health facilities, more security at schools, more ... , and less ... .  Probably some of those would help.

Eventually you come up against the fundamental question of guns.
It is true that guns don't kill people, people kill people.  The problem is that they usually do it with guns.

So what to do about guns?  In particular what to do about military type guns with very high fire power?  Then, of course, you eventually have to deal with the Second Amendment.

At first glance, it is not completely clear that the amendment is an unrestricted right for an individual to own any kind of weapons that they want.  It does not simply say: "The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."

 What it says is 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."  (Curiosity:  That was as ratified by the States and authenticated by Thomas Jefferson, Secretary of State. As previously passed by Congress it said:  "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.")

However, in 2010 the Supreme Court ruled that the right was independent of service in a militia.

Everyone agrees that the purposes of the amendment include providing people the right to hunt and defend themselves.  Most people believe that rifles, shotguns, handguns are sufficient for those purposes.

Why do some people want access to greater firepower, such as automatic military type weapons?

The other purpose, clear from the original debate in Congress, of the amendment was to provide for citizen resistance to a tyranny from either the Federal Government or a foreign nation.  This was a widely held concern and was not unreasonable in a time when tyranny was widespread and the average man's household gun was comparable to a government issued military weapon.

However, since that time, we have had a Civil War which tested, among other things, how well those militias and state power could stand up against the Federal Government, even when the weaponry was still somewhat comparable.

Fast forward to today and imagine those citizens armed with even the greatest firepower that some claim to have a right to keep and bear under the amendment: automatic rifles and handguns and perhaps even assault rifles. 

Consider now what would happen when they are called upon to meet their presumed mission:
         a)  to defend us from a rogue Federal Government with its superpower military  or 
         b)  to defend the nation against a foreign country which has already invaded and destroyed the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps of the United States.

To expect a good outcome of that conflict is to live in Wonderland.

It is time to abandon such fantasies and get rid of this other purpose of the Second Amendment.

Without that other purpose, simpler weapons are sufficient.

The Court has said to "keep and bear" is an individual right unattached to a militia.

Perhaps they could also say that if you are an individual unattached to a militia, then the weapons that you are entitled to keep and bear must also be "unattached a militia".  


  1. Let me inject one more thought to those already voiced by Wayne. 3 days after the shooting we have several prominent politicians renewing calls for gun control. I think a large number of Americans will be convinced that this “event” will provide the impetus to pass major gun control laws. And, I predict that “that perception” will result in gun sales of record proportions probably beginning today.

    My question is why will those Americans be buying weapons (firearms if you prefer, but I think they will be buying WEAPONS). I am going to be dismissive of putting food on the table. That leaves personal protection or (and I like this term) the “other purpose”.

  2. On Monday (Dec 24th) a Beijing a man ran down 23 students at a middle school. On December 17th a Chinese man wounded 23 elementary school students with a kitchen knife. The article below is not specific, but it appears there were no deaths in either attack.

    China largely prohibits private ownership of guns.

    My take away from the article is that the lack of readily available firearms could very well have had a great deal to do with the fact that there were no deaths in either case. It also tells me that guns are probably not the root cause of such attacks.


  3. Over the weekend The Journal News published the names and addresses of 44K registered gun owners. Evidently, gun registration is considered “public record” and can not only be published, but accessed by any citizen.

    I don’t yet know where I stand on this, but I now know that the bad guys have a list of homes that do not have a registered handgun.

  4. WRT the “Other Purpose” do you think that Switzerland with its true citizen militia is in Wonderland?