Tag Archives: declaration of independence

As I watch our freedom break…

17 Jan

After reading this article and watching the news, I’m having difficulty coming to terms with how exactly to react to the newly proposed gun control measures.

I had a discussion with a coworker about this very proposal the other day and he cited that it was ridiculous for someone to want an assault rifle. He said, “Well, what if I want a tank in my front yard? A battleship in my backyard?” He was trying to be facetious and point out that it was something extraneous and unnecessary for the public to have access to these things, but my immediate reaction was: YOU CAN! If you have the resources, the space, and you’re not infringing on someone else’s rights, YOU CAN! You have the right to own these things, be they rifles, machinery, or whatever! (Of course, this is an extreme example and military surplus laws providing).

Freedom of Speech, Religion, freedom from oppression and the Right to KEEP and Bear Arms were so important to our foundation as a fledgling country, that they were the very first things they thought about when amending the Constitution. We have had many important things brought before our government and after much deliberation, they were listed as amendments to the Constitution, and very few as far reaching as the first two:

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Amendments

Proposal date

Enactment date

1st Protects freedom of speechfreedom of religion, and freedom of the press, as well as the right to assemble and petition the government September 25, 1789 December 15, 1791
2nd Protects an individual’s right to bear arms September 25, 1789 December 15, 1791
3rd Prohibits the forced quartering of soldiers during peacetime September 25, 1789 December 15, 1791
4th Prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures and sets out requirements for search warrants based on probable cause September 25, 1789 December 15, 1791
5th Sets out rules for indictment by grand jury and eminent domain, protects the right to due process, and prohibits self-incrimination and double jeopardy September 25, 1789 December 15, 1791
6th Protects the right to a fair and speedy public trial by jury, including the rights to be notified of the accusations, to confront the accuser, to obtain witnessesand to retain counsel September 25, 1789 December 15, 1791
7th Provides for the right to trial by jury in certain civil cases, according to common law September 25, 1789 December 15, 1791
8th Prohibits excessive fines and excessive bail, as well as cruel and unusual punishment September 25, 1789 December 15, 1791
9th Protects rights not enumerated in the constitution. September 25, 1789 December 15, 1791
10th Limits the powers of the federal government to those delegated to it by the Constitution September 25, 1789 December 15, 1791
11th Immunity of states from suits from out-of-state citizens and foreigners not living within the state borders. Lays the foundation for sovereign immunity March 4, 1794 February 7, 1795
12th Revises presidential election procedures December 9, 1803 June 15, 1804
13th Abolishes slavery and involuntary servitude, except as punishment for a crime January 31, 1865 December 6, 1865
14th Defines citizenship, contains the Privileges or Immunities Clause, the Due Process Clause, the Equal Protection Clause, and deals with post-Civil War issues June 13, 1866 July 9, 1868
15th Prohibits the denial of suffrage based on race, color, or previous condition of servitude February 26, 1869 February 3, 1870
16th Allows the federal government to collect income tax July 12, 1909 February 3, 1913
17th Establishes the direct election of United States Senators by popular vote May 13, 1912 April 8, 1913
18th Establishes prohibition of alcohol (repealed by Twenty-first Amendment) December 18, 1917 January 16, 1919
19th Establishes women’s suffrage June 4, 1919 August 18, 1920
20th Fixes the dates of term commencements for Congress (January 3) and the President (January 20); known as the “lame duck amendment” March 2, 1932 January 23, 1933
21st Repeals the Eighteenth Amendment and prohibits violations of state laws regarding alcohol. February 20, 1933 December 5, 1933
22nd Limits the number of times that a person can be elected president. A person cannot be elected president more than twice. Additionally, a person who has served more than two years of a term to which someone else was elected cannot be elected more than once. March 24, 1947 February 27, 1951
23rd Provides for representation of Washington, D.C. in the Electoral College June 16, 1960 March 29, 1961
24th Prohibits the revocation of voting rights due to the non-payment of poll taxes September 14, 1962 January 23, 1964
25th Codifies the Tyler Precedent; defines the process of presidential succession July 6, 1965 February 10, 1967
26th Establishes the right to vote for those age 18 years or older. March 23, 1971 July 1, 1971
27th Prevents laws affecting Congressional salary from taking effect until the beginning of the next session of Congress September 25, 1789 May 7, 1992[1]

Interesting, right? What I find most intriguing is reading the 4th-9th Amendments. Especially the 9th, but I’ll get to that in a minute. The fourth through eighth amendments would – eventually – be directly affected by infringing on our rights so directly as this recent proposition attempts.

