• pisher

    Excellent piece, and very well-argued. Americans tend not to know much about their history, and so, ironically, don’t know how much it affects present-day attitudes.

    But you could learn the same lesson from reading Mark Twain.

  • jeff s

    The Second Amendment was put in because the south wanted to make sure its states could keep their militias in order to confront possible slave rebellions.

    • pisher

      That was one major factor, but it wasn’t the only one. The fact is, there were a lot of areas where any number of dangers (including a British invasion) were possible, and there was no standing army. The Federal government couldn’t respond quickly to localized threats. Militias made sense.

      To this day, the Swiss have a huge number of privately owned guns, and that’s because the Swiss have a militia tradition of their own–every citizen is expected to be ready to defend the country from attack.

      However, they are not allowed more than three guns per person, and ammunition is kept in a central storage location.

      There are similar laws in Germany.

      So our existing laws are really not well-suited to any kind of well-ordered militia. We’re more of a disordered rabble when it comes to guns.

      • Herb Powell

        It’s also noteworthy that, after the US, nearly all the highest per capita gun ownership is in Canada, Europe and Australia, places that also rank at the bottom in per capita homicides. Even with the US leading the world in guns per capita, several times over, the US homicide rate is about average. Likewise, nearly all nations with the highest HOMICIDE rates have average or lower gun ownership rates. The difference isn’t the relative amount of guns, but the regulations on guns to make sure the WRONG people don’t get weapons to which everyone else is freely entitled.

        Good luck convincing anyone in the “guns/abortion for all” vs. “guns/abortions for none” debate of that though. Those are the two issues where Americas radical minority poles dominate the debate to the exclusion of the rational majority. NO majority will ever support any “reform” as long as the sole options are two incredibly dangerous ones. Asked if recent mass shootings justify 1) banning ALL guns or 2) arming EVERYONE, most people will say something like “even the current badly flawed policy is better than EITHER of those suicidal ones.” Gridlock to prevent insanity, if you like.

        • pisher

          I think one thing you could do would be to concentrate more on ammo, without which guns are useless. Nobody needs more than a few rounds at any given time to defend him or herself. Mass shootings are not possible when the shooter is out of bullets. And of course the gun lobby would fight this like hell–and people would run out and hoard ammo–but it would have an impact, all the same.

          You’re right in that we have to avoid extremes–move things towards consensus. It won’t happen anytime soon, but it will happen.

          • Herb Powell

            Still the wrong focus: We can, should and most of the West DOES prevent people who have no business with ANY weapon getting one anyway, WITHOUT denying anyone ELSE any gun or ammo. Allowing competent responsible gun owners a dozen rounds instead of three doesn’t suddenly and inexpilcably make them a public menace, and limiting incompetent irresponsible ones to <4 random murders at a time doesn't magically make them safe. Leftists generally recognize that when it comes to free speech, freedom of worship and privacy rights: We don't repeal the First Amendment because of Grand Wizards shouting, "KILL THE JEWS!" at Klan rallies.

            The Fifth Amendments ban on denying any person life, liberty (certainly including other constitutionally protected rights) or property without due process of law means we can't universally revoke a constitutionally protected right just because a few people abuse it. But it also means we can and routinely DO use due process of law to deny/revoke many liberties from people proven unqualified. That's why minors and people proven felons and/or mentally incompetent don't have the constitutionally protected right to vote (which the Fourteenth and Twenty-Fourth Amendments otherwise guarantee twice over,) and are further denied other rights, such as signing contracts, enlisting in the military, serving on juries etc. It's not unreasonable to mandate checks on whether someone's already disqualified before buying a gun, and most people claiming otherwise for constitutional gun rights are the same ones demanding such checks for constitutional voting rights.

            Don't let bad people have guns, do let good people have guns, and find out whether someone's proven bad BEFORE selling them a gun. This isn't complicated stuff, and most other Western democracies manage to simultaneously maintain the worlds lowest murder and highest gun ownership rates by just that means.

      • Ashby87

        Guess the Swiss aren’t crazy.

  • fortunev

    I would go even farther back in history to the actual “founding” ie: theft of land from what were once sovereign political entities when the pink horde arrived on western hemisphere shores. Those murdering invaders and thieves carried not only guns but other arms as well and vicious dogs to enforce their will. Nothing has changed. The US is the foundling of evil beings. The ingrained solution to the resistance of pink so-called superior civilized beings is violent death. Still. Today.

    • pisher

      Okay, this is just the left-wing version of crazy talk.

      ALL nations, including those tribal nations the Europeans displaced, used violence and weapons to get land away from other people. Yes, they were treated very badly and unfairly, but c’mon–Europe was a land of nonviolence and justice? I studied European history. They were MUCH MUCH worse. They ain’t so perfect right now. But they don’t have major problems with guns. Why? It isn’t because they’re especially good people, kiddo. Hate to tell you. And all our evils are descended from theirs (and a lot of good stuff too, obviously).

