A VIEW from LICK SKILLET: Lick Skillet: Why we have a Second Amendment

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Well, gentle reader, we return to the barricades after our short hiatus. We trust that you and yours had pleasant holidays.

As this is written, we are right in the middle of the “fiscal cliff,” so we will await some more definitive outcome of this bizarre exercise in statecraft before writing further about it, but there are a couple of things that we wish to go into.

First is the subject of guns, and the Newtown massacre.

“A well-regulated militia, being necessary to security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed:” U.S. Constitution, Second Amendment.

Once again, as a result of the terrible slaughter of many innocent victims, primarily children of six or seven years of age, by a mentally defective person, at a school in a small municipality in Connecticut the subject of “gun control” has once more been brought to the fore.

There is, and can be, no question that this gun man should not have had in his possession an automatic weapon equipped with a multi-bullet magazine, but the knee-jerk reaction of Mayor Bloomberg and those of his ilk to ban all guns, and the contrary knee-jerk reaction of the leaders of the National Rifle Association opposing any restrictions whatsoever on possession of any and all firearms, have served to demonstrate that the great majority of folks on both sides have no concept or understanding of the Second Amendment, nor the reason or purpose thereof.

While to the draughtsmen and adopters of the Amendment in 1789, their reasons and their purposes behind the Amendment were crystal clear, the passage of over two centuries have served to obscure said reasons and purposes, just as it has obscured the meaning of their language used to express the reasons and purposes.

The term “a well-regulated militia” has been interpreted to mean a well-equipped, or well-armed militia. This is absurd.

The term means a well-disciplined, or a well-controlled militia.

The term “being necessary to the security of a free state” clearly demonstrates the draughtsmen’s concern that an armed group, such as the militia should not be capable of executing a coup d’etat whereby the state established under the constitution could be taken over and no longer be a free state, but rather become a military dictatorship.

Remember, the founding fathers were well-versed in western history and knew the history of the destruction of the Roman Republic and imposition of the principate through the Emperors from Julius Caesar onward, and subsequent military seizures of the Roman state.

Likewise they were familiar with innumerable military coups, especially the fairly recent experience of the overthrow of the King of England by Oliver Cromwell and his imposition of military rule through his “Model Army” just over one hundred years before the Adoption of the Amendment.

And, even more persuasive, they had the actual memory and experience of the military forces of King George III attempting to suppress their efforts at establishing “a free state”, which suppression would doubtless have succeeded had the colonials not been armed with their muskets and rifles in sufficient number to take on the King’s military, and his Loyalists, and the forces of the Royal governors.

It was with this knowledge of history, and their own experience that the draughtsmen were determined that if at any time in the future the freedom of the citizens of their “free state” should be threatened by military forces, they could resist, and fight back to preserve their free state by virtue of their guaranteed right to keep and bear arms.

Certainly the ability to act in self defence against anyone threatening them or their family or their property naturally follows in the wake of the right to keep and bear arms, but this right is not based upon self defence, protection of property, nor upon the right to hunt game.

No, the concern of the writers of the Second Amendment was clearly set out as being for the purpose of controlling, or disciplining, the armed members of the militia, and thereby defending the free state and the citizens thereof.

It is tragic that the Newtown children should have been murdered by a madman.

But it would be even more tragic were the citizens of this republic ever to be disarmed so that the country could be subjected to dictatorship.

With the recent madness manifested by some right-wing zealots, liberals and citizens concerned with the protection of our freedoms should be thankful that the zealots cannot impose their loony-toons thinking on the nation at the point of a gun without having any concern that the defenders of liberty can meet their threats with force of arms, if necessary.

(As a footnote to this tragedy in Newtown. A couple of items strike us as strange: First is the fact that the mother of the gunman introduced him to the world of guns, and took him shooting.

Second is the fact that the mother bought the guns and ammunition so that no amount of regulations on purchase would have prevented the shooter from having the guns. And third, we cannot help but wonder whether the fact that the mother kept him at home for his schooling may not have been a factor in his failure to adjust to other children and may explain his attack on the school which he was denied attending.)
Another matter that has been the center of attention lately, and used as a basis for attacking the president has been the situation in Syria. Sens. McCain and Graham have attacked President Obama for not sending U. S. troops into Syria to expel Assad.

We think that getting us involved in another shooting war in an Arab country with the history that Syria has had would be the worst thing that could be done, but McCain and Graham both fancy themselves as Commanders in Chief, just because they have had some military experience, — one as a pilot who lost his plane and spent a long time as a prisoner of war, and the the other as a military lawyer.

Neither experience would seem to us as expertise justifying making decisions to go to war.

We recently came across this quotation from the pen of the famous lover of the Arabs, the late Miss Gertrude Bell, who spent many years in the Middle East, including being an advisor to the Iraq Government, and author of several publications early in the last century.

She wrote in her book “The Desert and the Sown” this assessment of the Syrians: “There is no nation of Arabs. The Syrian country is inhabited by Arab-speaking races all eager to be at each others (sic.) throats.”

Thus it was then and so it is now, a century later.

It’s a shame Messrs. McCain and Graham are ignorant of this fact.