And echoed in the wells of silence
Simon and Garfunkel
AFTER THE TROUBLES with King George III, there was great suspicion--in his former colonies--of standing armies.
Here I expect we shall be told that the militia of the country is its natural bulwark, and
would be at all times equal to the national defense. This doctrine, in substance, had like to
have lost us our independence. It cost millions to the United States that might have been
saved. The facts which, from our own experience, forbid a reliance of this kind, are too
recent to permit us to be the dupes of such a suggestion. The steady operations of war
against a regular and disciplined army can only be successfully conducted by a force of
the same kind. Considerations of economy, not less than of stability and vigor, confirm
this position. The American militia, in the course of the late war, have, by their valor on
numerous occasions, erected eternal monuments to their fame; but the bravest of them
feel and know that the liberty of their country could not have been established by their
efforts alone, however great and valuable they were. War, like most other things, is a
science to be acquired and perfected by diligence, by perseverance, by time, and by
practice. (The Federalist Papers, No. 25)
Alexander Hamilton was not only making the case for a regular army under a republican form of government. He also wanted the Militia to be better organized under the Constitution than it had been under the Articles of Confederation. Thus, in respect to the new charter, he noted, "The power of regulating the militia, and of commanding its services in times of insurrection and invasion are natural incidents to the duties of superintending the common defense, and of watching over the internal peace...." And, therefore, "If a well-regulated militia be the most natural defense of a free country, it ought certainly to be under the regulation and at the disposal of that body which is constituted the guardian of the national security." (The Federalist Papers, No. 29)
The Second Amendment was a response to those who feared the Federal Government would abolish the Militia, even though Article I, Section 8, Clause 15 & Clause 16 and Article II, Section 2, Clause 1 addressed its continued existence. Thus, additional reassurance: "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." For without the appositives, the Second Amendment reads, "A well regulated Militia...shall not be infringed."
There can be no doubt over what constitutes "a well regulated Militia," as Hamilton addressed the matter in the commentaries on the Constitution. Article I, Section 8, Clause 15 & Clause 16 AND Article II, Section 2, Clause 1 AND the Second Amendment concern an appendage that has a chain of command that goes from the President or a Governor and has duly appointed officers.
"If a well-regulated militia be the most natural defense of a free country, it ought certainly to be under the regulation and at the disposal of that body which is constituted the guardian of the national security....," Hamilton observed in background remarks on the arrangement made by the Federal Convention. (The Federalist Papers, No. 29) Article I, Section 8, Clause 15 gives Congress the power "To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the laws of the Union, suppress insurrections and repel invasions." Clause 16 of the same section gives the Legislative Branch power "To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining the Militia, and for governing such part of them as may be employed in the service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the appointment of the officers, and the authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress." Article II, Section 2, Clause 1 makes the President Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of the United States, "and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual service of the United States." Such are the functions of those parts of that body which is constituted the guardian of the national security.
A bill to define Militia or, more properly, remind the uninformed and the continually lying what it means is, unfortunately, necessary. Guys running around with guns are no more entitled to call themselves a Militia than a citizen can claim to be a Federal agent. Both constitute fraud or misrepresentation, and those who do so should be subject to fines and jail time and boot camp. Therefore the coy soldiers should change their group names to Gun Club, and, if they refuse, the Department of Justice should file suit against them. Thus, the counter-offensive begins with words, which have meaning--and consequences.
For too long, the fight has belonged to strong proponents of the SUPPOSED Second Amendment right to bear arms--against facts. But the lines are drawn for the final stand. And fortune shifts as the reserves are brought forth. With banner unfurled, History rides through the ranks, wields the sword of truth, and cries, "Charge!"
The rumble of thundering hooves does not remove lingering doubt. How can this light brigade possibly prevail against a straight shooter?
"We need a Supreme Court that, in my opinion, is going to uphold the Second Amendment...which is under absolute siege.... But I feel that it's absolutely important that we uphold, because of the fact that it is under such trauma. ...[T]he Justices that I'm going to appoint will be pro-life. They have a conservative bent. They will be protecting the Second Amendment. They are great scholars in all cases, and they're people of tremendous respect. They will interpret the Constitution the way the Founders wanted it interpreted. And I believe that's very, very important," said the gentleman from New York in the third debate. (Emphasis added.)
Americans were to be citizens, not merely consumers--commandos, if necessary, not couch potatoes. For citizenship involves rights and duties, and WE THE PEOPLE must reacquaint ourselves with those Siamese twins. After all, the country's birth certificate demands nothing less than the best--"our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor."
And so, in a variation of Groucho, who are you going to believe--Alexander Hamilton, a former aide de camp to the Commander in Chief and a delegate to the Federal Convention, or Wayne LaPierre, the head of the NRA?
The NRA has abducted and abused the Second Amendment; they have been aided and abetted by certain politicians; and they got an assist from Justice Scalia, when he agreed to the assertion of an individual right, in the Heller case. But assertion and repetition do not equal truth.
"[The Second Amendment] has been the subject of one of the greatest pieces of fraud, I repeat the word 'fraud,' on the American public by special interest groups that I have ever seen in my lifetime," said former Chief Justice Warren Burger. (The MacNeil-Lehrer Report, December 16, 1991)
The NRA and certain politicians have been kept afloat by the failures of the self-styled "mainstream" press. But, as John Adams noted, "Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence." Furthermore, some of the problems with their "analysis" could be avoided if they studied history. For it is not as if journalists have to become archaeologists to do their important jobs.
"Without debate, without criticism, no Administration and no country can succeed--and no republic can survive," said President Kennedy. "That is why the Athenian lawmaker Solon decreed it a crime for any citizen to shrink from controversy. And that is why our press was protected by the First Amendment--the only business in America specifically protected by the Constitution--not primarily to amuse and entertain, not to emphasize the trivial and the sentimental, not to simply 'give the public what it wants'--but to inform, to arouse, to reflect, to state our dangers and our opportunities, to indicate our crises and our choices, to lead, mold, educate and sometimes even anger public opinion." (Emphasis added.)
Words have meaning, and their misuse has consequences. As citizens, we have the power to use accurate terms and to call out the press and politicians when they fail to do so. WE THE PEOPLE can change the conversation.
Playing pretend was fine when we were children. But for some, that time has not passed. The Senator from Florida warned us about "jumping to conclusions" as if we had not trained for an Olympic event. Hopefully, he will learn that returning to history--and the truth--is the way to win gold medals.
(c)2018 Marvin D. Jones. All rights reserved.
https://youtu.be/4fWyzwo1xg0 [Simon and Garfunkel]
https://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/susan-jones/trump-says-his-supreme-court-nominees-will-uphold-2nd-amendment-clinton ["under absolute siege"]https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/07pdf/07-290/pdf [the Heller case]
http://www.marvinjones.blogspot.com/2013/08/much-is-required.html [The precedent set]
http://www.marvinjones.blogspot.com/2013/08/much-is-required.html [The precedent set]
https://www.jfklibrary.org/Research/Research-Aids/JFK-Speeches/American-Newspaper-Publishers-Association_19610427.aspx ["Without debate"]
http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/373956-rubio-cautions-some-law-might-not-have-revented-florida-school ["jumping to conclusions"]