Re: Don't Forget Peter Jennings'... Flaw

To answer your question bluntly and succintly (and with this benediction

> I hope and pray this thread soon comes to a close without having to > rudely toss many of the messages on same) I _firmly_ and _strongly_ > support the US Constitution the way it is written. I do wish that > those guys in the 18th century, Adams, Jefferson, et al had been able > to tell the future, or been as succinct at times in their writings as > I attempt to be with mine. (snore!). Especially, a wee bit more > laborious in writing numbers one and two. Break up one to be more > plain about religion and speech and in the case of two, to be more > precise about terms like 'well regulated militia' and re-ordered their > punctuation a bit differently, removing any and all doubt about each > of those two Amendments. Both of them (one and two) give us much grief > when there are court battles about them. > My opinion: if number two means what many claim it means, that a 'well > regulated militia' refers to the National Guard or the military > service in general and this 'well regulated' National Guard or > military has a right to bear arms but the rest of us ordinary citizens > do _not_ have such a right, then I would have to say that is the one > item in the Bill of Rights which allows the _government_ (as opposed to > regular citizens a 'right'). The National Guard or the Army does not > have to get permission (in the form of a constitutional amendment) to > 'bear arms'. Think about it that way; the entire Bill of Rights was > written to provide we the people with certain rights; does it make > sense that the second amendment is an exception to that, and it > (second amendment) is to give the government 'rights'? The government > does not need protection from the people; the people are the ones > needing protection. So why would the Bill of Rights grant the 'right > to bear arms' to its own agencies (National Guard and Army, etc). > A 'well regulated militia', IMO, refers to _law abiding_ citizens who > wish to arm themselves. > Now if 'well regulated' equals 'law abiding' (instead of equalling 'a > government agency' as the government claims) then we have problems. > Far too many of us are not 'well regulated' in that sense; we grow > angry or we get drunk or we otherwise break the law and take our host- > ility out on police officers and other more 'well-regulated' > citizens. Does it seem a bit odd that the New York Times constantly > chatters about 'gun control' yet the late publisher of that journal > used to always get chauffered to work each day carrying a gun in his > suit pocket or briefcase? Many people think that 'gun control' should > apply to everyone else _except for themselves_. I can trust me, but I > can't trust you, that sort of thing. And you never hear of the ACLU > taking on a Second Amendment case; they seem to be happy with the > status quo also.


If I had to guess, and I do, I'd guess that the writers of the amendments wanted to leave their descendants some room to maneuver. The amendments weren't part of the original constitution because those who wrote it believed that some things should be either understood or left open to interpretation: they had, after all, just finished the war for independence, and had seen first hand how easily the common men could be stirred up and set to march, so it's my guess that they were a little afraid of having an absolute right to bear arms.

Nonetheless, the amendments were written and passed. I feel, though, that the second amendment was _suppossed_ to be vague: those who wrote it had heeded the lesson of the constitution's original authors. No one would advocate an absolute right to bear arms: a crazy man should not be able to buy a firearm, let alone bear or use one.

A "Well Regulated Militia" is, of necessity, a _group_ of soldiers, not an individual. My interpretation of the amendment is that it was intended both to give citizens the right to band together in armed groups when needed to protect their other rights, and also to prevent individuals from claiming the "right" to show up at town meeting with a flintlock.

Speaking of which, let's remember the class of firearms available in that era: single shot, muzzle loaded, non-rifled muskets which are, in comparison to today's machines, laughable. I don't and can't be made to believe that any of the amendment's authors would advocate a right of any private citizen, and probably not even of a militiaman, to have a submachine gun or even a Glock semi-automatic pistol.

The Founding Fathers were, above all else, mindful of "The Last Argument of Kings" -- a phrase engraved on one manarch's canons -- and I think they wanted this to be a never-ending debate. They got their wish.

FWIW. Your caliber may vary.

Charles Cryderman wrote:

Steve Sobol responded to a somewhat crass commit on Mr. Jennings: >> You're entitled to your opinion. However, I think you're exceedingly >> foolish if you believe any particular slant in ABC's coverage is the >> fault of Jennings or any other reporter. Your posthumous attack seems >> rather sleazy to me -- you should direct your ire at the people actually >> responsible for making decisions about coverage. > Actually Steve you are wrong on this one. Last night August 10, 2006, > ABC had a wonderful retrospective on Mr. Jennings. His title was > "Senior Editor, ABC World News Tonight". As such, he was given total > control over the content of "ABC World News Tonight - With Peter > Jennings". This included what stores to present and how they were to > be presented. [snip] > Chip Cryderman > [TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: I am not a 'proud gun owner' and in > fact guns scare me a lot. But I support the people who own them and > use them _properly_ as needed. If you went around Independence here, > you are not going to find a bunch of raving lunatics driving in the > streets waving or displaying or shooting off their weapons. But if > you went to at least a few private homes, you would find some weapons > put away, out of children's reach, unloaded, etc to be used as the need > arose. Peter Jennings was a good reporter, and he _did_ control the > stuff that went out on the air, but yes, he did have that one 'blind > spot' in his life; he did not 'believe in' the private ownership of > weapons, and he did not promote any positive publicity on private > gun ownership; many others in the media do not either. PAT]

It's no surprise that Mr. Jennings didn't believe in a "right" to have guns: for most of his life, he was a Canadian citizen.

That said, I'll also add that Mr. Jennings was a competitive television reporter, and he knew that telling people what they don't want to hear is a shortcut to the ratings cellar. I think he steered away from the topics because his polsters told him it was sure to offend a major portion of his viewers no matter what was said.

This won't be popular, but it needs mentioning anyway: Peter Jennings was a reflector of public opinion, not a creator. The attention paid to his death amazes me; I haven't bothered to check, but I'd bet that there were at least ten people more worthy of our admiration and remembrance who died on the same date. We have confused popularity with statesmanship, and glibness with oratory.

No matter what my opinion is of Mr. Jennings, the issue of gun "control" _deserves_ attention, and I'll ask you to ask yourself one question:

Do you know someone who would be dangerous if they owned a gun?

William (Filter noise from my email address for direct replies.)

[TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: Define 'dangerous' in your context. As in taking _my_ life, for example? Is that supposed to be a major issue? Anytime it is my turn to go, I can assure you I will; there is nothing to be afraid of. Death is actually the last thing I worry about.

And your theory on the Second Amendment is good, and worth considering. But I still want to know: the other nine (of the original ten 'basics') all address the protections given to _citizens_ in this land. Why should number two be an exception, and given the government the 'right to bear arms' (if well-regulated militia is taken to mean Army, National Guard, etc). The citizens have the right to speak, to have the religion they want, to be free from being searched or seized in their homes, etc. And then number two says 'the _government_ has the right to bear arms' ? Personally, I do not think so.

I have heard these folks who say (in a real pissy, whimpering tone of voice) "Well, we citizens do not have to bear arms, that is what the National Guard and Army is for." Usually I tell those folks "well, in that case we do not need free speech either; we have the New York Times and the Washington Post and Katherine Graham's News Weak magazine, and TELECOM Digest to do our speeches. Why do you need the right to speak also?"

And regards the 'final argument of Kings' that is also the final argument of the government is it not? Oh, we do not see them most days, and we 'voluntarily' do as we are told by the government, but the final solution, the gun, is back there waiting, is it not? And as needed, it will be produced and used. PAT]

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William Warren
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