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Conservatives Are From Mars, Liberals Are From San Francisco
by Burt Prelutsky
by Mark Steyn
||Court Rediscovers 2nd Amendment
Liberals Fear Other 'Rights' May Soon be Found
by Mac Johnson [writer,
struck leftists all across America last week when a federal appeals
court reviewing the District of Columbia’s handgun ban, ruled that the
right of the people to keep and bear arms cannot be infringed upon by
the District. The court's inexplicable ruling was based on a "radical"
interpretation of the recently rediscovered 2nd Amendment to the U.S.
Constitution, which 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.
Johnson is a freelance writer and biologist in Cambridge,
Mass. Mr. Johnson holds a Doctorate in Molecular and
Cellular Biology from Baylor College of Medicine. He
is a frequent opinion contributor to Human
Events Online. His website can be found at macjohnson.com [go
to Johnson index]
According to the Washington Post,
which upon hearing of the decision had a small editorial seizure it
called “A Dangerous Ruling,” the court’s plain reading of the Bill of
Rights has given "a new and dangerous meaning to the 2nd Amendment."
Apparently, when the Post reads the amendment according to the ancient and safe interpretation (which goes all the way back to the 1970s) all it sees is:
Population of the nanny State, being composed of irresponsible
rednecks, rejects, and retards, must not be allowed to have Arms.
"[T]his radical ruling will inevitably mean more people killed and wounded as keeping guns out of the city becomes harder," the Post continued, sagely foreseeing a day in the near future when the district
might not be the safe gunfree enclave of sanity that it now is. One
wonders if D.C. might someday even become the murder capital of the
United States without its protective cloak of gun control disarming its
The district's law-and-order mayor, Adrian
Fenty, apparently outraged by the disappointing decision, stated
afterwards, "I am personally deeply disappointed and quite frankly
outraged by today's decision. Today's decision flies in the face of
laws that have helped decrease gun violence in the District of
Columbia." It's hard to argue with the mayor when one looks at the cold
hard facts: today's murder rate is just 26% higher than it was when the
gun ban was put in place in 1978, down from a peak of just 128% higher
in 1991 before a nationwide decline in crime driven by demographics
took hold. With results like that, I'm not sure D.C. can afford to have
its gun violence "decreased" any further.
But its not just D.C.
that is at risk from this radical discovery of the so-called "Bill of
Rights" (if that’s even its real name), the mayor is also worried that
the anarchy of Constitutional limits on government power could spread,
commenting: "It has national implications with regard to gun control
statutes across the country. It's the first time that a federal court
has said that the 2nd Amendment restricts or prohibits gun control."
course, it's only the first time a federal source has said that the
Constitution restricts gun control if you don't count the 2nd Amendment
itself -- which is intended expressly to restrict or prohibit gun
control. But then this may be the first time a Federal court has read
that far into the Constitution -- it's so easy to get hung up trying to
find "separation of church and state" in the 1st Amendment, after all.
number of sources on the left held up for praise in the decision the
one dissenting judge, Karen LeCraft Henderson, whose opinion that the
gun ban was constitutionally permissible was based on at least two
stellar deductions. The first was that since the District of Columbia
is not a state (as in "necessary to the security of a free State…"),
then the 2nd Amendment did not apply in that part of America. This is a
wonderful precedent, not only for the District, but also for America's
other territories such a Puerto Rico.
According to this same
logic, Amendments 14, 15, 19, 24 and 26 (among others) do not apply in
the District either, which means the District is free to a) deprive any
person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law, b)
deny the vote to blacks, c) deny the vote to women, d) institute a poll
tax, and e) deny the vote based on age. Clearly, Henderson deserves her
new status as a liberal hero.
Henderson's second insight was
that despite the right belonging to "the people" in the amendment, it
actually belonged only to the militia as an organized military force.
To believe this, you have to believe that the United States is the only
nation on Earth that felt a need to guarantee its government, in
writing, the right to have an army -- which is possible, I suppose, if
Jefferson foresaw the attitude of the modern Democrat party towards the
The mystery of whether the amendment guarantees the
people or the military the right to have weapons perplexed a number of
commentators taken aback by the decision. Consider this verbal tailspin
featured on MSNBC:
"Now, the issue is 27 words. That's the 2nd
Amendment's section on the right to bear arms. I'm going to read the 27
words. They say '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.' Now, it's a long-standing legal question in
America, and largely unresolved, although partisans on both sides will
say it is resolved but a majority of scholars would say it isn't. What
does that mean? Does that mean that militias have the right to possess
guns or individuals?"
Wow. If only those comments could have been limited to 27 words.
The Washington Post was not afflicted with such uncertainty, however, stating that the
amendment applied only to militias (suddenly so popular with the media)
and that the ruling was part of an "unconscionable campaign, led by the
National Rifle Association… to give individuals 2nd Amendment rights."
And you thought that campaign was led by the Founding Fathers.
what is the "militia"? It is not the army -- by contrast, it was seen
as an antidote to having to keep a standing army. It was defined at the
time of the Constitution’s writing roughly as "all able-bodied male
citizens not in the regular military." (Theoretically it may thus be
constitutionally permissible to deny guns to women, old men, cripples,
and possibly fat people, but I have to admit I'm against this. These
are precisely the groups of people that might need a gun most for
self-defense, or possibly for procuring more food.) Viewed in this
light, the liberal response to the ruling is, essentially, the right
does not belong to the people, so much as it belongs to all civilians.
the left does not get about the 2nd Amendment is that it is not about
the National Guard, or sporting firearms or gun collections. It does
not guarantee the government an army, nor does it guarantee civilians
the right to hunt and shoot skeet. It's about the right of the people
to maintain some portion of the ultimate power of government --
violence -- to themselves.
The Founding Fathers systematically
democratized the powers of society through the Constitution and Bill of
Rights. They democratized the power of law through the right to vote.
They democratized the power of wealth through the right to private
property (since repealed by environmentalists and courts). They
democratized the power of ideas through the right to free speech (since
repealed by McCain/Feingold). And they democratized the power of
violence (or the capability to commit it) through the right to bear
arms (since repealed by "gun control").
The four great powers
of man: law, money, thought and violence were thus divided among the
people and not reserved exclusively to the connected, the rich, the
approved, and the enlisted. That's the basis of our Republic. That's
America. And that is, apparently, a total surprise to liberals.
the deeper reason behind the hysteria over the decision is that for
decades the left has been able to make the Constitution into whatever
it wanted. The actual words did not matter. When words -- even just 27
words -- mean exactly what they say, then the power to dictate law from
a "living" Constitution disappears and liberals are reduced to trying
to persuade people that they are right -- a daunting task. When a court
can decide that the 2nd Amendment must be respected, the left is on a
slippery slope indeed. Who knows what amendment might be rediscovered
next? Personally, I vote for the 10th. Regardless, if the trend is
allowed to continue, it will be a disaster for the dictatorial left.
Thus, I predict the decision will be appealed. CRO
First appeared at Human Events Online
2007 Mac Johnson