In Light of Trayvon: Do 2nd Amendment Advocates Negate "Founding Fathers'" Intent?

Amendment II

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.

Either the founders were misguided, inept, and shortsighted and needed to be "set straight" by latter-day activist jurists, or they were brilliant visionaries who have been egregiously, criminally, and traitorously misinterpreted.  One can not have it both ways.  Since 99.9% of people who weigh in and/or otherwise debate this amendment are neither constitutional scholars nor historians, I will add to the cacophony within that majority.

In light of the Trayvon Martin murder in Florida, due in part to the "Stand Your Ground," pro-National Rifle Association (NRA) law signed into law by then Florida Governor Jeb Bush I thought it important to take a layman's look at the ramifications of such law and continued misinterpretation of the 2nd Amendment.

In as much as the "current," activist, pro-NRA, right leaning "Supreme" Court has continually drifted away from the "original intent" of the Constitution (ironically something "conservatives" so love to pretend they believe in), let us try to embark on a "common sense" deconstruction of what should be a simple 27 word amendment -- simple if one takes the politics out of it.

Let's break it down . . .

A well regulated militia:

"A": a singular, entity,

"well": of sound construct,

"regulated": something subject to oversight by an authoritative body,

"militia": known to be at the time of the Constitution's writing: a communal, quasi-military made up of citizen soldiers,

being necessary to the security of a free state:

"being": a state or fact of existence,

"necessary": something required,

"to": expressing a direction (toward),

"the": particularizing an effect,

"security": to make safe, defend,

"of": source, origin,

"a": singular (of possession),

"free": a state of self-determination,

"state": a recognized, geo-political construct,

the right of the people to keep and bear arms:

"the": specify a particular event or natural phenomenon,

"right": a moral good,

"of": an origin or source,

"the": specify a particular event or natural phenomenon,

"people": numerable persons forming a group,

"to": expressing a direction (toward),

"keep": to denote personal possession,

"and": to make additional,

"bear": to bring forth,

"arms": weaponry,

shall not be infringed:

"shall": a willed determination,

"not": a negation or prohibition,

"be": a state of existence, an attendant place, occurrence,

"infringed": an encroachment or trespass.

 Reference support: Dictionary.com.

So I will conjecture that 99% of us extended our respective education beyond 8th grade and agree on the definitions of the individual words.  Let us now diagram the 2nd Amendment; not with the words, rather with their definitions.  To make this illustration more interesting, let's use the definitions (allowing for no deviation) as opposed to the actual words to see what story might be illustrated -- and suggested -- to us. 

Let's play a game:

Singularly sound people, subjected to oversight, exist as a requirement in a direction that makes safe and defends self-determination of geo-political construct.  Moral phenomenon of the group, in moving forward, additionally bring forth personal weaponry.  Encroachment of this existence is determined prohibited.

Does this sound plausible?  While many could possibly "rearrange" agreed upon definitions I can see no way that any reasonable mind can extrapolate the 2nd Amendment to include an  existential rationale for the likes of a wannabe law enforcement professional George Zimmerman (confessed shooter of Trayvon Martin) to instead play what amounts to a caricature , a "Paul Blart, Mall Cop" if you will -- or for people to dress up and play army in forests and rural areas throughout America.

What I do see is the argument brought forth by many legal scholars that the 2nd Amendment, in fact, speaks to how a sparsely populated set of colonies (and recently created "states") might defend not the individual but how communally individuals might defend the burgeoning, greater "state".  Legal scholars additionally argue that with the creation of a standing regular army, the 2nd Amendment actually ceased in relevance.  Here is where the debate actually should begin.

Given the structural difficulty (inability?) to amend the "Bill of Rights," or the first ten amendments, the question is what do we do with a foundational law that is no longer relevant and in fact continues to expand beyond its original intent endangering the very nation it sought to protect?  Two words answer this conundrum: constitutional convention.

The fact is that the US Constitution was written by a group far different than the people it seeks to serve today -- for better or worse.  This is not an opinion, the country is changing.  What, if anything, then should be done.

In the United States today, considering the profound demographic shift currently under way in the country and equally observable and profound geo-global socio-economic realignment, I agree with the many scholars who assert that we are in desperate need of a convention to add to, change, or affirm our most binding document.

