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This is the title of a very interesting article at Truthout.

The real reason the Second Amendment was ratified, and why it says "State" instead of "Country" (the Framers knew the difference - see the 10th Amendment), was to preserve the slave patrol militias in the southern states, which was necessary to get Virginia's vote.  Founders Patrick Henry, George Mason, and James Madison were totally clear on that . . . and we all should be too.
In the beginning, there were the militias. In the South, they were also called the "slave patrols," and they were regulated by the states.
B
y the time the Constitution was ratified, hundreds of substantial slave uprisings had occurred across the South.  Blacks outnumbered whites in large areas, and the state militias were used to both prevent and to put down slave uprisings.  As Dr. Bogus points out, slavery can only exist in the context of a police state, and the enforcement of that police state was the explicit job of the militias.
If the anti-slavery folks in the North had figured out a way to disband - or even move out of the state - those southern militias, the police state of the South would collapse.  And, similarly, if the North were to invite into military service the slaves of the South, then they could be emancipated, which would collapse the institution of slavery, and the southern economic and social systems, altogether.
These two possibilities worried southerners like James Monroe, George Mason (who owned over 300 slaves) and the southern Christian evangelical, Patrick Henry (who opposed slavery on principle, but also opposed freeing slaves).
Their main concern was that Article 1, Section 8 of the newly-proposed Constitution, which gave the federal government the power to raise and supervise a militia, could also allow that federal militia to subsume their state militias and change them from slavery-enforcing institutions into something that could even, one day, free the slaves.
This seems like a plausible interpretation of constitutional history to me. The northern and southern states had come together to defeat the British but they were divided by very different economic and cultural systems. The tensions that would eventually lead to the civil war were already very present in the convention in Philadelphia. Much of the negotiation revolved around crafting compromises between the two regions. The most notorious of them was counting slaves as 3/5 of a person. The constitution also set a date for the importation of additional slaves to end. The nation about to be born was not at peace about slavery.

I have always been puzzled by the language in the second amendment about a well regulated militia. There was provision in the constitution for a standing army and navy. What was really meant by a militia? This makes very good sense that the slave states demanded military type forces under their direct control for the purpose of controlling their slave society. If you tie the right to keep and bear arms directly to the existence of a militia, then the whole thing is seriously out of date and nothing more than an historical anachronism. It seems to me that many of the people on the far right who are frothing at the mouth over their guns come off as being seriously anachronistic as well.

Originally posted to Richard Lyon on Tue Jan 15, 2013 at 06:24 PM PST.

Also republished by Shut Down the NRA and Repeal or Amend the Second Amendment (RASA).

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  •  Tip Jar (231+ / 0-)
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    •  1861-5 was the 1 time that 2A was really put into (9+ / 0-)

      effect.   Let's be honest here.  If we're going to have a debate over an amendment that was widely accepted to confer a collective (not an indivdual) right for decades, let's have an honest debate about it.

      Some men see things as they are and ask why. I dream of things that never were and ask why not?

      by RFK Lives on Tue Jan 15, 2013 at 07:39:30 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I can see how southern whites needed guns... (0+ / 0-)

        ...to enslave people. Like they always had.  Is that what you mean?

        Daily Kos an oasis of truth. Truth that leads to action.

        by Shockwave on Tue Jan 15, 2013 at 07:47:10 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  It's argued that people need guns to protect (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Shockwave, Dallasdoc, Smoh

          themselves from a potentially tyrannical federal govt.  I'm merely pointing out what happened the one time that argument was put to the test.

          Some men see things as they are and ask why. I dream of things that never were and ask why not?

          by RFK Lives on Tue Jan 15, 2013 at 08:06:32 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  IMO 2nd Amd aided the CSA...at first (11+ / 0-)

            It's remarkable how quickly federal authority was displaced in the states of the Confederacy once secession began. Part of it might have been popular support against the Black Republicans (three guesses why they were called that), but having a highly armed populace, who were also able to seize state militia arsenals once secession was proclaimed, must have made it much easier.

            If you adopt the Confederate view that Lincoln's election was the presage of a coming tyranny from the federal government, the Second Amendment--to the extent it promoted an armed populace and a source of military power independent of the federal government--worked to perfection; the 'tyranny' of the federal government was overthrown. Now, just as in the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812, these same militias were then shown to be wholly unsuited to defense of their newly-independent State from a powerful conventional military threat.

            Legal arguments aside, the notion that giving every voter an assault rifle today will be able to resist a tyrannical federal government tomorrow is... fanciful to say the least.

            •  If the clip in the diary is correct, (11+ / 0-)

              the Constitution provides that the supervising and regulating of state militias is something that the Federal Government is in fact chared with doing and granted the power to do. That is the 'regulating' in the well regulated miitia. Nothing in there about the keeping and bearing of arms intended to allow individuals to use said weapons to resist the Federal government at all. Indeed, the power of the Federal government to call up militia to suppress insurrection is clearly specified.  Here is the relevant part of Article I, Section 8

              To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;

              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;


               and the Second Amendment
              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.
              I don't know how the second amendment can have been made forthe purpose of providing a miitary force to run an insurrection against a tyrannical Federal government when the said supposedly tyrannical Federal government can call them up to suppress  . . . insurrection and protect the security of a free State.
            •  It isn't just the south where you wear your guns (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Cedwyn

              like you do your shirt and pants and where militias are viewed as a civic duty like belonging to the American Legion, masons, elks, odd fellows, hell's angels or yippee's blurring the distinction between church and state, veteran, citizen, place to drink beer and play poker, dress up funny and raise funds for the cause.

              Live Free or Die --- Investigate, Incarcerate

              by rktect on Wed Jan 16, 2013 at 05:14:54 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  John Floyd aided the CSA (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Shockwave, mapman, Cedwyn, Just Bob

              When it became clear war was likely, James Buchanan's Secretary of War  transferred a lot of weapons to armories in the South - possibly up to 120,000.

              We get what we want - or what we fail to refuse. - Muhammad Yunus

              by nightsweat on Wed Jan 16, 2013 at 07:07:15 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

      •  Explain this please. (6+ / 0-)

        New Hampshire's Ratification Documents:

        http://www.usconstitution.net/...

        XII. Congress shall never disarm any citizen, unless such as are or have been in actual rebellion.
        The Bill of Rights came into full effect in 1789.

        It was never an amendment that meant to confer a collective right, EVER!

        http://www.dailykos.com/...

        -7.62; -5.95 The scientists of today think deeply instead of clearly. One must be sane to think clearly, but one can think deeply and be quite insane.~Tesla

        by gerrilea on Tue Jan 15, 2013 at 08:34:37 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Well obviously, that's a state's issue and here (7+ / 0-)

          we are discussing the second amendment. You know, the federal one.

          202-224-3121 to Congress in D.C. USE it! You can tell how big a person is by what it takes to discourage them. "We're not perfect, but they're nuts."--Barney Frank 01/02/2012

          by cany on Tue Jan 15, 2013 at 09:11:50 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Hon, you know the reason we have the (9+ / 0-)

            um, "federal one" is because of the State's ratification documents that were submitted along with the constitution, right?

            You do know that the original text was as follows:

               "A well regulated militia, composed of the body of the people, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed; but no person religiously scrupulous shall be compelled to bear arms".
            And that specific ending phrase was addressed
            In the First Debates In Congress:
               This declaration of rights, I take it, is intended to secure the people against the mal-administration of the Government; if we could suppose that, in all cases, the rights of the people would be attended to, the occasion for guards of this kind would be removed. Now, I am apprehensive, sir, that this clause would give an opportunity to the people in power to destroy the constitution itself. They can declare who are those religiously scrupulous, and prevent them from bearing arms.

                "What, sir, is the use of a militia? It is to prevent the establishment of a standing army, the bane of liberty. Now, it must be evident, that, under this provision, together with their other powers, Congress could take such measures with respect to a militia, as to make a standing army necessary.

                Whenever Governments mean to invade the rights and liberties of the people, they always attempt to destroy the militia, in order to raise an army upon their ruins."

            And you do know, that it was because of Mr. Gerry's argument above that it was removed right????

            Of course you did.

            -7.62; -5.95 The scientists of today think deeply instead of clearly. One must be sane to think clearly, but one can think deeply and be quite insane.~Tesla

            by gerrilea on Tue Jan 15, 2013 at 10:35:08 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  You are completely wrong (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Dallasdoc, Shockwave, JayBat

              the manner in which the people's right to bear arms was up to each state and I think with out exception included the purpose of militias to protect the state.

              •  Review the comment I replied to (4+ / 0-)

                If we were to discuss the states, that is easy:

                http://www.theatlantic.com/...

                43 out of 50 define it as an individual right.

                -7.62; -5.95 The scientists of today think deeply instead of clearly. One must be sane to think clearly, but one can think deeply and be quite insane.~Tesla

                by gerrilea on Tue Jan 15, 2013 at 11:40:56 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  And the others? (0+ / 0-)

                  202-224-3121 to Congress in D.C. USE it! You can tell how big a person is by what it takes to discourage them. "We're not perfect, but they're nuts."--Barney Frank 01/02/2012

                  by cany on Wed Jan 16, 2013 at 12:15:23 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                •  Which means pretty obviously that (5+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Dallasdoc, RFK Lives, Smoh, JayBat, blueness

                  the states have discretion. Don't use words like never, unless you mean it.

                  It is so explicit and obvious that a collective right was conferred by the second amendment, your comment that it was never, ever intended as such is glaringly overzealous.

                  The "necessity" is a well regulated militia. Don't deny that obvious truth.

                  •  Not after incorporation. The 14th Amendment (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    gerrilea

                    guarantees all rights protected under the Federal Constitution to be protected from state infringement as well. The incorporation, however, of that is piecemeal, and occurs in case law. Heller found that the individual right is guaranteed by the 2nd (and presented ample historical precedent for such), and MacDonald incorporated that right using the 14th.

                    Furthermore, "explicit and obvious" are words used by people without citations to back it up. gerrilea has provided ample citations disproving what you assert to be explicit and obvious.

                    Non enim propter gloriam, diuicias aut honores pugnamus set propter libertatem solummodo quam Nemo bonus nisi simul cum vita amittit. -Declaration of Arbroath

                    by Robobagpiper on Wed Jan 16, 2013 at 06:17:15 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  Then why is it listd with other individual rights? (3+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    gerrilea, Cedwyn, sensetolisten

                    It is so explicit and obvious that a collective right was conferred by the second amendment,

                    if that was so, then why is it listed as #2 in a list of individual rights? All of the other rights in the Bill of rights are individual rights, not group rights.
                    (yes I know these are now also corporate rights, snicker)
                    Why isn't it obvious to the SCOTUS and a liberal POTUS?
                    Parsing the words of the 2d amendment is like arguing over how many angels dance on the head of th pin. Either do something about it or not, standing and demanding that people go by your interpretation of it won't do it

                    Happy just to be alive

                    by exlrrp on Wed Jan 16, 2013 at 06:22:43 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  I will deny your attempts to claim that white is (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    sensetolisten

                    now black.  You're "obvious" truth is meaningless in the context of the historical records I've presented and established.

                    HELL, even if I were to accept YOUR intentional re-write of history as valid, YOU then fail to understand the purpose and INTENT of the Bill Of Rights AND the constitution itself.

                    The Constitution confers limited authorities to the central government to do business and direct the general political needs of the States.

                    The Bill of Rights enumerates specific exceptions to unalienable rights that pre-exist nor are created by said piece of paper.  Every American is born with those rights whether or not we have a government we created to protect them.  

                    Therefore, the 2nd A MUST be understood as granting the one exception when the central government can regulate arms, during militia service, not before or after.  And only those citizens defined as "militia members" would be subject to that limited "regulating" power of the central government.

                    Note it does not say anything about women, children, doctors, lawyers, priests, etc, etc, etc.

                    I'm glad you gave me the opportunity to explain this to you today.

                    -7.62; -5.95 The scientists of today think deeply instead of clearly. One must be sane to think clearly, but one can think deeply and be quite insane.~Tesla

                    by gerrilea on Wed Jan 16, 2013 at 06:26:08 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

        •  If you read the text . . . (9+ / 0-)

          at your link, you'll see that what you've block quoted is one of a number of proposed amendments that New Hampshire's ratifying convention put forth.  And if you compare the quoted text to the text of the U.S. Constitution, it is obvious this proposal was not adopted.

          "Ça c'est une chanson que j'aurais vraiment aimé ne pas avoir écrite." -- Barbara

          by FogCityJohn on Tue Jan 15, 2013 at 10:03:10 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I explored the variations in my diary of 3 yrs (4+ / 0-)

            ago.

            The whole point was that it was never a "collective right" being discussed.

            Even the original text and the ensuing debate on said text led to the final version we have today.

            -7.62; -5.95 The scientists of today think deeply instead of clearly. One must be sane to think clearly, but one can think deeply and be quite insane.~Tesla

            by gerrilea on Tue Jan 15, 2013 at 10:29:38 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I think you missed my point. (10+ / 0-)

              You quoted the text of a proposed amendment to the Constitution to support of your view.  I explained that the proposed amendment wasn't adopted.  The fact that the proposal was rejected undermines your argument.  

              "Ça c'est une chanson que j'aurais vraiment aimé ne pas avoir écrite." -- Barbara

              by FogCityJohn on Tue Jan 15, 2013 at 11:40:45 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  You can't be serious, right, word games now? (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Robobagpiper, FrankRose

                Is this some Orwellian alternate universe I've stumbled into?

                It was adopted without the final phrase and was added to the list of amendments that were collectively presented to the States for Ratification.

                So, you are still mistaken, the amendment was adopted, period.

                It still does not negate the historical fact they were discussing an individual unalienable right OR the fact they were trying to protect that specific understanding by removing the final phrase.

