“Even if these marchers succeed in their ambitious plan to transform Congress and enact new gun laws, they still must contend with the Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision in District of Columbia v. Heller, which held for the first time that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess a gun. It probably won’t come as a surprise to learn that Justice Stevens was one of the four dissenters in that 2008 decision.”
The article from which this is taken is a very important one because it points to the most sensible, perhaps the only viable path, to getting weapons of terror and mass murder out of people’s hands.
When I was in DC, I had a very good conversation with a man, Roger, whose views he himself would say to be considerably more conservative than my own. In regard to the March I was about to attend—he too—we discussed the means available for taking action to get done what needed to be done. We came to agree that legal action was the path because there had been a Supreme Court case that had been decided that undermined a previously enacted assault rifle ban. It was District of Columbia v Heller.
Roger and I came to agreement through honest conversation. It was a highlight of my trip.
With that decision standing, we agreed, there is no chance that a ban on assault weapons can exist legally. Therefore, what must happen is that the law must be changed and, since it is, as the article explains, pretty much impossible to abolish the Second Amendment, the effort must focus on what is actually doable in the least amount of time to save innocent lives and that is to bring to court challenges to Heller.
Read this article. It makes the kind of sense essential to making good sense decisions about the assault weapons issue.
Right now there seems to be no common line of demarcation between good and bad, no universal and non-negotiable principle by which people can make judgements regarding policy, their own and those they endorse by participating in the decision making processes of their society.
While it may not be possible to apply always, any violation of a principle based in humanity is an act against humanity or, at least, a particular human being. Using humanity as a line in the sand makes for a very good starting point for any discussion of what should be allowed, what should be done, what can be allowed and what can be.
War, throughout my life, has been justified by reference to some necessity or other and, as happens all too often after lives have been taken, human beings have suffered, and places destroyed, there is discussion over whether the war was worth the cost. The default answer should be no because lives have been lost and people have suffered and the earth has been violated making that piece of earth a place lost for human beings and all of the creatures who, too, deserve humane treatment and who are essentials to the ecosystems that sustain all life on the planet.
War is always inhumane. War should be eradicated. When war is being discussed, the automatic response by a humane society should be no and an extremely high burden of proof demanded of advocates for going to war. As discussions occur, they must include honest and empathetic consideration of who will suffer, what that suffering will and might be like, and whether or not those participating in the discussion would be willing to sacrifice themselves or their loved ones to such a cause.
Economics policy needs to be considered in a similar way. So often those who suffer pain as a result of economic decisions are gladly sacrificed by others, those others too often deriving personal benefits from such decisions. Again, those involved in the decision making have to be made to at least face those who will be sacrificed and explain to them why it is that it is good that such decision be made. While it probably will not happen ever that those who decide to harm others first feel the kind of pain those sacrificed will endure, they should be forced to consider the decision from the perspective of those to whom they will do harm.
International relations have for a very long time been about strong nations taking advantage of the weaker and, in many cases the result has been inhumane treatment of the peoples of those weaker countries. The humane doctrine would force decision makers to turn the treatment upon themselves and their loved ones, if not in the real world, at least through some kind of simulation. Yes, this is about that “do onto others” idea, a very good one that has ever so much to do with the cause of humanity.
One cannot do onto others what they would not allow to have done to themselves and be considered humane. If not humane, than inhumane and there are penalties for being such that need to be made considerably stronger.
……………..And the beat goes on and I am trying not to feel completely beaten.
An exchange with fellow citizens.
Original post sent me:
BREAKING NEWS: Seventy-Two Killed Resisting Gun Confiscation In Maryland.
National Guard units seeking to confiscate a cache of recently banned assault weapons were ambushed by elements of a Para-military extremist faction. Military and law enforcement sources estimate that 72 were killed and more than 200 injured before government forces were compelled to withdraw.
Speaking after the clash, Massachusetts Governor Thomas Gage declared that the extremist faction, which was made up of local citizens, has links to the radical right-wing tax protest movement.
Gage blamed the extremists for recent incidents of vandalism directed against internal revenue offices. The governor, who described the group’s organizers as “criminals,” issued an executive order authorizing the summary arrest of any individual who has interfered with the government’s efforts to secure law and order.
