An armed society is a dangerous society

First, we must understand why we are a nation and not a British colony any more: The complete text of the Declaration of Independence can be found here: http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/declaration_transcript.html It is an exceptional read and has several points that are valid in our discussion.

Secondly, we move to the constitution itself. Again, there are a number of points that we need to address before we can properly understand the context of my argument. Full text here: http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/constitution_transcript.html

I am going to lean rather heavily on the introductory text of the two documents because in those introductory paragraphs we lay down the purpose and function of the government, to which the rest of the document and amendments must be in support of.

From the Declaration of Independence:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

So straight of the bat, the most important statement in the creation of the US government is to protect and enable – unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness -.

It is to enable everyone to have these rights that we have a government to begin with and the sole purpose of the government is to protect these rights. When the government or other organisation infringes on these rights it is for the people and the government to adjust the laws and norms of society to protect these rights – Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. –

From this I take that the government itself has an obligation to change if the citizens’ life, liberty, pursuit of happiness, or safety are threatened.

Moving onto the Constitution:

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, 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, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Again this gives us context for what our government should and should not be doing. Here we will be focusing on justice, domestic tranquillity, common defence, general welfare, and the blessing of liberty.

Finally, we will look at the 2nd amendment:

“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 that we have collected the necessary text we can start to analyse the different bits. Back in the Declaration there is a very important grievance against the King of Britain that help puts the 2nd into context:

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

It was felt among the colonials that a standing army was the tool of a dictator and that the US wouldn’t maintain a standing force of fighters. Instead they had citizen first responders called the militia. Now when the 2nd speaks of the militia it talks specifically about the security of the free state and a well regulated militia. This is vital to the early security of the states without a standing army to protect the states from exterior threats and to handle civil disturbance. However, the situation has changed, we have 5 branches of a standing army now (Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, Coast Guard) as well as the new national militia, the National Guard. These organisations have superseded the need for the militia as the standing armies protect the freedom of the state and the national guard and police forces handle the needs of civil disturbance. The requirement for the professional peace keeping forces to have access to arms is not in dispute and I think that is what the 2nd is about, protecting the state. But in contrast me must also look at the role of civilians in peace keeping. The civilian is in general supposed to stay out of peace keeping. If you track criminals the way a police officer would you become a vigilante. If a group does it, you become a mob. The role of the civilian in peacekeeping is to keep themselves out of the way and keep themselves safe. Even security guards are only there to observe and report in dangerous situations and wait for the professional law keepers to show up and tell them what happened.

Given the modern world, I feel the 2nd has no meaning for the general public, the general public is not supposed to be involved in the maintenance of domestic tranquillity in an armed role. Further, when an armed civilian gets involved in preventing a criminal situation through the use of fire power the result is not “Just”. The punishment for robbing a liquor store is not summary execution. Even the punishment for shooting another person is not summary execution, we no longer live under the law of an eye for an eye.

Continued: a civilian does not have the authority to remove the “inalienable rights” of life and liberty from another civilian. Only the government must be allowed to interfere with these rights and it must only happen under the rule of law. A major problem in the US right now is the number of shootings that the police get into, but while I disagree with it, I understand it. Every time a police officer pulls over a civilian in a traffic stop there is a high probability that the civilian is armed and the traffic stop is potentially life threatening to the police officer. An armed populace is a threat to the job of ensuring domestic tranquillity. If I were a cop, I would be worried about getting shot for doing my job and giving someone a traffic ticket, this would escalate the situation from safe to unsafe and I understand why cops pulls guns quickly. Police forces outside the US don’t have to worry about getting shot at random times. Since other countries don’t have an armed and aggressive citizenry to worry about they don’t have to opt to violence in the way that American police do. In the UK the cops don’t even carry guns because it is safe enough for them not to.

This all leads me to the conclusion that a highly armed citizenry isn’t in the best interest of the citizenry’s life, liberty, pursuit of happiness, or safety. Therefore something needs to be changed. However, I accept that some people have legitimate reasons to have access to fire arms. We should not be restricting people that actually have a need from having access to weapons.

In regards to the argument that if we disarm the citizenry that then only the criminals will have access to guns. This is correct in the very short term. The free availability of weapons in the US has lead to the free availability of weapons in the hands of criminals in the US. No weapon leaves the factory intended to be used in a crime. It isn’t like Smith and Wesson has a secret factory pumping out guns to be sold directly to criminals. It is instead our lax gun laws that allow criminals easy access to weapons. In Australia in order to get an AR-15, you need to have black market contacts, for those black market contacts to trust you enough to sell to you, and the AR-15 costs over $34,000. In the US, you can just get your non-criminal buddy to walk into Wal-Mart with $1000 and then “lose” the gun or report it stolen depending on what state you are in. This also leads to the conclusion that if you are paying $34,000 for your gun you aren’t going to risk that gun by using it to mug someone for the $40 they have in their wallet. It is not an economical use of resources.

As time goes on and the price of black and grey market weapons increases do to the scarcity of weapons, criminals will have less access in the long term to these weapons and they will be less likely to use those weapons in petty crimes or in low value crimes. Not to mention that the cops will be able to target gun dealers more effectively to get illegal guns off the streets.

This brings us to Open Carry. Open Carry is a scary situation where you do not know if the person that is carrying the weapon is just a douche bag that wants to show off how small his dick is, or if it is someone that is actually about to commit a crime. There is no way to tell until the moment of danger itself. Then there is also the problem of the racially biased enforcement of Open Carry. If a bunch of white people are open carrying then the cops won’t do anything. If a non-white person is open carrying then the police will respond in force. This flies directly in the face of “all men created equal”.

