People debating the 2nd Amendment are losing their sense of context…
The right to bear arms started before guns were made. In a time when men were still hunter-gatherers, they would let bears gather berries to save them time and steal them after hunting the bears bare-handed, which is how “bare hands” got started. Bears wrestled back and so the men kept the arms as trophies because it was hard, cause bears are like soooo strong.
The reality is that its been around 250 years since the 2nd Amendment was drafted and nobody seems to have a clue about the context of its creation which certainly ought to impact its application today.
The founding fathers had never considered nuclear weapons…they didn’t know what a nucleus was since science hadn’t advanced that far yet. They simply failed to consider the advent of futuristic weaponry. Tanks, automatic machine guns, gatling guns were still a century out, and warfare was far from what it has become today. They were aware of weapons like rifles and cannons, catapults, handheld weapons, perhaps early explosives…but they reflected on centuries of humans utilizing relatively modest weapons in situations that generally required it (at least subjectively).
What they knew based on experience was the human condition’s tendency toward abuse of power and corruption, after many lineages of kings and lords. Thus, the rules were decided upon based on the need to ensure the people had a fair chance of maintaining a fair government that is ruled by them and for them and represents them.
The 2nd Amendment was designed to balance the power between the citizenry and their empowered actors. The rule was created on the belief that it was necessity for democratic government to even function properly, considering the realities of the human condition and the expected nature of the would-be government. Up until the time of the founding of America, governments were oppressive and “ruled by the sword” and the founding fathers never wanted that to take place again.
The American Revolution was against King George III who was perpetually taxing the hell out of people and taking their property, like people tend to do when they get power. It even said in the Declaration of Independence that overthrow/revolt is not to be taken lightly, but only after irreconcilable and many grievances. The problem was that the people couldn’t even revolt because the king has so much military power: armies with lots of guns and strategic advantages from their established order. Soldiers complied either because of idiotic-mindless obedience (or they were essentially mercenaries, getting paid either actually or in the form of having a nice cush role in a strong government). This left people defenseless without weapons and organization sufficient to wage legitimate battle.
So finally, when they came to America they started some new shit. KGIII had trouble controlling things in the Americas. He wanted continued taxation but he couldn’t do shit cause he didn’t have planes or huge battle ships to come tear rebel ass up. The only people following his plans were British soldiers who tried their best but ended up getting waxed. These clowns thought tea was super dope and it made no sense but people paid hella money for it, almost like killer kush or something today. So rather than sending that shit back to let KGIII profit from it, they just dumped it in the ocean off the edge of the ship before it sailed back and it was like “Fuck you” to the king who nobody liked anyways. All they sent him was a note that said they were gonna do their own thing and the king needs to mind his own biz, ya dig?!
That’s the short skinny of the Declaration of Independence and the foundation of America. There are tons of people who played a role in this giant drama, but from a social theory and inspirational movement, that is pretty basic. Humanity wanted a new, better form of government. One that treated people more fairly and allowed them to live peacefully and prosper together. So they decided it was time to make a new government.
They all hooked up and had this big meeting and it was cray like people were arguing hella much but for sure everybody was like “damn, yeah, governments can be tyrannasauruses and peoples need to be able to fight back or else there’s no balance” so they gotta be able to have guns or whatever weapons really. Whatever they need to not deal with fucked up shit. Lil Wayne’s great-great-great-great-great-grandpa was there and started singing “always strapped” and Ben Franklin was like “nah, bruh, not everybody gotta have guns on em all the time” and ol’ man weezy was like “haters gonna hate” and Ben was like “aiiight, i feel you bro…by the way, I got some self-portraits you might like” and so they traded ideas around it was bomb-diggety and everyone wrote down a rule that said people gotta be able to have weapons to overthrow an oppressive government, and so it was kinda like everybody was chill, it was dope…which is why the government they made has lasted over two centuries now and its like, people have their problems, but its cool.
The point: the fundamental purpose behind citizens’ right to maintain weapons has been obscured. It is fundamentally connected to the Declaration of Independence’s statements about the duty of people to overthrow corrupt and oppressive governments…of course after many grievances—a decision not to be made lightly since it seriously disrupts necessary order and changes the world forever.
