Washington Post Lies That It Is a ‘Myth’ That the 2nd Amendment Was to Protect Americans from Government

by Dec 29, 2012Liberty & Economy10 comments

The Washington Post often has “Five myths…” articles that are really obnoxious because if you are going to say that something is a “myth”, you need to prove that it is false, but what these articles mostly do is to just express opinions — and, occasionally, to state outright lies. Take the recent example of “Five myths about gun […]

The Washington Post often has “Five myths…” articles that are really obnoxious because if you are going to say that something is a “myth”, you need to prove that it is false, but what these articles mostly do is to just express opinions — and, occasionally, to state outright lies. Take the recent example of “Five myths about gun control“, and look at the fifth “myth”:

5. The Second Amendment was intended to protect the right of Americans to rise up against a tyrannical government.

This canard is repeated with disturbing frequency. The Constitution, in Article I, allows armed citizens in militias to “suppress Insurrections,” not cause them. The Constitution defines treason as “levying War” against the government in Article III, and the states can ask the federal government for assistance “against domestic Violence” under Article IV.

Our system provides peaceful means for citizens to air grievances and change policy, from the ballot box to the jury box to the right to peaceably assemble. If violence against an oppressive government were somehow countenanced in the Second Amendment, then Timothy McVeigh and Lee Harvey Oswald would have been vindicated for their heinous actions.

So it is a “myth” and a “canard” that the 2nd Amendment was intended to protect the people from tyrannical government, according to the Washington Post. How do we know this? Does the Post cite what the Founders had to say about it? Nope. The proof is in the Constitution itself, the Post asserts. Let’s examine each of the arguments presented:

1) The first argument:

The Constitution, in Article I, allows armed citizens in militias to “suppress Insurrections,” not cause them.

The logic employed here takes the form of “The Constitution does not allow the people to X, therefore the people may not do X”. The problem with this, of course, is that the Constitution does not allow or disallow the people from doing anything. It rather allows or disallows only the government from doing things. The is perfectly elementary. Here is Article I, Section 8:

The Congress shall have Power … To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;

Does that clause prove the 2nd Amendment wasn’t intended to protect the people from tyrannical government? Not in the least bit. It authorizes Congress to call forth the militia — that is, the people, the armed citizens of the states (more on that shortly) — to suppress insurrections. This doesn’t speak to the purpose of the 2nd Amendment at all. Sure, if the people were to take up arms to defend their Liberty from a tyrannical government, and that oppressive government defined this collective act of self-defense as “Insurrection”, then the government could call upon the people to take up arms to put themselves down. But if the people weren’t inclined to just roll over and surrender their Liberty, they could obviously simply refuse the government in its request, which the tyrannical government would have no power to enforce. This clause certainly doesn’t suggest that the people do not reserve for themselves the right to bear arms for the purpose of defending their Liberty from tyrannical government. The Tenth Amendment spells this out explicitly, just in case it wasn’t already clear enough:

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

Nowhere does the Constitution state that the people have surrendered their right to bear arms to defend their Liberty from tyrannical government. Nowhere does the Constitution grant authority to the government to disarm the people. Needless to say, this is the whole purpose of the 2nd Amendment, to offer a double guarantee to protect the people’s right to bear arms, including in order to defend Liberty from the threat of a tyrannical government, the Post’s absurd claim to the contrary notwithstanding.

In fact, even this clause from Article I, Section 8, granting authority to Congress to call up the militia, was intended to protect the people from a tyrannical federal government! At the Virginia Ratifying Convention on June 14, 1788, James Madison advised that the best way to prevent and protect the people from the “evil” of a standing army (that is, a permanent military force, as we have in the USA today) was to have a well-armed militia:

The most effectual way to guard against a standing army, is to render it unnecessary. The most effectual way to render it unnecessary, is to give the general government full power to call forth the militia, and exert the whole natural strength of the Union, when necessary. Thus you will furnish the people with sure and certain protection, without recurring to this evil…

Patrick Henry, who opposed granting Congress authority to call forth the militia, much less granting the federal government authority to create a standing army, emphasized that in order to protect against tyrannical government,

The militia, sir, is our ultimate safety. We can have no security without it…. The great object is, that every man be armed.

