Some Thoughts on the 1st and 2nd Amendments
By Tom Anselm
The Bill of Rights was an adjustment to what many say is the greatest written document in the history of government, the Constitution of the United States. These changes came as a result of not all the boys being happy with the 1787-ratified plan, so they proposed some clarifications that took until 1791 to get ratified by 11 of the 13 states.
But that is not the point of this discussion. My feeling is that our country is in a downward spiral with respect to the first of these amendments, and overreaching in its application of the second.
The Second amendment to the Constitution states, “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.”
That’s the whole thing. Today, do we need militias as was the case in the late 1700s, such organizations having been primarily instrumental in the war that separated the colonies from Great Britain?
We do have state National Guards, a type of militia. But it’s n like Illinois is going to need to defend itself from Missouri troops. I know there are a great deal of people who think that we may be in danger of being persecuted and taken over by our own Federal forces some day. I am not of that vein. Nor am I a gun enthusiast.
The last thing I shot was a Daisy BB gun in a little woods up by Bissell Hills Shopping Center back in 1961, which is still there today. The woods, not the gun. The First Amendment is a bit longer, and covers more than one area of interest.
It says “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
Both of these amendments come to mind as I contemplate another mass murder in our land of the free. The guy who allegedly pulled off this massacre was armed to the teeth. He had thousands of rounds of high-caliber bullets, handguns, explosives, body armor the likes of which our own soldiers could only dream of. How can this be?
How can one person amass all this destructive power, and legally at that? Well, apparently, he is protected by the Second Amendment. But do you really think it should be used in this way? Should anyone be able to by an AK-47 online?
According to a website called gunpolicy.org, the United States has 270 million guns out there, covering 88% of all households. Other sites speak of a lower number, more like 50% After the shooting in Colorado, applications for security checks to buy a gun went up 43% in that state.
Should I be looking into gun ownership? Am I being naïve? For about $600, I can score an HK .22 semi-automatic rifle at Cabella’s. It seems to be as easy as using “what’s in my wallet”. Is this what Amendment #2 was intended to guarantee? But wait just a minute here. Me having a gun implies I’d be able to use it on a human, an unlikely scenario. Still, if someone was pointing a Glock at me and I had my own, I might be inclined to reconsider this stance.
Maybe it’s time to upgrade from that air rifle. Much has been written about the source of violence in our nation. My video game experience began and ended with PacMan. But I don’t have to have played them to know there is some highly dangerous, vicious and gory junk out there featuring all manner of mayhem, and that millions participate daily. Not to mention Hollywood’s immensely lucrative fascination with the dark side, exploding worlds, and amoral super-villains.
Of course, all these forms of “entertainment” fall under the First Amendment protection of freedom of speech. Is this amendment being abused as well? So combine constitutionally-protected access to gore, a market that encourages and provides weapons, and mix it all up inside a very ill person’s mind, and we get what we saw happen in Aurora last month.As the Wicked Witch of the West said when Dorothy Gale doused her with water… “What a world, what a world.”
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