Personal self-protection is essentially a different argument altogether, and the governments right to restrict certain people from obtaining weapons out of public safety is proper as long as there are measures to prevent hidden agendas or corruption from operating within this context. The issue is a valid one that people, attorneys, lobbyists, etc., can and will continue through time, and statistics will be altered but ultimately prove gun violence not to be too drastic compared with the millions of other risks and violent harms people face…such as legal alteration of “food” at the genetic level or the use of immense chemicals for preservative or other carcinogenic purposes. Activism on both sides make fair arguments and obviously deaths through gun violence is tragic regardless of context, but it misses the larger point that it is about the ability of people to abolish the government if necessary. For this reason, license requirements nullify the point of having some sort of citizen military advantage over government.
Does it even matter? No. Social change over time has demeaned the original purpose entirely. Society has changed so much that citizen armament against the government is absurd. The people could just form their own communal government and begin operations immediately, if necessary. However, most meaningful changes can be made within the existing structure, people just don’t know how.
Besides, the weapons and physical capabilities of the U.S. government are insanely high, and even if every one of the citizens had an AR-15, tons of ammo, and even grenades, it would probably still be impossible to overthrow the U.S. once the army strategized against it—it’s designed to deal with foreign entities, but surely could adjust quickly. The ways the U.S. government would be overthrown is more likely through secret collaborative infiltration of the political systems (double-identity politicians), perhaps suicidal sabotage, even something unforeseeable like mere communal organization across various agricultural lands, replacing the need for a strong large scale government. It would piss them off something fierce when they couldn’t collect taxes in monetary form anymore and had to come seize property in the form of a basket of tomatoes or a make-shift grain elevator motor.
From a national view, society is incredibly sectarian in mostly invisible ways (a discussion for another rantangent) anyways. So with the original purpose of the 2nd Amendment rendered moot, the question can reasonably shift to individual-level gun regulation. It’s also the most striking relationship to continue into post-modernity.
Still, it’s all madness and debating guns is pretty pointless when there are so many other questions of the future of American governance…and its pretty obvious people should keep the right to basic level weapons reasonably necessary to protect themselves and the law will review their actions if incidents occur, as they do. The government for sure can regulate who might justifiably be denied these rights based on certain conduct. It might not be so illegitimate to ban some types of weapons from the public domain. No individual should be able to have their own bazookas or atomic bombs or anything of that caliber. The founding fathers debated tirelessly about citizens rights to acquire nuclear warheads and the hearing minutes dialogue shows that John Quincy Adams thought they should, but that that it should be taxed a higher rate, and so they all agreed and the precedent for government policymaking was normalized and continues to this very day.
Over time, an apparent need for new government will inevitably occur, but that time is unlikely soon…maybe? After 2020 who knows, devoting resources to rioters or other internal defiance / citizen conflict is likely to continue in this divided nation with economic stability issues…but it won’t be from fear of overthrow, only civil order maintenance. Practically the government could use some slight edits.
The American government has had a very hard time discovering it’s post-modern role. Questions about involvement in various aspects of institutions or citizens lives are trying. In modernity, individual freedom is supreme and therefore governments ought to be able to draw lines in its relationship to society differently. Other arenas that require involvement need a sound relationship dynamic which has historically taken the form of incentive through “funding with rules” or taxation methods, which usually only make sense to the extent that the participant will be affected financially and cannot work around it….yadda yadda, blah blah, rantangent, blah blah. The evidence of massive societal shift in understanding the nature of the government and the social context of our lives is undermining so many aspects of the principles of our government, far beyond the things the citizens have debated for decades.
Governments are a living thing and our lives are supposed to be governed by institutions believing in the pursuit of Happiness before institutions are formed. It seems to me the government has become a toppling institutional hierarchy in various ways, and I question whether it was intended to be this way as a democratic republic. The government should not be a babysitter or a personal fundraiser for the wanty, nor an empire ruling by force or secret manipulations or covert surveillance…but something altogether more sophisticated, public and agreeable to the people.
Please, don’t forget to remember that We are The People and it is our duty to overthrow our government and start a new one if if if if if if if if the list of grievances we have against it becomes too long. We may have to do it with weapons if that time ever comes…but we likely possess the ability, the savvy, the wherewithal, the love of humanity to do it without. Until then, we can do our best to thrive in our communities and see if the government helps, hurts, or stays out of it, and from thence we can determine how to move forward.