Friday, February 22, 2008
Obama & the Second Amendment
Let's face the inevitable, shall we?

Barack Obama is on the cusp of becoming the Democratic Party's nominee for the office of President. I have long been ruminating on the horrors of an Obama Presidency and this post is a result of part of those cogitations.

First, the backstory, because it plays to the whole argument, 'kay?

According to Wikipedia and the Senator's own website, Obama was educated in the ivy league institutions of Columbia University and Harvard's Law School. Bully for him. He was a civil rights lawyer and I have heard him called a "Constitutional Law Scholar." Indeed, this is great news. It is about time we got some representation that was familiar with the Constitution! Unfortunately, reviewing Obama's statements and positions finds that either he was a poor scholar or...he's intelluctually dishonest.

To his credit, Obama has gone on record (following the NIU Shooting Spree) as saying he believes the Second Amendment recognizes an individual's right to keep and bear arms. Fabulous! One would think, then, that he is a friend to the American Gun Owner. Not so, Mary, and far from it.

Obama also believes that this right is subject to "reasonable restrictions" like those of Washington D.C. and cities like Chicago that deny gun ownership to residents. (The DC gun ban law is currently before the Supreme Court and one of the principle questions is whether the Second Amendment confers an individual or collective right.) Obama believes, and in fact told Utah voters that he wouldn't take their guns. He believes in the sportsman's right to hunt. But, his argument seems to leave would-be rape victims in the city of Chicago and other like-minded municipalities completely without the tools to protect themselves.

And it is this intellectual dishonesty on his part that bothers me. That's why I'm taking the time to call bullshit.

Regular readers know that I was both stalked and nearly raped (two different guys) when in college. I went to school at the University of Illinois which is conveniently located in the State of Illinois (where Obama is now a Senator), so my connection is pretty strong. When I was at the UofI (and my guess is little has changed since), there was absolutely no gun ownership allowed. Convenient for the rapist, not so much for the intended victims. And, lest you take issue with the particulars (into which I'm not going to delve now), suffice it to say that my would-be rape took place in my dorm room where having a handgun for protection might have made a difference.

Let me be clear. I have nothing but respect for hunters and sportsmen. Hunters provide an important service to animal populations and disease. I get it. I value what they do and admire their perseverance. You won't catch me sitting in a tree, smelling like urine, in the cold for hours on end for fun EVER. But, I respect them for it. Without taking anything away from them, however, I don't really think that the founding fathers were worried about the new government infringing on their rights to shoot clay or animals. Rather, I think they were more concerned with The People's right to protect themself both from people who would do them harm and from a tyrannical government.

There is a very specific reason that the Constitution begins with the words "We the People..." and that is because our government derives power from the people and serves at our pleasure. That's not a joke.

The founding fathers had just fought a revolution against tyranny and won. Bodies and blood. Not a war fought with fighter jets and cruise missiles, but by farmers with pitchforks and muskets. The British were on the march and quite literally, all able-bodied freedom-loving men pulled their muskets from their resting places and went out to fight. No formal training. No real uniforms. They weren't an organized force. This regular joe fighting force is what the founders wanted to protect. This is what they meant by militia - not the National Guard.

But let's delve a little further, shall we? The British, when they captured a town, would quarter British soldiers in American homes. The founding fathers wanted to protect against this. (Note the Third Amendment.) A man has the right to defend his life and property...again, this doesn't mean filing a grievance, but acting to throw off invaders.

I'm no "Constitutional Law Scholar" like Obama, but I know these things. There is no mention of "sport" in the Second Amendment. On the contrary, it 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." One single sentence.

The founders put it right there- "being necessary to the security of a free state" - that says all you need to know. But, in case you doubt the individual nature of the right, check out the next clause: "...the right of the people to keep and bear arms..." The people. THE PEOPLE. Not the States, but the people.

Oftentimes liberals and gun grabbers will deny the individual right using the word militia as their argument. To do so is to completely disregard history and to basically deny a great many other rights. This same theory would suggest that our government doesn't derive its authority from the people (Remember "We the People"), but from the States. And this, frankly, is crap.