Finally, there is the idea that the free ownership of weapons is to ensure that the government doesn’t become a dictatorship. This was never the intent of the 2nd and that is pure revisionist history. The Constitution itself protects against the formation of tyranny through the use of checks and balances. Additionally, the world has changed and you will be brining your semi-automatic rifle to a drone fight.

All together as my conclusion: we no longer use militias they have been replaced by professional forces to ensure the protection of the free state and domestic tranquillity. No citizen should be removing life or liberty from another citizen, criminals won’t have free access to weapons once we close down the legal to illegal pipelines, everyone will be safer after we disarm the population. People that have a legitimate reason for having a firearm will still be able to access them.

It works great in the rest of the developed world and there is no reason that it won’t work in the US. It won’t be easy and it won’t be quick. It will be worth it.

A continuation of an opinion on SCOTUS f-up

A summation for a libertarian acquaintance.
Okay to bring you up to date:
1) A corporation is a fictional entity licensed by the government. In effect it is a fake person engaging in an activity on behalf of the government.
2) That fake person now has real person hood and constitutional rights to free speech in the form of being able to make unlimited political contributions.
3) That fake person now has religious belief, and can use that religious belief to opt out of federal law.
=
Summation – A Government Entity now has the ability to directly influence governmental election cycles on behalf of a parent religion with unlimited monetary contribution to politicians and political parties.
In the mean time, that same governmental entity can ignore hard won labor rights and ignore the law by imposing iron age beliefs on the people working there.
This WILL directly allow for non-American interests to directly influence the American legal system. At the moment places like the Chamber of Commerce that take donations from people outside the US need to keep donations separate from money used for lobbying and political spending. However, if instead those non-American sources of funding instead just hire a corporation to do a job that money is being funneled into political action in our country. Now it will be directly related to the religion of the shopper.
Corporations and Religions have no place in our legal system. This ruling continues to allow them unfettered access to our positions of political power without having to play all the old political games.
Imagine the corporation We sell Rubber Ducks, Inc. They are a Catholic corporation and the Roman Catholic Church in South Africa buys $5 million in rubber ducks from them. That then gives We sell Rubber Ducks, Inc $5 million in funds to give to politicians that promote Catholic causes in the USA free and clear that they can legally spend in anyway that they like to influence the legal system.
All the while it will be removing affirmative action so that We sell Rubber Ducks, Inc doesn’t have to hire gay people or promote women into managerial positions because the Bible forbids women to be in authority over men.
And you apparently think it is a good thing.

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His Response

I disagree with your basic premises (points 1 through 3 as listed) and your explanation of corporate personhood, so its no surprise that the remaining analysis doesn’t make sense to me.

As I see it:

1. A private corporation is a voluntary association of individuals (“natural persons” like you and me) who have joined together in order to collectively pursue their happiness.

2. The doctrine of corporate personhood merely asserts that for certain activities such as owning property and entering into contracts this group of individuals may be treated as a sort of artificial person, which is essentially just an abbreviation for all of the individuals that make it up.

3. The other big sky-is-falling case, Citizens United v FEC essentially just reaffirmed that the individuals that make up a corporation do not lose their right to free speech by nature of having pooled their resources in pursuit of their common interests.

What if We Sell Great Textbooks, Inc. was a Atheist group that used their foreign-made profits (earned selling high-quality science textbooks to developing countries) to promote Socialism and Science Education in the USA giving money to progressive pols that support better Science Education? Is the same process palatable because we agree with the point of view of the people doing it? Or because we think it will have a better outcome?

You think I’m being myopic?

I object to anyone using force to compel others to do their will. I specifically include in this using the force of the government to get people to do your will, whether you will is to paint your house a certain color, worship a certain way, buy a certain product, or to refrain from smoking a certain herb.

Our system has problems, no doubt. The reforms I think it needs are to address bigger, more fundamental problems.

I’m bothered by the policeman with his boot on my neck. You’re complaining about the color of the boot.

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My response

As a matter of fact I do not think that We sell Textbooks should be any where near the government, the people can of course promote their political views but the corporation should never be allowed to act in politics, and the corporate money should stay the hell away from politics. I would rather have the police’s boot on my neck than return to the Industrial Revolution. This is the point that you are missing is that you are directly promoting the destruction of the protections that the labor movements have given us.

The police can be removed by election. The Robber Barons require more. You think I am worried about the color the boot, but you are missing the point that you are enabling the buying of thousands of boots and the hiring of thousands of people to wear them.

The police aren’t the problem, the problem is who controls the police.

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I posted some links to state exemptions to employment and equality laws for religious employers
His response

You can continue [to post about religious exemptions to employment law] if you want, but the exceptions don’t bother me as much as the regulations do in the first place. I am so old-fashioned that I think that if I build a business I should be able to choose my own employees by any standard I choose, whether that be only members of my family, only members of my church, my gun club or my gaming group, only women, only people I went to school with, or only former members of the Argentine military. If consumers don’t like my choices, they shouldn’t buy my products.

The problem is the same that it has always been. Namely that as long as you allow government the power to interfere in the free choices people make, there will always be people and groups of people who seek to abuse that power, to control others by threat of governmental violence, and to profit at the point of a gun.

More regulation does not solve this problem. Restricting liberty does not solve this problem. The only thing that solves this problem is limiting the power of government.

I’m a big fan of marriage equality, because I think everyone should be treated equally under the law, but the current batch of laws supporting marriage equality get at best a half-hearted thumbs up from me, because I think the real answer is that government has no business inserting itself into people’s marriages or personal relationships.

So you see I don’t support the buying of boots with taxpayer money, or the hiring of the boot wearers. I also don’t grant any special magical legitimacy to the wearing of boots by someone just because his paycheck is extorted from the serfs by violence or threat of violence.

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my response

wow… just wow… smh

just seriously wow, I keep rereading this just holy crap… wow…

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