At the Virginia Ratifying Convention on June 16, on the same subject, he expounded on his opposition to this clause:

We are told, we are afraid to trust ourselves; that our own representatives — Congress — will not exercise their powers oppressively; that we shall not enslave ourselves; that the militia cannot enslave themselves, &c. Who has enslaved France, Spain, Germany, Turkey, and other countries which groan under tyranny? They have been enslaved by the hands of their own people. If it will be so in America, it will be only as it has been every where else.

So it is clear that the debate over the very clause the Post cites as supposed evidence that the 2nd Amendment wasn’t about protecting the people from the government was itself intended to protect the people from the federal government, and specifically, from the threat of a standing army, and the controversy over that clause was whether even that limited authority could be employed for abusive purposes by the same government!

So much for the Post’s first argument.

2) Let’s look at its next supposed proof: Article III, Section 3. This, the Post tells us, “defines treason as ‘levying War’ against the government“. From that, we are supposed to draw the conclusion that taking up arms against “the government” even if in self-defense against tyrannical abuses would constitute an act of “treason”. Just intuitively, as an elementary moral principle, that interpretation cannot be right. Such an interpretation is irreconcilable with the principles espoused in the Declaration of Independence:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

But look at what the Constitution actually says here:

Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them…

Read it again:

Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them

What’s that? “Them”? That’s right, “them”, plural. Not against “the government”, as in the federal government, but “them”, as in the States, plural, and by logical extension, the people of the States. So the Post has actually gone to the lengths of taking a quote from the Constitution out of context to try to support its claim! Tsk, tsk! This is shameful. This clause certainly does not show that the purpose of the 2nd Amendment was not to guarantee the right of the people to bear arms in order to defend their Liberty from tyrannical government. On the contrary, it is perfectly consistent with that purpose of the 2nd Amendment. Notice that this clause means that if a tyrannical federal government levied war against the States, the people of those States would have the right to rise up to defend themselves from that tyrannical government, which would, by definition, have committed “Treason” against the States.

So much for the Post’s second argument.

3) Turning to the Post’s third supposed proof, it next cites Article IV, Section 4, stating that “the states can ask the federal government for assistance ‘against domestic Violence’ under Article IV.” Yes, it does. But notice that no argument is actually presented here. Let’s turn again to what the clause actually says, in full:

The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government, and shall protect each of them against Invasion; and on Application of the Legislature, or of the Executive (when the Legislature cannot be convened), against domestic Violence.

So what is the Post attempting to argue, here? What is the conclusion we are supposed to draw, and by what logic are we supposed to arrive at it? That the Constitution says that the Union of States shall protect each of the individual States, and so therefore the 2nd Amendment wasn’t intended to protect the right of the people to take up arms to defend their Liberty against tyrannical government? It isn’t necessary to refute the Post’s argument here, since it doesn’t bother presenting one. Suffice to say that, clearly, the duty of the federal government under the Constitution to “protect” the States does not in any way contradict the purpose of the 2nd Amendment as being to reserve the right of the people of the States to likewise protect their Liberty against a tyrannical federal government.

4) Finally, the Post suggests the following syllogism: (a) if the purpose of the 2nd Amendment was to guarantee the right of the people to bear arms to defend their Liberty from tyrannical government, (b) then that would mean that acts of terrorism like the bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma City or assassinations like the killing of John F. Kennedy would be legitimate acts of violence; but (c) since we do not accept such acts of violence as legitimate but recognize them as crimes, (d) therefore that cannot have been the purpose of the 2nd Amendment. Does the Post actually expect its readers to take this buffoonery seriously? Do we actually have to point out that (b) does not follow from (a), and therefore (d) does not follow from (c)? This is just idiocy.

And that is it. That is the best the Post could do to support its assertion that it is a “myth” that the 2nd Amendment was intended to protect the people from tyrannical government. Okay, so the Post hasn’t proven that it is a “myth”. But can we prove that it is not a myth? Certainly! And so could have Robert J. Spitzer, the author of this “5 myths…” article, or the Post editors, had they spent 10 or 15 minutes Googling the matter to educate themselves about what the Founding Fathers actually had to say about the purpose of the Amendment they had drafted.

First, let’s look at the 2nd Amendment:

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.