I can already hear the hue and cry from self-described "tea partiers" (people who clearly don't even understand the socio-economic realities of the actual Boston Tea Party-- by and for whom tea was dumped into Boston Harbor) or others that seem to think that "the Constitution" is some sort of doctrine written in impermeable granite and divorced from generational and other types of re-evaluation which seeks to keep the document relevant and able to bind and bond a people relative to the period in time being evaluated.  To them I offer an outstreched hand, welcoming them into the 21st century.

It is clear that we, the United States as a collective, are a rather antisocial lot perhaps bordering on the sociopathic.  We arm ourselves more than any other nation and do so, so we say, to enable self-protection when we actually kill more of our fellow citizens in domestic altercations or in the territoriality found an illicit and underground economy.

We can see that "original intent" and the concept of a  "living" constitution is but the rope by which political tug-'o-war is waged between competing vested interests.  Both the "left" and the "right" point to an "activist" judicial system.  These theories and sets of purpose for our constitution as illustrated by the "slippery slope" found in the 2nd Amendment, and myriad other issues currently in debate, offer all the proof necessary why we need such a reconvened convention to secure our socio-legal foundation and move forward our national stability into this century and beyond.

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    Cute. But you, like many laymen, miss the real problem with your carefully crafted argument. Let me help you a little.

    First, I'll look at the end, then the beginning.

    At the end, is the 2nd amendment. Did you know that the word that they chose, infringe, has some serious meanings? Oh, yes, the word is far stronger than the wording used in the first, which was abridging, because while abridging means to simplify and shorten, the word infringe means to not touch at all, period.

    Look at the Oxford dictionary to see what I'm talking about... not the abridged one, but the one that takes a full shelf in the library. Infringe means to not touch, that it does not belong to you, not to confute the right. Confute, now THAT is a word to be reckoned with, because, well, it means what you just did - try to deny the right by argument. Yes, they did not even want the ARGUMENT over the right to bar the right, at all, period. By the reading of the actual words used, even felons SHOULD have the right to own a firearm. Which brings us to the first.

    See the 2nd was added after the Constitution was written. But you, like many others, don't know why if it was so important. The why is simple, it is because the founders wrapped bands of steel around the Constitution to keep men of nefarious intent from arguing it out of existence. They made enumerated powers.

    This means that if a right is not granted to the constitution to regulate, then the Constitution does not have the right to regulate that right, at all, period.

    Then they added the 2nd, which says that the US government cannot regulate that right.

    Then they added the tenth amendment to show that the rights that the government are not granted, what the people have not granted to the state, belong to the people.

    So looking at it like that, if the government is not allowed to regulate guns, at all, period... and the states were never granted the right in their constitution to regulate guns, then the people retain the right.

    So what happened?

    In interstate commerce clause, and the mafia.

    The mafia, in New York, wrote and had their pet politicians pass, a handgun ban. Why? They are the mafia. They profit by disarming people and making them defenseless. Then the mafia founded more groups and even used the NRA to further disarm people.

    Then Chicago did the same thing. They reasoned that if the criminal could just rob and rape you, and you could not fight back, then the criminal wouldn't have to kill you. Sort of saying, "Give 'em what they want, and they will leave you alone." This is how all bullies operate.

    And the interstate commerce clause was used to sidestep the Constitution by saying, well, we are not trying to disarm anyone, just regulating who has guns, and who doesn't.

    The the Supreme Court, barely, used word putty to cement the right under the 4th amendment, grating themselves COMPLETE control over guns in the entire US. And while our rights were flushed down the toilet, the nation of victims cheered.

    So, stop trying to confute the 2nd, you've won, the gun owners lost. Take your victory, choke to death on it, and leave us be.,

  • In reply to Pat Riot:

    Well, that is certainly another set of lay opinion and interpretation as the 2nd -- as written -- clearly discusses A) "arms" and, B) the context for such possession. I would further suggest your semantic interpretations (historical revision?) and the "order" in which you posit these opinions indeed argue my case for a constitutional convention: to clarify the entire document (not just the 2nd amendment) in no uncertain, modern, terms.

    Mr. "Riot," we undoubtedly both see ourselves as "patriots" though all too often it seems there are certain types who use the term with a limiting, antiseptic-like application; in a manner that seems to simply want to preserve a "document" and hold on to an antiquated vision of society and social order. My "patriotism" seeks to passionately apply the document to include the vast diversity of today's "body politic" and to then use the document to sustain and move forward into a new century an entire nation.

    Like any [brick] structure that periodically needs tuckpointing, a "new" country (new demographic, new era, new needs) requires new mortar for national bonding. Thanks for chiming in.

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