Rewrite the Second Amendment

The Second Amendment to the US Constitution 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.

I suggest that, for simplicity sake, Congress quickly and officially rewrite it to reflect today’s popular meme (and weed out that ‘well regulated Militia’ nonsense which the Supreme Court invariably ignores anyway), then promptly send it to the various states for ratification. My proposal for the substance of a revised version is:

The funnest right of each and every idiot — to own/use Guns and bear bare Arms — shall never be infringed.

Let me explain. A little over a month ago (August 21, 2012), I received a letter from the Center for Biological Diversity; it read as follows:

It’s as sick as it is inevitable.

This week a reality TV show is broadcasting the killing of a wolf in Montana. “It’s the funnest thing I’ve done in years,” the gleeful host crows after shooting the wolf with a high-powered rifle.

Viewers flocking to the northern Rockies to join in this “fun” will [soon] have even more chances to kill wolves . . . Interior Secretary Ken Salazar is rushing the approval to ensure Wyoming’s wolf-kill plan will be carried out as scheduled this fall, even though the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service rejected a similar plan by Wyoming last year . . . Wyoming’s plan will allow wolves to be indiscriminately killed outside Yellowstone National Park and a few other safe havens: 80 percent of the state will become a wolf-killing zone.

That means close to 200 wolves — highly social animals with intricate family structures — will be shot or trapped to death. Many of them just had pups this spring. If the government has its way, it will be open season on Wyoming’s wolf families.

The reality show host/wolf killer calls wolf advocates . . . “a bunch of wingnut screwballs” for trying to save the wolves. Apparently, in the world of reality TV, basic humaneness earns you screwball status.

“It’s the funnest thing I’ve done in years.” Right. And of course IF he might one day be disallowed the right to own a gun (much less use one indiscriminately), then there would never again be a “funnest thing” available to him for doing, and he would surely soon succumb to boredom and lack of fun, an intolerable (and absolutely un-Amurkan) consequence.

Besides, what kind of ‘wingnut screwball’ would want ‘to save the (goddamn) wolves’ in the first place? Right? Right. Them wolves is killers, right? Right (and yes, I do admit it’s true that wolves do sometimes kill cattle; my only question is, do they kill enough of the damn things!),

Yesterday I received a followup letter on the same matter, this time from Defenders of Wildlife. It points out the sobering reality that the Wyoming wolf slaughter will begin in earnest via “uncontrolled shooting, trapping and gassing starting at 12:01am September 30.” That’s tomorrow; “the funnest thing” excursion for each and every Armed Idiot in Wyoming will be underway at one minute past midnight. Tomorrow. The entire letter (minus embedded hyperlinks) reads as follows:

By this Sunday, most of Wyoming will be transformed into a free fire zone for wolves. We are leaving no stone unturned in our efforts to stop the killing before it begins.

Under current Wyoming state law, wolves in 85 percent of the state will be subject to unlimited and uncontrolled shooting, trapping and gassing starting at 12:01am September 30.

Only weeks ago, Interior Secretary Salazar stripped Wyoming’s wolves of Endangered Species Act (ESA) protection. It was pure politics. We have already served notice that we are filing a lawsuit against the federal government’s removal of Endangered Species Act protection for Wyoming wolves.

But by the time our case is heard it will be too late for many of Wyoming’s wolves, unless the State abandons its indefensible plan.

Up to 60 percent of Wyoming’s wolf population could ultimately be wiped out.

The restoration of wolves in the lower 48 is one of the greatest success stories of the Endangered Species Act. The withdrawal of ESA protection and approval of an indefensible wolf management plan turns the clock back on decades of conservation progress.

We have already seen what can happen if the fate of wolves is turned over to states with extreme anti-wolf plans in place. The 2011 delisting of Idaho’s wolves was disastrous and deadly — more than 400 of that state’s wolves were killed within the first year of delisting. And more than 100 of Montana’s wolves have met the same fate.  Now Wyoming is poised to follow suit with an even worse wolf plan.

No other animal has gone from protected wildlife to predatory  “pest” status overnight — until now. Under Wyoming’s plan, wolves that wander beyond the invisible border of the northwest corner of the state can be shot, gassed or trapped by anyone at any time. No license required. It’s open season on wolves, plain and simple.

No other animal — not bears, not mountain lions — are subject to the double standard that permits wolves across much of the state to be shot as vermin.

In only hours, Wyoming’s extreme wolf-killing plan will go into effect, and Defenders is calling on our supporters to shine the spotlight on this shameful management plan.

Guns. More than 150 years ago, American poet Emily Dickinson wrote, in one of her many moments of brilliance, a poem which speaks from the point-of-view of a Loaded Gun, a hunting rifle.

My Life had stood — a Loaded Gun —
In Corners — till a Day
The Owner passed — identified —
And carried Me away —

And now We roam in Sovereign Woods —
And now We hunt the Doe —
And every time I speak for Him —
The Mountains straight reply —

And do I smile, such cordial light
Upon the Valley glow —
It is as a Vesuvian face
Had let its pleasure through —

And when at Night — Our good Day done —
I guard My Master’s Head —
‘Tis better than the Eider-Duck’s
Deep Pillow — to have shared —

To foe of His — I’m deadly foe —
None stir the second time —
On whom I lay a Yellow Eye —
Or an emphatic Thumb —

Though I than He — may longer live
He longer must — than I —
For I have but the power to kill,
Without — the power to die –

Can’t help but note how brilliantly she summed up the concept of armed idiocy in the last two lines: “For I have but the power to kill, / Without — the power to die.”  In today’s uninformed but popular vernacular, that would undoubtedly (and sadly) be viewed as “the funnest thing” of all.