      The people who founded this country were no more evil than anyone else. It is a fair statement to say that founding a very wild place full of people who are angry about you taking their land had something to do with our present-day attachment to guns, but then it should be equalized over all of America, not so focused in the south, where slavery was most prevalent

      And your saying all this is a way for you to feel good about yourself, and then do absolutely nothing. It’s a cop-out.

      • pbrower2a

        Early American settlers needed their guns because on the frontier one always faced danger from wild animals or Indian attack. One couldn’t reach for a cell phone and dial 911 if one encountered a rabid dog; the most that one could do under the circumstance if one lacked a gun was to pray. And don’t forget — guns were also for acquiring some venison for dinner.

        • pisher

          Guns were not actually that commonly owned in early America. It’s not like there was one in every house. That didn’t really start until mass production became a thing. Before that, guns were made one at a time, by craftsmen. The best hunting guns were rifles, which had to be slowly and carefully loaded, making them less effective for any purpose other than shooting at game (the Continental Army did make some good use of them for long-range sniping, but in a pitched battle, they had to be backed up by faster-loading muskets, or they’d get overrun).

          But yes, that’s a big part of it. A large number of early settlers needed and used guns on a regular basis. They weren’t obsessed with them. They regarded them as tools. Europe doesn’t have that frontier tradition–not with guns as a part of it, anyway.

          Canada does, of course. I think their main advantage is that they don’t have anywhere near our population density–larger land area, vastly smaller numbers. Even so, they’ve had more gun-related problems than we tend to remember. Including some pretty bad mass shootings.

      • fortunev

        Wow, you pink privilege supremacists are able to formulate any explanation to justify your violent thinking and behavior. And you feel good about it besides.

        • pisher

          “Pink privilege supremacists”?

          Did you make that up, or is that actually a think now?

          Either way, you’re exactly the kind of person the conservatives would love–too weak and stupid to do them any harm. You’re their best friend. Hand them some more elections, why don’t you? You know you want to. Because it makes you feel so special.

  • Herb Powell

    The US gun culture truly is rooted in “the shot heard round the world” commencing the American Revolution because soldiers marched to disarm private citizens, who resisted by MEANS of arms. The British Army found CANNON buried behind a Concord tavern, after all. For the record, that’s not Concord, SC nor VA, but Concord MASSACHUSETTS, a NORTHERN state among the first colonies to ban slavery, and ideologically joined with Pennsylvania as the heart of abolitionist country.

    Without that first ACT of independence, formal Declaration of it OVER A YEAR LATER never would’ve happened. Or, if it had, Jefferson and the rest of the Founding Fathers would’ve been hung as traitors within a fortnight. Even the best words alone didn’t–couldnt–free the colonies, NOR FREE THE SLAVES. The Emancipation Proclamation didn’t win the Civil War: The Vicksburg Campagin did, after Northern liberals with guns prevented Lees invasion winning the war less than a year after its start.

    That doesn’t mean we don’t need gun regulations; even the Second Amendment banning ANY infringement of the right to keep and bear arms doesn’t mean that. The Framers remembered Concord veteran Daniel Shays’ rebellion as well as Concord itself, so the Constitutions first article expressly empowers Congress to “discipline” (i.e. REGULATE) militia, and the USC effectively defines “militia” as all law-abiding adult citizens, so EVERYONES guns are constitutionaly subject to federal regulation. Both sides need to remember regulation=/=restriction: Throttles REGULATE engine speed; only thermodynamics RESTRICTS it. If the DMV can require eye tests and progressively harder competence tests for progressively larger and more powerful vehicles, a constitutionally empowered Congress can do the same for guns. If only because of the absurd dangers of saying blind people can’t own and operate cars but have a constitutional right to own and operate guns.

    Yet the harsh reality is that the people most inclined to trample the rights of others are also most inclined to have guns and least inclined to adhere to gun regulations. Resisting their bullets solely with laws and other words won’t fare any better than it would’ve at Concord or Gettysburg. We can sneer at the notion “the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,” but when cops respond to someone shooting up a neighborhood they don’t just tackle the shooter after waiting for him to empty all of his ammo into innocent bystanders. Tennesses Lieutenant Governor is right about the threat and (partial) solution to shooting sprees; he’s simply wrong about the perpetrators. Always remember that when guns our outlawed, only Clive Bundy will have guns.

  • tweaver1945

    Ah so, well if this stuff is true – this brings us back to a way to settle disagreements: Dueling
    Let’s line up all the liberals and give them the opportunity to win their arguments.

    • Ashby87


  • Red Phillips

    A British colonel embedded as an observer in Lee’s army once remarked that Southerners were the most polite people he had ever encountered, but that he noticed they all seemed to carry guns all the time, and maybe that was the reason.

    • pbrower2a

      Seeing a gun causes me to be more cautious about the person.

  • Detroitdic

    I can’t quite imagine a world where disillusioned Southern youths are using a cell phone tree to call out there buddies to a modern day lynching. May be this informs us where we’ve been but hopefully not where we’re going.

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