Examiner's Augusta Environmental News today highlights a statement from one South Carolina politician, Representative Jeff Duncan, relating to gun control. Now, before anyone gets their nose bent out of shape over this being an acceptable topic for an "environmental news" article, let me lay a little groundwork.
The closest thing I have to a Funk and Wagnall's (per "Rowan and Martin") is my Random House Dictionary of the English Language, Second Edition, Unabridged, copyright 1987. While I know this book may have been printed before many of us were born, the richness of the English language is amply depicted in this ancient volume--take my word for it. In any case, definitions have not changed materially for most of the words. Thus, the definition of the word "environment" follows: "1. The aggregate of surrounding things, conditions, or influences; surroundings; milieu...--environmental, adj."
If you were in Aurora, Colorado, watching a late-night showing of the movie "Dark Knight Rises," on July 20 of last year, your environment may have consisted of others like you, sitting shoulder to shoulder, in a darkened theatre, watching gratuitous violence on the "big screen." Your environment also included a man with orange hair, standing in the back of the room, spraying bullets with his assault rifle through the room. Your environment soon may have included a trip to the hospital or morgue. The weather, the plants and animals around the area, and Colorado's air and water quality were aspects of your environment too, but not particularly relevant, at the moment.
Whether you are a human, living in the society of human beings, or a gambusia affinis, living in the society of other gambusia affinis in an isolated woodland pond, your environment is heavily dependent on the actions of others of your own kind.
The shooter at Aurora was one of those others.
National news reports today are emphasizing a statement by Representative Jeff Duncan, Republican from South Carolina. Yesterday, in reaction to Vice President Biden's statement regarding executive action on gun control, a quote from Representative Duncan's web site states:
“The Founding Fathers never envisioned Executive Orders being used to restrict our Constitutional rights. We live in a republic, not a dictatorship. The President should not be able to act unilaterally when it comes to our Constitutional rights."
On this, I think we can all agree with Representative Duncan. Another thing we might agree on about the founding fathers is they probably never envisioned a modern assault rifle. If we were to recall a recent rendition of our War of Independence, Mel Gibson in "The Patriot" depicted no personal "arms" other than those of a distinct single-shot nature, the musket.
Perhaps this is what was envisioned and meant by the founding fathers when they agreed to amendment 2, "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."
That being the case, perhaps it is time that a conflict between the Executive and Legislative branches about second amendment rights be placed before the U.S. Supreme Court. Let our nine justices mull over the "intent of the founding fathers" when they penned the phrase "to keep and bear arms."
Have you bought your musket yet? Given today's environment, maybe this day would be a good day for musket shopping.