                -7.62; -5.95 The scientists of today think deeply instead of clearly. One must be sane to think clearly, but one can think deeply and be quite insane.~Tesla

                by gerrilea on Tue Jan 15, 2013 at 11:50:27 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Not word games, statutory construction. (0+ / 0-)

                  I'm a lawyer, and when courts interpret statutes, they often look to how a statute develops through the drafting and enactment process.  One common practice is to look at language that was proposed but rejected.  Courts presume that if a legislative body was offered the opportunity to adopt particular language and then failed to do so, the legislature's intent differs from that expressed by the language that was proposed but not adopted.

                  This is a standard approach to statutory interpretation.  For that reason, I pointed out that the failure to insert the language you quoted into the final text of the Second Amendment undermines your argument.  Those who voted on the Bill of Rights could have enacted New Hampshire's suggested language about Congress not disarming any citizen.  They did not.  That is evidence they did not embrace that idea.

                  "Ça c'est une chanson que j'aurais vraiment aimé ne pas avoir écrite." -- Barbara

                  by FogCityJohn on Wed Jan 16, 2013 at 04:16:57 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

        •  You are completely wrong (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          alain2112, Dallasdoc, JayBat, blueness

          And you might want to take that in the context of New Hampshires exclusion of an individual right to bear arms.

          XXIV. A well regulated militia is the proper, natural, and sure defence of a state.

          XXV. Standing armies are dangerous to liberty, and ought not to be raised or kept up without the consent of the legislature.

          XXVI. In all cases, and at all times, the military ought to be under strict subordination to, and governed by the civil power.

          •  Meaningless red herrings. (4+ / 0-)

            http://www.usconstitution.net/...

            I. That it be explicitly declared that all powers not expressly and particularly delegated by the aforesaid Constitution are reserved to the several states, to be by them exercised.

            II. That there shall be one representative to every thirty thousand persons, according to the census mentioned in the Constitution, until the whole number of representatives amount to two hundred.

            III. That Congress do not exercise the powers vested in them by the fourth section of the first article but in cases when a state shall neglect or refuse to make the regulations therein mentioned, or shall make regulations subversive of the rights of the people to a free and equal representation in Congress; nor shall Congress in any case make regulations contrary to a free and equal representation.

            IV. That Congress do not lay direct taxes but when the moneys arising from impost, excise, and their other resources, are insufficient for the public exigencies, nor then, until Congress shall have first made a requisition upon the states to assess, levy, and pay, their respective proportions of such requisition, agreeably to the census fixed in the said Constitution, in such way and manner as the legislature of the state shall think best; and in such case, if any state shall neglect, then Congress may assess and levy such state's proportion, together with the interest thereon, at the rate of six per cent. per annum, from the time of payment prescribed in such requisition.

            V. That Congress shall erect no company of merchants with exclusive advantages of commerce.

            VI. That no person shall be tried for any crime by which he may incur an infamous punishment, or loss of life, until he first be indicted by a grand jury, except in such cases as may arise in the government and regulation of the land and naval forces.

            VII. All common-law cases between citizens of different states shall be commenced in the common-law courts of the respective states; and no appeal shall be allowed to the federal court, in such cases, unless the sum or value of the thing in controversy amount to three thousand dollars.

            VIII. In civil actions between citizens of different states, every issue of fact, arising in actions at common law, shall be tried by jury, if the parties, or either of them, request it.

            IX. Congress shall at no time consent that any person, holding an office of trust or profit under the United States, shall accept any title of nobility, or any other title or office, from any king, prince, or foreign state.

            X. That no standing army shall be kept up in time of peace, unless with the consent of three fourths of the members of each branch of Congress; nor shall soldiers, in time of peace, be quartered upon private houses, without the consent of the owners.

            XI. Congress shall make no laws touching religion, or to infringe the rights of conscience.

            XII. Congress shall never disarm any citizen, unless such as are or have been in actual rebellion.

            Where are you getting the 24th, 25th and 26th points from? Their State Constitution?  Show me your source. While still a meaningless red herring, I'll read it in the entire context please.

            We are not talking about their State Constitution.

            New Hampshire presented 12 Rights to the Federal Government with their Ratification Documents.

            The last being the right to keep and bear arms.

            How this is incorrect is beyond me.

            YOU CANNOT RE-WRITE HISTORY.

            -7.62; -5.95 The scientists of today think deeply instead of clearly. One must be sane to think clearly, but one can think deeply and be quite insane.~Tesla

            by gerrilea on Wed Jan 16, 2013 at 12:00:54 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  You said it was never meant to be a (0+ / 0-)

              collective right. You are wrong. Look at my comment to this diary and you will see I agree with you. You can't re write history. I sited quite a few original northern state constitutions including New Hampshire's to debunk this made up theory that the 2nd amendment focused on maintaining slavery.

              As a defense against tyranny, only a collective right makes any sense. And it is explained as such in numerous state constitutions and in the 2nd amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Regardless of an additional individual right to bear arms that may or may not have been intended. The collective right is explicit.

              A militia is never an individual. Use your head.

              •  An army of one. You are still mistaken hon. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                sensetolisten

                Please use your head here.  There is nothing explicit about the original text except that it was always about an individual right.  They removed it to prevent the central government from destroying the constitution itself.

                One can fight individually or collectively.  Whether or not a legitimate defense against tyranny is successful would be based on firepower.  Would I need my fellow citizens to fight beside me against a tyrannical government if I wielded a few nuclear bombs? Probably not.  Barring that extreme example, it would be beneficial for us to come together collectively and fight against the tyranny.

                A "militia" is always the individual, even in current US code:

                http://www.law.cornell.edu/...

                (a) The militia of the United States consists of all able-bodied males at least 17 years of age and, except as provided in section 313 of title 32, under 45 years of age who are, or who have made a declaration of intention to become, citizens of the United States and of female citizens of the United States who are members of the National Guard.
                (b) The classes of the militia are—
                (1) the organized militia, which consists of the National Guard and the Naval Militia; and
                (2) the unorganized militia, which consists of the members of the militia who are not members of the National Guard or the Naval Militia.

                You can't have a militia without the individual, period.

                -7.62; -5.95 The scientists of today think deeply instead of clearly. One must be sane to think clearly, but one can think deeply and be quite insane.~Tesla

                by gerrilea on Wed Jan 16, 2013 at 06:46:13 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Dont call me hon, asshole. (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  MarkC, Rick Aucoin

                  Your attempt to make militia mean an individual is one of the most idiotic comments I've seen on this issue.

                  You must be the unorganized militia.

                  •  Nope, I'm over 45 yrs of age, hon. n/t (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    sensetolisten

                    So, where's that theory of yours again? How's it fit into the reality that many people over that age actually own firearms? Or what about housewives? Are they part of the militia too? NOPE.

                    -7.62; -5.95 The scientists of today think deeply instead of clearly. One must be sane to think clearly, but one can think deeply and be quite insane.~Tesla

                    by gerrilea on Wed Jan 16, 2013 at 08:14:22 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

            •  asdf you are siting words that (7+ / 0-)

              were stricken from the ratified version, but call the State's actual constitution a red herring? Get real.

              •  Two completely different issues hon. (0+ / 0-)

                The Ratification Documents, that I sourced show the State Of New Hampshire believed it was a individual right the newly created central government must be prevented from abrogating.

                The second issue is their own State Constitution.  While it may lead to support their beliefs here, they did not "tie that right exclusively to militia service" and even if they did, it's a red herring and meaningless in this context because each State could do anything they wanted.

                New Hampshire made clear the central government could not deny that right to any individual.

                -7.62; -5.95 The scientists of today think deeply instead of clearly. One must be sane to think clearly, but one can think deeply and be quite insane.~Tesla

                by gerrilea on Wed Jan 16, 2013 at 06:37:08 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Your manner of addressing me is a surrender (0+ / 0-)

                  of your credibility. I accept it.

                  The issue is your absurd statement that the right never applied to a collectively. You were wrong to say it and are even more wrong in trying to defend it.

    •  I was also unaware of this historical context. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      WearyIdealist, Shockwave

      It certainly makes the 2nd Amendment make more practical sense in this context than some preservation of the right to bring force of arms against the central government for some fear of tyranny by democratically elected institutions.

  •  Interesting. And half the point seems to have been (27+ / 0-)

    that such vigilante patrols cried out for regulation lest they shoot holes in each others' sheets.

    I sometimes wish PBO could conscript, by Executive Order, every US citizen into one grand militia and then regulate the hell out of it.  

    Maybe have them convene with their trusty muskets for an hour or two every February 29th, without beer.

    "I was a big supporter of waterboarding" - Dick Cheney 2/14/10

    by Bob Love on Tue Jan 15, 2013 at 06:39:08 PM PST

  •  Dr. Bogus? (9+ / 0-)

    For if there is a sin against life, it consists perhaps not so much in despairing of life as in hoping for another life and in eluding the implacable grandeur of this life. - Albert Camus

    by Anne Elk on Tue Jan 15, 2013 at 06:45:31 PM PST

  •  I've been told a few times that gun control is (18+ / 0-)

    racist , I wonder what they will say to the idea that the 2nd is also racist .

    "Drop the name-calling." Meteor Blades 2/4/11

    by indycam on Tue Jan 15, 2013 at 06:48:36 PM PST

    •  Exactly.. the RBKA have been lying for years (26+ / 0-)

      that gun control advocates are merely trying to undo the Second Amendment so that minorities cannot defend themselves.

      This lie was begun, Rove-like and Atwater-like, to preempt the REAL reason we have the Second Amendment; the Southern states would not ratify the Constitution without assurance that their Slave Catchers could stay armed and organized into State Militias. They were promised a Bill of Rights for Individual Rights in order to gain the necessary support for ratification.

      The result was a permanent institution of white power control of the south and the border states, and many of the Western states. As long as white people owned the guns, they would own the slaves and the laws. Its been 230 years of trying to unravel the Original Sin of the United States, and we are not done yet.  

      Figures don't lie, but liars do figure-Mark Twain

      by OregonOak on Tue Jan 15, 2013 at 07:05:29 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Ironic (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        George Hier, FrankRose, Smoh

        I had that argument made to me here by a front pager.  Versatile argument this "You position is racist" business

        Hay hombres que luchan un dia, y son buenos Hay otros que luchan un año, y son mejores Hay quienes luchan muchos años, y son muy buenos. Pero hay los que luchan toda la vida. Esos son los imprescendibles.

        by Mindful Nature on Tue Jan 15, 2013 at 08:13:40 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Prove you history here please. (7+ / 0-)

        Prove that I lied in this diary over 3 yrs ago.

        Show me your first hand source materials please.

        http://www.dailykos.com/...

        IF history were anything other than what it is, I'd agree with you completely...BUT it is not.

        I'll give you time to collect your legitimate source materials.

        Show me your history, I'll show you mine!

        Last time I looked at the Ratification Documents, the majority of NORTHERN STATES demanded the Bill of Rights be included!

        AND if history tells us one thing, it tells us that it was New York, Pennsylvania and Virginia that got the ball rolling after a year of Congress doing nothing to add them!  The State legislatures passed resolutions to amend the Constitution and add the Bill of Rights to the Constitution themselves. It was after these constitutional moves were unfolding when Congress realized they were going to lose any and all control of the newly created central government if they didn't act...They had no choice but to act according to the wishes of the 3 most populace States AND finally took the submitted amendments out of committee and debated them.

        The original verbiage used in the 2nd A makes some very clear distinctions here:
         

        The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed; a well armed and well regulated militia being the best security of a free country; but no person religiously scrupulous of bearing arms shall be compelled to render military service in person.
        AND the First Debates In Congress ON the 2nd Amendment had nothing to do with slavery, that's a red herring!

        Page 778, "The Annals Of Congress:

           "A well regulated militia, composed of the body of the people, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed; but no person religiously scrupulous shall be compelled to bear arms".

            This declaration of rights, I take it, is intended to secure the people against the mal-administration of the Government; if we could suppose that, in all cases, the rights of the people would be attended to, the occasion for guards of this kind would be removed. Now, I am apprehensive, sir, that this clause would give an opportunity to the people in power to destroy the constitution itself. They can declare who are those religiously scrupulous, and prevent them from bearing arms.

            "What, sir, is the use of a militia? It is to prevent the establishment of a standing army, the bane of liberty. Now, it must be evident, that, under this provision, together with their other powers, Congress could take such measures with respect to a militia, as to make a standing army necessary.

            Whenever Governments mean to invade the rights and liberties of the people, they always attempt to destroy the militia, in order to raise an army upon their ruins."

        -7.62; -5.95 The scientists of today think deeply instead of clearly. One must be sane to think clearly, but one can think deeply and be quite insane.~Tesla

        by gerrilea on Tue Jan 15, 2013 at 09:25:30 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Then why is the below in Article I Sec. 8? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          MarkC
          To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;

          To provide and maintain a Navy;

          To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;

          •  Where's the contradiction? The Constitution (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            FrankRose, gerrilea

            assumed the existence of militias, defined by Webster in the period as the body of male citizens capable of bearing arms, as the primary means of national and local defense, as well as law enforcement (with the tradition of "hue and cry"), and empowered Congress to raise armies when that was insufficient, but limited the timespan of the appropriations in a hope (vain, it turns out) to prevent large standing armies.

            gerrilea is pointing out that from its inception, the 2nd was intended to preserve an individual right to bear arms, as shown by the explicit focus of the removed clause on the individual. And like protecting the right to keep and bear, said clause was intended to protect people's right to choose not to if religiously scrupulous - in parallel to the "establishment" vs "free exercise" construction as regards religious liberty.

            Congressman Gerry's objection, while seemingly out of nowhere - the idea that a clause allowing the religiously scrupulous to decline to bear arms could be twisted into a prohibition against those declared such by the government from doing so - again speaks to the primary concern in the debates - whether individuals would have the right guaranteed by the state, and how to avoid loopholes that would permit the government to deprive that individual right.