So what is the “Militia”? As George Mason explained at the Virginia Ratifying Convention on June 16,

Who are the militia? They consist now of the whole people…

Richard Henry Lee (or possibly Melancton Smith; as James Madison, et al, wrote the papers known as The Federalist as “Publius”, so did the authors of the papers that were compiled as The Anti-Federalist Papers write anonymously) wrote in Letters from the Federal Farmer, No. XVIII,

[R]egular troops, and select corps, ought not to be kept up without evident necessity…. A militia, when properly formed, are in fact the people themselves, and render regular troops in a great measure unnecessary…. [T]o preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of the people always possess arms, and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them….

Tench Coxe wrote in The Pennsylvania Gazette  on February 20, 1788:

Who are the militia? Are they not ourselves? Is it feared, then, that we shall turn our arms each man gainst his own bosom. Congress have no power to disarm the militia. Their swords, and every other terrible implement of the soldier, are the birthright of an American…. [T]he unlimited power of the sword is not in the hands of either the federal or state governments, but, where I trust in God it will ever remain, in the hands of the people.

It is perfectly evident that the purpose of the 2nd Amendment was to protect the people against the threat of their own government attempting to disarm them, and not only to have guns for hunting or to be able to exercise an individual right to self-defense, but explicitly to ensure “the security of a free State”. That is, to ensure that the States would remain free. Free from what? From a tyrannical federal government that would seek to enslave them, first by disarming them.

At the Virginia Ratifying Convention on June 14, 1788, George Mason warned against the threat to Liberty of the government disarming the people, stating:

Forty years ago, when the resolution of enslaving America was formed in Great Britain, the British Parliament was advised by an artful man, who was governor of Pennsylvania, to disarm the people; that it was the best and most effectual way to enslave them; but that they should not do it openly, but weaken them, and let them sink gradually, by totally disusing and neglecting the militia.

At the Massachusetts Ratifying Convention in 1788, Sam Adams stated:

The Constitution shall never be construed…to prevent the people of the United States who are peaceable citizens from keeping their own arms.

James Madison had this to say about the right to bear arms in The Federalist No. 46:

[T]he ultimate authority, wherever the derivative may be found, resides in the people alone….

[S]hould an unwarrantable measure of the federal government be unpopular in particular States, … the means of opposition to it are powerful and at hand. The disquietude of the people; their repugnance and, perhaps, refusal to co-operate with the officers of the Union; … and where the sentiments of several adjoining States happened to be in unison, would present obstructions which the federal government would hardly be willing to encounter.

But ambitious encroachments of the federal government, on the authority of the State governments, would not excite the opposition of a single State, or of a few States only. They would be signals of general alarm. Every government would espouse the common cause. A correspondence would be opened. Plans of resistance would be concerted. One spirit would animate and conduct the whole. The same combinations, in short, would result from an apprehension of the federal, as was produced by the dread of a foreign, yoke….

The only refuge left for those who prophesy the downfall of the State governments is the visionary supposition that the federal government may previously accumulate a military force for the projects of ambition…. The highest number to which, according to the best computation, a standing army can be carried in any country, does not exceed one hundredth part of the whole number of souls; or one twenty-fifth part of the number able to bear arms. This proportion would not yield, in the United States, an army of more than twenty-five or thirty thousand men. To these would be opposed a militia amounting to near half a million of citizens with arms in their hands, officered by men chosen from among themselves, fighting for their common liberties, and united and conducted by governments possessing their affections and confidence. It may well be doubted, whether a militia thus circumstanced could ever be conquered by such a proportion of regular troops…. Besides the advantage of being armed, which the Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation, the existence of subordinate governments, to which the people are attached and by which the militia officers are appointed, forms a barrier against the enterprises of ambition, more insurmountable than any which a simple government of any form can admit of. Notwithstanding the military establishments in the several kingdoms of Europe, which are carried as far as the public resources will bear, the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms. And it is not certain that with this aid alone they would not be able to shake off their yokes. But were the people to posses the additional advantages of local governments chosen by themselves, who could collect the national will, and direct the national force; and of officers appointed out of the militia, by these governments and attached both to them and to the militia, it may be affirmed with the greatest assurance, that the throne of every tyranny in Europe would be speedily overturned, in spite of the legions which surround it.