This is what we’re afraid of. It’s not so much that we want to be able to shoot anything in our path, or that we’re a particularly violent populace (there will always be evil and good co-habitant and humanity is incapable of being utopic) but we’re afraid that these basic respects and rights – that we feel are part of the very foundation of our country – will begin to crumble and fall with such a series of bans. These bans start reasonable, such as banning fully automatic weaponry, or magazines that hold more than ten bullets (I actually don’t agree with it, but we’re using it for example). These are things that most people can ‘let go’, as we don’t need them in a home and most untrained people are rather afraid of assault weaponry. Fine. What next? Banning silencers? Banning semi-automatic weaponry? That includes the Great American 1911.

Look at the wording and see how it can be used against us before agreeing to it outright. If one is banned, soon another will be, then another. Say semi-automatics are banned, what’s next? Handguns? We’ll be left with simple rifles and shotguns, probably with a special hunting license and only if we’re apart from a population of so-many people, or separated from the road by so-many hundred yards.

How fast do you think these things will happen? Very, if we allow one step, one inch, one small pebble to fall off this Freedom Cliff. It will avalanche until we have no rights left to protect ourselves.

Forgive me, but I have scenes from Orwell’s 1984 constantly running through my head as the avalanche continues, unchecked through all of our personal liberties.

Before I dissent into that, let’s take a logical look at what the fourth through eighth amendments stand for and how they can be affected by such a decline:

4th: Protection from unreasonable search and seizure.

What determines that which is unreasonable? The government does, not us. So when they come knocking on our doors to collect those newly banned weapons, is it with a warrant? Do they just demand we hand over our property?

5th: Protects the right of due process and protects us from self-incrimination.

Are we incriminating ourselves if we feel it is against our basic freedoms to keep that which we’ve owned for years? If a ban comes in place, have we automatically incriminated ourselves if we hand them over ‘too late’?

6th: The right to be notified of accusations.

What if someone looks particularly gun-happy? What if they have a passion for weaponry as a hobby? Will these things be snatched away without notification? Yes, it sounds extreme, but how far does this press? How far does the ban go? Will it be retroactive? Carried out by profiling? Will we have to register everything now? And as far as the new proposal for controlling gun trafficking, how quickly can that spiral out of control, if something of ours is stolen but we can’t prove it was stolen because we couldn’t claim we had it in the first place? Remember, self-incrimination.

7th: The basic right to a trial by jury.

Can you imagine how any of the above listed possibilities will now tie up, drain and FUND the judicial system? We’ll be in court for years trying to gain our BASIC freedoms back.

8th: Prohibits excessive fines or bail, also prohibits cruel and unusual punishment.

So, if we are defending ourselves, in our home, with a weapon that would (possibly soon) be considered contraband, how steep will that fine be? How will the police treat us? As terrorists? After all, we have banned weaponry. Will we then be beaten and our property taken from us?

Now, this brings us to the 9th amendment. Ah, yes, I particularly love this one. It has so much depth to it and I don’t think anyone has really looked at it. Especially the fourth article:

Article the fourth….. 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

Did you catch that? It is ILLEGAL for the President, for Congress, for any member of government to actually infringe on our right to keep and bear arms. They are breaking the constitution by trying to do so.

Now, the other, very quickly-read part of that article is this: “Being necessary to the security of a free state”. Think about that. Some of you will argue that the security of that state is taken care of by the police and military. Is it? Really? These entities are reactionary, not protective entities. They enforce the laws, but cannot intervene (yet) unless a law has been broken. This article states that a well-regulated Militia is supposed to handle this, but we’ve not had a “militia” for over a century. What defines this Militia? Dictionaries refer to it as “A military force of civilians to supplement a regular army in an emergency.” Hmm. Emergency. What, then would they constitute an emergency? Is that defined Federally or Gubernatorially? The state is supposed to be able to function independently of the federal government, so perhaps the state makes this decision?  It is, however, protected Federally. So, the federal government would then protect the right of a standing militia? Do we have to sign up for this, or is it every able-bodied citizen over a certain age?

Interesting, isn’t it? That I have to sit here and try to define what it means to be able to protect my family, whether I have the right or if I’m to be denied based on my status as a civilian.

The United States of America is a country built on freedom from oppression. So very much of our own sacred symbolism reflects this. Look at the Statue of Liberty, a gift from France – a long standing ally. Think about the inscription on the tablet. It is literally the dates of the American and French Revolutions. These dates are so important that they are imprinted upon the first thing people think of when they think of Freedom. Now, let’s look at the poem on the base of this statue, by Emma Lazarus:

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore.” How amazing is this line? Her name “Mother of Exiles”. Liberty. For so very long, this is where people came in to this country, that is what they saw, this is what they read and that is how they felt. Why are we endangering this?

