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Guns and the Second Amendment: I Finally Get It ... and it's Not Pretty

Most of us have been clueless about the REAL issues behind the gun debate.

Is there anyone who hasn't had the bejesus scared out of them in the past few years after the shootings in Connecticut and Colorado and Minnesota and who knows how many other places? Mind numbing I think.

But if killing a couple dozen little kids doesn't stir people to some sort of action, what will? What does it say about our society - locally or nationally - that almost no one can even begin to talk about how to prevent lunatics from using a weapon to take out their anger without the NRA yelling, "They're after our guns."

Something else occurred after the Newtown shootings last month though that scared me almost as much and convinced me that maybe I really didn't understand this fight about guns at all. During the post-massacre coverage I watched some of the confrontation between talk radio guy Alex Jones and CNN's Piers Morgan. Jones was demanding Morgan be deported for his public stance against assault weapons.  All I ever heard Morgan ask was "Why does a civilian need to own a military assault weapon?" We all know the depth of the problem goes beyond those, but the conversation would be a place to start.

Morgan and Jones began to verbally duke it out early on, but very quickly, the show descended into an angry "he said, he said," speech by Jones that offered a little insight into folks who just can't sleep at night since 2008 because they believe the feds are coming to take their guns.  At least I thought that's all there was to it.

Jones at one point completely red-faced and roaring at Morgan said, "1776 will commence again if they try and take our firearms." Jones wasn't just angry … he looked and sounded like a crazed lunatic … the last guy on earth I'd want to see in possession of a weapon or two or 10. Despite Newtown, every time anyone seems to raise the issue of trying to get a handle on the gun issue, the NRA folks point to the 2nd Amendment and the infringement on their Constitutional rights.

There's more to my tale though, especially since I admit I honestly didn't know what the 2nd Amendment said specifically. I looked it up and relearned that in just 26 words, it says, "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 there have been many interpretations of the 2nd Amendment of course, but right off the word "Militia" jumped out at me. I thought private militias were illegal in the U.S. If that's true, why do the gun folks believe they have a right to buy and use anything they want? Isn't that a militia? Or are these folks planning some kind of assault we're unaware of? And does this mean that if the NRA can pick and choose the words they want to support their cause, can't I do the same?

Jump ahead about a week to a professional luncheon I attended with 60 or 70 others in the north suburbs. Many of us have known each other for years, but don't know everything that makes everyone else tick. I sat next to a guy I've known for a decade or so and he starts talking about hunting to the guy next to him. He starts explaining the clip he's rigged up for his assault weapon that allows a quick change 20 or 30 bullets, yank it out, turn it over and there's another few dozen shots. I thought, "Wow. Someone's already figured a way around a clip restriction for sure."

He looks over at me and says, "Now there's something you Evanston folks would hate I bet." I tried to just smile since I could tell gun supporters outnumbered me at this table. Of course the guy wouldn't quit, so I just let go … "Tell me why in the world you or any other normal person needs an assault weapon … and why it's so important that no one can even imagine any kind of compromise on keeping guns away from lunatics like Alex Jones?"

So he tells me why. And I almost fell over.

He told me he and his people [gun proponents] need these weapons to defend themselves when the government comes for them. "Not just the guns, of course," the guy says, "but when this socialist government of ours comes for us AND our guns … and we know they will." The guy was dead serious. Over the past few weeks I've heard a number of other gun supporters tell me that fear of a government holocaust is precisely why they too need their guns and ammo … all of them. That's why the sale of firearms skyrocketed after Newtown he told me.

All this time I thought the NRA supporters just wanted guns because they believed the 2nd Amendment gave them the right. And here it turns out these folks are really planning for a war … one that I might just unknowingly get caught in the middle of.

No wonder we can't negotiate with the gun folks. They really believe they need the guns for that big day of Armageddon when some federal agency comes driving down their street in an assault vehicle to drag them out of their homes.