            Non enim propter gloriam, diuicias aut honores pugnamus set propter libertatem solummodo quam Nemo bonus nisi simul cum vita amittit. -Declaration of Arbroath

            by Robobagpiper on Wed Jan 16, 2013 at 05:24:01 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  How about someone providing citations to that (5+ / 0-)

        which supports the clip in the diary before suggesting that RKBA in particular are liars, as being 'liars' requires one knows the untruth of what they are accused of saying. A little evidence, a few links or footnotes would be a good thing. Somebody who has the Federalist papers text, perhaps.

  •  Right Hatred, Wrong Target? (15+ / 0-)

    The Declaration of Independence describes an active domestic enemy:

    He has ... endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.
    Slavery was only a southern issue; the Native problem ran south to north, and unlike almost all slaves, they were regularly fighting back and were formidable foes when the Bill of Rights was being debated, and for a hundred years after.

    (This comment does not reflect viewpoints of the Native side.)

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Tue Jan 15, 2013 at 07:01:16 PM PST

    •  Except that federal troops (9+ / 0-)

      rather than militias were used to repress the natives.

      •  Individual colonies, and then individual (7+ / 0-)

        states, raised and supported troops to protect settlements against the Indians.  The nearly constant wars on the frontiers from the beginnings of white settlement until the French and Indian War were not fought by British professional troops.

        During the Revolutionary War, the fact that the British government sought out help from tribes that had a history of being pro-British, particularly among the Iroquois Confederacy and the "Civilized Tribes" of the southeast, was a rallying point for Americans in rebellion.  That fact that said rebellious Americans also sought Indian allies (the Stockbridge, the Catawba, the Mohawk and Oneida- which split the Iroquois) was conveniently ignored.

        Create. Build. Serve. Encourage. Teach.

        by algebrateacher on Tue Jan 15, 2013 at 07:26:51 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I was talking about federal troops (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          La Gitane, Cassandra Waites

          after the ratification of the constitution.

          •  The wars in the Northwest Territory and (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            leu2500, mightymouse

            against the "Civilized Tribes" of the Southeast were conducted by federal troops and significant numbers of state- and territory-raised troops.  For example, Andrew Jackson did not command federal troops against the Creeks and other tribes.  He did not command federal troops until the War of 1812.  He raised his troops locally.

            Only a small portion of William Henry Harrison's army at the Battle of Tippecanoe was "federal."  The majority of his troops were Kentucky militia.

            Create. Build. Serve. Encourage. Teach.

            by algebrateacher on Tue Jan 15, 2013 at 08:01:10 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  Where are you getting this history from? n/t (0+ / 0-)

        -7.62; -5.95 The scientists of today think deeply instead of clearly. One must be sane to think clearly, but one can think deeply and be quite insane.~Tesla

        by gerrilea on Tue Jan 15, 2013 at 09:27:48 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  I think you left out a "not" in your comment... (5+ / 0-)

      ...perhaps you meant to write that "Slavery was not only a southern issue..."

      I mean, according to the 1790 US census, about 140,000 slaves - 20% of all slaves - were enslaved within the northern states.

      'Course, that doesn't really speak to the issues of the components of the slave trade that were based in northern ports and financial centers.

      Cheers.

      •  I Didn't Mean to Leave It Out, I Didn't Know -- (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        luckydog, wu ming

        thanks.

        We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

        by Gooserock on Tue Jan 15, 2013 at 08:01:29 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  It's interesting what gets lost to history (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          sidnora

          I would wager that most northerners are unaware of the fact that just about every single state in the country still had slaves up to the Civil War. The northern states never actually abolished slavery. They instead passed laws whereby children born after a certain date would no longer be considered slaves, and that once the slaves already alive reached a certain age they would be set free. By the time the Constitution was being written, slavery was no longer economically sound for the northern states due to a change in what crops they could grow and sell. Tragically, most of the slaveowners in the North ended up selling their slaves to the Deep South before they hit the age of freedom, often right before.  

          Also, the Virginia delegates at the Convention were of the mind that slavery was on the way out because they were also going through the same economic changes the more northern states were. So men like Jefferson were willing to accept compromises those from colonies further South were not.

          Time is of no account with great thoughts, which are as fresh to-day as when they first passed through their authors' minds ages ago. - Samuel Smiles

          by moviemeister76 on Tue Jan 15, 2013 at 08:16:22 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  You are incorrect. (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            mightymouse, sfbob, Chitown Kev

            The states abolish slavery one by one. It was done by setting a future cut off date. Since there were relatively few slaves to begin with the economic impact was not major.

            •  That should read (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Chitown Kev

              The northern states abolished slavery

            •  The cutoff was for the children (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Cedwyn, Chitown Kev

              Abolishing slavery means that you end it not only for those about to be born, but for current slaves as well. That's what the US Congress did in 1865. But no state did that except, I believe, Vermont. They instead offered gradual emancipation. This, in turn, allowed the owners to sell their slaves further South rather than setting them free. The most northern states sold their slaves to Maryland and Virginian. And then when those two states began to depend far less on slaves, they in turn sold them to the Deep South.

              However, just because something is the law does not mean all people actually follow it. Rhode Island "ended" slavery in the 1780s, yet slaves were still showing up on census records in that state in the 1840s and beyond. Same for other states in the North.

              And while many northern states had very few slaves, there were some, like NY, NJ and RI, which heavily depended on slaves for several years. NY in particular had many thousands of slaves until the state experienced an economic change that removed the need for slaves.

              Time is of no account with great thoughts, which are as fresh to-day as when they first passed through their authors' minds ages ago. - Samuel Smiles

              by moviemeister76 on Tue Jan 15, 2013 at 09:04:06 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  not every northern state (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            mightymouse, Wilmguy, Robobagpiper, sfbob

            had slavery up to the civil war. The Northwest Territory Act prohibited slavery and OH, IN MI, IL, WI, IA & MN all came into the union w/o slavery per that act. Also, ME came in as no.-slave.

            When you say it is "common sense" what you are really saying is "I don't have any evidence to back up my argument", because it is quite often neither common nor sense.

            by kaminpdx on Tue Jan 15, 2013 at 09:44:46 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  You're counting the wrong states. (4+ / 0-)

        According to your link, it should be about 36,000 slaves, or about 5%. Maryland and Delaware were slave states, not "northern" states.

        •  different folks count 'em differently... (0+ / 0-)

          ...point remains.

          Cheers.

          •  Maryland and Delaware were part of the (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            FrankRose, Tirge Caps, Wilmguy

            Tidewater culture that included Virginia, and not the Quaker mid-Atlantic or Yankee New England. Counting them with the northern states, simply because of how they (barely) fell in the Civil War is anhistorical.

            Non enim propter gloriam, diuicias aut honores pugnamus set propter libertatem solummodo quam Nemo bonus nisi simul cum vita amittit. -Declaration of Arbroath

            by Robobagpiper on Wed Jan 16, 2013 at 05:26:12 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  google the question - "how do you define..." (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              sidnora

              ..."northern states" in the US?"...

              See, on the first page of hits, 7 out of  the10 mainstream references draw their definitions based on participation in the Civil War.

              Rather than "anhistorical", the term as I applied it is common usage.

              Of course, that definition of the term doesn't embrace the fullness of the history and complexity.

              Cheers.

          •  Helpful points, but not buying the argument (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Robobagpiper, oldpotsmuggler

            I'm not sure how you would count two of the three states defining the Chesapeake Bay as anything other than southern states.  Those two English fellows Mason and Dixon helped draw their borders.

            And no, the point doesn't remain. Yes, there were slaves north and south, but the false equivalence of 'everybody was doing it' avoids the meaningful differences around slavery by region in the antebellum period.

            •  no one claimed "everybody was doing it"... (0+ / 0-)

              ...and no one claimed that there were no meaningful differences 'tween the regions. Matter of fact, I pointed to data that demonstrated some of the numbers behind the differences.

              Cheers.

              •  The numbers were wrong (0+ / 0-)

                You were off by 15%...in 1790 and that number plummeted as slavery disappeared from northern states.  

                I'm not sure I get your point.  It sounded like you tried to argue "slavery was a BFD north and south" but once you look at the bigger picture and corrections on this thread, it's not convincing.

                •  no, not really, I wasn't off at all... (0+ / 0-)

                  Common usage of "northern states" in the US generally means those states in the Union at the time of the Civil War. This was also the context in which Gooserock made a statement about slavery being a southern thing.

                  In 1790, there were 140,000 slaves in those northern states. So, my point to Gooserock, 'way above, was that there were slaves in the northern states at the time of the writing of the Bill of Rights. And, guess what? there were.

                  So, maybe you can tell us how that means that slavery was just a southern states thing.

                  Simple point, made and supported with data from a pretty good source - the 1790 US Census.

                  Trying to make the point into something that it isn't - that's what you seem to be about. Talk about "not convincing".

                  And course, no one seems to be addressing the issue of northern financial and shipping interests that were heavily involved in the slave trade.

                  Cheers.

    •  Probably some of both (11+ / 0-)

      but whether for slave patrols or what you call the Native problem there were definite racist overtones.

      There is an interesting article in the Georgetown Law Journal on this subject.  While the main thrust is that the militias were for the Indian wars it also has a lot of information on the slavery angle.  It makes a good case that the right to bear arms was only for white males.

      http://georgetownlawjournal.org/...

  •  Besides the point (4+ / 0-)

    because the Supremes haved decreed that Americans have an individual right to own firearms. BUT that those firearms can also be regulated. So we're back to the same old argument that only increasing numbers of dead kids can move.

    The civil rights, gay rights and women's movements, designed to allow others to reach for power previously grasped only by white men, have made a real difference, and the outlines of 21st century America have emerged. -- Paul West of LA Times

    by LiberalLady on Tue Jan 15, 2013 at 07:03:44 PM PST

  •  This is brilliant. (18+ / 0-)

    Not surprised it was penned by Thom Hartmann.

    The GOP can't win on ideas. They can only win by lying, cheating, and stealing. So they do.

    by psnyder on Tue Jan 15, 2013 at 07:08:42 PM PST

  •  Interesting article (14+ / 0-)

    read it earlier today. But I remain unconvinced that this is the totality of it.

    For instance you say that the constitution made a provision for a standing army. No, not really. It made a provision for Congress to call up an army but it is fairly clear that the founders were opposed to the idea of a standing army seeing as a vehicle for tyranny. They recognized the need for creation of an army for self-defense in case of war but did not want a standing one... and didn't have a standing one for awhile.

    Meanwhile, up in the north farmers trained in the militia regularly up to the time of the War of 1812 when they proved embaressingly inadequate. One of my ancestors was a revolutionary war private that wintered with Washington at Valley Forge. Post-revolution he was one of the first settlers of the wilds of western New York near modern day Rochester. His sons all were members of the local militia that trained one saturday a month on the town square. The oldest son was Captain and the two youngest sons as pre-teens were drummer and fife player in his troops. The Captain was later commissioned and lead a troop on one side of Lake Ontario becoming a Brigadier General, the next two sons got commands of their own on the Niagara Frontier while the young twins remained under the oldest brothers command. Hate to say it but they all pretty much got theri asses kicked and the US decided it needed a professional military afterwards.

    I have no doubt that the southern concerns mentioned in the article were very real and influenced the 2nd but I don't think one can honestly say that was all of it.

    "Do what you can with what you have where you are." - Teddy Roosevelt

    by Andrew C White on Tue Jan 15, 2013 at 07:38:39 PM PST

    •  History is always complicated. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Hey338Too, Cassandra Waites, semiot

      In a frontier nation people in many places had reason to defend themselves for many reasons. I think that the important issue is what led them to put this specific piece of language in the constitution. There were many aspects of life of the times that were taken for granted that did not find their way into it. I think that the 10 amendments of the bill of rights represented a series of compromises over various issues of contention. This seems like a plausible explanation of the primary focus in this particular compromise.

    •  Well there was the diary about the longest war in (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Andrew C White

      Pre-US then into US History being with Native Americans as a big reason for the 2nd amendment.

  •  Correlation/causation (7+ / 0-)

    I enjoy Thom Hartmann's commentaries very much but I believe he is not correct here.  The fact that different things were happening at the same time does not mean they had to affect each other.

    As obnoxious as is the current guns-for-everyone argument about protecting against a dictator- and there are so many arguments about how crazy this idea is- it is a fact that once upon a time, many Americans were worried about the newly-created Constitution and a scary national government with power.  The State militias were extremely popular after the War of Independence, especially among State governors and legislatures who held control over their budgets and commissions.  When the new Constitution granted the national government the ability to raise troops, the great big argument for the Second Amendment was to make sure that the armed populace (regulated by the State governments) could always overawe, or overcome, any "national" troops.

    It would be nice to say that the Second Amendment is all about slavery and/or racism but it's easier (Occam's Razor?) to link it to a fear of losing control to the new Constitutional government.  An often-forgotten group in American history was the antifederalists, those folks who did not want the Constitution.  When they lost the argument, they didn't move away.  Many of them, perhaps most, became the "base" of Thomas Jefferson's and James Madison's Republican Party.

    Create. Build. Serve. Encourage. Teach.

    by algebrateacher on Tue Jan 15, 2013 at 07:45:35 PM PST

  •  Thom Hartman (10+ / 0-)

    is awesome.  I've learned so many fascinating things about history from him.

    I've believed all along that this gun fight has racism at its core.  Now we have that horrible NRA ad, proclaiming indignation that those children should have more protection than your own [white] children.

    Forget that they're the children of the leader of the fucking free world and they just might be more likely targets of violence than your own offspring.