America is the land of freedom, the last true bastion and example of a government NOT infringing on a public’s rights. Some of you might say that I am exploding this out of proportion, that this is still extraneous, but we have the freedom of choice and ownership NOW.

What happens when that is taken away from us, or worse, we give up that freedom? What becomes of our personal liberties, then? That Liberty become weakened and the precipice of freedom we’re teetering on starts crumbling. This is why the American populace has become so passionate about such a proposition as this little amendment.

We believe we have the right to pursue our own happiness. We believe we have the right to freedom from oppressive rule. These are BASICS, stated in our very Declaration of Independence and Constitution, the founding documents of this country.

Now, I understand that there comes a point when we have to say “enough”. We have to interpret according to modern needs and clarify those rights based on such. The abolition of slavery and indentured servitude, as well as the basic ability to vote have been established thusly, but these are things that were defined by our very motto: Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.

Do we have the right to interpret something that inhibits those rights instead of protecting them?

Take a look at the 18th and 21st amendments. Prohibition. This is a prime example of three things: Amendments can and will be repealed, that the American populace can work together to get this done (even over the course of decades), and that the American populace does not like infringement of their freedoms. Violence actually increased during this time of prohibition, when this law was set in place to reduce it.

The following are statistics detailing how much worse crime became:

  • Police funding: INCREASED $11.4 Million

  • Arrests for Prohibition Las Violations: INCREASED 102+%

  • Arrests for Drunkenness and Disorderly Conduct: INCREASED 41%

  • Arrests of Drunken Drivers: INCREASED 81%

  • Thefts and Burglaries: INCREASED 9%

  • Homicides, Assault, and Battery: INCREASED 13%

  • Number of Federal Convicts: INCREASED 561%

  • Federal Prison Population: INCREASED 366%

  • Total Federal Expenditures on Penal Institutions: INCREASED 1,000%

Huh. Wait a minute. The government set a law in place to put a ban on something that was considered the root of trouble for that time period (“The reign of tears is over. The slums will soon be a memory. We will turn our prisons into factories and our jails into storehouses and corncribs. Men will walk upright now, women will smile and children will laugh. Hell will be forever for rent.” -Reverend Billy Sunday), and 26 years later, that ban was repealed because it did not reduce crime, it increased it?

Really.  Huh.

Now, there’s something we take for granted during this time period: the simple act of purchasing and drinking alcohol. Yes, it can get out of control, and yes, some bad seeds abuse it, but on the whole…they found that banning this “root of evil” did not actually reduce criminal activity. It drove people to rise up and act in defiance of that law. Entire fortunes were made breaking this law, finding ways around it, creating little priest-holes of iniquity under their noses, but it in no way reduced crime related to alcohol.

Was it because we’re just that bad? Or did we chafe under so much of a yoke? I think it was the latter, that Americans felt they had no other way to show their disquiet than to “act up”, like an ignored and over-protected child. Honestly, if you take away such a right as our own protection (which this kind of ban is CLOSELY related to) then how else can we respond?

We do not take kindly to having our rights impeded and should this happen, we will find a way to fight it. This is who we are and we’ve proven it time and time again. Our country was founded on people sick of being downtrodden, corralled, ruled and beleaguered by the very governments they fled.

We have entire mixtures of populations all about this country, grown solely from political refugees. The majority of the American population started their families here in order to throw off the yoke of an oppressive world and start anew in the land of freedom.

And now, like the pre-World War II Austrians, our country is on the brink of economic disaster and someone offers us a shiny package of promise. Promise of change, of protection and happiness. Of progress. All we have to do is hand over our freedoms. Like they did, we will be willingly handing over our very protection and opening ourselves to a freefall towards dictatorship. We will become a conquered people, gladly and meekly.

What then? Who will come to our aid to defend our freedoms?

Do you think other countries will be happy to step in and liberate us from our prideful fall?

No. They will see that we did it to ourselves, and let us wallow in it. We’re the only country left in this world with the power, the position, the beliefs and the ability to stand up and help those in need…

If that fails, who will help us?

No one.

Because no one will be left.

Seriously. Think about those who would actually stand up and try to help us. Who would they talk to? Who would they advise? How would they go about it? Would they have the military and the money as well as the political stance within their own country to be able to step in and save us from a spiraling downfall like this?

