Bad American

Woody Harrelson: I’m an American tired of American lies . Nice parallax with this piece on being a “Bad American” by Ted Nugent, although it turns out that Nugent did not actually write the piece ascribed to him. I part company where “he” (and others) resist the notion that the Constitution is a living document. The same “rigid” Consitution once called a black man 3/5 of a man. We got rid of that bit when our culture and our minds changed, didn’t we? The Constitution is not immutable. Somehow I don’t think The Framers had the likes of the Beltway Sniper in mind when they guaranteed us our right to own Personal Laser Cannons.

2 Replies to “Bad American”

  1. Clearly the framers of the Constitution did not intend for people like the beltway sniper to be included in the right to keep and bear arms. They intended people who do things like that to be caught, tried and convicted by a jury of their peers if there was sufficient evidence, in prison, or (probably) hanged.

    They did, however, feel that an armed populace was important enough as the final check of federal power to take the risk of the beltway sniper’s existence. Madison, the author of the Bill of Rights, wrote “Oppressors can tyrannize only when they achieve a standing army, an enslaved press, and a disarmed populace.” It’s very clear from numerous writings of the various framers of the Constitution that they did feel that the entire populace should be armed in order to prevent government from running amok. These men were very cynical about the nature of people in power.

    I think one can also argue that they felt it was likely that the aforementioned armed populice would shoot *back* at the beltway sniper, but that’s harder to argue with any certainty without quoting the kinds of quotes you find on anti-gun-control websites, which I’m leary of doing because I am not certain of the context they’re taken out of. Certainly they produced a Constitution which essentially prohibits law enforcement being proactive with respect to individual criminals, and given that, it seems to me that the onus of defending oneself as required is on the individual.

    I think it also bears noting that the national rate for violent crimes has actually been decreasing since 1993, according to http://www.whitehouse.gov/fsbr/crime.html – although you would certainly never know it watching the news. As the events of September 11,2001 proved, innocent victims of violent crime make the best news. So while I’m sympathetic, certainly, to the people who’s loved ones are victims of the freeway sniper, I’m reluctant to say that this sniper is more than just that, a local crime spree getting far too much media coverage, and I’m certainly unwilling to make the next step – which I might add you don’t seem to either – and say that his or her existence means we must need better gun control.

    -Jim

  2. I didn’t mean to suggest that the Framers wanted snipers running around – I was really pointing to the cultural madness that’s only exacerbated by our gun culture.

    That aside, I don’t buy the business about us protecting ourselves from goverment running amok. I mean, *if* a government decided to overrun the people, do you think they’d do it with pistols? It’s hard for me to imagine exactly what kind of weapons we would need to defend ourselves from a govt that turned bad today – but I know rifles and handguns wouldn’t do it.

    So there goes that argument. As for decreasing rates of violence, that may be so, but it’s also true that homicide rates by gun in the U.S. are literally hundreds of times per capita what they are in other countries.

    This could become a long and involved thread and I’m not sure I want to go there. Why don’t we both go see Bowling for Columbine and check back here for recon?

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