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Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Bring the little children unto us so that we may shoot them down

Korea has Kim Jong-un.  Iran has Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.  The United States has Wayne LaPierre.  They all have their loyal followers who seem to draw comfort and self-esteem from the belligerent crudeness and unstable mentalities the leaders demonstrate.  These leaders all brandish and threaten with weapons and accuse the U.S. of plotting to take their weapons and rights. 

And South Dakota has its group of malicious bloggers, whose juvenile malevolence is a malignant growth on the state of the kind that Kim Jong-un and Ahmadinejad are to the world.  They are sustained by followers who support them with callow belligerence.  

Those three leaders are successful, because they appeal to very large coteries whose only claims to consequence are in cowering behind the belligerent bullies which they regard as having power.   The bullies' success is in manipulating their followers by exploiting their  ignorance  of  language and history. The three leaders share a lack of compunction 

about making false accusations and peddling outright lies to keep their followers in a state of angry agitation.  

In the case of the NRA, it has bullied and cowed political leaders, including members of the Supreme Court to accept a reading of Second Amendment that refutes the historical facts behind it and the linguistic analysis by actual scholars of language that trace its intention.  The dangling clause A well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state is unclear about the way it is supposed to modify the main assertion of the amendment the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.  The NRA has chosen to simply ignore the introductory  clause and insist that the Second Amendment prohibits placing any kind of restrictions or limitations on what kind of weapons may be possessed and how they may be used. 

The two competing theories of the Second Amendment that have grown into prominence are one which sees the purpose of the Amendment is a collective right maintained for the purpose of calling up an army when the nation needs one.  The other is a common law notion that confers the right on the basis of using firearms for obtaining food and for defending oneself.  Among scholars, most interpretations of the Second Amendment are built upon "a swamp of bad history."   A revised interpretation that proceeds from the scholarship ties the right to bear arms to a civic duty to serve the country.  That interpretation protects the right while opening up the need to regulate it for the purpose of public safety and good.  It recalls George Washington's observation that "The distinction between a well regulated Army, and a Mob, is the good order and discipline of the first, and the licentious and disorderly behaviour of the latter." (August 25, 1776)

 But in the current debate on gun control in which many of the claims are blatant fabrications (lies, if you will),  the gun lobby is whining in wounded indignation that it is being accused of promoting the mass murder of children.  I have heard no one making the accusation quite that bluntly.The accusation comes from a logical inference regarding the absence of gun regulation that the unbridled access to arms provides a means for the maliciously demented to shoot down children.  The gun lobby's shrugging off of the killing  of 20 first-graders, to say nothing of the six adults,  at Sandy Hook is to many people a grotesque symptom of a nation suffering from serious, potentially lethal, intellectual and moral decay.  The issue is further defined by the fact that a 9-year-old was killed when Gabby Giffords was shot and a 6-year-old was killed in the Aurora movie theater massacre.  Murders of children are the price of freedom, according to the NRA book of wisdom. 

America has created the conditions that make mass shootings and the mowing down of children a frequent occurrence.  The U.S. has the highest rate of gun ownership in the world with 270 million guns in the possession of citizens, or 89 firearms per 100 people.  Guns are the instrument of death for 25,000 people a year,  In 2010, 19,308 died from suicide by gun; 11,015 were murdered by gun; and 600 died from gun accidents.  That's the price of freedom.

More than 90 percent of Americans are in favor of background checks as a step for keeping the mentally unqualified and confirmed criminals from buying guns over the counter or other venues in which such sales are preventable.  The gun lobby gets hysterical and says this is an infringement on the right and the beginning of measures to confiscate all guns by the government.  The big lie is that the government is conspiring to gets its hands on everybody's guns, but the cowering masses like to believe it so.  

No, the gun lobby has never been accused of promoting the killing of children.  But if you want to demonstrate your dedication to freedom, go and kill a kid today.  It will send a message to big government.  

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Aberdeen, South Dakota, United States