Heller ruling on 2nd Amendment: legerdemain

“To the leaders, skeptics and cynics who told us to sit down, stay silent and wait your turn, welcome to the revolution.”

I finished reading The Quartet: Orchestrating the Second American Revolution, 1783-1789 by Joseph J. Ellis (2015). The title refers to George Washington, James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, and John Jay. More about the book in the future.

In reading the footnotes – what a nerd! -one jumped out at me. “…for judicial devotees of the ‘original intent’ doctrine” – what DID the Founders mean? – “Madison’s motives” in crafting what became the Second Amendment to the Constitution “are clear beyond any doubt.”

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.

“To wit, the right to bear arms derived from the needs to make state militias the core pillar of national defense” rather than a professional, federal army, which skeptics of federalism feared as threats to small-r republican values. .

“To avoid reaching that conclusion, the [Supreme Court] majority opinion in Heller [v. District of Columbia, 2008], written by Justice Antonin Scalia, is an elegant example of legalistic legerdemain masquerading as erudition. Madison is rolling over in his grave.”

Those not familiar with the fancy noun, it means 1. sleight of hand 2. trickery; deception 3. any artful trick.

In other words, the suggestion that Scalia’s argument is originalist is pure hokum. The Supreme Court had made only a couple rulings over two centuries on that amendment and, it would seem, got it wrong the second time.

In making this ruling, SCOTUS has empowered folks, including some in the powerful National Rifle Association, to argue that ANY limitation on gun ownership is unconstitutional. If the First Amendment can be proscribed – no yelling “fire” in a crowded theater unless there are actually flames – surely the Second can be also.

My wife and I were watching NBC Nightly News on March 24, the day of March for Our Lives rallies all over the world. One of the early stories was Museums across the nation work to archive mementos of grief left after shootings. There is actually a protocol for collecting those items left after mass murders! “Jeff Schwartz of the Parkland [Florida] Historical Society is relying on advice from… curators across the country — from Columbine, Colorado, to Charleston, South Carolina — who have all faced such situations.” We both wept.

So I’m not all that concerned about the “crass ageism” of some of the survivors. The Parkland kids, as of March 24, had been in the media spotlight 39 days, still grieving. I cut them a LOT of slack. “To the leaders, skeptics and cynics who told us to sit down, stay silent and wait your turn, welcome to the revolution,” Marjory Stoneman Douglas student Cameron Kasky told the throngs in DC. “Either represent the people or get out. Stand for us or beware.”

I don’t know what the change in the gun culture will be, but I remain cautiously optimistic, because I have to be.

From The Doors:
The old get old
And the young get stronger
May take a week
And it may take longer
They got the guns
But we got the numbers
Gonna win, yeah
We’re takin’ over
Come on!

Parkland: different response to latest mass shooting?

“This is not a political issue. This is not a constitutional debate. This is a pandemic that’s killing children.”

Unaccustomed as I am to optimism about public policy, I have found guarded optimism that SOMETHING to address the factors that led to the most recent mass casualty shooting, at the high school in Parkland, Florida, will be enacted, perhaps before the November 2018 elections.

I think that it won’t be just the same as every other time, with the predictable articles about how predictable the response will be, such as this from the Boston Globe:

Mass shootings have become so familiar that they seem to follow the same sad script. He will be a man, or maybe still a boy.
He will have a semiautomatic rifle — an AR-15, or something like it — and several high-capacity magazines filled with ammunition.
The weapon will have been purchased legally, the background check no obstacle.

The reason: it’s the anger, the rage.

From here: According to Cameron Kasky, there were many heroes at the Florida high school that former student Nikolas Cruz shot up on Wednesday, — but he see’s no heroism in the words of Republicans who only offer their ‘thoughts and prayers.’

“This is the only country where this kind of thing happens. I’ve heard from other people, they don’t have gun drills. We had to prepare extensively at Stoneman Douglas. This is something that can be stopped and will be stopped.

“This is the time to talk about guns… But there’s much more that can be done, much more that needs to be done and much more that people like Senator Marco Rubio [who was Three Billboarded] and Governor Rick Scott are not doing.”

From here: One student, identified as Sarah on her Twitter account… “I don’t want your condolences, you f@#$ing piece of s#!*;, my friends and teachers were shot. Multiple of my fellow classmates are dead. Do something instead of sending prayers. Prayers won’t fix this. But Gun control will prevent it from happening again.”

Back in February 2017 the regime made it EASIER for people with mental illness to buy guns. As a Broward County official said, “How can you come here and talk about how horrible it is, when you support these laws?”

Adding to the outrage is the news that, on January 5, the FBI received a tip to a public reporting line that Nikolas Cruz might carry out a school shooting, but failed to pass the information to its Miami field office or investigate any further.

Mother of slain Parkland teen screams in grief and leaves CNN reporter, congressman speechless.

From here.: Bess Kalb, a writer on Jimmy Kimmel Live, responded directly to condolence tweets from members of Congress by pointing out the amount of money each federal lawmaker has taken from the NRA —which has shamelessly advocated for less restrictive laws on firearms in the wake of gun-related tragedies.

“This is not a political issue. This is not a constitutional debate. This is a pandemic that’s killing children. And it’s perpetrated by hypocrites who preach a doctrine of ‘life’ but take money from a profit-driven gun lobby,” Kalb said in a tweet.

To that end, Russian Bots Hit Twitter With Pro-Gun Tweets After School Shooting.

So sure, the calls to ban AR-15s and high-capacity magazines have already run into the SECOND AMENDMENT!/Gun Bans Won’t Work In America/What if teachers had been armed? arguments

I remember the polite pleas of the parents of the adorable six- and seven-year-olds slain in Newtown, CT in December 2012. They were almost always unfailingly polite in their sadness as they unsuccessfully advocated for change. But Parkland just might be the rude political tipping point I’ve been simultaneously dreading and hoping for.