Crime Politics World

The Second Amendment

The second amendment to the US constitution is very clear. It was inserted into the constitution in 1789 at a time when there was widespread suspicion of the Federal government. Many felt that the individual States needed the possibility to protect themselves against tyranny and they were probably right.

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.

That’s what it says, and to me it seems very plain and unambiguous. It provides for the need to raise a State militia, and it does so by conferring a right to keep and bear arms. It says nothing about keeping a gun for personal protection.

Now, to read some of the replies to my post on the subject here last week before the awful events at Blacksburg, you would think the second amendment was Holy Writ instead of a political clause inserted by men fearful of centralised government.

A couple of things strike me about it.

Firstly, it’s a complete anachronism, appropriate to the eighteenth century but entirely impractical today. What would happen in reality if any individual State raised a militia against the federal government? Well, it already happened in 1861, and the federal government waged a war of such destruction and terror against the insurgent States that the consequences reverberate to the present day.

That was then. That was before F16 jets, Bradley fighting vehicles, depleted Uranium bullets, Cruise missiles, A-10 Warthog tank-busters, spy satellites and gigantic aircraft carriers. With horse and musket and cannon, the federal government laid waste to the South. Imagine what a federal government today would do to an insurgent State. And no bearded militia armed with Kalashnikovs and knives would withstand the onslaught for a day. If you think the violence in Iraq is savage, it would be nothing compared to the vengeance that any uprising would provoke in the United States.

Therefore, the second amendment seems to me to be obsolete and pointless.

Secondly, what is meant by arms? In 1789, the word would have meant muzzle-loading muskets, but today you have people walking around with Uzis and AK47s. Where are the limits? For instance, is there a right to own a field artillery piece? Or a B-52 bomber? What about a nuclear missile? A battleship. Don’t laugh: these are all arms.

Thirdly, it seems plain to me as an objective outsider that it was never intended as a personal civil right. If the intention was to guarantee the individual a right to bear arms, it would have said this:

The right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

That would have been clear, plain and unambiguous, but it doesn’t say that. It qualifies the right by placing it in the context of raising a militia.

Now, the other issue is the law in individual States. As I understand it, you can go to a gun show in Virginia and buy any weapon on sale – there and then – for cash, provided you’re over 18. There’s no background check. There’s no delay. Here’s your assault rifle, Sir. Have a nice day. (Admittedly, it isn’t completely unregulated: you can’t buy more than one weapon a month, which is something to be grateful for, I suppose).

So, even if they kept the second amendment, the individual States could tighten up their gun laws.

But what’s it all about anyway? What’s this business of wanting to carry automatic weapons around with you?  I don’t get it, but looking back through the years, I’d probably have loved it when I was eight.

They say, Well, we need to protect ourselves from the bad guys, and you have to agree there’s a big problem with gun-crime over there. Guns are everywhere, and all the bad guys are armed, so what’s the answer? Is it to arm the whole population, or is it to take away the guns from everyone? Are the people armed so that they can do the work of the police, or should the police be better resourced so that people don’t have to keep automatic weapons?

I don’t know. It seems to me that if the US government can afford to spend $20 million an hour on the Iraq war, you’d imagine they could afford to take on and disarm their own home-grown criminals, wouldn’t you?

I really think Moses was wrong about this one.

Crime Politics World

Gun Control in America

Update 16th April 2007 When I wrote this post, I didn’t realise what would happen a week later.


Original post

Washington DC had a ban on citizens owning handguns. This law was in place for thirty years until last month, when the US court of appeals stuck it down as unconstitutional. According to the court, the law violates the individual’s right to bear arms under the second amendment to the constitution.

Right, says Bock. Let’s have a look at this old second amendment then.

Dum dee dum dee dumm dum.

Here we go.

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.

OK. That seems pretty straightforward, wouldn’t you think? You can see the claw-hammer coats and powdered wigs as they drew this one up. A militia. We need a militia to protect God-fearing Protestants from the heathen red man! The people must be permitted to bear arms!!

Damn right. A yeomanry is what you need when you’re surrounded by Godless and angry locals you’ve just invaded and displaced. And what use is a yeomanry if they haven’t got their muskets in the thatch? Answer: no use whatever.

So there you go. It couldn’t be plainer: 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.

With forensic rigour, I have examined it, and I note the following. It doesn’t say Under all circumstances, the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

No. It doesn’t. It says, A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State.

Nor does it say, without qualification, The right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.


It says 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, I can see no ambiguity whatever in these words, but apparently the US appeals court thinks it means something other than the obvious. The US appeals court thinks it means

Any fucking maniac can have a bazooka.

Christ Almighty. No wonder they’re invading everyone they don’t like.



In a reply to this post, Brian expressed the view that the second amendment was bestowed on the people by their creator. Now, I have to confess, this puzzled me. I didn’t understand what he meant. Did God really write the American constitution? Damn me, I was baffled.

But after a while, I realised that it all made sense.

Wasn’t Charlton Heston president of the NRA? Yes, he was.

Aha! And didn’t old Chuck know God pretty well? Yes. They used to play cards together every Friday night.

Well then. It’s obvious. God told him over a beer: Chuck, I know y’all been worryin about this here gun control thing. Well, y’all can quit frettin cuz I’m fixin to put an end to it. Go forth and tell my People that y’all can bear arms. An’ ifn anyone asks why, you tell ’em it’s cuz I said so. Ya hear me, boy?

I hear you, God.


RTE news reports as follows:

At least 22 people, including the suspect, were killed in a shooting rampage on the US campus of Virginia Tech University. Police and university officials have confirmed the death toll in Blacksburg, Virginia. The shootings took place in two separate areas of the campus and police believe a single gunman was responsible. ‘This is a tragedy of monumental proportions,’ Virginia Tech president Charles Steger told reporters. Police said they were investigating whether the gunman killed himself or was killed by authorities.

Most of the shootings took place at a part of the campus called Norris Hall, according to campus police chief Wendell Finchum. This is one of the deadliest shooting rampages in the US, a country known for its loose gun ownership laws. The last one of this scale on a university campus was when Charles Whitman went to top of the tower in the middle of the University of Texas campus in Austin, Texas, on 1 August, 1966, and opened fire on people 27 stories below.

He killed 15 people, including his mother and wife the night before, and wounded 31 others.==================================================

UPDATE: The death toll is now 33.

It seems the shootings took place in two separate attacks by the same man, and there was a two-hour gap between them. This looks like monumental incompetence on the part of the University authorities and the police.

The first two shootings took place in the dormitory room. Apparently, a jilted boyfriend killed his former girlfriend and new boyfriend. Oh dear Jesus.

The university had what they call a “lockdown” system. This means that when they heard about the first two shootings, they locked the students into their classrooms, which was why the gunman was able to murder a further thirty-one students. Thirty-one more kids! Why?

Two hours after the first murders, it appears that this demented young man was able to kill a a further thirty people. Sons and daughters. Young kids like yours or mine. Young kids, murdered and unable to escape because they were “locked down”.

According to the campus police chief, after the first two people were killed, he thought it was “more than likely” that the killer had left the campus. He later spoke about “bringing this investigation to a successful conclusion”.

Successful conclusion? Well, that will be a relief to the families of the murdered kids.

I also saw George Bush on the news saying a prayer.

Dear God.

kick it on

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