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CSotD: Deja vu all over again

 

Pat Bagley gets down to the basic point, which is that, when two apparent rights collide, the public good should be given precedence.

We’ve analyzed the Second Amendment enough times here that I’m not going to go through it all again, but the Founders envisioned a system of quasi-independent state militias, and the reason they didn’t make that more clear in the Amendment was that there were Quakers on the frontier who, though pacifist, would defend themselves against bears and wolves, and needed to hunt.

The first draft offered a conscientious objector clause for those who needed a gun for hunting, but couldn’t join the militia.

Which might call for a rifle rather than a musket but sure as hell didn’t mean keeping a cannon in your cabin.

It also called for a system of filing for conscientious objection that the Founders apparently considered burdensome and unnecessary.

They had not met Antonin Scalia, who, in DC v Heller, did to those who would limit gun ownership what Roger Taney did to freemen in Dred Scott and what Justice Henry Billings Brown did to racial equality in Plessy v Ferguson.

The chief difference being that Taney and Brown were relying on the inherent racial prejudices not only of their own times but of the colonial era, reading intent into a document that was, as the lone dissent in Plessy argued, written to be color-blind.

Scalia was actively going against the expressed intent of the majority of Founders, though it should be noted that he left a great number of potential restrictions in the law, which the NRA and its lackeys in Congress choose to ignore.

At which point, the sophomoric amateur pedant breaks off from arguing that there is technically no such thing as an “assault rifle” and, instead, points out that “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness” are only concepts cited in the Declaration of Independence, not legal rights guaranteed in the Constitution.

So throw out all the murder laws, because the right to life is only conceptual, not legal.

Except that what the Constitution does say is that it was written in order to “establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity.”

There seem to be a couple of concepts in there that argue against making it easy for people to slaughter one another.

But my point is that, while the Supreme Court has put its blessings on an anarchist’s reading of the Second Amendment, it also, in the past, put its blessings on slavery and racial discrimination.

We managed to get over it.

Those who believe in following the original intentions of the Founders should not be put off by the partisan interpretations of the Court. We’ve regretted its rulings before and are free to do so now, or, at least, will be if RBG can hang in there until after the next elections.

(Though, of course, with Trump in his second term, Mitch McConnell would stall any attempt to confirm a judge … hahaha … just kidding.)

 

Meanwhile, I like Mike Lester‘s metaphor: The slaughter keeps happening despite efforts to preserve Justice and provide for the General Welfare.

I suspect his point is that laws don’t work, but the laws he cites haven’t been passed, and, given the weakness of the few that manage to squeak through a heavily lobbied Congress, it’s like showing an NFL running back opposed by the local high school team.

 

Following the latest slaughter, the Texas governor and his top lawmen had a news conference where they shrugged and said “Watchagonnado?” and announced a prayer vigil and praised a new set of laws allowing more guns in schools and forbidding landlords to keep tenants from stockpiling weapons in their apartments.

Turns out the Odessa shooter failed his background check and bought his AK-whatever from a private party who, I’m guessing, can’t be held accountable because there ain’t no law against arming lunatics.

 

Watchagonnado? indeed, Dave Granlund asks, and answers.

Couple more and they won’t even be news anymore: We’ll just run the current stats on a ticker at the bottom of the screen while we cover a more pleasant story about some blind kids getting a new puppy.

 

And then there’s this

Sad times indeed when Darrin Bell only has to (slightly) exaggerate the uniform design and can depict the action pretty much as given.

We’ve seen cases when we haven’t believed refugees’ stories, denied someone asylum and then learned they were murdered just as they predicted they would be.

Not that anyone in charge even acknowledged it, much less expressed giving a shit.

Now we’ve gotten to the point where we can look at the kid, examine the medical records, talk to the doctors and then send the brat off to die because, no, we really, truly don’t give a shit.

Meanwhile, the Trump Administration is standing up for a Catholic nurse who was bullied into assisting with a voluntary abortion.

I agree that the hospital was wrong, because — according to that report — she had declared her opposition and the doctor admitted at the time that he knew of her objections.

That does not preclude me, however, from finding it ghastly and horrific that the Trump Administration is, on the one hand, defending her right to avoid causing the termination of a pregnancy while, on the other, ordering the inevitable deaths of other children.

A cynic might wonder if they’d be defending the nurse, if that patient had been from Central America.

Or had gotten pregnant while living with her husband on an overseas assignment, since the Trump Administration might therefore consider the fetus not worthy of a citizen’s rights.

I don’t expect any of this to matter to the Deplorables, who are cult members and hard to deprogram.

But it damn well ought to bring decent people to the polls in 2020, and I’ll be taking the election as a measure of the American Experiment.

 

Community Comments

#1 Sean Martin
September/4/2019
@ 6:42 am

Not to seem too cynical on the point, but America’s history and elections in combination is hardly the best, by even the shortest measurement. The US has the amazing ability to send back, time and again, the very people who work so incredibly hard against them. And I have little doubt that 2020 will be any different because no matter who the Democrat candidate is, s/he wont be pure enough to please the very people who want Trump out of office.

#2 Brian Fies
September/4/2019
@ 7:58 am

In my darker days, I think the American Experiment has already failed. Sixty million of us looked at a mob boss real-estate conman game-show host and said, “Yep, that’ll do.” We have proven that we’re not fit to govern ourselves.

Darren continues to earn the Pulitzer he already won. The text message reading “Hold for New Orders” nods to Mr. Trump’s rethinking of his policy in light of public outrage. So far, Mr. Trump’s complete lack of backbone is the only glimmer of hope; if enough people make enough noise (or one very rich person makes one phone call), he always backs down. God help us if we ever elect a *competent* demagogue.

#3 Mary McNeil
September/4/2019
@ 4:53 pm

The case of the nurse assisting an abortion paired with Bell’s cartoon is a perfect example of how pregnancies must all be brought to term but after that who gives a damn what happens to the child..

#4 Mike Peterson
September/4/2019
@ 5:07 pm

They’ve got to be born. Then, if someone shoots them in the face, well, we can’t stop that.

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