And I am reminded on this particular July 4th of the two Amendments which are presently most under attack by the Bush Republican administration.
The First, yes. We hear everywhere much concern about dangers arising from the Patriot Act.
But how many of us are aware that the Second has also been severely curtailed. Certainly I don’t believe that either the NRA or Gun Owners of America understand what has been happening although each insists that it supports the rights of gun owners.
Article II reads: 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.
The reason for this Amendment is clearly expressed in the Declaration of Independence:
He has kept among us in times of peace, standing armies, without the consent of our legislature.
He has affected to render the military independent of and superior to, the civil power.
It is clear both from the Declaration and the Constitution that the men who worked to create our country wanted no part of a professional army.
And until this administration our army, whether based on a draft or relying on voluntary enlistment, has remained a truly civilian army, under the control of all of us through Congress.
But Rumsfeld has succeeded in privatizing many functions which our civilian army previously performed for itself. Not only does Congress have no control over such private companies but their existence makes maintaining our army in Iraq far more expensive for us taxpayers than it should be.
Even more disturbing to me are the private armies which have been given a mandate as strong as the army’s to maintain order and provide security for the many foreign to Iraq at least businesses operating there. None of these private armies are in any way under the control of Congress, and there is no redress for any Iraqi for any damage or harm from any private security person. The army at least assumes some responsibility for damage it causes.
What would I propose to do to reinforce our Second Amendment?
First we need a draft. Yes, I know that too many people still equate a draft with their anger against Viet Nam. But recruitment for both our services and military academies is down. And for good reason. At the moment only someone with extreme financial need is being pursued by recruiters. Wouldn’t it be far more truly democratic if the Bush twins and all of the young people related to our federal Congressmen were offered the same opportunity to serve their country as young people who see their only hope of a college lies in signing up for what is now a highly indeterminate time period.
Second I believe that we need mandatory gun education in our high schools. We know that driver education has made our young people better drivers. Not only will being sure that all young people know how to shoot a gun and how to handle it safely make gun accidents much less likely, but we will truly finally have a solid base for a civilian army in time of need. And, as I pointed out to a granddaughter, she would never have to fire a gun again unless there was a real need.
How about it, my NRA and Gun Owners of America friends, do you support strengthening our Second Amendment as much as I do?