Friday, May 9, 2008
The reason for the language in the Second Amendment is that those at the time worked within an Anglo-American tradition that needed no explanation. Just as today, we would say "the dream of Dr. King" and no one would ask "what dream" or "who is Dr. King?" those of the 1790s were children of a centuries old tradition.
King Henry II helped to build this tradition with the Assize of Arms, requiring that every male citizen own some sort of weapon. Although Alfred the Great in his time had ordered the creation of a fyrd, or militia, Henry's assize was much more specific. This enabled him to get by without a standing army because all were required to help defend the realm. However, an armed citizenry meant that Henry also had to take steps to make sure those people were happy. He traveled his kingdom to make sure he was aware of the people's needs. Later it became more convenient for kings to call representatives to the capital. The partnership between ruler and ruled, cemented by an armed people, put England on the road towards democracy. A good government has nothing to fear from an armed population, but the armed population is the best insurance policy against tyranny. And don't bring up the argument about modern weapons. The experiences and/or writings of Giap, Che Guavara, Max Boot and others about guerilla warfare bely the notion that people with their own arms are powerless in modern warfare.
In the 1600s Britain knew tyranny from both power hungry kings and Oliver Cromell's dictatorship. The natural rights of life, liberty, and property were unsafe in the hands of such a government. By the 1700s British Whigs spoke openly about the need for an armed population to protect itself from tyranny. Our forefathers, according to noted American historian Bernard Bailyn, absorbed these principles like mother's milk. It was part of the justification for the Revolution itself. Meanwhile, the Indian chief King Phillip's war of genocide against New England spurred Americans on the frontier to understand that every good citizen must be armed to defend his community. Add to these historical antecedents the natural right of people to protect themselves and their property and you have the Second Amendment.
But let's imagine for a second that guns would magically vanish. Would we be safer? Maybe the strongest of us would be. I am 6'2, 250, and fairly young. I could handle a baseball bat pretty well to defend myself and my property. What if I were elderly and frail? My grandmother until she died at age eighty kept a handgun under her bed. Her husband who died in 1973 taught her how to use it and she kept it for security. She lived far from possible police protection. If there were no guns, home invaders could easily have harmed her with bats or axes. The possibility of getting shot deters a lot of these predators. Who is anyone to deny the right of the elderly or the disabled to defend themselves? How about the young woman trying to break away from a much stronger and abusive man who has promised to kill her if she ever leaves? Who is anyone to take away her right to protect herself? The intruder will think twice before entering a home if there is a possibility of the resident shooting him or her to death.
The Second Amendment's guarantee of gun rights is meant to help assist in the national defense, give property owners the ability to defend themselves and their families, and insure against a tyrannical government. Thomas Jefferson, who has been described as James Madison's collaborator to the point that one historian claimed they by the early 1790s almost shared the same mind, described the Second Amendment as his favorite because it helped protect against tyranny. This gives an important clue as to the mindset of the author, James Madison. No one at that time would have fathomed that people's right to defend their persons with deadly force would ever be questioned. It would be like questioning your right to eat whatever you wanted.
The violent will be violent, governments at some point will seek too much authority, and at some point we will face a serious attack on our territory. The first measure taken to prepare any nation for dictatorship is the removal of the citizens' guns. We must never allow ourselves to be in that position as a nation or as individuals, vulnerable to whatever strong force seeks to violate us.
Thursday, May 8, 2008
Wednesday, May 7, 2008
Monday night US WindForce held a well attended informational meeting on their proposed wind farm to be located on
The proposed project will run the ridge line starting northeast of the Pinnacle and heading towards the
According to area realty statistics home values have steadily increased in the areas where wind generators are present. Recently the single most expensive home sale in
Other concerns centered on bird and bat kills. Most opponents point to bird kill studies done at Altamont Pass Wind Farm in
Generally people were impressed with the scope and detail of the project they were able to see. Most left with a positive attitude about the project and want to see it completed. The wind farm will be positive growth for