St. Louis, MO—
Local conservative Frank “Bubba” Caliban, 49, recently realized he had not actually ever read the US Constitution, despite his professed love for the historical document, and he wanted to be able to say he had read it.
“I endeavored last week to read the whole document from front to back, just to make sure I was up to date with all of the lingo,” explained Caliban in a phone interview with The Halfway Post. “And yesterday I finally got to the part with the Amendments. It didn’t take long to arrive at the Second Amendment, and what I found it actually says has really challenged a lot about my politics on gun issues.”
[The full text of the Second 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 I’m starting to think that the Founding Fathers never intended to vehemently protect individual gun rights to weapons technology well beyond their 18th Century comprehension,” Caliban said. “The term ‘well regulated’ really was a curveball for me. I always thought it was just the ‘right to bear arms’ phrase, but, quite transparently, the third word of the Second Amendment clearly calls for gun regulations, and the second word ‘well’ explains that the focus on gun regulations should be serious. It also kind of implies the right to bear arms only in the context of militias or, rather, the ideal of collective, plural defense in a state-by-state basis. After all, at the time of the drafting of the Constitution, the states certainly viewed themselves as much more independent than they are now, and it should be noted that we seem to be honoring the rights to militias enshrined in the Second Amendment with our state National Guard organizations. So is it really tyrannical for the government to block private citizens from individually owning military-grade weapons? I’m starting to think that this fear of a tyrannical government I’ve lived my entire adult life wanting to be able to protect myself against is in many regards misguided.”
Mr. Caliban paused here, but The Halfway Post reporter stayed silent to encourage this revelation he was having.
“Because if we really want to follow the Constitution according to our democratic republic ideals, our government should never be tyrannical in the first place. The whole point of our experiment in democracy was to prove that people could self-govern without some kind of man-god, absolutist king, or other ruler held above the law taking disproportionate and unassailable power and control. We practically invented institutional checks and balances while the rest of Europe was afraid their kings would be forced to abdicate their thrones and the private property of nobles and the aristocracy seized by mob rule. And we have elections, so if at any time our government becomes tyrannical, the people have the political and democratic right to vote oppressors out of positions of power. There doesn’t need to be guns for internal, domestic arguments or debates. The best response to a tyrannical government or a polarized political era is not in hoarding some kind of radical-neighbor arsenal with fear of people who don’t politically agree with you, but rather civic attention, engagement, and participation. Good ideas always defeat bad ideas. and if America is going to live up to its ideals, citizens need principled, sober and rational discourse powered by serious electoral campaigns and informed votes to respond to our civic frustrations and electoral disappointments in the public forum by building and fostering popular consensus. Millions of people individually choosing to stock up on guns only exacerbates our societal and governmental failures. Our self-government was never meant to necessitate citizens fearing and hating their own democracy enough to constantly prepare themselves for civil war. I should know, I just finally read the Constitution and actually understand it now. So don’t buy an assault rifle to defend your democracy and the Constitution, go to city council meetings, join your kids’ parent-teacher associations, plant flowers in your local park, adopt a highway, share some petitions, donate money to causes you like, and regularly call your Congress representatives and senators!”
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(Photo courtesy of Mario Piperni.)