Thursday, April 29, 2010

The U.S. Constitution is like a Bible and Religion

The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution is one of ten amendments that make up the United States Bill of Rights. It proclaims, “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 concept of a citizen’s right to keep and bear arms can be traced back to the English Bill of Rights of 1689, and a requirement in English law that granted certain English subjects the right to keep and bear arms.

In the American zeitgeist of 1791, the year the U.S. Bill of Rights was adopted, guns were a requisite. It was an important right to keep arms in order to kill game, an important food source. It was an important right to keep arms to be used in self-defense, in absence of organized police forces. It was an important right to bear arms in order to form state militias for defense, in absence of an organized and trained military force.

Over the years, there have been constitutional scholars who have debated, unbelievably, how “to keep and bear arms” should be interpreted. However, to me, it is clear and uncomplicated: to bear arms means to carry and maintain armaments for militarized defense and to keep arms does not expressly denote ownership of arms.

Additionally, it’s simple and clear to Noam Chomsky, MIT professor, linguistic scientist and political activist, who in “Secrets, Lies, And Democracy,” opines, “It's pretty clear that, taken literally, the second amendment does not permit people to own guns. But laws are never taken literally, including amendments to the Constitution or Constitutional rights. Laws permit what the tenor of the times interprets them as permitting."

And that’s exactly what has happened. What was intended by necessity in the 1791 Second Amendment is not how it was interpreted in the nineteenth, twentieth or today in the twenty-first century. We have assumed that to keep is a right to own and that a right to bear arms means their deployment for self-defense.

That is the mindset of Chuck Norris, who in his Lambs to the Slaughter article for wrote that President Obama’s administration is underhandedly scheming to erode and then erase the Second Amendment from the U.S. Constitution via the ratification of the Inter-American Convention Against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms (CIFTA) treaty and the signing of international treaties on gun control.

The purpose of CIFTA is the establishment of a regional standard for the control of the illicit manufacturing and trafficking in firearms, ammunition, explosives, and other related materials.

Considering America’s obsession with violence and firearms, gun violence along the Mexican and our southern border, the proliferation of guns throughout the United States, gang violence and other crimes committed with a gun, and the lack of regulation at gun shows, anyone reasonably minded should easily recognize that the United States requires greater gun controls that would be consistent from state to state and throughout the Americas.

The majority of weapons and ammunition supporting the violence just over the U.S. border in Mexico comes from the United States, and drug cartels vying for the drug turf supplying drugs to the United States are the purpose for all the violence.

Moreover, because it is not delineated in the Constitution, incongruously perplexing and morally reprehensible is that many Americans view that citizens have a constitutional right to bear arms but not a right to healthcare.

In 1791, physicians were not licensed, there was not an awareness of healthcare, as we know today, nor were there the medical technologies of today. If our founders had the same understanding of the necessity of healthcare, as they had of the necessity of arms, a consciousness that pointed out that they are an equally essential need for survival, it would have been written into the Bill of Rights.

The U.S. Constitution is like a Bible and Religion: folks who are unquestionably and blindly devoted to either are stuck in a world perception that no longer exists, and the majority of us have not come to that realization.