Save the wolves!

15 thoughts on “Rewrite the Second Amendment

  1. I’ll never understand the need to kill for killing/entertainment sake.
    Wolves were here long before the cattlepeople who, more than likely, are using federal land to graze the herd.
    Why are they so frightened of the wolf? Surely it kills – anytime humans present an easy source (cattle, sheep, goats) of food nature will take advantage. I’ve never read and article about wolves having decimated a herd. Seems they only take what they need…

    Great writing, thanks for posting, frugal!

    • Thanks, Ebb.

      ‘A long time ago in a galazy far, far away …’ I ran across a line by environmentalist Edward Abbey in his (*monumental*) book, Desert Solitaire. The line offers a simple idea, but one I found instantly compelling and impressive:

      “The sheepmen complain that coyotes eat some of their lambs. This is true but do they eat enough? … enough lambs to keep the coyotes sleek, healthy and well fed? That is my concern.”

      The notion hit home; I’ve used a variation of that line many times since and it has, in fact, come to define my feelings on the matter, my concern, if you will.

      Yes, wolves are meat-eating predators and do, indeed, pay little or no attention as to whether today’s chow is wild or ‘owned’. But so what? One-time federal wolf-hunter Aldo Leopold noted in his book, A Sand County Almanac, that “Only the mountain has lived long enough to listen objectively to the howl of a wolf.” I understand. I also doubt that I’ll ever live ‘long enough to listen objectively to the howl’ of a cattle rancher, or a sport hunter, or of any other two-legger who cannot or will not comprehend the majesty of the natural world at even its most basic level. My great regret — itself a testimony to human intellectual insufficiency on many planes — is that such a large percentage of the human population considers itself to be superior to each and every other life form … when clearly it’s not.

      ‘Dumb’ bothers me. A lot. It is, in fact, the major reason that I want nothing to do with either Republicans or with “sport” hunters.

    • I say, get them damn cattle off of my taxpayer land and let the wolves alone. BTW, 70% of those cattle go to market in Japan. These ranchers receive top dollar for those steers. They pay a pitance to graze on public land. When I drove through Wyoming, I noticed only two types of housing; big expensive houses and small poor shanties.

  2. When I was a kid, me and my younger brother would go to a nearby orchard to hunt birds, with bb guns, which gave the birds a distinct advantage. When I actually hit one – I didn’t like what I had done, and that was the end of my hunting days.

    • Yep, been there, done that. When I was in H.S. I shot and killed a squirrel with a pellet gun. It fell out of the tree, and I watched it squirm in agony as it slowly died. That was it for me; no more guns.

    • My stepbrother was once shooting a BB gun at some birds. I told him he should shoot at something else. So he pointed the gun up in the air and fired. A few seconds later, a small bird dropped dead to the ground with a bb in its eye. It wasn’t intentional, but it did scare him into never shooting at animals again.

  3. Now, on to re-writing the 2nd Amendment:

    A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of State’s Militias to eat prunes shall not be infringed.

  4. This story from Fox News has gotten me into a twitter fight with someone.

    My argument is that there’s a difference between believing oneself to be in danger from someone else, and actually being in danger from someone else. If you are in actual danger (shots are fired at you, or a knife is thrown or thrust at you), then I would support your right to use deadly force to protect yourself or the people in your care.

    Simply having or displaying a weapon does not automatically mean you are going to use it, even if you simply want your victims to believe you might do so. But until you actually do, you are not using deadly force, you are simply threatening to do so. (I know conservative judges think differently, but Conservatism is one of the worst diseases that could happen to a civilization.)

    What about the guy behind the counter at a gun store? How does anyone know he won’t take a pistol out of the display case, load a clip into it and start shooting? How do you know he’s sane? By their logic (and here I mean the gun nuts who think deadly force is always authorized when you believe your life to be in danger), they should shoot the gun shop owner before he has a chance to use the guns against them. After all, that’s what the dad did in this case. Except it wasn’t a gun the kid was holding, it was only a knife. And he wasn’t a danger to anyone.

    • I was talking about this on FB yesterday. I agree with you completely, Wayne.

      If this gun-happy dad had just yelled at the person, “You need to get off this property right now, the police are on their way, and I have a gun!” (Whether he had a gun or not)

      The kid would probably have thrown off his mask and revealed himself, and then dad could have gotten pissed at the kid for doing such a dumb thing.

      But no, shoot first and ask questions later — and he ends up shooting his own son to death. Worth it?

      It is to the NRA!

      • I’ve spent a lot of time over the last fifty years, give or take, trying to come up with a reason — any reason — to own a gun. There’s only ever one that comes to mind: to kill something.

        That’s a pretty shallow goal, imho. And not very interesting to me.

        Some years ago I was a participant in an online discussion group, and when the second amendment topic came up, I let loose my anti-gun attitude. One of the ‘good-ol’-boys’ there asked me straight out what I’d do if I happened to be walking down a lonely street at night and, say, five black guys came after me. The inference was, of course, that if I was armed I’d be safe and in control. I answered differently. I said, “I suppose that in the worst case scenario, I’d make murderers out of them.” The discussion sort of ended right about then.

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