No. They would talk with our government, and be appeased. Or if not, they would try to fund factions as a means of help, but then be fined by our own government for intervening or funding an illegal action. If I am right, that is also close kin to a war-crime, and our allies in the UN have long felt that we are too aggressive as a populace. Our government would also find their new-found welcome by less-aggressive countries to be appealing. This move would be beneficial to other countries, much more so than any conscience might mitigate otherwise. Cultural differences aside, I do not think there would be many countries at all that would even bother to give us a hand up. They would watch and wait to see who came out on top.

We are then left to fight our own fight. This is how I do it, how will you?

More Gun Rhetoric

26 Jan

I was reading an interesting post on a blogsite I follow HERE and responded to one of her posts.  She blogged about gun control and background checks, basically requesting citizenry to enroll or sign up for tighter restriction.  She makes a good argument and you should read her side.  I took a good long while composing my side and thought, well, why not make it my post for today?  So here it is:

This is indeed sad and I would say, coming so soon after the Moscow tragedy, very saddening. That some idiot would take it upon themselves to run into a police station and open fire says they had a death wish or some sort of vendetta. It’s possible that conviction of a family member could create such animosity, but surely, one would understand that shooting at a police officer will get you shot. And surely this person would understand beyond that if he opened fire multiple times on an entire police station, that several police officers would shoot back, and that several gunshot wounds could and would kill him. This person was clearly deranged or filled with some sort of guilt and wanted some sort of personal justice without truly committing the act of suicide.

As for the rest of your post, my friend, I’ll have to disagree with you:

Hmm. The interesting thing I’d like to point out is that the only people who will register their guns or who will use these gun check systems are legally owning citizens. After all, only lawful citizens can use the system. Criminals are not allowed to own or purchase weaponry under federal law, so why should a criminal care if their gun is legal or illegal? In fact, it would put to logic that tighter control laws would press a criminal to find a way to obtain a legally obtained weapon (theft) and use it in an illegal practice just to implicate someone else because we would have “no way” for that criminal to obtain that weapon otherwise. Hmm. Now, perhaps in a twisted way that could find a pattern or path closer to the criminal, unless the investigating source was either lazy or unjust and decided that the person who owned the weapon must have done it since their fingerprints are all over it. But then again, we don’t have laziness or misguided or even underhanded people on any police force anywhere, right? Not at all.

Before I say much further, there are–erm–interesting people out there who are obsessed with how much weaponry they have. This is a hobby. This, for the most part and in an abstract, is no different than collecting coins to them. Yes, there are always exceptions and yes, there are always fanatics and psychopaths, but why punish the 99% of the populace who aren’t crazy for the 1% who are? Should we all wear straight jackets and take happy pills? At the clearest, it is a violation of our CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT: our freedom to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.

The NRA does have some people that feel the control-laws are out to tally how much a person owns…and think about it. During WWII, many of our guns were commandeered, sent overseas to the British and never sent back; all to help them when their own gun laws were so laborious they didn’t have an ounce of metal to fight with (and I do mean their ARMY not civilians). There are also people well placed in government that would love to know exactly how many weapons are out there for an opposite reason: how much of an informal standing army America has. Out of hunters alone, in one state alone, we have more protection than any other country in the world. This is why no one invades this country. We fight amongst ourselves over our freedoms because we have the right to and because we have little else more important to fight over.

The NRA also holds the position that the weapon and ammunition laws will only control the lawful. It only hurts law abiding citizens and weakens the defense of the populace, placing more strain on a reactive civil service, such as the police, whose hands are tied at proactively protecting us during criminal activity. They cannot do a THING until a crime has occurred unless it is a threat to our nation. If it’s personal, you’re on your own. Do you want someone breaking into your home and systematically killing your family before your eyes while the police have to take entire minutes to get to your home? Or would you rather shoot the bastard? And keep in mind, a bullet is much faster than the swing of a baseball bat, and it’s not pointed at you, it’s pointed at your child. Think of it in that regard and then tell me you want to control what kind of and how many weapons I have. Also think on this: the control laws don’t only affect *them*, they affect all of us. Once started, it’ll be a snowball fight as to who can get the most earmarks on THAT bill and I promise you, no one will be there to read them all until it’s well passed and someone’s kid is hurt because they weren’t *allowed* to own a weapon. It will come to that.

I will leave off that we have the freedom to differ, the freedom to have and have not, the freedom for me to be my way and you to be yours…all because of our Constitution, our Declaration of Independence and a little war fought over it with Guns. By farmers and weavers and tanners and the like that owned guns of their own that were not issued by a government and were not controlled by anyone but themselves.

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