In 1787, the delegates of the Constitutinal Convention spent 17 weeks hammering out the U.S. Constitution. The idea behind it was to "Secure the belssing of liberty to ourselves and our posterity." When they emerged from Independance Hall in Philedelphia, only 38 of 55 delegates had signed the document for various reasons, but cheif among them was because our original constitution had NO bill of rights. Patrick Henry stood before the ratifying commitee in 1788 and told them, in no uncertain terms, that the document should not by allowed to pass:
"But we are told that we need not fear; because those in power, being our representatives, will not abuse the powers we put in their hands. I am not well versed in history, but I will submit to your recollection, whether liberty has been destroyed most often by the licentiousness of the people, or by the tyranny of rulers. I imagine, sir, you will find the balance on the side of tyranny. Happy will you be if you miss the fate of those nations, who, omitting to resist their oppressors, or negligently suffering their liberty to be wrested from them, have groaned under intolerable despotism!"
The fate of this nation was condemned so vehemently by people from Vermont to Georgia that in 1789 the legislature was forced to submit the first ten amendments to the states. Among them, the 2nd amendment. The Framers decided that in order to prevent tyranny from overtaking the people that the security of their newly created free state depended on the people being able to take action against it, just as they had done during the war for independence. Their fear of government was so profound that they felt the only way to protect their constitution and their bill of rights was by giving the ordinary citizens the ability to defend both from the inevitable birth of tyranny.
Now, to be fair, I am not advocating for revolution, because as you have already profoundly pointed out: "They certainly didn't set up our democracy in the hope that every time any group of people didn't like a law that democracy produced, they'd abandon any pretense of support for our system of government " Our framers were men of compromise and they were abe to realize that sometimes you have to give a little to get a little (something our current law makers could use a hard lesson in). You dont have to agree with everything, but that doesnt mean the system has failed.
That being said, we have to understand the context in which our right to privately own firearms was included. Its not about shooting deer, its not about burglars in the night. Its because governments are designed to opress. Thats what laws are, and its something we live with usually in harmony because opressing murderers, or theives or anything else like that is a good thing. But governmets do get carried away. In our own history the government has opressed slaves, Indians, Japanese, and laborers trying to unionize. Our founders recognized this would happen, and they wanted to include a safe guard against it.
In the year 2013, almost no one in this country has ever had to expierience the tyranny that our founders talked about. We have become complacent and belive that just because it hasnt happend in our lifetimes that it will never ever ever ever happen. Well you know what they say abut putting all your eggs in one basket....
I disagree with our government on a vast amount of issues. But, at the present time, I'd prefer to fight them at the ballot box rather then the battlefield. However, like I said, it would be foolish for any of us to think that this country could NEVER go the way of so many others and to turn in our guns. Its an option I hope and pray will never be needed, and right now I do not belive it is, nor will it likely be in the near future or even at all in my life. But its an option we should keep, because no one can see around corners or tell the future.
Governments are not 'designed to oppress'. That is a sadly ridiculous statement by you, and it disappoints me. Human societies organize themselves and we govern eachother- not just at the national level but at local levels and even non-institutional levels such as this little website; which has a governing body and bylaws that we are quietly acknowledging and agreeing to abide by, out of our own nature. These sacred 'framers' were men who were trying to form a more perfect union- a better government inspired by the ideals that seemed to be hinted by the Rennaisance but never yet carried out- that all men (sic) are free and have a right to self determination and 'ought' to have democratic government. In writing a constitution to establish such a government, these framers were not contradicting that very establishment by writing an amendment (the 2nd) to negate it. I urge- strongly URGE you to read its simple language- which says NOTHING about the violent overthrow of our newly created government, nothing about oppression, nothing about revolution- but merely states that we need a militia (an army!) and in addition the right to arms. It made sense because there wasn't a strong enough national army in the 10 year old nation to protect from outside invaders- that's what they mean by "a free State": you must understand the context of 1788- which WAS a very small United States which had only pushed the British back north of Lake Ontario, and were bordered by the French Empire and the entire colonial Spain- three of the WORLD POWERS of the age. To stay free- meaning FREE OF BEING RECOLONIZED or invaded by another European country, we need to be ready for a war. And today, a war is being waged. Using the very guns people have demanded they have a right to have- turned toward the innocent, the free, the weak, the helpless- and mass murder is taking place. Seeing this, what do the framers say? Do nothing!?!? No. They do not. And neither do I.