The military raid on the extremist arsenal followed wide-spread refusal by the local citizenry to turn over recently outlawed assault weapons.
Gage issued a ban on military-style assault weapons and ammunition earlier in the week. This decision followed a meeting in early this month between government and military leaders at which the governor authorized the forcible confiscation of illegal arms.
One government official, speaking on condition of anonymity, pointed out that “none of these people would have been killed had the extremists obeyed the law and turned over their weapons voluntarily.”
Government troops initially succeeded in confiscating a large supply of outlawed weapons and ammunition. However, troops attempting to seize arms and ammunition in Lexington met with resistance from heavily-armed extremists who had been tipped off regarding the government’s plans.
During a tense standoff in the Lexington town park, National Guard Colonel Francis Smith, commander of the government operation, ordered the armed group to surrender and return to their homes. The impasse was broken by a single shot, which was reportedly fired by one of the right-wing extremists.
Eight civilians were killed in the ensuing exchange.
Ironically, the local citizenry blamed government forces rather than the extremists for the civilian deaths. Before order could be restored, armed citizens from surrounding areas had descended upon the guard units. Colonel Smith, finding his forces over matched by the armed mob, ordered a retreat.
Governor Gage has called upon citizens to support the state/national joint task force in its effort to restore law and order. The governor also demanded the surrender of those responsible for planning and leading the attack against the government troops.
Samuel Adams, Paul Revere, and John Hancock, who have been identified as “ringleaders” of the extremist faction, remain at large.
And this fellow Americans, is how the American Revolution began, April 20, 1775.
History. Study it, or repeat it.
Me: So, you think that Adams, Revere, and Hancock would support public having AK 15s and similar weapons if they could voice their opinions today? Restriction on the kind of guns one can own and who can own a gun should be taken as a government assault on people and that people should be allowed to be armed with military style weapons so that, if they wish to, they can fight the established military? Interesting! Should there be allowed any kind of restriction on weapons citizens may possess. For instance, the government owns fighter planes and nuclear missiles that even AK15s are no defense against. Should people be allowed to possess weapons that would allow them to overcome these kinds of weapons?
John’s reply to above: At the time of the constitution’s penning, Americans owned the dominate rifle of the era: The Kentucky long rifle. Compared to a smooth bore British musket, it was a definitively dominate assault weapon, accurate at over twice the distance of standard infantry arms of other militaries. And the Founders saw no issue in the citizens keeping such a powerful rifle, in fact they were probably wanting it since it made their raised militias far better (since the Fed had to rely on state militia mobilizing to fight when called).
As for the classic straw man of civilians owning nukes and fighter jets and the such, heavy munitions were usually never part of a militia man’s arsenal. He was expected to muster upon the call, with rifle in hand, ready to defend against whatever threat posed with his platoon or company. If the modern platoon man carries an AR-15, then that be the weapon a civilian should be permitted to bear.
Indeed, the SCOTUS in the 1930’s said as much, when deciding whether the ban on short barreled shotguns could be regulated. The Miller decision held that because short barreled shotguns were not in common use by the military, they were dangerous and unusual and thus enjoyed no constitutional protections. If guns outside of military use are dangerous and unusual, then it stands to reason that only guns used by the military are acceptable for ownership.
And before you go down the whole “well we don’t form militias anymore” argument, then you need to go amend the constitution. SCOTUS has also affirmed the individual right in that regard as well. Yes, the constitution is a living document, but that merely means it can be as time goes on, not just simply meant to mean what you choose. It says what it says, and doesn’t say what it doesn’t. Good luck.
My reply to John: “If guns outside of military use are dangerous and unusual, then it stands to reason that only guns used by the military are acceptable for ownership.” I see this as terribly illogical, that because at one time weapons not used by the military were understood to be too dangerous for citizens to possess, then those they use should all be legal! Tell me this John, should there be any limitation on ownership of weapons that are used by the military. This may be in your mind a “straw man” argument but maybe it comes up regularly because good numbers of very sane people are fearful of their fellow citizens possessing the kind of weapons that can kill a very lot of people in very little time. I am not arguing with particulars here, I am dealing with a principle one that has to do with the kind of destructive force a citizen should be allowed to possess. Howitzers and mortars? Or the even more deadly types of weapons. If no limits, I would have to say that we are dealing with crazy talk. If reasonable limits, what would you and others who agree with you be willing to agree to? The Constitution says nowhere that we should behave stupidly but it does talk about creating a “more perfect union.” A nation in which every citizen has to arm him herself against every other citizen and the government that by the Constitution should be the people’s government should have no obligation to do what is not in the best interests of the people, the more perfect union one in which the government can be trusted to do the people’s bidding and the people are wise enough to demand that it do what is necessary for them to live a good and decent life.