Alexander Hamilton wrote The Federalist, No. 28:

If the representatives of the people betray their constituents, there is then no resource left but in the exertion of that original right of self-defense … against the usurpations of the national rulers…. The citizens must rush tumultuously to arms….

Hamilton continued in The Federalist, No. 29:

[I]f circumstances should at any time oblige the government to form an army of any magnitude that army can never be formidable to the liberties of the people while there is a large body of citizens, little, if at all, inferior to them in discipline and the use of arms, who stand ready to defend their own rights and those of their fellow-citizens.

Tench Coxe, writing “Remarks on the First Part of the Amendments to the Federal Constitution” under the pseudonym “A Pennsylvanian” in the Philadelphia Federal Gazette on June 18, 1789, stated:

As civil rulers, not having their duty to the people before them, may attempt to tyrannize, and as the military forces which must be occasionally raised to defend our country, might pervert their power to the injury of their fellow citizens, the people are confirmed by the article in their right to keep and bear their private arms.

Noah Webster wrote in “Examination of the Leading Principles of the Federal Constitution“, 1787:

Another source of power in government is a military force. But this, to be efficient, must be superior to any force that exists among the people, or which they can command: for otherwise this force would be annihilated, on the first exercise of acts of oppression. Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed; as they are in almost every kingdom in Europe. The supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword; because the whole body of the people are armed, and constitute a force superior to any band of regular troops that can be, on any pretence, raised in the United States. A military force, at the command of Congress, can execute no laws, but such as the people perceive to be just and constitutional; for they will possess the power, and jealousy will instantly inspire the inclination, to resist the execution of a law which appears to them unjust and oppressive.

Thomas Jefferson, in his first draft of the Virginia Constitution, wrote:

No freeman shall ever be debarred the use of arms.

And writing to James Madison on December 20, 1787, Jefferson said:

What country can preserve its liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance. Let them take arms.

In his commonplace book, 1774-1776, Jefferson quoted from On Crimes and Punishment by criminologist Cesare Beccaria (1764), on the ineffectiveness of disarming the people for the purpose of supposedly making them more secure:

Laws that forbid the carrying of arms…disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes…. Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man.

Thomas Paine echoed that thought in “Thoughts on Defensive War“, Pennsylvania Magazine (1775):

The supposed quietude of a good man allures the ruffian; while on the other hand, arms like laws discourage and keep the invader and the plunderer in awe, and preserve order in the world as well as property.

Benjamin Franklin’s famous quote on liberty vs. security from was made with explicit reference to the right to bear arms as it appeared in the Historical Review of Pennsylvania (1759):

The thoughtful reader may wonder, why wasn’t Jefferson’s proposal of ‘No freeman shall ever be debarred the use of arms’ adopted by the Virginia legislature? They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.

And George Washington agreed that:

A free people ought…to be armed….

Albert Gallatin remarked on October 7, 1789:

The whole of the Bill [of Rights, including the 2nd Amendment] is a declaration of the right of the people at large or considered as individuals…. It establishes some rights of the individual as unalienable and which consequently, no majority has a right to deprive them of.

On August 17, 1789, Elbridge Gerry observed:

What, Sir, is the use of a militia? It is to prevent the establishment of a standing army, the bane of liberty…. Whenever Governments mean to invade the rights and liberties of the people, they always attempt to destroy the militia, in order to raise an army upon their ruins.

There is just no question about it. As Sanford Levinson observed in his paper “The Embarrassing Second Amendment” (Yale Law Journal, Vol. 99, pp. 637-659):

In his influential Commentaries on the Constitution, Joseph Story, certainly no friend of Anti-Federalism, emphasized the “importance” of the Second Amendment. He went on to describe the militia as the “natural defence of a free country” not only “against sudden foreign invasions” and “domestic insurrections,” with which one might well expect a Federalist to be concerned, but also against “domestic usurpations of power by rulers.” “The right of the citizens to keep and bear arms has justly been considered,” Story wrote, “as the palladium of the liberties of a republic; since it offers a strong moral check against the usurpation and arbitrary power by rulers; and will generally, even if these are successful in the first instance, enable the people to resist and triumph over them.”

