Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Repeal of Second Amendment (which won't happen so fast), Looking Around Carefully, Boston Tea Party, Mental Health Diversion and our Most Popular Posting


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Why the Second Amendment Should be Repealed

Getting Back to Issues

Really, to properly write this article, its subject matter should be thoroughly researched and footnoted in great detail.  I do not have the time nor energy to do that so I will merely present my thoughts as to why the Second Amendment to our Constitution should be repealed.  I apologize for any errors, but they are unintentional.  This is just a blog posting and not a mini-thesis.

By the 1780’s it was clear that the Articles of Confederation were not holding our new nation which declared its independence in 1776 together.  We needed something stronger and so a convention was held which produced the Constitution of the United States of America, the same document which to this day is the basis of our government.  Passing it in 1789 was not an easy job.  There were trade-offs and compromises among the thirteen States, the most significant being those allowing the continuance of the institution of slavery in a nation with a strong central government which did not entirely agree with that.

After the revolution, the Continental Army had been disbanded but now, officially, there would be a national army. Those States where slavery was a dominant part of their economy feared that the Federal government and its armed forces would someday take action against the continuance of slavery.  Without some guarantee to protect the institution of slavery from being abolished by such force, the slave-holding States would not support the new Constitution and the new nation would have fallen apart, as the British had predicted it would.

Recognizing this problem, Alexander Hamilton and James Madison worked out a series of compromises which included in a “Bill of Rights” amended to the new Constitution. The second of these amendments was worded as follows:

“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 ‘free States’ whose ‘security’ was the topic of this amendment were the slave-holding States.  They wanted a guarantee that if they had to raise their own armies, their ‘well regulated militias,’ to oppose a Federal army which might be used to force them to end the institution of slavery, the citizens recruited into their militias would be able to bring weapons along with them. Thus, they feared a Federal law which would take away the right of these citizens to possess those weapons.  Well, they got their guarantee and they voted to approve the new Constitution and the nation was saved from collapse.  Supposedly, everybody was satisfied.

But not really.  Seventy-one years later, the continuing national debate about the expansion of slavery westward boiled over into the Civil War. The slave-holding States, which formed their own “Confederacy,” were able to raise an army to battle the Federal army, which it did for four years, resulting in over 400,000 deaths.  Initially, the weapons of some of the Confederacy’s State militias were those which the Second Amendment allowed their citizens to possess because it guaranteed the right of the people to keep and bear Arms.

After the war, the defeated seceding States were ultimately returned into the Union and since then, we have truly been the “United” States of America.

The Second Amendment’s real purpose did not remain an issue thereafter, since any State militias, eventually taking the form of State National Guard units, provided their own weapons to those citizens who became members.  A recruit didn’t have to bring his own weapon. But many American gun owners were comforted by the final fourteen words of the Second Amendment, ignoring its first thirteen words, and came to believe their right to own a weapon was a “constitutional right.”  In more modern times, the National Rifle Association took this position and lobbied extensively for it. 


Finally, in 2008, when the right of a local government to restrict gun ownership in an effort to reduce local gun violence was challenged, the Supreme Court, in an opinion written by the late Justice Antonin Scalia, took the position that the right to own a gun had nothing to do with being called up to serve in a militia and in effect, ignored all but the final fourteen words of the Second Amendment, forgetting about the purpose and origin of the Amendment as described above. 

Lady Macbeth's hands
This was the decision which has permanently left the hands of Justices Roberts, Scalia, Thomas, Kennedy and Alito, like those of Lady Macbeth, drenched in blood.   

Undoubtedly, some future Supreme Court will reverse Antonin Scalia's tortured language in the 2008 decision (District of Columbia vs. Heller) and put us back on the road to sanity in regard to passing laws to reduce gun violence.  That decision was a political one rather than one based on ‘stare decisis,’ the traditional dependence of Court decisions on prior decisions.

Right now, the Second Amendment, the original purpose of which no longer exists, has morphed into something which serves to prevent the Congress from effectively dealing with the gun violence which daily manifests itself in individual local shootings as well as the more organized efforts by those with a violent agenda such as the white nationalist movement.  In view of this, the Congress, and States as well, should indeed be able to pass laws that ‘infringe’ on the right of citizens to own firearms, actions presently blocked by the Second Amendment. 

Those laws, and local and State laws, must always allow for the possession of weapons for hunting, agricultural purposes, sport activities and reasonable self-protection, but as for the Second Amendment itself, it is now obsolete, unnecessary and in the interest of reducing gun violence, should be repealed.  Certainly, after that repeal, a new Amendment should be passed including such reasonable guarantees for all Americans.

Repeal and replacement of the Second Amendment will involve a process which will take many years, including ratification by three quarters of the States.  Meanwhile, until that day comes (which might not be during the lifetime of anyone reading this, if ever), we should hope that Courts at all levels will rule favorably on local, state and national laws which are aimed at reducing gun violence.
Jack Lippman
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Impeach Now!   Being an unadmitted asset to Russian interference in our elections,  obstructing a Department of Justice investigation and being a “dog whistler” to white nationalists who have murdered Americans is enough to constitute high crimes and misdemeanors.  Republicans in the Senate, once the evidence is made public, will find it impossible to disagree, and if they do, they will never again be elected to any office.  Even if the Senate doesn't "convict," the court of public opinion will.

