Wednesday, July 9, 2008

The New York Sun Hits a Home Run on Heller!

The New York Sun published an editorial by John Stossel today that is right on the money. It cuts through the BS the so-called “mainstream press” has been shoving down the nation’s throat in the wake of the Heller decision.

Some of the highlights of this excellent editorial:

What has caused so much confusion about the Amendment is its preface: "A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state ... "

In striking down Washington, D.C.'s three-decade-old handgun ban, Justice Antonin Scalia wrote that the preface merely "announces the purpose for which the right was codified: to prevent elimination of the militia" by the new national government. "The prefatory clause," he continued, "does not suggest that preserving the militia was the only reason Americans valued the ancient right; most undoubtedly thought it even more important for self-defense and hunting."

But for the four dissenters, the preface limits the right to keep and bear arms to military purposes. In their view, if the Framers of the Second Amendment wanted private individuals to have guns for hunting and self-defense, they would have said so.

Justice John Paul Stevens points to "the Second Amendment's omission of any statement of purpose related to the right to use firearms for hunting or personal self-defense."

I suppose one could argue that the omission indicates the Framers of the Constitution didn't mean to protect that right. But I find that hard to believe. The right of self-defense — against homegrown tyrants as well as common criminals — was much on the minds of Americans in the late 18th century. Justice Scalia notes that "During the 1788 [constitutional] ratification debates, the fear that the federal government would disarm the people in order to impose rule through a standing army or select militia was pervasive."

George Mason, for example, acknowledged father of the Bill of Rights, wrote: "To disarm the people [is] the best and most effectual way to enslave them."

And Thomas Jefferson: "[W]hat country can preserve its liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms."

Has this guy been reading my blog? Probably not, but he hits the nail right on the head with some of the same factual basis that I’ve published here before. The Framers clearly saw individual firearm ownership as the one and only true safeguard of liberty. However, Mr. Stossel continues:

But there is something else that many analysts of the decision have missed.

The Bill of Rights did not create rights. It acknowledged them. Right before the July 4 holiday, it shouldn't have been necessary to remind the four Supreme Court dissenters of what Jefferson wrote in the Declaration of Independence:

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. ... "

For Jefferson and his colleagues, first, there were individuals with rights, then there was government to protect them. The Framers of the Second Amendment did not say, "The people shall have the right to keep and bear arms." They wrote, "the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."

WE HAVE A WINNER!!! The Tribune and all of the other so-called “mainstream” papers like to gloss over this point. They treat individual rights the same way the former Soviet Union did – they are granted by a government and can be regulated and taken away by a government. In short they see our individual rights not as inalienable, but rather as “privileges” which are subject to the whim and will of the regime.

Stossel also addresses the alleged “upsurge in violence” aspect of the question:

The four dissenting justices fear the Supreme Court's decision will unleash a flood of gun violence. Unlikely. "Criminals do not have a problem getting guns." Mr. Palmer reminded me. They are not deterred by gun control. It's law-abiding people who wish to protect themselves and their families who suffer when guns are banned.

Again – this guy absolutely GETS it. It’s a sad day when the opinion best supported by facts and history seems to be the contrarian view in the media. Hopefully as time goes by people will wake up to the fact that as goes the Second Amendment, so go all of the inalienable rights affirmed (not GRANTED!) in our Constitution.

Until next time!

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