We also see this blending of individualist and collective accounts of the right to bear arms in remarks by Judge Thomas Cooley, one of the most influential 19th century constitutional commentators. Noting that the state might call into its official militia only “a small number” of the eligible citizenry, Cooley wrote that “if the right [to keep and bear arms] were limited to those enrolled, the purpose of this guaranty might be defeated altogether by the action or neglect to act of the government it was meant to hold in check.” Finally, it is worth noting the remarks of Theodore Schroeder, one of the most important developers of the theory of freedom of speech early in this century. “[T]he obvious import [of the constitutional guarantee to carry arms],” he argues, “is to promote a state of preparedness for self-defense even against the invasions of government, because only governments have ever disarmed any considerable class of people as a means toward their enslavement.”

Now, what was that about it being a “myth” that the purpose of the 2nd Amendment was to protect the right of the American people to defend their Liberty by rising up against tyrannical government? That Robert J. Spitzer and the editors at the Washington Post would attempt to perpetrate such a stupid lie is an embarrassment to the profession of journalism and an insult to the intelligence of their readers.

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About Jeremy R. Hammond

About Jeremy R. Hammond

I am an independent journalist, political analyst, publisher and editor of Foreign Policy Journal, book author, and writing coach.

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10 Comments

  1. Joe Paine

    This is one of the best articles on the second amendment I’ve ever read!

    Reply
  2. Jay

    I must agree with Joe. Very well done. My thanks, Jeremy.

