Back in the early Seventies one of my favorite rock bands was Guess Who, a Canadian group who came out against US society metaphorically with American Woman (“keep away from me… Mama let me be…”). Another of their songs was Guns, Guns, Guns — against shooting caribou and other living things indiscriminantly.
Guns is one issue. But the rest of the world has trouble understanding a political system that first gets a President in with a landslide indicating a mandate for radical change, then the first time he even partly succeeds with watered-down change people call for his blood. More on this in Part 2 of this series on the U.S. Constitution.
It seems there are so many ‘checks and balances’ in the system that meaningful change is virtually impossible. Once something stupid is institutionalised across the country, not even the literal meaning of the Constitution can change it. Take the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. As contained in the Bill of Rights as distributed to and ratified by the states in December 1791, it reads:
“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.”
Nowhere does it say individuals can bear arms according to their own conscience. In fact, exactly the opposite. It seems for the past 200 years Jefferson’s words have been deliberately ignored.
Anyone who can comprehend the English language at a level of more than one phrase and connected clause in the same sentence, can see that the right to keep a gun is wholly dependent on three clear conditions: 1) Its use is to be by a militia (nowhere does it say individual) 2) Its use is for defense 3) Its use is to be by the People, requiring an organisation of said citizens and implying corporate permission and responsibility for each instance of use.
It is therefore clear that the U.S. has its own Constitution badly wrong, has been wrong all these years since individual gun ownership and use has become so popular, and has no intention (by consensus) of correcting this glaring misreading that could have been corrected by any Year 7 student. The Founding Fathers must be spinning in their graves at this travesty in interpretation which has been perpetrated and perpetuated by generations of Justices of the United States Supreme Court.
When I brought this discrepancy in interpretation of the Amendment up to an American-born expatriate professor in international law, who happens to be a longstanding acquaintance, and finally pinned him down to the inescapable meaning of the amendment in English, his resort was: “Well, try taking their right to guns away from Americans!” Not exactly a legal argument. But this seems to be what it boils down to. Successive generations of increasingly gun-happy Americans have twisted the meaning of the original words to mean anything they want.
This could be the biggest propaganda lie in popular literature since George Orwell’s “Some are more equal than others.”
The bottom line is: Most murders in the U.S. are not premeditated but are unplanned crimes of opportunity — committed on the spur of the moment or at least under the sway of strong emotion: simply because guns are a handy recourse to a ‘solution’. Reduce the handy availability of guns according to the Constitution, and reduce murders wholesale.