During one of last night's MSNBC chat shows, one of the pundits (failing memory says Chris Matthews) said something like:

When they wrote the Second Amendment, they were talking about muskets!!

Which is true. Here's the text

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.

In historical context, of course, a Militia in 1791 was the same as the National Guard today: a state entity, not insurgents in Montana or other shitkicker empty states. That's the main reason opponents of unfettered access to guns say the 2nd has no basis for civilian access to military grade weapons.

But...

Look back at 1791, and you see that (esp. non-urban) American civilians and standing army soldiers used the same weapon: a musket. Yes, the army had cannon and ships and such, but the soldier and the civilian had the same weapon. While I don't follow the NRA at all, I expect that someplace they've made just that argument: the civilian deserves access to the same weapon as the soldier, or the army will subjugate the populace.

Views: 82

Comment by Jonathan Wolfman on October 5, 2017 at 3:30am

of course NRA has made such an argument...

Comment by Tom Cordle on October 13, 2017 at 5:24pm

It takes a helluva logical leap to jump from "a well regulated Militia"  to demanding/supporting the right of every angry/loony white male (with rare exceptions) to own and operate assault weapons.  Then there's the specious/insane? argument that citizens need such weapons in case they ever decide to overthrow the "oppressive" government. Really? So who gets to decide that? One needs to keep in mind that only about a third of colonists favored the Revolution, another third favored staying with England, and a final third didn't much care one way or another (I'd say that split hasn't changed much over the last couple hundred years). And I remind those who are so inordinately fond of revolution that Canada seems to have done quite well without one.

Comment by Robert Young on October 13, 2017 at 6:00pm

since typing this, I've come across something rather interesting.

according to Garry Wills "Later, as the slave population grew, and grew restive, the militias were drilled as a police power to intimidate and control the slaves."

here: http://www.nytimes.com/books/first/w/wills-evil.html

this was new to me, educated though I am.

"... James Madison wrote the Second Amendment to assure his constituents in Virginia, and the South generally, that the federal government could not use its newly-acquired constitutional powers to subvert the slave system by depriving the states of armed militia, on which the South relied for slave control. "

which appears to be Wills' source, here:  http://www.carltbogus.com/edmund-a-blog/72-the-hidden-history-of-th...

Comment by Tom Cordle on October 13, 2017 at 7:57pm

While Jefferson and Madison are seen as shining examples of American Exceptionalism – and no doubt both had redeeming qualities, they are also shining examples of Americans long and sordid history of exceptionally awful behavior, such as laws in colonial Virginia that treated slaves as livestock, even to the extent of the so-called "casual killing" laws, to wit:

"Whereas the only law in force for the punishment of refractory servants resisting their master, mistress or overseer cannot be inflicted upon negroes, nor the obstinacy of many of them by other than violent means suppressed, Be it enacted and declared by this grand assembly, if any slave resist his master (or others by his masters order correcting him) and by the extremity of the correction should chance to die, that his death shall not be considered a felony, but the master (or that other person appointed by the master to punish him) be acquitted from molestation, since it cannot be presumed that malice existed(which alone makes murder a felony) [or that anything] should induce any man to destroy his own estate."

I don't know if such laws were eliminated with statehood, but assuming it did – and you know what happens when you assume – it's a safe bet it changed nothing as a matter of practice.

Comment by Foolish Monkey on October 14, 2017 at 8:37am

The fact of the Second is the problem. A nation founded on ownership of other humans and guns.

Thank you Genius Founders. 

Comment by Foolish Monkey on October 14, 2017 at 9:43am

Oh and "freedom". 

(particularly if you're male white and especially if you're rich)

Comment by Ron Powell on October 14, 2017 at 2:28pm

Interesting that you are only now becoming enlightened and aware of these factors which are or seem to be inonsistencies in the history  lessons taught and learned by virtually every grade school student in the country from day one...

I've written a number of times about the nature of the relationship between people of color and the American Revolution.

This idea that  a "well regulated militia"  was as much about maintaining control over non-white populations as it was about being able to fight and fend off an oppressive government, is planted in the Declaration of Independence,  which as I have written,  is the indictment of George III, which was presented to the world as the reason, justification, and rationale for the colonials' desire to seek and secure independence from British rule:

People of Color and the Declaration of Independence

Re  Indians/Native Americans  in the final draft of the Declaration of Independence:

"He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavored to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian savages, whose known rule of warfare, is undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions."

Re slavery in Jefferson's draft of the Declaration of Independence:

"(H)e has waged cruel war against human nature itself, violating it's most sacred rights of life and liberty in the persons of a distant people who never offended him, captivating and carrying them into slavery in another hemispere, or to incure miserable death in their transportation hither. This piratical warfare, the opprobium of infidel powers, is the warfare of the Christian king of Great Britain. [determined to keep open a market where MEN should be bought and sold,] he has prostituted his negative for suppressing every legislative attempt to prohibit or to restrain this execrable commerce [determining to keep open a market where MEN should be bought and sold]: and that this assemblage of horrors might want no fact of distinguished die, he is now exciting those very people to rise in arms among us, and to purchase that liberty of which he had deprived them, by murdering the people upon whom he also obtruded them: thus paying off former crimes committed against the liberties of one people, with crimes which he urges them to commit against the lives of another."

---From the Declaration of Independence 

The 2nd Amendment gives voice to and codifies the duplicitous racist concerns of the people who composed and signed the Declaration of Independence and orchestrated the American Revolution.

Rarely, if ever, is the wisdom o those experienced in the effects of unsympathetic and callous and indifferent power and authority seemingly run amuck, heard or heeded by those who are living in relative comfort and complacency.

Better that you come into the knowledge and realization of these matters now at this late date than not at all...

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