    Reply
  3. Luke

    You have the right to bear arms in order to protect your liberty, to defend yourselves against tyranny? Suppose the government becomes a tyrany and suppose the most fragmented and partisan society in the developed world becomes a united popular front. It never would, but anyway, justsuppose your army is the most efficent and technologically advanced killing machine in the world (it is), needless to say an armed mob is no match. If the army is loyal to the government the uprising will be crushed or the militia would stand down to avoid inevitable bloodshed for no gains. Or, the army sides with militia. In that case there would be no need for an armed militia in the first place, or at the least no need to follow any model other than the effective and proven swiss model, as you would have a proffesional army. So, when you actually follow the point through (which you are not doing, at least not objectively) you have a self defeating arguement. Even if it could succeed. Who would lead this militia? Who would then govern? Who would police? You never actually consider this, that in overthrowing its government your divided population wont simply rejoice in harmony and it will all be merry. Christ alive. America’s homicide rate is 22 times that of any other developed nation. Yet you present counter arguements, when in any other developed country that fact kills the arguement dead. There is no one in Britain argueing for looser gun restrictions (if they are, they are very far removed from the mainstream), we do not need guns for protection, and really, I dont feel my government is any more tyranical than yours, we’re not mindless sheep, watch a British debate, read an opinion peice in one of our newspapers and see a differing opinion presented on the same page. Freedom lf thought is encouraged, even if you dont agree with iwhat the other person says (which is itself the princial of free thought and speech, did you know?) What liberty are you really protecting at such a cost? But its a moot point because realistically how do you disarm a population with as many guns as people? Why do you stick to the amendment, written by a bunch of women hating slave owners (because that’s what society was back then) as if its the word of God, sacrosant? The rest of the world sees it as utterly ridiculous. The way you seek to defend your right by dismissing any counter arguement as ultimately flawed is an affront to sense and decency. So now, justify your massive homicide rate (and caualties, I think 4/5 people are injured for every death) by saying more people die as a result of car accidents and cancer and every other thing, just use every single fallacy under the sun to defend your position. You are not a defender of liberty. I have the same rights as you, at laest those worth fighting for. You do need proof to dispel a ‘myth’, but sadly, you also need proof for it to be seen as anything other that a myth. Read between the lines all you like, the second ammendment would have to as long as the bible if it wanted to be completely unambiguous. Depending on the reader, the quran is pacifist, neutral, maybe a tad old fashioned, or an instruction to wage Jihad (I am likening this to the way Americans squabble over the 2nd ammendment, its important you realise that). A consructive debate does not come from reading between the lines. I could read just as much in it to counter your arguement, and Im sure the WP would only need to clarify a couple of things to rebuke some of your assumptioms, and then you would do the same, and then they would do the same and etc etc etc. You think the British subjugated you? America almost obliterated the native population, genocide. It subjugated the ‘negro’, and women, long into modern times, long after you white men won your freedom from ‘oppression’ (I read unfair taxes and the right to self determination as the extent of that , needless to say you America suppressed large portions of it sown popilation, and in some views, may still, far more than the white American man was ever subjugated by the British). The revolution wasnt a poular uprising; at the outset, before the propaganda war and fabricated ateocities to be expected, the majority were neutral ie didnt see anything worth fighting for, and a substantial number were loyalist. Im not saying this because Im bitter. Why would I be. Imperialism is a sad spectre that haunts our history. But its the way the world worked. In reality, if you were going to be a colony, or a dominion, you would be thankful to be so under British rule, than Belgian, or French, or probably any other world power, especially America. Thank God you never had an empire, given what you did to the Indians, given your civil rights record, I could say, and will, but only in response to your pathetic non arguement. Canada is defined by its loyalty to Britian. It fought to avoid subjugation by your country, not the British. Do they rub that in your face, do they paint themselves as a victim when we say what the hell USA?, whilst somewhat jarring,y clinging to their arms long after the end of hostillities? Why is your world view so anachronistic and so white-male-patriot-centric? Now point out my poor grammar, now cite some Daily Mail statistics that do nothing to dismiss the fact your overall homicide rate and accidental death rate, and presumably suicide rate (fease of use is a proven enabler, nothing is easier than pulling a trigger), plus caualties dwarfs any other developed nation. I dont care. Its just I watched a debate with Americans arguing either side on Newsnight (British) yesterday in the wake of the 9 yearold uzi shooting and I was disgusted how despite being clearly far, far more reserved, and restrained, given the circumstances, the pro lobbyist said more children are injured in car accidents. Because that’s a moot point. I will reiterate, of all the pro lobbyists I have seen debate, none have been intrested in restraint, this one was not at all defensive or aggresive, so it can be done, sadly it takes an hoffific accident to quell the rage. Really, it is a moot point considering we dont have a murder rate anything like yours, which is due only to our differnce in fire arm legislation. And worse, the anti lonbyist, who was restrained too (I wouldnt have been, and the British presenter, thank god, was more direct) he doesnt point out the fallacy, no, he questions the validity of the statistics. Do your debates not understand principle or logic? You only seek to undermine the opposition, make hyperbolic assumptions saying ‘oh, you want x, well y in z country suggests x would kill our children indiscriminantly, so you want to kill our children, basically’ when clearly its not intended and their hyperbolic arguement is more open to attack. That is not how have you constructive debate. That is kids in a playground. You are too defensive, too partisan, amd thats mainstream debate. Thank God, given manifest destiny and civil rights, it was a British empire, and nit American. I say that because it seems the 2nd ammendment, obstentially there to protect against tyranny, the British originally, is the foundation of your arguement. the be all and end all. Im proud to live in a country not divided so aggresively between the pro and anit, between anything you can find to disagree on, where you must choose between the mutually exculisive A and B. Theres a lot wrong with my country, 7 percent of Brits are privately educated, but more than half of senior siplomats are, and over 80% of senior judges and so on, but thats not due to tyranny, its establishment, and needless to say America is governed and effectively run in largely the same non-egalitarian manner, eg race especially will impact your life prospects, but anyway, you cant attack those things to defend your position, that would be a fallacy. I cant say all Americans are stupid, but in persuing this agenda, mainstream America is alientaing itself from other civilised societies.And I dont care if you dont read this, it was good to articulate my thoughts, hiwever poorly.

    Reply
    • Jeremy R. Hammond

      You have the right to bear arms in order to protect your liberty, to defend yourselves against tyranny?

      I would like to know what distinction you draw between protecting liberty and defending against tyranny, and how it is you can logically consider them as anything other than synonymous.

      I scanned the rest of your lengthy, rambling comment. I’m very busy and since you don’t seem to be disputing the fact that the Washington Post lied that it is a “myth” that the purpose of the 2nd Amendment was to protect Americans from government, there seems no compelling reason to reply.