……………..And the beat goes on and I am trying not to feel completely beaten.
(Paragraph breaks missing because this was originally a posting to Gina’s Facebook response to a posting of mine. I will provide her statement if she will give me permission to do so).
To put my thinking at this time and this place in the history of things, I am in a very uncomfortable state of mind because I am wondering a lot as to whether human beings can be humane enough to build a truly humane society, one that does focus on the welfare of human beings, that decides what it decides according to what information acquired and dealt with sensibly, rationally considered, points to being what is in the best interests of all human beings. Plans that are based in making some miserable for the sake of the many have to be considered what they are, disrespectful to those who will be sacrificed, that disrespect somehow explained for what it allows to be achieved and how it justifies the necessity of the some making or being made to make the sacrifice they will be asked or forced to make. Such respectful discussion would, I think, if humans are truly capable of humanity, keep to the absolute minimum causes that justify such sacrifices. Any policy or act that serves a few at the expense of many would automatically be discarded, the onus on the beneficiaries to clearly show how such decisions and the actions they would lead to really are somehow for the good of the whole. The conundrum that needs to be faced, one that has been used as an excuse for some being done harm to better the lives of others, is that in the long term, eventually, all or most will be served even if initially some suffer more than others, some suffer while others enjoy, the enjoyment predicated on that suffering. Trickle down economics is such a scheme and so is war, particularly of the kind the has been most often fought by this country, soldiers from the ranks of those who do not have so much dying to make possible or protect the interests of those who have much more. The promise of more later if you abide by the rules is a provenly untrustworthy predicate for accepting the conditions of life under any system and to trust that a better day is coming to you if you will only do what you are told is stupid in a world where so many times over the promises have not been kept. Yes, capitalism might, in some form, be able to tolerate humanity but the forms we know, have, and have experienced have never been humane, producing good numbers of losers who lose so others can gain. Capitalism, elements of it probably should be kept, for instance, individuals maintaining the right to do the kind of work they want to do to earn the ability to purchase the goods and services they desire to have. But, when the many work for others in order to have enough to survive and when the many cannot do what they want because they do not have the capital to do so, do not have the education they need to do so, have to work for others who benefit from their labor than they do, to put it bluntly, the system is fucked. And the system remains fucked because, as the case in our society, wealth buys power and the powerful use their power to maintain the system that serves THEM, you have destroyed democracy and you have created an underclass that is the majority, the individuals who make up that majority not wealthy enough and/or mot so well educated as to be able to do what capitalism in a free society promises them. What is so insidious about our current form of capitalism is that it not only sponsors inhumanity but celebrates it. Consider the bragging that goes on when the successful are able to “pull of the deal,” that deal so often “good” because of how bad it is for people on the wrong end of it! Add to this atmosphere of screw the other to get what I want the trick of making really good education available to a relative few and educating the relative few to become ever better at making deals! Again, there are books that have and should be written about why we are who we are today even though a whole lot of people do not like where they are. Suffice it to say that the decently good society can only happen if good people, the truly humane, do what is necessary to deal with what is bad about the present system. This would mean a great amount of sacrifice, participating in large scale economic boycotts, for example so the greedy are hurt where they very much do not want to be hurt, their styles of life severely affected by the actions of those who do so much to pay for their big ticket pleasures. Taking money away from those who buy power with wealth is essential to restoring governance by the people and not just by some. Destroying the wealth buys power equation is also something that must happen but it will not happen if the wealthy have the power to override the people. This is what I understand must be done and this is what I have reason to believe at this point in my life will not happen. My best hope is that I am wrong about the condition of our public will and our public intelligence. Proving me wrong on this would allow me to experience the greatest pleasure in my life.