Another school shooting. More dead people. A troubled perpetrator with a semi-automatic weapon. Immediate political blather. Public uproar. Muscle flexing by the National Rifle Association and its congressional stooges.
The president speaks. He has thoughts and prayers for the affected. The survivors say they don’t want thoughts and prayers. They want action.
The president says it is necessary to harden the targets. Arm the teachers so they can confront the shooter(s) before the cops get them. The president says to give a little bonus to teachers who’ll pack heat.
And through it all runs the thread — no, the steel cable — of the Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. It’s the one that reads:
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.
Capital “M” Militia, capital “S” State and capital “A” Arms.
Civilian, military weapons separate
The Founding Fathers knew that the new nation was vulnerable. Its small army would need to be supplemented with armed civilians: Most towns had a militia, so the term seemed appropriate for the amendment.
As well, independence had resulted from a rebellion against monarchy. (Read the Declaration of Independence. It’s a catalog of George III’s sins against the 13 colonies.) There was, in some quarters, a fear that George Washington might employ force to make himself king. Case like that, you’d need the people to overthrow another monarchy, which they wouldn’t be able to do without guns.
Then came the 19th century and the Industrial Revolution, beginning the separation of weapons available to citizens from weapons available to the military. That separation widened in the 20th century and continues into the 21st.
Second Amendment has failed, consequently useless
But when the Founding Fathers drafted the Second Amendment, their effort was predicated on the notion of perpetual parity. Civilians and soldiers would be armed with the same weapons, well … forever.
Thus, the Second Amendment has failed in its intent and is consequently useless as the basis of any discussion of gun control. You can’t have what the Army has, even assuming you could afford it. If you can afford it, try acquiring what the Army has and see what happens.
If people can accept the idea that the First Amendment’s protection of free speech does not extend to the person who yells “Fire!” in a crowded venue, then they should be able to accept the reality of the Second Amendment. Parity no longer exists and hasn’t for decades.
So, deal with it. Fondle your pistol or caress your 12-gauge pump and tell yourself the truth: This is as good as it gets.