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Looking Around Carefully … in New Places


Whenever I am in the boarding area in an airport, waiting for my flight to start taking on passengers, I am in the habit of looking around at the people waiting to board.  Do any look like potential terrorists?  I have been doing this since “9/11” and I suspect that many other also have gotten into the habit of doing the same thing almost automatically. 
 
I once spotted an unattended backpack adjacent to an empty bench at a gate at LaGuardia Airport in New York.  After about ten minutes, without anyone sitting down next to it, I went to the counter and pointed it out to airline personnel there.  When I boarded the plane, fifteen minutes later, the unattended bag was still sitting there.  So much for Homeland Security.  They probably are bored stiff with reports of unattended bags which turn out to have been accidently left behind by someone boarding an earlier flight from that gate. One day, one will explode.  But I digress.

Lately, I seem to be looking around at people in supermarkets, entering movie theatres and at other public events the same way I look at those boarding my flights at airports.  It should not be that way in the United States of America. But it is.
JL
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They Got it Done Without Email or Blogs

In the years leading up to the signing of the Declaration of Independence and the American Revolution, patriots did not have email, blogs and websites on which to state their arguments and gather a following.  But they did have “Committees of Correspondence” which served that purpose and actually provided an organizational framework for the new nation’s government once independence was declared on July 4, 1776.   
Committees of Corrspondence - Handwritten Stuf!
Imagine if they had possessed IPads?

If they had been able to access the internet, it would have been easier for patriots to organize events and demonstrations such as the Boston Tea Party, a protest against taxation without representation.  All they had to depend on were word of mouth and written communications.  But it worked!  Highly organized “Committees of Correspondence,” managed the handwritten tools which did the job in those days and which Email, blogs and websites would do today. They served to unite the colonies, distant from one another. Ideas do not change.  Only the means of transmitting them do.  Check out “Committees of Correspondence” on the internet. Start off by clicking on https://www.bostonteapartyship.com/committees-of-correspondence.
JL
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Impeach Now!   Being an unadmitted asset to Russian interference in our elections,  obstructing a Department of Justice investigation and being a “dog whistler” to white nationalists who have murdered Americans is enough to constitute high crimes and misdemeanors.  Republicans in the Senate, once the evidence is made public, will find it impossible to disagree, and if they do, they will never again be elected to any office.  Even if the Senate doesn't "convict," the court of public opinion will.

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Diverting Efforts from the True Cause of Gun Violence

A "Loner"
The emphasis on “mental health’ in identifying potential mass murderers, particularly those committing these acts in the name of a philosophy or organization, is close to being a waste of time and resources.  Emphasizing it diverts efforts from other ways of reducing gun violence.   It would mean asking every teacher in every elementary, middle and high school in this country to make a list of those in their classes who impress them as being “loners,” being “strange,” harboring grudges, having no friends and possibly being the object of bullying or being bullies themselves.  And what about those beyond school age?  Would employers be asked to make similar lists?

All this would be highly subjective and involve pinpointing people whose behavior is far, far below the level which would call for some sort of professional intervention. (Even keeping tabs on people of all ages whose behavior has already resulted in some sort of intervention … referred to as red flag situations? … would be a herculean task.)  How large would those new lists be?  Ten million more names?  Twenty million?  Your guess is as good as mine but wouldn’t it be easier just to get rid of the guns?  The real answer is repeal of the Second Amendment as discussed above.  Then Congress would do what it has to do.
JL

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We’re Big in Kiev

Google Blogspot, through which this blog is produced, provides statistics to its bloggers.  This past week, as has happened frequently in the past, a large number of hits on this blog landed on my posting of May 10, 2012, titled “Europe Says No to Austerity.”  Over the years, 1,522 hits have been recorded on that posting!  Unbelievable! 

At least 31 Blog Followers Live Here
The lead article, which I wrote, talks about European economic problems and how their resolution might be a benchmark for the United States.  This was written during the Obama-Romney presidential campaign.  Hits on this posting, by far the most popular one ever included on the blog, always come from Europe.  Last week 31 Ukrainians checked out that posting!  That’s the way it always has been, with its audience coming in batches from one nation or another.  I would guess my posting appears in the “reading list” of university courses somewhere or other.  Or maybe, it is being copied and used as a term paper.  (The blog can be translated into any language!)   Recently, I re-read what I wrote nine years ago and honestly, it’s pretty good stuff for a non-economist lay person!  Check it out!
JL
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Impeach Now!   Being an unadmitted asset to Russian interference in our elections,  obstructing a Department of Justice investigation and being a “dog whistler” to white nationalists who have murdered Americans is enough to constitute high crimes and misdemeanors. Republicans in the Senate, once the evidence is made public, will find it impossible to disagree, and if they do, they will never again be elected to any office.  Even if the Senate doesn't "convict," the court of public opinion will.

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