or, The Wisdom of our Founding Fathers
When I hear people arguing that the U.S. Constitution is carved in stone and the original writings should not be changed or altered, I stand there in awe of their short-sighted position. Really? The Constitution was drafted over several years in the late 1700’s. That is over 200 years ago! Do you think the country and society are the same now as it was then? I think not, and truly believe that no one today would want to time travel back over 200 years and join that society in their living conditions. It would truly be interesting to be able to return for an hour or two in order to meet and chat with Thomas Jefferson over a cup of tea, however.
This is a quote from the Thomas Jefferson Memorial in Washington, D.C.:
“I am certainly not an advocate for frequent and untried changes in laws and constitutions. I think moderate imperfections had better be borne with; because, when once known, we accommodate ourselves to them, and find practical means of correcting their ill effects. But I know also, that laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind. As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths disclosed, and manners and opinions change with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also, and keep pace with the times. We might as well require a man to wear still the coat which fitted him when a boy, as civilized society to remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors.” - Jefferson to H. Tompkinson (AKA Samuel Kercheval), July 12, 1816
This quote from Jefferson demonstrates to me that the Founding Fathers recognized that society would grow and change which may require that the Constitution may need to be changed as well. Amendments have been added over the span of time in order to update the Constitution to include more current issues. Adding the Amendments is a difficult process and requires the people to vote with three fourths of the individual States voting in agreement. It was outlined as an arduous process by the founding Fathers to allow for necessary updates, but assure that the general populace is truly in agreement before any major change/addition could be made.
The most contentious current debate involves the legendary Second Amendment—the Right to bear arms. It 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.”
Let us examine this within the bounds of the late 1700’s. We had just completed the Revolutionary War against the British in which thousands of men were killed. Most of the “militia” at that time consisted of common men in their States who could be called upon as necessary to defend their territory. The States could not afford to maintain a standing militia and the Federal troops were limited in size and scope. “The right of the People to keep and bear arms” was necessary to fulfill the defense needs of the colonies due to a lack of standing armies.
Compare that to our country today. We have the largest standing military force in the world with a Federal budget many times more than any other country and in reality larger than a grouping of the next largest expenditures in those countries. “The People” living in the States and Cities are no longer called upon to defend the Country, because we have sufficient standing military and reserves components.
The intention of the Second Amendment is no longer appropriate or needed within our current society.
Gun rights advocates have expanded the intention of the Second Amendment to include their personal defense of their home and life from any intrusion and not just an attempted invasion of the homeland. If you ask one of those advocates, it also includes protection from their own government!
This expansion is the biggest miscarriage of the Constitution and the biggest scam perpetrated against the American public in history. The result: tens of thousands of citizens are gunned down on the streets every year. The single shot musket has been replaced by semi-automatic rifles that can deliver hundreds of bullets in a matter of a minute instead of just one lead ball in a minute, if the militia man was most adept at reloading.
Much of the justification for this expansion is based in a very long, well devised scheme of doing whatever was needed in order to instill fear in the minds of the general public. The fear of invasion from evil foreign countries, the fear of the Federal government to take away civil rights, the fear of our neighbors who will attempt to steal from us, and the fear of people who may want to do us harm for a myriad of reasons.
An existence based on fear is not healthy and not sustainable for a long period of time without potentially severe consequences. I purposely use the term “existence” and not “life”. Living in constant fear is not a healthy life. It maintains the body in a state of “fight or flight” with the body releasing stress hormones and other chemicals into the systems which over time can be detrimental, let alone interfere with rational cognitive function.
It is not a realistic goal to ever think that America will become a gun-free society. It is, however, reasonable to believe that there can be law changes to wield in the uncontrolled expansion of gun sales in this country and gain a more reality based philosophy on what is actually necessary for “personal defense”. It will take the same resolve that each of the colonist’s held in the 1700’s to establish a free society where every person is created equal and shares the same equal rights. They each came to this country with the same mindset which created a strong will within the society. It will take tens of millions of citizens willing to stand up, with one voice and say to the elected officials of this country that we will no longer live in fear and shut down the out of control gun lobby.