The horrific Newtown, Connecticut massacre has created a feigned emotional hysteria among the leadership of the Democrat left, in an to attempt to pass new gun-control legislation. They are dutifully following the opportunistic prescription of Rahm Emanuel that “You never want to let a serious crisis go to waste”. President Obama, Joe Biden, Mayor Bloomberg, Senator Feinstein and others have all called for more restrictions on the possession of firearms by American Citizens, in spite of the fact that the gun did not commit the massacre, Adam Lanza did. He could have done it with gasoline, or fertilizer and diesel fuel, had he wanted to. The top three mass murders in America have been committed with explosives (Oklahoma City and the Bath Michigan school), and gasoline (New York night club fire).
In an article which appeared after the Newtown tragedy in the Peoples World, the U.S. Communist Party has announced that it agrees wholeheartedly with this anti-gun-rights frenzy. Joining philosophically with the Democratic leadership, these communists also say the Second Amendment is obsolete. Given the history of the Communist movement, with its tens of millions of unarmed civilian victims, we should keep in mind that the Soviet Communist Party disarmed its own Russian citizens when it took over, right before they massacred them, imprisoned them, and starved them to death. History repeatedly demonstrates that people do not see tyranny coming; it is nearly always a surprise. Citizens are usually unprepared for the onslaught, and unable to defend themselves, thus becoming victims.
The chief purpose of the Second Amendment was to guarantee that a well-armed citizenry might enjoy some parity to a powerful, central government, or to foreign invaders. To our Founders, the notion that individual citizens had recourse to weapons comparable to those of the central government and the military was a strong deterrent to the government infringing upon constitutionally protected liberty, as well as a deterrent to any potential invaders. A secondary purpose of the Amendment was to ensure personal protection from criminals and the freedom to hunt with firearms.
But the concept of a well-armed citizenry predates our Founders and the American Bill of Rights by hundreds of years. Here are two quotes from the Greek philosopher Aristotle:
"When the citizens at large administer the state for the common interest, the government is called by the generic name — a constitution . . . in a constitutional government the fighting-men have the supreme power, and those who possess arms are the citizens"
"As of oligarchy so of tyranny . . . Both mistrust the people, and therefore deprive them of their arms"
Of course, Aristotle was writing of swords, bows, and spears, the hand and shoulder used implements which were the state-of-the-art weapons of his time. By the time of our Founding, the military was using single shot pistols, muskets and swords as its hand and shoulder weapons, which were state-of-the-art at their time.
.The ancient Greek idea that a person is not really a citizen unless the citizen is armed, along with the philosophy our Judeo-Christian heritage of the individual worth, essence and value of each person in God’s eyes, were joined in the philosophy of the Enlightenment which then nourished the ideas of our Founding Fathers, some of whom were fluent in Ancient Greek.
From this developed the Constitution of the Untied States with its Bill of Rights containing the Second Amendment, a document specifically designed to limit the power of central government in order to preserve the liberty of the people. The Second Amendment must be seen in this context if it is to be properly understood.
Now, most modern liberals scoff at the very idea that citizens need semi-automatic rifles with large capacity magazines, the state-of-the-art military shoulder weapon of today, to ward of some imagined government tyranny or invasion. However, Senator Hubert H. Humphrey, disagreed, and said so in 1960: "Certainly one of the chief guarantees of freedom under any government, no matter how popular and respected, is the right of citizens to keep and bear arms. This is not to say that firearms should not be very carefully used and that definite rules of precaution should not be taught and enforced. But the right of citizens to bear arms is just one guarantee against arbitrary government, one more safeguard against the tyranny which now appears remote in America but which historically has proven to be always possible."
Keeping and bearing arms in this context means, at a minimum, keeping and bearing military style semi-automatic rifles with large capacity magazines, because that is what would be needed today to defend liberty if the “tyranny which now appears remote”, as Humphrey said, should ever, God forbid, appear.
Instead of trying to strip good citizens of their liberty, here are some alternative suggestions for efforts to control firearms violence:
1. Eliminate “gun free zones”. They are open invitations to deranged killers and other criminals;
2. Re-establish the possibility of long term civil commitments, with due process protection, for severely mentally ill people who are deemed dangerous;:
3. Examine the possible connection between the many drugs used to treat behavioral disorders and mental illness and these mass-killing incidents;
4. Mandatory lengthy sentencing for firearms offenders. Too many walk away with a slap on the wrist.
5. Restrictions on violent video games accessible to minors. If videos don’t affect behavior, why do corporations spend millions for a 30 second TV ad during the Superbowl? By the time an American reaches the age of 18, he or she has witnessed tens of thousands of shootings and murders via video, in games, movies, or television.
Until these problems are addressed, school massacres will repeat, especially given the media’s penchant for glorifying the killers.