The Watering Hole, Friday January 25, 2013; Of Geese, Guns, and Slaves

This is today’s open thread . . . speak up, speak out!

Canadian Geese in various poses along the Front Range of the Colorado Rockies in the foothills of the Sierra Mojada (aka the Wet Mountains) of Pueblo County.

Canadian Geese in various poses along the Front Range of the Colorado Rockies in the foothills of the Sierra Mojada (aka the Wet Mountains) of Pueblo County.

Last Sunday (January 20, 2013) was a gorgeous day along the Colorado Front Range. It was bright and sunny, warm (for January), a perfect day for a nice long walkabout. It was close to 2:30 PM and we were homeward bound from our five miler; had less than a mile to go. The stretch of road underfoot was one that meanders across an open patch of prairie — a sizeable swath of treeless grassland with only a handful of houses randomly situated around its periphery; the bulk of it is just grass. The local golf course borders it on two sides, and the local lake is a few blocks up the road. Canada geese are everywhere, but they’re particularly numerous on the lake (naturally) and the golf course where they enjoy the water hazard ponds as well as to wander on the fairways/greens (I’ve asked them why the fairways, but so far no response besides “honk”). Overall, the goose population clearly outnumbers that of humans in this tiny town, probably by at least two to one — a most pleasant factoid given that even though they might honk a lot, nary a single goose owns or drives a damn pickup!

All was peaceful and quiet until suddenly a BLAM!! BOOM!! interrupted the soliloquy. We stopped dead in our tracks and looked around. WTF? About a quarter mile off the road to our left were the only people in sight. They were standing in an open stretch of prairie, maybe a block from the closest house. As we stared and gaped, two geese fell like rocks from the flock overhead; immediately the pair of armed killers (being kind here) quickly picked up the dead geese and carried them away. Not certain as to where they went, maybe to their car or truck parked somewhere on the graveled road nearby. We couldn’t tell for sure, but saw no more of them.

My first impressions were those of anger, of disgust, and even of fear for other living creatures in the vicinity. Such impressions marched in lock step with the enduring suspicion that the perpetrators had to have broken multiple laws, including discharging a weapon within the city limits and within a quarter mile of a residence or occupied building, plus the killing of waterfowl not ‘in season.’ All were incorrect, as I later learned following a few minutes of investigative digging. First of all, this little town is unincorporated and is therefore ‘only’ part of the County and not really a town, so ‘in town’ shooting rules apparently do not apply. (When is a town not really a town? When it’s not formally incorporated – nothing else counts). And of course it’s OK, in unincorporated areas, to discharge a weapon if the shooter is 150 yards or more from any residence or occupied building. That’s 450 ft, or 0.085 miles, about one-third of a quarter mile. Oh, and yes, goose hunting season is in full swing here in Colorado between Nov. 17 and Feb 10, so no violations there. All. Perfectly. Legal. And, on any reasonable plane, also nonsensical. Killing waterfowl for sport, with shotguns, in a residential area . . . an unincorporated residential area . . . means there’s no danger. Obviously. Besides, the Second Amendment says . . . etc.

I couldn’t stop thinking about it. Still can’t. One question lingers: WHY are idiots allowed to own, much less carry or shoot a gun, any gun, at any place, at any time? WHY!? Because of the Second Amendment, most will say. It gives everyone that right, right? Right. If you say so. 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.

Word salad. I’ve long wondered why it was written as it is, with so little definition of, e.g., ‘well regulated Militia,’ or ‘security,’ or ‘free State,’ or ‘Arms.’ What am I missing? What did the author(s) really mean to say?

Enter Thom Hartmann. Last week I ran across an essay by Mr. Hartmann posted on truthout.org and entitled, The Second Amendment was Ratified to Preserve Slavery. Bingo. On came the lights, poof went the darkness, and suddenly the true intent of the Second Amendment became clearly visible. Mr. Hartmann sums it all up in his opening statement (emphasis added):

The real reason the Second Amendment was ratified, and why it says “State” instead of “Country” (the Framers knew the difference – see the 10th Amendment), was to preserve the slave patrol militias in the southern states, which was necessary to get Virginia’s vote. Founders Patrick Henry, George Mason, and James Madison were totally clear on that . . . and we all should be too.  

He continues his exploration of the thesis and in the process draws heavily on statements written by prominent Virginians including Patrick Henry, James Monroe, and George Mason who were concerned that Article 1, Section 8 (Clauses 15 and 16) of the proposed Constitution might well endanger the ownership of their ‘property’ to the extent that one day, slaves might even be freed. Horrors. The clauses read:

[The Congress shall have Power . . .]

Clause 15: To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;

Clause 16: To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;

Scary stuff, right? Patrick Henry voiced his concern(s) over these provisions as expressed in the new Constitution when he said,

“If the country be invaded, a state may go to war, but cannot suppress insurrections. If there should happen an insurrection of slaves, the country cannot be said to be invaded. They cannot, therefore, suppress it without the interposition of Congress . . . . Congress, and Congress only, can call forth the militia.”

Henry later voiced his concern to Founder (and slave owner) James Madison who was, at the time, writing (at the behest of fellow Founder and slave-owner Thomas Jefferson) amendment drafts. Henry said,

“In this situation, I see a great deal of the property of the people of Virginia in jeopardy, and their peace and tranquility gone.”

The “property of the people” Henry thought to be “in jeopardy” was, of course, the slaves.

So today we’re left with an amendment that was written to help cover the collective asses of slave owners in Virginia and elsewhere in the South, to essentially “protect” them from already drafted clauses in the Constitution which they found to be extremely worrisome because the ‘power’ to manipulate and use state Militias would now be delegated to the Congress rather than to the individual states.