Alright, so, that was inappropriate phrasing. "Designed to opress" is an over reaction, and I should have used better terminology. My appologies. What I am trying to get across is that in many cases, we are in danger of legislating ourselves to death. It is nessecery to have laws and governance, as you said, orginization. but to let them get out of hand is where we tread tracherously close to dictatorship.
I am not saying the second amendment is ment to negate the rest of the constitution. Nor is it about overthrowing the government that the framers had designed. If that is how I came across, I once again appologize.
Neither of us can speak for the writers of the constitution, as they are all dead. The best we can do is use historical context to deduce what they might have had in mind. And we must keep in mind that not all of them were in agreement either. Through my studying of the subject, I have inferred one reasoning, and through yours, another. I may be wrong, or you may be, or we may both be wrong, or both right. The best any of us can do, over two centuries after these men have died, is guess.
Your idea does make sense, I will admit. And perhaps folks at the time did have that in mind. However, I can not ignore the specific words chosen by many of the founders of this nation in describing their thoughts on the subject. Of course, these men had just fought a revolution, and the sting of true tyranny was still raw for them. So it makes sense that would want to do whtever they could to make sure that their best shot at creating a fair and honest government would continue into the future. But they knew also that men are not perfect, and there was always the possibility that at some point it could fail. In the event that the government they had designed ceased to be, they wanted to give people a chance to protect the government they designed. Its not about overthrowing the fair and honest government bound by the constitution, its about ensureing that it stays that way.
As someone who had an armed guard in his school, I fail to see the problem here. The main thing that bothers me, is that these increased gun laws, aren't really going to solve anything. If someone is determined to shoot up a place, no amount of ammo or gun limitation is going to stop them and probably won't slow them down.
As to another issue, I've seen the second amendment as a check against government taking too much power, and when something is passed that restricts a citizens ability to protect himself against, not home invasion, but an out of control government, that is worrying. Considering how often it happened in history, what exactly is stopping it from happening again? Sure, that may not be the intention of those in office, but where there is a pool of power, there is always someone to exploit it. I thought the second amendment ensured that couldn't happen.
I speculated Obama's reelection would spark another civil war. It could make for a fantastic fiction. Let's hope it doesn't become history.
Also, I feel the need to correct something, because someone jumped on me for this, but America is a constitutional republic, not a democracy.
Actually, if you look at charts of levels of gun violence in comparison to countries with stricter gun laws, you'll notice something interesting. THe countries with stricter laws have less violence. America, with the most guns, is anywhere between 10th and 3rd for most gun violence.
In reality, gun violence is higher in the US, but crime rates are much higher in countries with stricter gun control. Murder per capita in the US is approximately 1 in 31,854, while the number is 1 in 4,329,225 in the UK. Crime per capita is roughly 1 in 25 in the US, 1 in 9 in the UK.
The US is tied for 9th place for assault victims, after the UK, New Zealand, Australia, Canada, Finland, France, Denmark, and Sweden. Surprise, surprise, they all have stricter gun control.
Hey, no hard feelings, this is just a pleasant discussion for the benefit of society. Actually, violent crime rates in the US is higher, whereas in Britain/mainland Europe it's mostly theft. I personally would rather be alive with my dignity in tact than be dead.
"If that happens, it's gonna spark a civil war, and I'll be glad to fire the first shot. ... I'm not letting my country be ruled by a dictator. I'm not letting anybody take my guns. If it goes one inch further, I'm gonna start killing people."