    I also suggest watching the new American Experience series on PBS "The Abolitionists"; that and this piece by Hartman puts it all in a very different light.  Some white people have been deathly afraid of blacks "uprising" for a very long time; now in their fevered imagination they have a black man taking away their guns, with the support of "urban" voters, who of course all have guns..... phew.  This might get worse.

    "Mediocrity cannot know excellence." -- Sherlock Holmes

    by La Gitane on Tue Jan 15, 2013 at 07:56:18 PM PST

    •  It has long been apparent (14+ / 0-)

      that a major reason why people in white suburbs with a low crime rate think that the need guns is because they fear that the blacks from the intercity will descend on them. They have the same nightmares of the slave owners who lived in fear of their slaves.

      •  Just noticed that part 2 (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Glen The Plumber

        of The Abolitionists is on tonight in an hour..... just FYI

        "Mediocrity cannot know excellence." -- Sherlock Holmes

        by La Gitane on Tue Jan 15, 2013 at 08:03:53 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Really? (4+ / 0-)

        Got any evidence for this statement?

        Hay hombres que luchan un dia, y son buenos Hay otros que luchan un año, y son mejores Hay quienes luchan muchos años, y son muy buenos. Pero hay los que luchan toda la vida. Esos son los imprescendibles.

        by Mindful Nature on Tue Jan 15, 2013 at 08:17:14 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Richard, I live in a small rural area in a red (5+ / 0-)

        county and was thinking about this:

        ...[a] major reason why people in white suburbs with a low crime rate think that the need guns is because they fear that the blacks from the intercity will descend on them.
        Back about 1978 or so, a bi-racial couple moved into the area with their young son. The wife is black (they are now divorced) and remains here.

        I can tell you first hand that people threatened to "burn them out". I heard it with my own ears and knew the jerk that said it (who, ironically, was in the equivalent of county fire at the time later moving to the Shasta area of CA when the department went county).

        I had some serious arguments with him and his KKK equivalents.

        I was also present one day when they verbally attacked her and I, and another woman, came to her defense.

        This particular guy and some of his ilk remain here, but most have moved on to even redder pastures and a few have died, but to say that the racism of then doesn't remain in a few here would be in error. And these are the very folks that are conservative nut bags now wearing their absurdity even more proudly. I know a few of them are gun owners, one was, in the past, a conceal carrier until he shot someone.

        They haven't been any better with Latinos, BTW.

        We do, indeed, have a low crime rate here. I think you may be onto something.

        202-224-3121 to Congress in D.C. USE it! You can tell how big a person is by what it takes to discourage them. "We're not perfect, but they're nuts."--Barney Frank 01/02/2012

        by cany on Tue Jan 15, 2013 at 09:30:10 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  It's always... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Richard Lyon, Cassandra Waites

    been hidden in plain sight.

    Like most of the cultural and institutional cues that hold racism in being.

    50 states, 210 media market, 435 Congressional Districts, 3080 counties, 192,480 precincts

    by TarheelDem on Tue Jan 15, 2013 at 08:03:55 PM PST

  •  Completely fanciful history. (17+ / 0-)

    It's convincing if you pretend that none of the facts about the origins of the Second Amendment, nor most of what was written about it by the people who proposed it, nor most of the debates at the constitutional congress actually happened.  Hartmann focuses on Patrick Henry because he has to: the larger debate about keeping the State over the Federal language happened in the northern, non-slaving owning half of the country.

    Otherwise it's really tough to explain why antifederalist sympathies were stronger in places like Massachusetts (not a slave-owning state) and nearly caused a rebellion in Rhode Island.   (As if Shays' Rebellion didn't happen, and freak out all the antifederalists in the North.)

    This what we call "weasel words":

    But Henry, Mason and others wanted southern states to preserve their slave-patrol militias independent of the federal government.
    "And others" instead of specific names, because once you get to the "others" you find them in New York (George Clinton, Robert Yates), Pennsylvania (Samuel Bryan), and Massachusetts (Mercy Otis Warren).  

    Hartmann has this all backwards: though their were antifederalists all over the country, Henry was one of the few Southerners among its most vocal members.  It was Clinton and the New York antifederalists who showed up to the Constitutional Convention with a broad platform of states' rights in the first place, "reserving to the States the exclusive sovereignty and arrangement of their internal government and concerns."  

    Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

    by pico on Tue Jan 15, 2013 at 08:16:56 PM PST

  •  You will snatch defeat from the jaws of victory... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    WB Reeves, Robobagpiper, Cedwyn, kalmoth

    ...if you keep using rhetoric like "The Second Amendment Was Ratified To Preserve Slavery."  

    Yes, I know.  Not your idea.  But still.  I don't think it belongs as part of the present political argument.  

    "Americans are 'on our knees in front of China for credit,' DeMint told the mostly conservative attendees feasting on fried rice and fortune cookies at Tony Chang's restaurant in the Chinatown section of D.C."

    by littlenomad on Tue Jan 15, 2013 at 08:17:24 PM PST

  •  Dr. Bogus, you can't be serious??? (6+ / 0-)

    A "doctor" whom quotes movies as legitimate source materials?

    392. FIRST BLOOD (Carolco Pictures 1982) (involving National Guard's manhunt of Vietnam War veteran John Rambo against background of official treachery and betrayal).

    393. DEATH WISH (Paramount Pictures 1974) (portraying bleeding-heart liberal's turn to vigilantism as only way to combat rising crime and decadence in New York City after murder of his wife and rape of his daughter).

    394. COMMANDO (20th Century Fox 1985) (involving kidnapping of former special commando strike force colonel's daughter).

    395. See GIBSON, supra note 388, at 69.

    396. DIRTY HARRY (Warner Bros. 1971) (involving character of Inspector Harry Callahan and his unconventional attempt to fight crime in increasingly violent and decadent New York City, with officials, for reasons of personal aggrandizement or professional incompetence, often frustrating law enforcement efforts).

    397. WATERWORLD (MCA Universal 1995) (involving character of mutated human and his attempt to find land in future where Earth is covered by water and civilization has collapsed).

    398. TWELVE MONKEYS (MCA Universal 1995) (involving man sent back from plague-ridden future to stop mysterious underworld group from destroying civilization).

    399. THE TERMINATOR (Live Entertainment 1984); Terminator 2: Judgement Day (Carolco Pictures 1991) (involving fight between small band of humans and evil machines in world of chaos following nuclear holocaust unleashed by machines).

    400. ALIEN (20th Century Fox 1979); Aliens (20th Century Fox 1986); Alien 3 (20th Century Fox 1992) (involving battles between space aliens and humans who have been betrayed by leaders who ¾ for personal profit ¾ are attempting to capture rather than destroy evil and uncontrollable aliens).

    401. MAD MAX (Orion Pictures 1979); THE ROAD WARRIOR (Warner Bros. 1982); MAD MAX BEYOND THE THUNDERDOME (Kennedy Miller Productions 1985) (portraying brutal life in post-World War III world).

    One you'd have re-write our actual history just because you want to believe it?

    http://www.dailykos.com/...

    We have the Bill of Rights because States like New York, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Virginia.

    The 2nd Amendment was one of many taken directly from Pennsylvania's Declaration of Rights!

    Remind me again how New Hampshire was a slave state, will ya?

    http://www.usconstitution.net/...

    XII. Congress shall never disarm any citizen, unless such as are or have been in actual rebellion.
    Please take some time and review the actual historical documents contained in our Library Of Congress and read the real history they contain, not this whitewashing and complete re-write of it.

    Don't take anyone's word here, not even mine, read the documents yourself!

    -7.62; -5.95 The scientists of today think deeply instead of clearly. One must be sane to think clearly, but one can think deeply and be quite insane.~Tesla

    by gerrilea on Tue Jan 15, 2013 at 08:30:18 PM PST

    •  Bogus Argument (6+ / 0-)

      He has 506 citations in his paper, you chose 10 of them.  All of these were taken from a single paragraph in he is making the claim for an archetype of the hero in popular culture used to sell the need for guns to the public.  The movies are his evidence for the archetype, so popular culture references are entirely appropriate.

      If you want to engage in a serious debate about whether the archetypal hero is an accurate depiction of popular culture, fine.  The short list of movies can be reasonably claimed to be cherry picked.  But don't dishonestly pretend that the movies he cites are his evidence for his main thesis about the purpose of the second amendment.

      •  Fair enough, I'll explain. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Robobagpiper, FrankRose, CS in AZ

        When he uses modern interpretations as you put it:

        popular culture used to sell the need for guns
        It is a red herring that does nothing to establish historical context of the 2nd A when it was ratified as part of the Bill of Rights.

        It may be accurate today but it's inclusion reveals a bias intent on misdirecting us from the actual documents he cannot and did not legitimately provide.

        Ignoring the actual debates in Congress was his first "re-write" to support his false thesis.  His second was taking Madison's words and then extrapolating them to the entire nation.  That's simply not true.  There were various beliefs and regional issues that he completely ignores.  Issues that New York, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire and Rhode Island made clear.  It wasn't about slavery.

        -7.62; -5.95 The scientists of today think deeply instead of clearly. One must be sane to think clearly, but one can think deeply and be quite insane.~Tesla

        by gerrilea on Tue Jan 15, 2013 at 10:05:19 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I've started reading Bogus' paper (0+ / 0-)

          while I won't make any final judgement prior to completing it, he makes no secret of the fact that his motivation is to provide a counter argument to those who argument that the 2Amd is actually about the "right" to insurrection.

          This means that, whatever the final merits of his analysis, his paper has an political agenda. Ideologically driven arguments are notoriously unreliable for the simple reason that the preferred conclusion precedes and motivates the gathering of evidence, rather than vice versa.

          Nothing human is alien to me.

          by WB Reeves on Wed Jan 16, 2013 at 11:33:34 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  All but 2 states had Slavery when Bill of (5+ / 0-)

    Rights first passed Congress on September 25, 1789.

    List of when States made slavery Illegal or gradually illegal prior to Bill of Rights.
    1777 Vermont
    1780 Pennsylvania (children of slaves no longer slaves, but living slaves continued to be slaves - last Penn slave freed in 1847)
    1783 Massachusetts - all slaves freed
    1783 New Hampshire - similar gradual program as PA
    1784 Connecticut - (similar to PA, later all freed)
    1784 Rhode Island - similar to PA

    So when the Bill of Rights was introduced to the states for ratification, only Vermont and Massachusetts had fully ended slavery.

    See http://en.wikipedia.org/...

    The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

    by nextstep on Tue Jan 15, 2013 at 09:08:59 PM PST

  •  I was disappointed with Truthout Article (8+ / 0-)

    While it took the time to cite "Django Unchained," no quotes from any documents from the 1780s are referenced that directly speak to this.

    I find it hard to believe the motivation for Second Amendment was driven by slavery, but the Federalist Papers and other well known documents make no mention of this.

    Until documents from the 1780s establish a clear linkage between slavery and the Second Amendment as the "truth out" article claims, referencing this "fact" will only hurt the credibility of those who repeat it.

    The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

    by nextstep on Tue Jan 15, 2013 at 09:22:31 PM PST

  •  Time for a new 2nd Amendment argument (0+ / 0-)

    The debate has beed dysfunctional IMO, in assuming that the problem is one side accuses the other of only reading one of the two clauses:

    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.
    I know I've accused the RBKA'ers of dropping the first clause in their constitutional argument.

    But now I'm beginning to see, they are not. Their perceived right also extends to the militia formation they feel they are entitled to, well regulated by themselves, as well as the rights to armaments - military units functioning outside official governance.

    We need a national conversation on THAT perception!

    Evolution IS Intelligent Design!

    by msirt on Tue Jan 15, 2013 at 09:24:54 PM PST

    •  We need to accept that this amendment is unclear (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      reflectionsv37, CS in AZ, exlrrp

      its problematic wording allows for multiple interpretations. further, it appears various founders had differing ideas about the topic.

      instead of parsing and re-parsing the ancient riddle, we need to think of what we should do now.

      An ambulance can only go so fast - Neil Young

      by mightymouse on Wed Jan 16, 2013 at 05:01:30 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  rec x 1000 (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mightymouse, kayak58
        instead of parsing and re-parsing the ancient riddle, we need to think of what we should do now.
        Its much more fun to scream at people, apparently. God save us from the (self) righteous.
        Its like trying to read the future in tea leaves in the bottom of a cup, it can be ANYTHING you say it is.
        But its actually what the SCOTUS says it is---which is that Congress shall make no laws infinging the right of the people to keep and bear arms.
        To bad they didn't define that better if they wanted to mandate a militia but , as in any contract, if it ain't there in writing, it ain't there.

        Happy just to be alive

        by exlrrp on Wed Jan 16, 2013 at 07:06:21 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Seriously misrepresented there. Heller did find a (0+ / 0-)

          private, as opposed to a collective right, but, in dicta, the Heller majority very clearly signaled that the parameters of permissible regulations surrounding the myriad details of RKBA are still very much up in the air. In fact the earlier  federal case law that had skipped over determing the nature of the "right" while going on to uphold regulatory restrictions were explicitly favorably cited by the majority.

          There can be no protection locally if we're content to ignore the fact that there are no controls globally.

          by oldpotsmuggler on Wed Jan 16, 2013 at 02:06:28 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Yes! Exactly my thoughts on this too (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Smoh, mightymouse
        instead of parsing and re-parsing the ancient riddle, we need to think of what we should do now.
        I completely agree with this and said pretty much the same to a friend just the other night. The only thing that is clear about the original language is that it is very poorly written -- or perhaps intentionally obtuse -- but we need to accept that it's vague, and we need to update and fix it.

        The framers of the constitution includes mechanisms by which it can be changed -- so they recognized that circumstances in the future might require changes, and they also surely knew that they were skirting and compromising on some very important issues, leaving them to future generations to resolve. Gun rights and controls is one of those areas we need to change to fit the current age. That is going to be an ugly fight. But arguments over the meaning of the original language, or what they wanted to achieve with it, while interesting for historians and relevant to a certain degree, are not terribly important in terms of what we need to do now. It's a distraction and there will never be consensus or agreement the way it's currently written.