      Reply
  4. Luke

    Anyway, how does your one sided agenda classify as ‘meaningful debate’, you toe a single line. How are you an alternative to mainstream media when the mainstream presents a dichotomy; that is to say you present yourself as a third way? That js to assume the masses cant think for themselves, but luckily youre here to do it for them? You seem to me to be agreeing with an already established, mainstream position. Methinks you claim these things to entice people who are dissatisfied by the way the mainstream presents their argument, yet you don’t offer an alternative. You split hairs. In a way, I think youre blaming opposition to gun ownership on weak leadership, which is always an easy way to win support, but its a lot easier to raise your voice from the outside than effectively use power. How is what your saying, your opinion any different to propaganda? One man’s propaganda is another’s bible, you know that, you exist in your capacity because of it. A writer of rare skill…. that’s one way of describing it. Did you quote anyone who isnt long dead? Really enlightened stuff… I live in a country where ownership is highly restricted, and I am safer than you. You are at least 22 times more likely to be murdered. Now I know it aint the same as if you were 22 times more likely to have cancer (that would mean 100% likely), but still, it should concern you. And if your going to rely on unreliable, famously ambiguous sources, or straight up opinion, why shouldnt others, such as WP, do so to attack your argument. I dont care if you think their argument doesnt make sense; do you not think it was written in direct response to the reliance of people such as your self upon unreliable texts to construct their arguments. And how do you deal with their piece…. America-go-round, and round.

    Reply
    • Jeremy R. Hammond

      Again, since you aren’t disputing that the WaPo lied when it claimed that it was a “myth” that the purpose of the 2nd Amendment was to protect Americans from government, there seems no compelling reason to respond beyond the following illustration of the nonsensical nature of your rambling:

      Did you quote anyone who isn’t long dead?

      Um… I hate to break the news to you, but everyone who was alive at the time the Bill of Rights was ratified is dead.

      Reply
  5. dukerart@yaho.com

    “At the Massachusetts Ratifying Convention in 1788, Sam Adams stated:
    The Constitution shall never be construed…to prevent the people of the United States who are peaceable citizens from keeping their own arms.” Is it clear that this was Adams’ idea or simply one of many proposals at the MA convention and could have come from anyone? Google it. There is a pretty good argument that claiming this as an Adam’s quote is a stretch if not just untrue. What do you think the qualifier “peaceable” might be in there for? Sounds like a restriction on which citizens get the right to own guns, no?

    “Thomas Jefferson, in his first draft of the Virginia Constitution, wrote:
    No freeman shall ever be debarred the use of arms.” Yes, but he then twice revised it, did he not? So, is it not usually the revised version that is the reconsidered and more precise version of the writer’s intent? What is a “freeman” in colonial Virginia? Look at the later revisions. It could be reasonably argued TJ believed in guns for landed white men only. Certainly not black men, mulattoes, women. By the way, this technically was not in reference to the 2nd since it was before that time and it not was not even ratified in the Virginia Constitution.

    “If John Adams, James Madison, Thomas Jefferson saw the bodies of the children of Sandy Hook can anyone really know that they would say ‘Yes, this is precisely what we meant by the Second amendment'”. I think for the most part the argument is over whether the 2nd can fulfill its function as a tool for self protection and hunting and to defend the people from tyranny with well regulated militias. Are there no ways to constitutionally limit gun killing and maiming? Is everything is a slippery slope to the Great Gun Confiscation, UN Concentration Camps, Obama’s World Caliphate and other kookiness? C’mon. This can be figured out without the kooky fear tactics or we will end up with more Timothy McVeighs and Malheur militiamen. Our freedoms will not be protected by armed nuts who have declared their interpretation of the Constitution the “true” one and disqualified everyone else, worse, declared them “traitors” (go to the gun sites, wow, there are “traitors everywhere!), the only capital crime written into the Constitution. We have to be vigilant to protect our freedoms.

    Reply
    • Jeremy R. Hammond

      1) What I quoted is what Sam Adams said.

      2) If you wish to make the argument that Jefferson revised the draft constitution because he changed his view on the right to bear arms, you are welcome to try.

      3) You treat the right to bear arms and taking action to mitigate gun violence as mutually exclusive ideas. They aren’t. If the US government was serious about limiting violence, it would cease regularly engaging in murder on a massive scale, for starters.

      4) I agree with you that we have to be vigilant to protect our freedoms. Hence my pointing out how the mainstream media outright lies to their audience in order to push a political agenda that infringes upon those freedoms.

      Reply

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