Interestingly, before the lunch ended, I asked my table buddy how, with no negotiation possible, anyone could ever do anything to keep another dozen kids from being murdered by a lunatic with a gun? He just shrugs his shoulders and says, "Beats the Hell out of me. But that's not my problem. And we don't want to debate this either," he told me just as I was about to ask. I'm hoping there are some gun advocates who will tell me they don't believe the Armageddon plan, but to me, this weapons debate is still way too one-sided right now.

How can the Constitution help the rest of us I wondered thinking back to an oath I took many years ago to defend it when I served five years in the U.S. Air Force during the Vietnam Era. But if there are so many 2nd Amendment supporters out there hunkering down for World War III right here in the U.S., what about the rights of my family, friends and neighbors? Now that I understand the depths of this gun debate, I realize it's a much larger problem than most of us ever realized.

So, right from the Preamble of the Constitution, "We the people of the United States, in order to form a more prefect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."

Do we ever have a lot of work ahead of us.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

june shellene January 31, 2013 at 05:58 PM
I do not believe the official story of Sandy Hook. I do not look to the corporate media to inform me, nor have I for several years. It has saved me from financial ruin to do my own research. I'm just trying to do my job....and to be as responsible as I can. I know most people will want to shoot the messenger. You are being manipulated to turn to the "state" for your safety and your information. The state doesn't care about you. Obama has expanded the power of the presidency beyond what anyone could have dreamed a few short years ago. The Patriot Act, passed under Bush is now augmented in the most hideous way by the NDAA. I worry that Obama's personal power is greater than people realize, in that it has disarmed the human compassion and critical thinking skills of his followers. The military industrial banking complex is running the show now. Watch Inside Job, the Academy Award winning doc about the financial crisis, and PBS's recent...The Untouchables. Understanding the financial system is crucial to understanding the world. Countries are postal codes, and people are resources, just as water, oil and minerals are. I hope for a world without guns too, but Obama can kill anyone, anywhere at his whim, with a drone! Politicians, bankers and corporate crooks are surrounded by heavily armed thugs. Over half our taxes finance death and destruction...killing innocent people all over the world. Oh my God...what else can I say?
Robert P. Mark February 04, 2013 at 04:42 PM
So June, what is the story of Sandy Hook as you understand it?
june shellene February 05, 2013 at 05:32 AM
There are several independent researchers. I have no idea what actually happened, but as you know by now, I don't buy the official story, because there's always an agenda there. Brendan Hunt has an ongoing project connecting dots...he's at brendanhunt.com. There are other documentaries on youtube of value also. But this is not for the faint of heart. I have been reading about JFK, RFK, MLK, Oklahoma, 911, for years...and the detail and thoroughness of the research makes mainstream media just look silly. Nevertheless, the implications are scary...so, one must be prepared to have their world view seriously challenged. I came to this when Merrill Lynch lost half my IRA in the dot com bust of March 2000, and I decided to do my own money management and research. I never intended to go down the whole rabbit whole, but if you don't want to be financially bamboozled, and have a tendency to be thorough and curious...well, you're going to end up finding out some not so pleasant realities. Also, mind you, this led me to sell my condo in 2006...and everyone told me I was crazy then...so I'm used to it.
Jeff Smith March 01, 2013 at 10:24 PM
Alex Jones makes an easy target sometimes, but re: rights, asking "why do you need this?" is inappropriate. Once upon a time no one "needed" a PC. Maybe no one needs a blog or color printer, or a Hummer, or needs to cross-dress, or needs to wear a plastic mask with a goatee on it. Who other than the guilty "needs" privacy or protection from warrantless search? Some would say no one "needs" an abortion. In all those cases it's the wrong question, especially when impacting constitutional rights. But you're correct that a meme — not the only one, but it's out there — among 2d Am. advocates is of last-ditch defense against oppression (or chaos). Not an "insurrectionist" argument as some legal commentators call it. But, quite literally, arms as defense against tyranny. It's interesting that in your 2d-last paragraph you refer to an oath. Check out oathkeepers.org for more peeks into that POV.
John C Thomson April 23, 2013 at 11:30 AM
"No wonder we can't negotiate with the gun folks. They really believe they need the guns for that big day of Armageddon when some federal agency comes driving down their street in an assault vehicle to drag them out of their homes." Did this not just happen in Boston?


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