      •  Your observation is a largely applicable (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mightymouse

        to the Constitution as a whole.

        Nothing human is alien to me.

        by WB Reeves on Wed Jan 16, 2013 at 11:35:25 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  aauuuuuuuugh! make it stooooooooooooooooooooooop! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JayRaye
      Their perceived right also extends to the militia formation they feel they are entitled to, well regulated by themselves
      that is NOT what "well regulated" meant in that context at that time.

      http://www.dailykos.com/...

      can we please, pretty please, retire that !@#$%& trope?  it does nothing but muddy the waters of this incredibly important debate.

      Please don't dominate the rap, Jack, if you got nothin' new to say - Grateful Dead

      by Cedwyn on Wed Jan 16, 2013 at 05:28:59 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Aauuuuuuuugh! I'm not saying that's what it means (0+ / 0-)

        ... I'm saying that's what THEY think it means and most of the GC arguments as regards the 2nd seem to focus on the RKBA'ers "ignoring the 1st part.

        All I'm saying is that they actually embrace the 1st part for the reasons stated in my above comment and perhaps it's time we hold truth up to that side as well as just accusing them of ignorance of the 1st part.

        In other words, do American citizens in 2013 have the right to form militias unregulated by state of federal governments?

        Evolution IS Intelligent Design!

        by msirt on Wed Jan 16, 2013 at 09:23:50 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  I'd believe that. n/t (0+ / 0-)

    "Michael Moore, who was filming a movie about corporate welfare called 'Capitalism: A Love Story,' sought and received incentives."

    by Bush Bites on Tue Jan 15, 2013 at 09:32:24 PM PST

  •  Interesting. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mightymouse

    I've never heard that interpretation before, but it would explain the language.

    www.stacysmusings.wordpress.com

    by Magenta on Tue Jan 15, 2013 at 10:08:06 PM PST

  •  Well the whole Right to bear Arms/NRA never (0+ / 0-)

    was supportive as far as I know of the urban Gangs who for the most part are non-white getting to have Guns&Ammo and exercising their Right to bear Arms.

  •  2nd Amendment = Slave Patrol Amendment n/t (0+ / 0-)
  •  More work needed. Remember that the militia was (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mightymouse, Cedwyn, Just Bob

    either run and organized  by a state or by the Feds under article 1 section 8, not a separate and private group of local armies, the way the current myth goes. Remember, the history of the time was that the army/called up militia were used against separate and private groups, those invloved in Shay's Rebellion and the Whiskey Rebellion in 1792 and 1794. Under the current theory, Shay and the Whiskey had the kind of militia to fight off the Feds that was intended to be referred to as the 'well regulated militia', not the militia referred to in the constitution which could be and was called up to fight off the Shay and Whiskey rebels. .

  •  Pennsylvania had a right to bear arms (5+ / 0-)

    in their State Constitution, and more specifically why, than the federal Constitution. 20 years before.

    Call Ben Franklin a southern slaver if you will. I won't.

    XIII. That the people have a right to bear arms for the defence of themselves and the state; and as standing armies in the time of peace are dangerous to liberty, they ought not to be kept up; And that the military should be kept under strict subordination to, and governed by, the civil power.
    different take in Massachusetts. 7 years prior to the federal Constitution
    Art. XVII. The people have a right to keep and to bear arms for the common defence. And as, in time of peace, armies are dangerous to liberty, they ought not to be maintained without the consent of the legislature; and the military power shall always be held in an exact subordination to the civil authority and be governed by it.
    Is there a northern State Constitution with out a right to bear arms and provision for a militia.

    New Hampshire excludes the individual right, but provides for a militia.

    XXIV. A well regulated militia is the proper, natural, and sure defence of a state.
    New York? 1777
    XL. And whereas it is of the utmost importance to the safety of every State that it should always be in a condition of defence; and it is the duty of every man who enjoys the protection of society to be prepared and willing to defend it; this convention therefore, in the name and by the authority of the good people of this State, doth ordain, determine, and declare that the militia of this State, at all times hereafter, as well in peace as in war, shall be armed and disciplined, and in readiness for service. That all such of the inhabitants of this State being of the people called Quakers as, from scruples of conscience, may be averse to the bearing of arms, be therefrom excused by the legislature; and do pay to the State such sums of money, in lieu of their personal service, as the same; may, in the judgment of the legislature, be worth. And that a proper magazine of warlike stores, proportionate to the number of inhabitants, be, forever hereafter, at the expense of this State, and by acts of the legislature, established, maintained, and continued in every county in this State.
    Should we go on?

    How about Vermont? 1777

    XV. That the people have a right to bear arms for the defence of the themselves and the State; and, as standing armies, in the time of peace, are dangerous to liberty, they ought not to be kept up; and that the military should be kept under strict subordination to, and governed by, the civil power.
    "No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms. The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government"

    -- Thomas Jefferson, 1 Thomas Jefferson Papers, 334

    "The very atmosphere of firearms anywhere and everywhere restrains evil interference - they deserve a place of honor with all that's good"

    -- George Washington

    No need to rewrite history.
    •  That proves the 2d meant something opposite. (0+ / 0-)

      The fact the founders knew of such words but chose NOT to include them in their second amendment proves they wanted a different result.  Namely, letting Vermont or PA or MA have different laws than, say, SC, who is a little more careful about who is able to kill whom.

      That's not even "gun control". It's more like "massacre control".

      by Inland on Wed Jan 16, 2013 at 07:59:11 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Actually, the only thing it proves (0+ / 0-)

        is that the Constitutional formulation was the only one acceptable to the various state delegations. Hardly expressive of any "collective intent" on the part of the framers beyond finding something a majority could sign on to.

        Nothing human is alien to me.

        by WB Reeves on Wed Jan 16, 2013 at 11:43:26 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Of course it expresses a collective intent. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          WB Reeves

          It expressly the collective intent that those words, and no others, be in the constitution.

          I don't think the words are ambiguous, but to the extent one does, the fact that people of the time knew who words like defense and own rules out that the second amendment was meant for those items.  They could have ratified an amendment giveing a right to own guns.  They most certainly didn't.

          That's not even "gun control". It's more like "massacre control".

          by Inland on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 10:35:14 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  By the same token (0+ / 0-)

            If they had meant that only state governments could "keep" arms they could said that as well. Likewise, if they had meant that only the militia could "bear" arms they would have said that. This amendment, like much of the Constitution, was written so that it would open to interpretation.

            The fact is that the amendment, despite its reference to a "well regulated militia" vests the right "to keep and bear arms" not in the militia or any other government authority but in "the people." Does that mean "the people" as a collective whole or as individuals?

            The amendment's wording provides no answer on this crucial point, regardless of how much partisans on either side would like to pretend otherwise. Such ambiguity is, in fact, an example of the genius of the Constitution. It provides the flexibility that allows succeeding generations to determine how best to apply that document to changing circumstances.

            The Constitution was never designed to be sacred and immutable scripture.

            Nothing human is alien to me.

            by WB Reeves on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 02:06:20 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  It did not speak at all to the states (0+ / 0-)

              power to restrict arms.  How do we know that? Because there's nothing in the words.

              This isn't interpretation. It's reading.

              That's not even "gun control". It's more like "massacre control".

              by Inland on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 11:13:58 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Yes it is reading (0+ / 0-)

                and while the amendment vests the right "to keep and bear arms" in the "people", it doesn't specify whether it is a collective or individual right.

                Closing one's eyes to this intentional ambiguity simply insures that the discussion will remain mired in a sterile, quasi-theological squabble over the "original intent" of the framers. As if they were prophets that could foresee a world of machine guns and assault weapons.

                The framers had no such exalted opinion of themselves.  

                Nothing human is alien to me.

                by WB Reeves on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 11:41:10 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  It wouldn't have come up. (0+ / 0-)

                  Because the states were left with the decision on who should be armed and how as part of a well regulated militia.  

                  As far as an individual right to own a gun goes, there isn't one in the federal constitution.  

                  That's not ambiguous.

                  That's not even "gun control". It's more like "massacre control".

                  by Inland on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 01:35:43 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Hardly unambiguous (0+ / 0-)

                    As you yourself pointed out, the Amendment makes no mention of the States at all. It says that this is a right vested in "the people" without further explication.

                    By your own logic, if they had meant to vest that authority in the States they would have said so. They didn't. In fact, they explicitly chose not to. Just as they invoked the authority of "the people" rather than that of "the States"
                    in the preamble.

                    Your assertions aren't borne out by the text.

                    Nothing human is alien to me.

                    by WB Reeves on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 02:02:45 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

  •  BS (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Robobagpiper, bruddaone, Cedwyn
  •  Makes you wonder why NRA members (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Alexandre, DefendOurConstitution

    are overwhelming white.  

    •  To some extent. On the other hand, red necks are (0+ / 0-)

      overwhelmingly white, and the NRA exists partially for the purpose of emptying the wallets of red necks.

      There can be no protection locally if we're content to ignore the fact that there are no controls globally.

      by oldpotsmuggler on Wed Jan 16, 2013 at 02:15:25 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  A gun defender could reasonably (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Smoh

    argue that slavery might well have been made more defensible by that definition of gun rights, but that if slaves could have owned guns they wouldn't have been slaves, and that, therefore, it was "gun control" (restricting weaponry to state militias) that allowed slavery to continue and flourish.

    I suppose I agree with that, although I don't consider any of this really relevant.  

    I tend to think that weapons in the hands of the poor and downtrodden actually may be a good thing.  Right now, it's a popular cause on the right, but it wasn't that long ago historically that the right was in favor of taking weapons away from minorities.  But I'm against all this assault weapons doomsday preppers mega-clip bullshit.  It seems to be part of a temporary cultural paranoia.

  •  Certainly a motivation (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mightymouse

    The amendment was passed to reassure southern states that the federal government would not band state militas.  Whhich were needed, in part, to put down any slave rebellion.

  •  Good diary, thanks. nt (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Desert Rose

    Might and Right are always fighting, in our youth it seems exciting. Right is always nearly winning, Might can hardly keep from grinning. -- Clarence Day

    by hestal on Wed Jan 16, 2013 at 04:02:20 AM PST

  •  Here is a link to the site and (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Alexandre

    scholarly article that posits this claim and others by Professor Bogus (unfortunate name). Bogus has many sources to support his POV.  I certainly think it is plausible.

    http://www.carltbogus.com/...

    Research Shows Poverty Creates the Biggest Achievement Gap.

    by Desert Rose on Wed Jan 16, 2013 at 04:09:45 AM PST

  •  Like everything else about the 2nd amendment, (2+ / 0-)

    this interpretation will be debated.  Frankly, right or wrong, I think this idea about preservation of slavery being the impetus a compelling tactic to argue against it.  Anything - ANY THING - that can turn people's heads away from the idea that in this day and age we need this "right" is a good thing even if for only a few or a moment.  

    The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt. Bertrand Russell

    by accumbens on Wed Jan 16, 2013 at 04:24:00 AM PST

  •  While it is wholly plausible (5+ / 0-)

    that some major actors in the ratification of the Constitution and/or some States felt that the 2nd amendment helped support their right to protect themselves against slave revolts I really don't think that was the main purpose of the amendment.  Like much of the rest of our laws we borrowed heavily from the English.  And the English Bill of Rights (1689) contained a right to bear arms and protection against disarmament which was a reaction to James II and his attempt to disarm protestants - using a standing army as part of a justification for doing so. (although the right to bear arms was seen as a longstanding natural English right - I guess they just wanted to make sure the put it in writing).

    It stands to reason that former English subjects would be leery of a Federal power retaining all the military strength and not having an option to protect themselves from such - I mean you never know when some tyrannical Catholic might take charge and try to force everyone to abide by the Pope's wishes and all.  To put the main reason for the amendment solely on the desire to maintain slavery is a stretch.

    "You have attributed conditions to villainy that simply result from stupidity"

    by newfie on Wed Jan 16, 2013 at 05:13:09 AM PST

    •  And you see now why it was put in writing? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Cedwyn

      Because having gun ownership be a longstanding natural English right didn't keep England from enacting extremely strict gun regulation.

      If our rights are not put down in writing, it becomes very easy to take them away.

      •  And very hard to modify (0+ / 0-)

        and modernize.  Bottom line is nothing with running a country (unless that is a country of one) is ever very simple to do.  And sometimes the good of the whole does not make some very happy.

        "You have attributed conditions to villainy that simply result from stupidity"

        by newfie on Wed Jan 16, 2013 at 09:42:03 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  We could modify the 2nd very easily (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          newfie

          It's quite simple.  If we get rid of the militia nonsense and spell out the 2nd as a clear individual right to own guns, then the 2nd could also be written to limit things like high capacity magazines.  We can limit arsenals without limiting the right to own a gun.

          The problem is the gun control side will never go for that, because they keep dreaming of total gun bans.

          Republicans can't lead on financials because they want to end all spending and shut down the government.  And Democrats can't lead on guns because they don't believe in the individual right.  So stuck in the mud is where we stay until we get sane leadership.

          •  I'm not sure how accurate that statement is. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Norm in Chicago, oldpotsmuggler

            - your statement about the "gun control side" that is.

            I think that most people would be happy with your suggestions.  I think a small portion - although it has gained in size the longer this "madness" has continued - seek an all out ban.  And I think the more tragedies we face with the same results being nothing gets done because a very very loud minority insist that no change is acceptable the more people will say - screw it ban all guns.