In consequence, this day virtually ANY nutcase can own any gun he wants to own, buy as many bullets as he can afford, and kill anything he cares to kill . . . from school children in Connecticut to movie goers in Colorado to members of a Congresswoman’s staff in a public outdoor meeting in Arizona to a black teenager in Florida who was thought to be a ‘threat’ because he wore a hooded sweatshirt to wild birds in flight along with all unprotected wild critters anywhere . . . and ANY effort to restrict or control the tools of such nonsense is met with screams of ‘unconstitutional!’ and ‘treason!’ And the murderous beat goes on, and on, and on as we the people honor the legacy of language designed only to offer comfort to slave owners.

Meanwhile, the Thirteenth Amendment (1865) specifically states that:

Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.

And while it’s true that the Thirteenth Amendment did, indeed, retroactively and permanently do away with slavery and involuntary servitude (in the USA), it unfortunately did NOT also correct and clarify the Word Salad of the Second Amendment. Any killer can still own a gun. And use it whenever his ‘pleasure’ demands. Therefore, I do herein and hereby offer free of charge my recommendations to overwhelm the Second Amendment’s Word Salad, to make it speak in crystal clear fashion the original intent of the Framers:

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to  control the antics of uppity Negro slaves and thus ensure  the security of a free State, the right of the  white male slave-owning  people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

There. Fourteen words added, no more Word Salad. Ratify, and problem(s) solved.

A final statement:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATo all victims everywhere of needless gun-enabled bloodshed; to each and every creature lost in fashion cruel, in violence due solely to the gift of political privilege entrusted by our Founders to 18th-century slave owners:
Requiescat In Pace
R.I.P.

44 thoughts on “The Watering Hole, Friday January 25, 2013; Of Geese, Guns, and Slaves

  1. 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.

    According to Wikipedia, this is the version, with capitalization and punctuation, as it was passed by the Congress. The version as it was ratified by the states and authenticated by Thomas Jefferson, Secretary of State, is this:

    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.

    The effect of capiltals, for me, is not clear, but that little comma after Militia, means a lot. The first version reads as an if/then conditional, which allows more interpretation. The second version makes a definitive statement that a militia is a necessary thing that must be maintained. It says that the right to keep and bear arms stays, in the event a well regulated militia is ever needed.

    Before Air America shut down, the morning talk show by Lionel was broadcast from 9am to noon, eastern. He was a lawyer before he got on the radio. One of his regular promos had a statement to the effect of, The Constitution doesn’t necessarily mean what you think it means, but what the Supreme Court rules that it means. The court has basically ruled according to the second version of the amendment, and according to Lionel, that’s what it means. Unless we get a court that will rule differently, that’s the interpretation that counts.

  2. The founding fathers, not having a crystal ball, made some errors. But they did leave open the possibility of changes. And changes there have been. At some point, the founding fathers’ great, great, great, great…. grandkids will figure out that this amendment doesn’t belong in the future of the country. The question is, how many generations will it take? Is any one living today part of THE generation? I hope so, but I feel the people have to shed the GOP before it’s possible. I wish you, the people, the best in making this happen.

  3. That’s really eye opening that piece. Hartmann has done that with a number of myths of American history – the motivations behind the original Tea Party, the story of Corportate Personhood, the railroads and a failure of the American judicial system.

  4. I enjoy visiting and listening to the geese at our local NWR (National Wildlife Refuge) or when the skein fly over the apartment building.
    I often wonder the subject of constant communication as they head for their destination.
    Or even as they forage – taking turns ‘directing’ the gaggle to what seems to be ‘better pickings’.

    • I had a chat with 39 of them on my walk across the golf course this morning. They honked back at me and kept their distance, but they don’t fly off at my approach anymore.

      Personally, I generally prefer the company of wild critters. They’re far more interesting (and not nearly so mean-spirited) when compared with all the damn wingnut Republicans in this neck of the woods!

      • A large flock likes to graze on the soccer field where I fly my model planes. They barely even acknowledge my existence but you should see them scoot for the trees when I fly over them! Alas. If the drought continues it will be another year without local nests.

        • He’s one of the people who really turned me off of college football. He will break every rule in the book then turn around and talk about “honor” and he’s far from the worst. At least the pro game is honest about all the money involved and the players are less likely to be ruined for life if they are injured to the point where they can’t play. As far as I know; there’s no union for college players.

    • It was very amusing! I also think the caller who said that Sandy Hook might have been the sticking point on filibuster reform has a good point. If any kind of gun control passes it would make it harder for Reid to win in Nevada.

  5. An excellent point posted at MMfA.

    If someone is found unfit for military service, perhaps someone who has the initials “Ted Nugent”, should that person be allowed to own guns? If one is too crazy to carry a gun in the service of his/her country then I think the answer should be a resounding “NO”.

    • I worked hard to avoid the same war that Nugent avoided, and I, too, was successful in doing so. But there all similarities end. Seems to me, Ted loves guns; I hate the damn things. I wouldn’t be surprised, either, to learn that he also loves war (so long as he himself doesn’t have to participate); I hate war, think it to be one of the most vivid hallmarks of human stupidity ever, in fact a hallmark that virtually DEFINES human mental insufficiency. Well, let me rephrase that: war AND Ted Nugent do come together in one fairly common fashion: together, they define human mental insufficiency (OK, toss in also Limbaugh, Hannity, O’Reilly, Beck, Cheney, Dubya, … talk about an endless list!).

      But seriously, Ted Nugent should NEVER be allowed to even TOUCH a gun, much less own one. And believe it, he’s FAR from alone in that category.

      Yeah, I could rant on and on on what I think of guns, but I already have, above up top. I’ll leave it at that … for now, at least.

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