“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.”
There’s a lot of bad information being thrown about regarding what this all means. Some of it is simple ignorance. Some of it is deliberately designed to maliciously manipulate. Some of it is a mix of the two. I’ve even heard people use the text of the amendment to suggest that it only applies to a government-controlled military force. Allow me to throw in my $0.03 to clear up a few things.
Well regulated — The original meaning of “well regulated” at the time the Bill of Rights was written was “being in proper working order.” It has nothing to at all do with government control, which is a modern connotation.
Militia — Per U.S. law, specifically 10 U.S. Code § 311 – Militia: composition and classes:
(a) The militia of the United States consists of all able-bodied males at least 17 years of age and, except as provided in section 313 of title 32, under 45 years of age who are, or who have made a declaration of intention to become, citizens of the United States and of female citizens of the United States who are members of the National Guard.
(b) The classes of the militia are—(1) the organized militia, which consists of the National Guard and the Naval Militia; and(2) the unorganized militia, which consists of the members of the militia who are not members of the National Guard or the Naval Militia.
What this means is that—removing gender bias and factoring in modern medical advancements that allow for viable, healthier lives into older age—pretty much everyone is a member of the the unorganized militia. Note that the National Guard is specifically mentioned as being separate.
The unorganized milita would be called up in times of need, and they brought their own equipment… weaponry that both needed to work properly and that they knew how to use (see “well regulated” above).
The right of the people — Like all rights outlined in the Bill of Rights (which is actually a list of limitations on the federal government, not a list of things that We, The People, are “allowed” to do), the 2nd amendment applies to the People or the States. Not to the federal government.
Shall not be infringed — Per Merriam-Webster: “to encroach upon in a way that violates law or the rights of another.”
Perhaps a more modern reading of the amendment could be:
The right of the people—most of whom are members (like it or not) of the unorganized militia—to own and carry firearms shall not be encroached… because… you know… having a well-functioning militia is important for security and emergencies and shit.
For those who actually believe the 2nd amendment only applies to muskets… well… I hope you limit the exercise of your 1st amendment rights to handwritten letters on parchment and the printing press.
Do with this information as you please.
As of this writing, Donald Trump is riding comfortably at the top of the GOP’s herd of hapless hopefuls. (Those reading this in the future will, I pray, laugh quaintly at the silly notion that Trump could have ever become the actual real President [إن شاء الله].)
This odd fact has lead some to cheer, many to panic, and the rest of us to scratch our heads, wondering just what the hell we are witnessing.
Like most people who don’t like assholes, I don’t like Donald Trump. He’s not just a prick, he’s also undeservedly arrogant. (Pro tip: if someone needs to keep telling you how beautiful they are, they’re probably not.) Also, there’s this minor issue of him not quite understand what facts are. But since details like that don’t sell papers, we’ll ignore them for now.
I don’t know what’s more sad: The fact that Trump is not even actually a Republican, but rather a Leftist wet-dream fantasy caricature version of what they think a Republican is… or the fact that some Republicans are eating the bullshit show up with an Iowa-State-Fair-sized shovel. Being an independent, lower-case-L libertarian, this naturally matters much less to me than the fact that his mouth generally engages well before his brain has had time to process thoughts. Thinky hurty.
Truth told, I actually find the whole circus act to be a rather amusing glimpse into our pathetic Reality-TV fueled culture. For now.
(I still maintain that Trump is really a DNC plant, designed to cause chaos on the Right and screw their chances at winning. But I digress.)
Allow me to get to the meat of why I decided to write this in the first place. Many on the GOP side claim that they support Trump because he “tells it like it is.” Actually, I think some people just love it when someone gives so few fucks about anything that being an asshole is second nature. But let’s give them the benefit of the doubt.
Trump has been quoted as saying, “I think the big problem this country has is being politically correct.” Therein lies the rub (well, one of them): We seem to have (at least) two radically different definitions of what “political correctness” actually is. Not only that… both sides have their merits.
One side thinks it means “they are trying to control our thoughts by coercing us into using / not using certain words that they approve / disapprove of (which they will end up changing every 6 months or so anyway).”
And they have a damn good point. Even a cursory look at political and social discourse over the past few decades tends to show an increasingly tightening set of what words are and are not “approved of” by the self-appointed thought police. Step over the line, and your life (or career, at least), may be over. For uttering words. Because feelings.
Giving oneself victim status (or, better still, having it bestowed) seems to be a badge that allows the “victim” to do whatever the fuck they want to whomever they want (provided that the target is deemed “bad”), and are allowed to use tactics that they, themselves, don’t want those they deem the “oppressors” to use. If you can’t see it… you might be biased.
The other side thinks it means “you guys are dicks… be nicer to people.”
And they have a damn good point. People are dicks (even people who call other people “dicks.”) If you can’t see it… you might be biased.
Unfortunately, the gap between these connotations seems pretty cavernous. However, successful communication requires that both sides understand what the other side is saying, not just cramming their words into prefab, preexisting-notion-sized bias boxes. As I recently told a group of visiting Iraqi professors while lecturing on academic culture and giving/receiving critique, “Don’t listen to respond… listen to understand.” I think we lack this notion in our national discourse today. And this is gonna keep biting us in the ass over and over and…
If you call what you read “books” and what other people read “propaganda”… you might be biased. Try understanding other people for a change. You might be surprised.