But, let's get back to Obama. I didn't get an ivy league education, but even I know these things. So, I find the idea that Obama's very expensive education missed these salient points. That's why I find his sportsman-friendly but victim-unfriendly position to be so offensive. He knows the facts but disregards them. But, only insofar as the issue is guns. Let's examine, shall we, other individual rights.

The first amendment is about free speech, free press, and freedom of religion. But corallaries of Obama's gun position "sports okay, but "reasonable restrictions" also okay" would suggest that Obama would suggest the following:

1. That Obama would be okay with free speech as long as it was "in music or dramatic exposition", but not in such a way as to denigrate the government or any particular person or idea.
2. That Obama would be okay with any publication printing any ideas or long as they follow a prescribed platform.
3. That Obama would be okay with freedom of long as it was a state-approved religion.

This isn't freedom, folks, and the government isn't supposed to go around limiting the rights of the people. They serve us, not the other way around. You'd think that a Constitutional Law Scholar/Civil Rights Lawyer/Would-be President of the United States would know this.

Let's take another example, this time a favorite of the left and an unenumerated right at that: Abortion. A Woman's Right to Choose.

Now, I'm pro-choice, but I think the analogy will be an important one.

Nowhere in the Constitution is a woman's right to choose whether to carry a fetus or not mentioned. It ain't there. But, the left likes to think it is. So, pretend it is, just for a minute.

Now suppose that Obama had suggested, like he has on the issue of gun rights, that a woman can only have an abortion under "reasonable restrictions." Like - say - only if the fetus has tested positive for some dread disease or disability. How does that grab ya?

That's what I'm saying. For Obama to say he "supports sportsmen's rights" but then say he also believes that municipalities have the right to infringe - yes INFRINGE - upon peaceful law-abiding gun owners rights is also okay is just flat out...wrong. Hypocritical. Disingenuous at best, and the politics of "tell them what they want to hear" at worst. Obama is not a friend of the lawful gun owner.

He's just another vacuous and vapid empty suit who believes that gun laws prevent crime. No gun law, however, has ever prevented a crime. Why?

BECAUSE CRIMINALS DON'T CARE ABOUT OBEYING THE LAW - BY DEFINITION. If you are going to knock over a liquor store - you've made that decision - are you really worried about the legality of using your gun to do so? Do you think drug dealers pause when they go buy their guns from a reputable dealer? Hell no! They don't buy their guns from reputable dealers!!!

So, consider, please, how willing you are to give up the rest of your rights before you vote Obama. The Second Amendment is the only one that gives the people the power to take back their government, by force if necessary.

Don't be surprised if a Presidential candidate who is willing to compromise your rights on the Second Amendment isn't willing to do so on others - like the first, third, fourth, fifth, etc.

The comment below, from this post by Bob Owens really bothered me:

Andrew :
The 2nd amendment is totally outdated and should be changed. There are thousands of people who should be walking around right now whose life was cut short by a gun. All too often you hear stories of people accidentally shooting themselves or others. I understand people who feel the need to have a gun depending on circumstances but 95% of gun owners don't need them. Whats really troubling is the people who love guns.
22, 2008 09:00 AM

Dear Lord in Heaven, this is the sort of guy who will blindly vote for Obama!

Andrew should consider if the Second Amendment is outdated, so must be the rest of them. There are thousands of people who should be walking around whose lives were cut short by drunk drivers too, that doesn't mean we should outlaw cars. Or alcohol. I would suggest to you that anybody who has felt the need to purchase a gun wouldn't put themselves in the 95% that Andrew refers to. I would also tell Andrew that he probably isn't the best judge of what other people need. And certainly has no right to the determination in any case. But it is Andrew's last sentence that is most telling. "Whats [sic] really troubling is the people who love guns."

I think Obama agrees with you, Andrew. I find it troubling that you seem to live in fear of people who like guns. There is nothing wrong with loving guns. At least, it is no better or worse than say people who love dogs or Nintendo or anything else.

As cliche as it is, guns don't kill people - the assholes pulling the triggers do. And some people who die of gunshots deserve to. If Andrew doesn't want a gun, that's his choice. If he wants to embrace victimhood there are a lot of people who will help him with that. For the rest of us, we have a right to protect ourselves. A right that isn't subject to anybody's "reasonable restrictions."


posted by Phoenix | 1:13 PM


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