            So I see a whole lot of pro-gun control folks who would like reasonable restrictions and would like that as part of a comprehensive approach to solving violence problems.  I see a whole of pro-gun control folks who are calling for a multi-faceted approach.  And I see more pro gun people saying NO!  Won't work!.. Cars kill people etc.  I do not see a majority of gun rights advocates calling for or suggesting reasonable restrictions - although I do see some who state this but then spend the vast majority of their efforts decrying any attempts to discuss potential restrictions.

            And I agree - unless we can get things moving we are stuck.  And it will get a whole lot worse before it gets better.  

            "You have attributed conditions to villainy that simply result from stupidity"

            by newfie on Wed Jan 16, 2013 at 12:10:02 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  I'm inclined to say, "Of course that's what it was (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DefendOurConstitution

    about and still is!"

    The racists can't have slaves anymore but they still cling to their guns because in their hearts they feel guilt and fear.

  •  As Dennis Baron said in his excellent (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Inland, blueness

    essay (submitted to SCOTUS) entitled "Guns and Grammar", people in that era did not "bear arms" against rabbits.  That term was consistently tied grammatically in that era to the topic of militias.

    There may have been states that had laws about an individual's right to own guns, but the Framers of the Bill of Rights did not have that in mind, and did not word the Second Amendment  to deal with that issue.  In fact the Second Amendment is an anomaly in the Bill of Rights, as it is the only section that does not deal with individual/minority rights.  

    This diarist is correct. It was a bone thrown to the States to address the slavery issue and the issue of the federal need for states to have militias that could address foreign incursions more quickly than the feds.

    It sure would help if Americans were truly educated about their history.  That goes for SCOTUS too.

    •  Then the 2nd Amendment creates a police state (0+ / 0-)

      If there is no individual right to own guns, if guns are only owned by large militias and posses that are run by the powerful in government, then we live in a police state.

      Sorry, but I refuse to accept your interpretation that the Bill of Rights grants all these individual rights, but then says we are completely at the mercy of the rich and powerful with all the guns.  Is a police state really what you want?

      •  I think we still get to vote and stuff. (0+ / 0-)

        I don't think police states tend to have things like elected politicians in charge of the police.

        But you clearly think that unless you have a fair chance of winning a fight with the police and national guard, your freedoms are at risk.  I think the opposite: I'm aware that the usual MO of heavily armed groups is to kill people who want democracy.   That's why the guy from TN spoke up; that's why not a single one of our supposed liberal people with guns volunteered to use them in defense of our democratic system.

        That's not even "gun control". It's more like "massacre control".

        by Inland on Wed Jan 16, 2013 at 08:04:10 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  And what is the GOP doing to the right to vote? (0+ / 0-)

          Yes, we still get to vote, for now.  But in states where the GOP have large majorities but are being threatened by demographic changes, they are doing everything possible to take away the right to vote.

          So the question you have to ask yourself is this:  If the GOP politicians take away your right to vote, and police with guns are guarding the polling places, do you still have the right to vote, and stuff?

          The simple reason why the right to own guns is an individual and not a group right is so that no one group can assume control and leave everyone else powerless to do anything about it.  It isn't about any one individual winning a fight with the police or national guard.  It is about the police or national guard never wanting to follow illegal orders to take rights away from millions of people who together can fight back.

          •  What are you suggesting? Shooting polling judges? (0+ / 0-)

            GOP legislators are making it harder to vote.  What are you going to do about that, start shooting up the polling places to get a ballot in a box?

            It is about the police or national guard never wanting to follow illegal orders to take rights away from millions of people who together can fight back.
            And aside from the right to own guns, nobody can so much as name a right at risk with the police and the military.  And that has to be VOTED ON FIRST.  And then MAKE IT THROUGH THE COURTS.

            Fact is, the threat to our democracy doesn't come from the police or the military.  The threat comes from people who think that a pile of guns plus some vague shit about rights means they can overturn democracy.   Those are the people who made up death squads, made up the nightriders, and threaten armed revolution every fucking day.  If push comes to shove, it's going to be them coming to your house, or shooting into your parade, or killing your leaders, and threatening your pols, not nice clean policemen trying to serve you a warrant.

            Wake up.  It's one thing to be scared shitless, it's another to be scared of what isn't even close to happening instead of the real theats you see every day.   Just wake the fuck up and smell the real threat.

            That's not even "gun control". It's more like "massacre control".

            by Inland on Wed Jan 16, 2013 at 08:56:15 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  It's called a balance of power (0+ / 0-)

              In the same way that we have an armed military to make sure no other country ever invades us to take away our rights, we have an armed citizenry to make sure that no one group ever takes away our rights.

              I'm sorry that this strikes you as being paranoid, but an effective balance of power is what has secured rights for people throughout all of human history.  When one side is strong and the other side is weak, those civilizations alwasy devolve into brutal dictatorships.

              The one thing those "death squads" you talk about don't have is the power of a functioning government behind them.  No, I'm not worried about a few gun nuts who think they have an army.  My main concern is making sure we never have a dictator like those in the Middle East who think gassing all those troublesome protesters is a good idea because he can get away with it.

              And what real threats?  My great aunt wasn't shot with a gun, she was hacked to death by a psycho with a machette.

              See, if she'd been shot, then she would be a victim of gun violence, and "if only guns had been banned she'd still be alive" right?  But because she was hacked up with a rusty blade, well, that's just the random act of some psychopath, right?  Are you going to push for machette control now?

              So you can go shove it with your take that it's the guns that put me in danger.  I'm at risk of crazy people every day, and I accept that.  But I'm not at risk of living in a dictatorship, and I'll keep it that way thank you very much.

              •  Here's an idea Norm, (0+ / 0-)

                calm down and read Baron's article.

                The Second Amendment was not written to address the individual's right to have or use a gun. In fact it wasn't until recent US history that the courts even entertained the idea.

                However, we have all agreed though our laws that people can have guns to hunt and guns in their homes for self protection. But not all people, and not in all circumstances. We have regulations and restrictions on all kinds of items in our society that have the potential to cause harm to others... cars, chemicals, cigarettes and a whole list of others.

                What the NRA wants is NO regulations, no restrictions of any kind and they point to the Second Amendment as their back up.  They are just plain wrong... and increasingly dangerous  to our democracy.

                •  Rights are removed through due process (0+ / 0-)

                  Rights are removed from individuals through due process in a court of law.  So no, not all people in all circumstances.  The criminally guilty and the criminally insane can have their 2nd Amendment rights removed by a jury of their peers, on an individual case by case basis.

                  I'm fine with certain restrictions, so long as police and civilians are equal in those restrictions.  What's good enough for me in my home is good enough for the cops.  what I won't accept is people like you who think a high capacity magazine will ever work if the cops have them.  I guess you think the war on drugs has worked just fine as well right?  No black market whatsoever?

                  But a question for you.  Since you believe the 2nd doesn't grant an individual right but instead a group right, then you must be just fine with racist sheriff Joe Arpaio's 3000 man posse, right?  You're just fine with 3000 armed racists running around AZ arresting brown people while everyone else is disarmed?  You like Arpaio's "well regulated militia", defending the free state of Arizona from Mexicans?

                  Because the 2nd Amendment is law, and if that's the interpretation you want, then I hope you're prepared for the consequences.

                  •  You not only still haven't read the article, (0+ / 0-)

                    you are stuffing words in my mouth.  And you are hyperventilating along with it.

                    I just really can't address this.

                    •  Baron's? Link please? (0+ / 0-)

                      The article linked to in the diary is by Thom Hartmann, on Truthout.

                      If you'd like me to read a different article, kindly provide the link, thanks.

                      •  I have posted that link a couple of times (0+ / 0-)

                        on different Second Amendment diaries on Daily Kos, and thought I did here too. My apologies...  here it is....

                        http://www.english.illinois.edu/...

                        It's by linguistics expert Dennis Baron and was submitted in the DC gun law case at the Supreme Court.

                        •  Sorry, I reject that argument (0+ / 0-)

                          You're not going to win me over with a linguistic argument.  I believe in a strict individual right to own guns.

                          Nowhere in the 2nd Amendment does it say that an individual must be a militia member to keep and bear arms.  Nowhere does it say that the militia must be actively mustered in order for arms to be kept.  Nowhere does it say that the arms are collectively owned by the militia, or that they must be stored in a militia arsenal when the militia is not mustered.  In short, the 2nd Amendment makes zero connection between an individual and the militia with respect to gun ownership.

                          The 2nd Amendment also doesn't say that the citizen militia can be superseeded by professional soldiers and therefore the 2nd Amendment is not needed.

                          What the 2nd Amendment does say is that the right of the PEOPLE to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

                          Why must it not be infringed?  So that the people can defend the State (and themselves) when necessary.  Yes, self defense is implicit.  The purpose of the militia was not to be shipped off to England to take the fight to the King.  It was to defend one's nation, one's land, one's home and family.

                          I will not agree to your interpretations.  It is on you to show where mandatory militia membership is spelled out, and you can't do that, except by pretending that the militia and regular army were the same thing, and that the rights of the PEOPLE don't really exist.

                          You also want to take an individual right and transform it into a collective right.  You want to take power out of the hands of the many and concentrate it in the hands of the very few, and give them the power to be tyrants.  If there is anything that goes against the spirit of the Constitution and American democracy, it is that.

                          Care to try any other arguments?

                          •  Why ask for the article link if you (0+ / 0-)

                            have no intention of considering the evidence or the facts?  Haven't you ever wondered why that Amendment is worded so strangely, with commas in weird spots? There is an explanation. Sorry you can't seem to pull your mind out of the rut it is in on this.

                            Plus you keep accusing me of having positions that I did not advocate.

                            Here's something else to contemplate.  Try reading the history surrounding the creation of this amendment... like the Congressional records on the Bill of Rights debates.  Then look at what the Constitution says about the federal power and state militias in Article 1, sections 15 and 16.   Then look up articles on the Second Amendment in relation to slavery.   You will have a hard time finding evidence to support your view that the Second Amendment was written to give individuals gun rights. This is also addressed in Baron's well documented essay which of course, you won't read.

                          •  How was I supposed to know what it was? (0+ / 0-)

                            You didn't tell me what was in the article, you just asked me to read it.  Well I did, but I'd already read it before, and rejected it before.

                            You have to show where militia membership was mandatory,and it isn't there.

                          •  I don't know Norm, but I have a hard time (0+ / 0-)

                            picturing you actually reading this article, as it takes patience (lots of linguistics stuff) and you don't impress me as a patient kind of guy.

                            I don't have to show you anything and you have made it clear that even if I showed you article after article or argument after argument, you would not be moved.

                            I give.   You may now go into your bunker and await the apocalypse with all your guns.  Have fun.

                          •  I don't own guns, this is about rights (0+ / 0-)

                            Actually you do have to show me something if you want to win the argument, because Baron's argument already failed in court.  So if you have nothing else to present, then the individual right to own a gun stands.  I'll humor you though, because you're so set on proving that the 2nd is a group right only.

                            The big problem for you is that you're trying to have it both ways.  You want to have the 2nd Amendment accepted as only a group right.  But you then want to say that right is no longer necessary, so can be thrown out entirely.  Sorry, but it doesn't work that way.

                            You want to go through Baron's article in detail?  Fine, let's start with:

                            Hedging their bets, gun rights advocates argued in Heller that, even if the “militia clause”
                            does have some significance, they would read the word militia as referring to everybody.
                            Supporters of gun control interpret militia more narrowly as the members of the National
                            Guard, the military force that evolved from the 18th-century American state militias.
                            According to the Constitution, the militia consists only of those eligible to serve.
                            In the framers’ day, that included able-bodied, free white males, typically aged 16–45,
                            not the entire group of men, women and children.
                            That's me, a white male, aged 36.  I'm eligible for militia service, so I have the right to keep and bear arms.  Now I frown on discrimination like this, that says white males get guns while women and minorities are disarmed.  Do you really want to be one of the pigs from Animal Farm, claiming some people are more equal than others?
                            But you can discriminate all you want, I'm a white protestant land owner.  Every founding father would affirm my right to own a gun.  Next.
                            When each word in the text is given full effect, the Amendment is most
                            naturally read to secure to the people a right to use and possess arms in
                            conjunction with service in a well-regulated militia.
                            I can agree to that, that I have the right to use the weapon I individually keep in service with a militia.  As that is a Right, as I wrote in the other post, if you want to go the group Right route, you now have to provide me with this well-regulated militia, because it is necessary.  If every comma counts, so does the word necessary.  The militia can't just be causally dismissed, disbannded or replaced by a deployable regular army.  If you want to tie gun ownership to the militia, then there must be a militia.

                            For the "bear arms" clause, the most you can say is that concealed carry is struck down.  I'm fine with that too actually.  But you'll notice that Baron never delt with keep.  So I get to keep arms, and I get to bear them when I go train with my shiny new militia.

                            Now for what Baron didn't cover, and that's the second part of the amendment.  I know your type and how you read it.  But it doesn't say the right of the MILITIA to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.  It says PEOPLE, as in everyone.  If you want to make some people less equal than others, you have to show where the Constitution says that.

                            The 2nd Amendment says that it is necessary for armed citizens to be able to defend themselves through a militia, and therefore all the people, all of them, get to keep and bear arms.

                            So either it is an individual right without militias, or it is a group right with militias.  But the end result is the same.

                            I'm really sorry about it, but you need a new argument.

                          •  The slavery argument is supposed to win me over? (0+ / 0-)

                            We're in a diary titled "The 2nd Amendment was Ratified to Preserve Slavery", and you want me to support the group rights view over the individual rights view?  Because the only way that the 2nd ever could preserve slavery is by saying that the only the rich and powerful get to have guns, and those with the guns get to determine who the slaves are.

                            If the slaves also had the right to own guns, there wouldn't have been any slavery, would there?  What slave with a loaded gun in his hand wouldn't blow his master's head off and make a run for it.

                            This just drives me even harder to support the individual right to own guns.  I think everyone has the right to self-defense, not just the God damned rich slave owners.

