The other day I posted an exchange between an old friend of mine on the subject of the present crisis, "Feels Like 1861." Readers asked me to let them know when my friend responded and so you will find it below along with my own rejoinder. I begin:
Let me take these ad seriatim:
"I feel you have lost your sense of humor. My suggestion about the NRA was of course not a suggestion to be acted on. While the NRA to me appears to be populated by paranoid and partly demented members Dementia and paranoia cannot be legislated out of existence."
I hadn't realized that psychiatric diagnosis was your specialty and that it extended to a mass of people you don't know let alone fail to attempt to understand. Having spent the past twenty years having my arguments of logic, law and history for the Founders' interpretation of liberty and the Second Amendment dismissed routinely as mental pathology by collectivists who seek to take more of my liberty and property and, moreover, feel entitled to it, it is difficult to maintain a sense of humor. Dismissing people's arguments by reference to mental pathologies is a short-hand way of justifying their oppression (see the use of "psychiatry" in the PRC and former Soviet Union). So no, I no longer have a sense of humor about such dehumanizing and delegitimizing language.
"The second amendment, if anyone really reads it with an understanding of the situation when it was written, starts with In order to maintain an organized and established militia. We have such organizations in the Army, the Navy, the Marines, the Air Force and the State National Guards of each of the 50 states and I expect although I haven’t checked the satellite areas."
You haven't done enough reading in the original texts. The Second, like the First, guarantees an individual right. The Founders saw the people as the only sure counterbalance to a possibly predatory standing army. The fact that the regular military has grown even larger and more capable doesn't negate their concerns, merely amplifies them. In any case, the Constitution only codifies our God-given, inalienable and natural rights, these rights do not depend upon it. There remains in Federal law, three classes of military forces, the regulars (and their federal reserves), the Organized Militias (National Guards when not on federal service) and the Unorganized Militia, that is, the rest of us available for call by the states for service within the state (and even by the county sheriff within the county). In any case, your "collective right" interpretation was overturned in the Heller decision by the Supreme Court, who reinforced the individual right interpretation.
"Unlimited Assault weapons in the hands of disorganized, undisciplined groups, unrepresented loose cannons have caused thousands of deaths and millions of disabilities through the years and did not prevent any of the transgressions on our “liberties” which you documented."
'Assault Weapons' are, strictly speaking, full auto weapons (i.e. machine guns) which can empty their magazines with a single pull of the trigger. Extending the term to semi-auto rifles was a deliberate propaganda trick by Josh Sugarman, a gun control proponent back in the 1980s, to demonize them and facilitate their banning. If you are talking about semi-auto rifles, then, when you refer to "Assault Weapons," your claimed statistics are imaginary. FBI stats show that such weapons are actually statistically almost insignificant in the crime rates and murder statistics. But of course this argument is not about facts or logic, it is about appetites for control of the ability of the populace to resist government.
"I am a veteran of two wars. I respect and honor all those who served and are serving and when I started practice, served the VA; seeing veterans, with practically no payment for services for many years until I became fed up with the callousness and inefficiency of the operation."
Doc, I respect your service, but may I humbly remind you that you took an oath to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic? The Founders would consider the present regime, consisting largely of both political parties, as usurpers and seditionists to their Republic.
"Your question of how many I want to see dead. I want to see none dead. No children in their schoolroom. No lost person walking down a street at night. No little kid playing with his daddy’s toys. No teenager struggling with rejection. Take away the large caliber, rapid fire automatic weaponry that has no sensible purpose other than killing people and leave it to the organized militia of our country and our police to protect us from our enemies both here and abroad."
Yet the unintended consequences of the policies you promote will lead to mounds of dead and mass graves that will make such incidents look like Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood on a good day. What I'm trying to get you to do is think through those consequences and ask yourself if you really want to go down that road.
"Make it unavailable to individuals who with personal vendettas or drug induced or just plain paranoid excursions go shooting at will."
Doc, you cannot legislate away evil. Evil men exist and go about in the land seeking who they may devour. Good men exist. What you propose is to disarm the good men and free the evil men to massacre and rape, for they will have weapons in any case.
"I don’t want a dictator deciding but I feel that education and temperance will eventually win out."
Doc, "temperance," if you hadn't noticed, is passe. The "partisanship" that is so often decried comes from divergent answers to this simple question: Does the government still serve the people or do the people serve the government? We are actually two different peoples with two distinct world views now sharing a common language and border but little else based upon our divergent answers to that question. It is not a question whose differing answers can be negotiated or finessed. In the end, it will be answered one way or the other and to expect that it will be answered without an effusion of blood is to attempt to whistle past the graveyard of history. There is no house rule that says tyranny cannot come to America. And when it does, there will be a fight. And I must say that the irony is not lost on our side when we see statists with the appetites of the present administration weeping crocodile tears over the dead children in Newtown when they have done everything to aid and abet the murder of 54 million plus unborn innocents since Roe v. Wade. This is not about "the children." It is about power.
"I believe people will choose. I am not going to kill anybody. I don’t have a gun."
People will choose, Doc, that is a certainty. But surely you are enough of an historian to recognize the Law of Unintended Consequences and how that plays out in unexpected ways, especially to folks who don't pay attention to, nor do they wish to understand, others who disagree with them. Insofar as you not killing anybody, I'm sure that's true. Your opinions, when enacted into policy, WILL kill people. Believe it. For they will come to my door, and the doors of my friends, at the business end of a federal raid party. That is how it works. Just ask the Davidians, if you can find any left alive.
"I’m not really sure I know who “you and Your Kind” are. I thought we were all Americans . I thought we were a Democracy of the Republic application. I thought that we were governed by laws and those laws were approved by the majority of the people. I thought that by pledging our allegiance we agreed to obey those laws even if we personally had not voted for them."
I thought so, too. Or used to. (See that worldview thing above.) But just because one side gets to out-vote the other (or out-count the vote) and institute unconstitutional laws with the assistance of black robed politicians does not negate the other side's God-given and inalienable rights codified in the Constitution. The Founders were as suspicious of tyranny by democratic majority as they were about monarchs, maybe more so. Believe me, now that me and mine are a despised minority in our country, I understand where they were coming from.
"In any event Mike, I love you , I will not kill you. Come visit me any time. I have spent all of my life trying to fix people, make them comfortable, keep them from dying. I’m not going to change."
Doc, I don't want you to change. Our side in this debate is not telling anybody to change, or how to live. Unfortunately, I can't say the same for the nanny-staters, the federal meddlers, the hard-core collectivists and their useful idiots who are telling US to change, instructing US how to live, demanding more and more every day of OUR liberty, OUR property and infringing every so much more on OUR lives and threatening them if WE don't comply. We just want to be left the hell alone to live as we have always lived. We are neither evil nor crazy. But we will not disarm without a fight.