                        •  I can see it your way, but you won't like it (0+ / 0-)

                          For sake of argument, let's say that the 2nd Amendment does have to be interpreted literally, exactly as written.

                          It says that the militia is NECESSARY for the security of a free state.  It doesn't say it's a nice idea, it says necessary.  So where is the militia today if it's so necessary?  How dare we overturn the intentions of the founding fathers by disbanding it.

                          And before you suggest it, no, the National Guard and Regualar Army do not replace the militia.  Because those forces can be sent overseas to fight, and it's kind of hard to defend the Free State of Illinois if I've been deployed to Afghanistan.

                          So I will see you and raise you.  By your interpretation of the 2nd Amendment, not only do I still have the right to keep and bear arms, but now you must give me a domestic, non deployable militia to join, because it is necessary.  It can be as well regulated as you like, but it must exist and allow me to join it as a free, law abiding citizen.

                          Have fun with that.

              •  No, no we don't. (0+ / 0-)
                we have an armed citizenry to make sure that no one group ever takes away our rights.
                We have an armed citizenry that has done almost nothing but take away our rights.  Except for a few puny self defense incidents, it's all use for crime or for planned use to overthrow democracy.

                That's why nobody saw you or any of the other RKBAs on this site calling for mobilization to fight any of the thousands of patriot groups in this country.  You aren't lifting a finger, either becuase you still think the government is the threat, not the people promising to overthrow it, not the people who occassionally bomb a building or abortion clinic, or because you never intended to use your guns for anyone's rights anyway.  

                I'm at risk of crazy people every day, and I accept that.
                Yeah, well, the kids at Newtown didn't.  See, I know the person you're most likely to kill with your gun is yourself, second  most likely, your friends and family members.  But when you start standing in the way of rules that protect kids, I think you're the one who can fucking shove it.  Nobody is going to keep putting up with your bullshit, because at some point, we vote and then you can start shooting with all the people you say you don't side with.  

                That's not even "gun control". It's more like "massacre control".

                by Inland on Wed Jan 16, 2013 at 02:50:54 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

      •  Is Great Britain a police state? (0+ / 0-)

        Do you realize that one of the first things George Washington did was send troops against citizens who refused to pay taxes?

        Are you really saying that you are comfortable with all those little hidden militias in this country and that you side with people like the Waco crowd?

        •  I side with a balance of power (0+ / 0-)

          I don't want either the militias or the government to be overwelmingly stronger than the other.  In that balance lies the protection of all our rights, on all sides.

          Now I would actually be happy to limit the strength of arms on both sides, but I don't see the government offering to give up their assualt rifles, so why should the citizens?

          And there are things worth dying for.  If government troops show up to collect taxes, is that worth dying for?  No, of course not.  But if government troops show up to drag an entire ethnic group off to the gas chambers, and I'm part of that ethnic group?  Then yes it is worth dying in battle to ensure my wife and child escape.  It has happened before, it will happen again.  The weak are killed by the strong, each and every time.

          That doesn't mean I want crazy militias running all over the place.  There are plenty of sane limits to that behavior.  But there are also numerous legitimate reasons why the citizens of a nation should be on equal footing with the government, and if you don't understand then I can't help you.  

    •  Well, they didn't use "own" so didn't mean "own." (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      WB Reeves, Fishtroller01

      People can argue what "keep and bear arms" means, and I agree that it is solely a military context, not personal use, but for fuck's sake, it doesn't mean "own and use and sell and have as many as I please".

      That's not even "gun control". It's more like "massacre control".

      by Inland on Wed Jan 16, 2013 at 08:00:48 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Hi Richard, See PA Const from 1776 (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cedwyn

    From the Founders' Constitution webpage of the U of Chicago:

    Pennsylvania Constitution of 1776, Declaration of Rights, art. 13
    Thorpe 5:3083

    XIII. That the people have a right to bear arms for the defence of themselves and the state; and as standing armies in the time of peace are dangerous to liberty, they ought not to be kept up; And that the military should be kept under strict subordination to, and governed by, the civil power.

    The debate in the House over the 2nd Amendment in 1789 clearly indicates that the issue was over how to prevent standing armies.

    The Founders had the real fear of a standing army being used by the government to impose tyranny.  The example they focused on was the New Model Army's actions during the English Civil Wars and how it influenced, if not forced, the parliaments after Charles I was captured to follow its agenda.  

    It was recognized in the 19th century that the right was about militias vs. standing armies, with the abuse of the right being an action that could lead to imprisoment.

    As William Rawle wrote in 1829:

    This right ought not, however, in any government, to be abused to the disturbance of the public peace.

    An assemblage of persons with arms, for an unlawful purpose, is an indictable offence, and even the carrying of arms abroad by a single individual, attended with circumstances giving just reason to fear that he purposes to make an unlawful use of them, would be sufficient cause to require him to give surety of the peace. If he refused he would be liable to imprisonment.

    Buck up--Never say die. We'll get along! Charlie Chaplin, Modern Times (1936).

    by dizzydean on Wed Jan 16, 2013 at 06:18:15 AM PST

  •  Thing happen for more than one reason (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cedwyn, WB Reeves

    A: The more complex the event, the more multifaceted are the driving factors, usually.

    B: Creating the Constitution was a complex event.

    A + B = ?

  •  History... (0+ / 0-)

    Gun control originated in the Jim Crow south, to help prevent black folks from shooting back at Klansmen.

    "A lie is not the other side of a story; it's just a lie."

    by happy camper on Wed Jan 16, 2013 at 06:38:03 AM PST

  •  I was lucky (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shanikka

    I remember from a couple of high school classes on early American history that this hypothesis was brought up.

    I want to think about this.

    But bringing this bit of history up is a bit like bring up the whole "why did they drop the A-bomb" question; now that  one I have explored with some depth.

  •  Love it Will use for next Well Reg Militia comment (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JayRaye

    So the next time someone says the 2nd Amendment only grants gun rights to militias instead of granting an individual right, I'm playing this as the trump card.

    Under the argument that only the militia can own guns, that means that in South Carolina all black people can be forcibly disarmed while an armed white "well regulated" posse runs roughshod over the state.

    Because that's how the Constitution says it should be, right?  Minorities have no gun ownership rights.  Gun rights only belong to the posses of state politicians, like AZ sheriff Joe Arpaio.  Is that what we want?

    Sorry but no.  The 2nd Amendment grants individual rights.  It does not mandate a police state.

  •  Read Federalist #46. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Addison, Cedwyn
  •  The article is both correct and incorrect (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Addison, Cedwyn, raincrow

    Yes, it's true that protection for the pursuit of slaves was built into the Constitution, and it's also true that the 2nd Amendment was created to protect slavery. But its true origins actually go all the way back to when the Continental Congress was deciding whether to revolt against Britain.

    For the Northerner, the question was primarily financial. Their fear was through taxes and other policies, their business rivals could unfairly use Parliament to their disadvantage. But the Southerners had different fear: once the Somerset Decision ended slavery in England, they were afraid that some external power—initially Parliament and the Redcoats—would invade to forcibly emancipate their slaves. A lot of the discussion at that time had to do with weaving these different fears into a united front that could face off against the British Army, and compromises were already made even then and when the Articles of Confederation were drafted. For example, it is particularly galling to note that the initial draft would have created to national government whose laws would always have priority over the laws of individual colonies/states. In effect, “one nation” without a 10th Amendment. But obviously, because of the fear of forcible emancipation, the slave states could not accept that, and so state sovereignty was born.

    While the Constitution was being debated, one of its most worrisome aspects for Southerners was the new standing army, because once again, they would be vulnerable to an external emancipatory force. Under the Articles, each colony was required to have its own state militia (“every State shall always keep up a well-regulated and disciplined militia, sufficiently armed and accoutered, and shall provide and constantly have ready for use, in public stores, a due number of field pieces and tents, and a proper quantity of arms, ammunition and camp equipage”). Now those militias were to be blended in with the Army. How could the slaveowners protect themselves against forcible emancipation?

    The political answer had several branches: the 3/5 Compromise, the Senate in which every state had the same voice, the Electoral College which was an extension of that principle, and explicit text to protect the internal slave trade from outside slavers. The military answer, however, was postponed slightly and was listed in second place in the Bill of Rights: the 2nd Amendment. This was designed to give the slaveholding states sufficient military power to turn away the federal emancipators that they feared constantly.

    It was precisely this mindset that led to the Civil War, in which federal emancipators eventually did forcibly free their slaves.

    So, while chasing runaway slaves was undoubtedly an important consideration for the slave states, I believe that the 2nd Amendment, which mimics the above-cited text from the Articles of Confederation, was intended to provide a foil for the new federal standing army vis à vis emancipation of slaves against the will of the slaveholding states, should the need arise.

    •  I hear what you are saying (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Cedwyn, raincrow

      ... but I disagree with your belief that only slave states wanted state-run militias.

      Just as today, each state probably wanted some level of autonomy (even the northern ones) and the flexibility to address local problems, without having to wait on a federal army marching up, down, over to where the problem was.

      The fact that northern states also possessed state-run militias prior to adoption of the Constitution implies a use for them other then the imposition of slavery, and my guess is that a local/regional defense force was attractive to both Northerner and Southerner alike.

      •  There are three arguments (0+ / 0-)

        First, there is a tremendous amount of evidence that the American slaveholders feared forcible emancipation even before the Revolution, and that this influenced many aspects of the foundation of the United States. Perhaps the most convincing reference here is Slave Nation by Alfred W & Ruth G Blumrosen, which I heartily recommend.

        Second, in order for states to want to have militias separate from the US Army, there would logically have to be some immediate threat facing them that the Army would not be capable of protecting them from. What could have been this threat? Invasion from outside: the Army would be fine. Indians? Again, the US Army would be fine. Fighting the British, the Spanish, or the Mexicans? Army all the way. Natural disasters? Once again, why not the Army?

        No, for state militias to be insisted on so strongly, as a fundamental right, there had to be some horrible threat against which the US Army would not usable, or indeed, a threat of which the US Army would be a part. And I've thought about this really long and hard, and the only thing that is at all plausible is the threat of emancipation, which the US Army would bring. In other words, the same threat that drove the slavers to become part of the Revolution in the first place and that later drove them to forbid the Union its full fruition by insisting on the various manifestations of state sovereignty.

        It's true that all Americans were favorably predisposed to the militias in gratitude for their role in national independence. That can't be denied, and it undoubtedly played a role in helping convince the Northern states to ratify the 2nd Amendment. But I also don't think it's deniable that the militias were seen primarily as a force to fight against the national army in a civil war, just as they had done in the Revolution (in which the “national army” was the Redcoats). And the only threat on the horizon that could have caused this was the threat of abolition.

        Third, the Civil War illustrates explicitly what the militias were for. The Southern forces were built on the militias, and there is no way fighting would have started had the Southerners not believed their militias capable of winning against the federal army. The fact that that war occurred and because of the role the militias played in starting it and waging it is the icing on the cake of this point of view: the 2nd Amendment, designed to establish the right of states to keep their militias, is in the end yet another rotten plank of our foundation that we owe to slavery.

        •  You keep insisting (0+ / 0-)

          ... that a federal army is capable of doing all the things that a militia is, and your argument is therefore, why have a militia other then to impose slavery.  But a federal army of the 1700s is not like our army is today.  It was often kept quite small (increasing in size only during times of war), it was generally centralized in a single, geographical location at any given time (not maintaining a presence/bases in every state like it does today), and funded entirely by federal taxes.

          All these characteristics of the colonial army made it ideal for single-purpose, direct responses to any given external threat, but less capable of effectively dealing with issues on multiple fronts.  A citizen soldier/militiaman on the other hand (well-regulated and armed) did not have to be paid by the federal government, did not have to be armed by the federal government, could be called upon at a moments notice to address threats/circumstances that would take the federal army a long time to get to.  There is a reason we have local/state police instead of letting the military run things.  Similarly, the militias acted as a reserve force, should the federal military require more support, as it did during the Revolutionary / Civil wars.  If they are already trained and armed by their states, they can be fielded more quickly.

          I guess my point is that standing armies were slow, centralized, and cost money whereas state-managed militias were fast, de-centralized, and cost much less to equip (especially if every militiaman was already armed, and the reason I believe the 2nd Amendment was added to the Constitution).

          I also don't like your third point as a justification for your argument.  There was no standing army in the south prior to war so of course the southern forces were built on the militias.  I'm sure that the North folded all of its militias into the Army of the Potomac; they just happened to have a Federal Army already in place.

  •  A good read (0+ / 0-)

    The enforcement of slavery may very well have been a reason for the adoption of the second amendment, but I doubt it was the only/major one.

    I would argue that the concept of a federal, standing army was much different then that of a state militia at the time of the signing of the Constitution, and with good reason.  While placing more power in the hands of the federal government then the Articles of Confederation, the Constitution still provided states with almost overlapping jurisdiction in a number of areas.

    The reason for this in regard to state militias, in my mind, is fairly obvious; the federal government (and by extension, the federal army) was often far removed (geographically) from many of the states and their problems; enforcing slavery sure, but also dealing with Indian uprisings, maintaining a more local, public order/safety of state residents, dealing with regional disasters, etc.

    If slavery was the only reason to maintain a state militia, then you really wouldn't expect to find state militias north of the Mason Dixon Line, but you do, and I believe this is due to their use in many more areas then simply imposing slavery.

  •  Because of exigencies of 18th C, we cannot (0+ / 0-)

    have any safety. Also, I believe our Armed Forces are unconstitutional as well and must be disbanded. Good day.

    “liberals are the people who think that cruelty is the worst thing that we do” --Richard Rorty Also, I moved from NYC, so my username is inaccurate.

    by jeff in nyc on Wed Jan 16, 2013 at 07:40:24 AM PST

  •  You're right to a point, but here's the thing: (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    birdboy2000

    some states used their militias with some frequency to put down slave revolts or repel attacks by the first nations.  They were scared shitless that the federal government, as a strike against those states, would disarm the militia members; i mean, Rhode Island could survive such a law, but South Carolina could not, so if the feds wanted to pressure slave states, disarmament would do it.

    But that is an issue of STATE power.  STATE power over its militias, STATE power to control slaves, STATE power to repel attacks.  Not individual rights to, say, attack the state.  The latter belief stands the amendment on its head.

    Notably, when we think of the second amend as a STATE power that protects STATE interests, the entire amendment makes sense.   The state decides who is in the well regulated milita, who's insane, what kinds of guns they can keep and bear if any, etc.  It's no longer a fucking SUICIDE PACT.

    That's not even "gun control". It's more like "massacre control".

    by Inland on Wed Jan 16, 2013 at 07:57:18 AM PST

  •  Without armed citizens we could never have (5+ / 0-)

    had our Revolution.

    Not only colonies but towns and hamlets were organized into militias and regulated thru town governments.

    It was not only the Continentals that fot the Redcoats but also the citizen soldiers in the hamlets & towns. The Selectmen who organized these militias were heroes of the Revolution as well as the soldiers.

    Here is the record of one such town:
    http://books.google.com/...
    Annals of the town of Mendon
    (see pages 340-376 for role of Selectman John Chapin in 1776)

    To say that the 2nd Amendment was only or even primarily, to protect Slaveholders is simplistic. Ignores the role that town governments (& note that these were Revolutionary governments in defiance of the King) and their "well-regulated" militias played in defending the Revolution.

    Had individuals not already had guns in their possession  when town militias were needed, the British could have roamed all over MA.

    When RWers in high office or running for high office feel free to publicly declare that 2nd Amendment remedies might be needed to correct unhappy election result, I like to remind them that RWers are not the only Americans covered by the 2nd Amendment.

    Pray it never happens, but the day could come that citizens are again needed to defend our elected representatives. (Think Chile's Salvador Allende.)

    WE NEVER FORGET Our Labor Martyrs: a project to honor the men, women and children who lost their lives in Freedom's Cause. For Dec: Life so cheap; property so sacred.

    by JayRaye on Wed Jan 16, 2013 at 07:58:19 AM PST

    •  Without the French monarchists (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Inland, Chitown Kev, raincrow

      determine to settle the score with the British we would have never had a revolution.

      •  The revolution started before we knew (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Cedwyn, kalmoth, sensetolisten

        that the French monarch would support us.

        Again, your thinking is simplistic.

        But, yes, we owe the French a lot for joining in on our side. Also the Spanish.

        WE NEVER FORGET Our Labor Martyrs: a project to honor the men, women and children who lost their lives in Freedom's Cause. For Dec: Life so cheap; property so sacred.

        by JayRaye on Wed Jan 16, 2013 at 08:19:10 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  I disagree entirely. (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Cedwyn, JayRaye, kalmoth, sensetolisten

        The revolution began long before the French got involved. In my home state of Rhode Island we still celebrate Gaspee Day (1972) when colonists burned a British customs ship.

        Also, I believe the Americans would have won (eventually) without help from the French.

        If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the precipitate.

        by HairyTrueMan on Wed Jan 16, 2013 at 08:24:52 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  It is the difference between (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          raincrow

          a rebellion and a revolution. It doesn't become a revolution unless you pull it off. That rebellion would not have resulted in a revolution without the French.

          •  Not a revolution until we had the blessing of the (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            HairyTrueMan, sensetolisten

            French?

            That is real nonsense. The day we declared Independence the fight went from being a rebellion to being a revolution.

            The Revolution itself, was completely peaceful; it only took a Declaration and the ringing of bells.

            Defending the Revolution, however, was another matter.

            Could the peaceable principle of the Quakers be universally established, arms and the art of war would be wholly extirpated: But we live not in a world of angels...I am thus far a Quaker, that I would gladly agree with all the world to lay aside the use of arms, and settle matters by negotiation: but unless the whole will, the matter ends, and I take up my musket and thank Heaven He has put it in my power.”
            ― Thomas Paine

            WE NEVER FORGET Our Labor Martyrs: a project to honor the men, women and children who lost their lives in Freedom's Cause. For Dec: Life so cheap; property so sacred.

            by JayRaye on Wed Jan 16, 2013 at 09:29:36 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  If the British had prevailed (0+ / 0-)

              and put down the rebellion then the Declaration of Independence would have become a little know historical curiosity. The rebellion became a revolution when the British surrendered at Yorktown. The French fleet was a major part of that engagement.

              •  Definitions are not retroactive. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                sensetolisten

                Had we lost, it would have been a failed revolution.

                The day we declared Independence we were officially another nation. On that day the Revolution took place. And even before that we had government in place. At the national level and at the town level. These were Revolutionary governments in defiance of the King.

                We negotiated Nation to Nation for help from the French and Spanish. That is because the Revolution had already taken place.  We were already an Independent Nation. The French and the Spanish helped us defend our Revolution, but they did not make us a nation.

                WE NEVER FORGET Our Labor Martyrs: a project to honor the men, women and children who lost their lives in Freedom's Cause. For Dec: Life so cheap; property so sacred.

                by JayRaye on Wed Jan 16, 2013 at 09:49:31 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

          •  I still disagree. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Chitown Kev, JayRaye

            I think the French helped shorten the war, but ultimately the British could not maintain control of the colonies. Guerrilla warfare is difficult to defeat, especially 3000 miles from home.

            If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the precipitate.

            by HairyTrueMan on Wed Jan 16, 2013 at 09:32:48 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  Well, we never would have (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Richard Lyon, Cedwyn

        won the revolution, I'll go that far.

        Add to that, the French would not have had their own revolution not even a decade later as a part of that problem for Louis XVI was war debt (although it would have happened eventually, regardless).

    •  "Organized into militias". (0+ / 0-)

      Seems simple enough for me: why not have the states organize militias?

      Had individuals not already had guns in their possession  when town militias were needed, the British could have roamed all over MA.
      Strangely, the Brits were going to Concord and Lexington to confiscate armouries: places where the well organized militia kept arms.  

      At any rate, you like others argue too much.   It's clear that the drafters of the constitution weren't trying to make it a fair fight with the next group of rebels.   Like all revolutionaries, they thought one was enough.

      That's not even "gun control". It's more like "massacre control".

      by Inland on Wed Jan 16, 2013 at 08:07:52 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I mean (0+ / 0-)

      If armed citizens overthrow governments, why would I want armed citizens when I support our form of government?

      •  Did you read my post? (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Cedwyn, sensetolisten

        Do you know who Salvador Allende is? The people who elected him were not in anyway capable of defending their election. They were sitting ducks when the junta came to take them away to the stadium.

        We are not the ones threatening to overthrow our government. But the RW, some who are high up in the Republican Party, have made veiled threats against our form of government, ie democracy when democracy does not go their way.

        Do you really want to be disarmed should they decide to make good on threat?

        WE NEVER FORGET Our Labor Martyrs: a project to honor the men, women and children who lost their lives in Freedom's Cause. For Dec: Life so cheap; property so sacred.

        by JayRaye on Wed Jan 16, 2013 at 08:28:22 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Armed Citizens (0+ / 0-)

          Are the threat, not the defense.  The last time the United States government was threatened, it was by armed citizens in the civil war.  Current RW threats come from armed citizens, and their threats of civil war are based on armed citizens.

          Salvador Allende's government was defeated by the CIA.  I don't oppose resisting foreign powers, but that's not what we have armed citizens for.  The crisis that facilitated his downfall was organized by domestic paramilitary groups - armed citizens.  Though affiliated with elements of the military, the military primarily resisted them.

          Armed citizens threaten governments, including this one.  

        •  Yes. When they make good on the threat, (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JayRaye

          I want the military to pink mist them with a drone.

          •  Agree 100% (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            kalmoth, sensetolisten

            but I also want to be able to defend myself and my home.

            Many of these nuts live around me here in Texas.

            Some are Sheriffs and Sheriff's Deps. Every time I hear their nonsense, I quietly reply that they are not the only one's with 2nd Amendment rights.

            Shuts them up right quick.

            They are mostly coward's and bullies and are not prepared for that response to all their bluster.

            WE NEVER FORGET Our Labor Martyrs: a project to honor the men, women and children who lost their lives in Freedom's Cause. For Dec: Life so cheap; property so sacred.

            by JayRaye on Wed Jan 16, 2013 at 09:02:18 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Boy have I had some guns pulled on me by police in (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              JayRaye

              Teaxs (where do you guys get those Rangers, god their all massive). All I can say is that if you talk back at a time like that, you're a better man than I am.

              There can be no protection locally if we're content to ignore the fact that there are no controls globally.

              by oldpotsmuggler on Wed Jan 16, 2013 at 02:29:27 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  I NEVER talk back to cops when they stop me. (0+ / 0-)

                But I've had occasion to talk to some right wing law enforcers on a social basis, & there is no reason to let their RW shit go unchallenged then.

                (PS I'm a woman.)

                WE NEVER FORGET Our Labor Martyrs: a project to honor the men, women and children who lost their lives in Freedom's Cause. For Dec: Life so cheap; property so sacred.

                by JayRaye on Wed Jan 16, 2013 at 03:03:24 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Yeah, but if you can do what you're doing in Texas (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  JayRaye

                  of all places, you might still have bigger cajones than I do. In alot of ways, the scariest place in the country in my opinion.

                  There can be no protection locally if we're content to ignore the fact that there are no controls globally.

                  by oldpotsmuggler on Wed Jan 16, 2013 at 09:05:56 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks for the diary ... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Alexandre, raincrow

    and for those who may have trouble accessing The Nation article (link in the TruthOut article) try this -- it's well worth a read:

    Policing the Color Line

    http://www.readability.com/...

    In a room where people unanimously maintain a conspiracy of silence, one word of truth sounds like a pistol shot." ~ Czeslaw Milosz

    by Caneel on Wed Jan 16, 2013 at 08:27:23 AM PST

  •  A reason, but not the sole reason. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cedwyn, deepbreath, raincrow

    There was no shortage of fear (reading today it sounds downright paranoid, but the founders wrote in an era when very few republics lasted) of a tyrannical federal government in that era - and what better way to stop a would-be dictator than by decentralizing the military and giving states their own armies?  

    Militias didn't only exist in the south and west.  Every state maintained one.

  •  Great point. The 2nd amendment to me clearly (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite

    says that owning a gun is connected to the formation of a militia and the militia's role is to protect the "free State".  The idea that the right is for individual protection is bogus and the argument that the right exists to equip the individual to fight the government is also bogus.  The idea that individuals can fight the U.S. government with their rifles and handguns is also just plainly ridiculous.

    I'd say, time to repeal and maybe replace with something more suited to our current time and needs.

    The elevation of appearance over substance, of celebrity over character, of short term gains over lasting achievement displays a poverty of ambition. It distracts you from what's truly important. - Barack Obama

    by helfenburg on Wed Jan 16, 2013 at 09:00:33 AM PST

  •  Thank you, Richard (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Richard Lyon

    for proposing this for discussion and debate.

  •  Speculation based on a weak theory (4+ / 0-)

    There is no evidence to support this theory, simply because some of the founding fathers happen to have been slave holders does not in any way prove that this particular amendment was put in place specifically and solely to appease them.

    An armed local militia is just as capable of being a barrier to slavery as an enforcer of it. The reality is that the common man in the South was not a slaveholder nor particularly favorably disposed to the institution of slavery. To deliberately arm such a population would in no way have  guaranteed the enforcement of slavery.

    Those roving bands of thugs referred to here as "slave patrol militias" were almost certainly working under the employment of and at the behest of wealthy slave holders. They were in effect nothing more than mercenaries.

    The typical southern dirt farmer or tradesman of the time had neither the time nor the inclination to go hunting down escaped slaves. They certainly would have had no interest in belonging to a "milita" for that purpose. But they would have had a vested interest in protecting their own lands and businesses. For THAT they would have wanted the right to keep and bear arms just as their counterparts in North would.

    "crush in its birth the aristocracy of our monied corporations which dare already to challenge our government" -Thomas Jefferson

    by Phil In Denver on Wed Jan 16, 2013 at 09:30:35 AM PST

  •  Without the militias, shouldn't we revise the 2nd? (0+ / 0-)

    Hartmann describes the local political circumstances under which the Second Amendment was adopted.

    Some of the RKBA people here are clinging to the notion that it is an individual not a collective right.

    EVEN if that is the case, Hartmann's article still is important for advocates of gun safety. The Second Amendment may indeed be an assertion of individual rights against government control, but it shows that a major reason for doing so was one that no longer applies.

    Just as with the fourteenth amendment, to preserve the principle behind the founder's work, it is necessary to modify the letter of their writing. Since we no longer have an economic or other motive to maintain the militias, why not revisit the tradeoff between the right of individuals to have guns and public safety?

    Of course, I admit that as a non-slaveholder, I may not be completely understanding the pro-militia perspective.

    "Stare at the monster: remark/ How difficult it is to define just what/ Amounts to monstrosity in that/ Very ordinary appearance." - Ted Hughes

    by MarkC on Wed Jan 16, 2013 at 11:00:48 AM PST

  •  very plausible and not surprising at all, (0+ / 0-)

    unfortunately the Zimmermans and Dunns of the world are still operating from the same assumptions.

  •  Gun Control (0+ / 0-)

    Evil does not exist within a gun.  It exists in the hearts of those who pull the trigger for evil purposes. Guns don't kill, PEOPLE KILL. There Will Be Increasing “Anti-American Violence” inside The United States. Gang Activity Will Continue To Grow In The United States By Leaps And Bounds. Criminals prefer unarmed citizens.

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