The Declaration of Independence versus the Second Amendment

Take a look at this for just a second and then think about it for a little while. Not too long, just a little while. It is the Second Amendment, the one the gun lobby and all kinds of armed citizens turn to whenever any shit-bag crazy person launches a murderous assault on the innocent. Where that happens doesn’t even matter anymore. Anywhere it happens is, in an instant, the saddest place on earth, and not just for that instant.


It has happened enough that our international reputation is as the country where crazy people kill children with weapons that were designed for warfare, but have crept in their sinister way into the world of merchandise, where you don’t have to be a soldier to buy them. “Sporting goods” places can sell them with the right licenses, but they are most certainly not “sporting goods.”

They are “killing goods.”

They are not much good for hunting. No hunter I know wants to unload 30 rounds of high caliber ammunition into a deer. Nor a bear. Nor anything else you might want to hunt. You can kill most anything with one shot, assuming you know what your weapon can do. The same holds for pistols. Unless you are a cop or a criminal, there’s not much reason to have them.

Many people use them to kill themselves, that is clear. You could look it up.(Actually, I have. The Centers for Disease Control has a huge report on gun deaths all over the place. We are the very worst.) Gang kids use them to kill each other, and they are so bad at it that many times, innocent children, passers by, people sitting on porches who have nothing to do with gangs, well, they get killed too. Collateral damage. You could look that up, too.

Some people have successfully used handguns to protect themselves. That is clear, too. But not very much. You could look that up, too. The National Rifle Association used to make a big deal out of these little stories of people blowing away bandits, robbers, whatever.

None of that compares to the number of people who blow away themselves. Again, you could look that up.

There is another important American political document that stands alongside the Constitution. That is the one we used to declare to the world that we were our own nation, no longer beholden to anyone, and a nation with a set of values that could be written down, and of course, were.

Here is one of them.

That’s right, the Declaration of Independence told the universe that We the people were setting out to form a more perfect union. Lots of other grand verbiage in there too, but most importantly, that part about all of us having an unalienable right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

I think the slaughter of the innocents in Texas, along with the slaughter of the innocents in Buffalo, and the slaughter of the innocents in so many different places, brings these two foundational documents into conflict. Of course, they aren’t the same kind of things. The Declaration of Independence is for dreamers, while the Constitution is for the mechanics of government, a document that is something of a handbook for how things should be done.

That being the case, one has to kind of wonder about the relevance of Second Amendment in the modern American world. I can completely understand what it meant in, say, 1800, when the memory of the revolutionary war was fresh and the nation believed, quite rightly, that it might have to defend itself again.

But today?

We don’t have wars like the Revolutionary War any more, or the Civil War for that matter. Any war in our future will be quick, brutal and definitive, I would predict. You could stand in your front yard and fire your AR-15 until it melts and it will have no impact.

No one is going to invade us. We have oceans on both sides, friendly Canadians to the North and a whole nation, actually a whole half continent, of people eager to come here not to wage war, but to earn wages. Keep that in mind. Right wingers might think it’s all about sneaking into America to steal welfare benefits and take our stuff.

That’s wrong in so many ways. Look at where the hardest work happens in America and that’s where they are.

No. You don’t need a weapon to protect yourself from some mysterious threat that’s going to come over the border. You will be much more likely to shoot yourself or someone close to you if you have one in your house.

So I would suggest this. Repeal the Second Amendment and replace it with strict gun laws that involve a deep look at who is buying and why. That should be a 90 day process, a serious process. That will cool the passions of people who just want to pack so they can intimidate someone who has offended them, or rob a liquor store, whatever.

Or shoot up a school.

7 thoughts on “The Declaration of Independence versus the Second Amendment

  1. We should also repeal the First Amendment. That way we could regulate gendered language and mandate the use of crossdresser pronouns.


  2. I just want you to post this all over Social Media and every print newspaper in the US !
    All valid facts and yet we have a portion of this country that seems uninterested in saving lives?
    I’ve often thought about our right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. I guess those chosen by US citizens get to decide thst I have no right to live, liberty of the pursuit of happiness in this gun mad country. People worldwide are fearful of our once beloved USA. Very sad.


  3. To your proposal, I say, “Yes, of course!” Given the jerks in the Senate who are blocking any type of legislation to reduce gun deaths, do you think there’s a chance in hell to repeal the 2nd amendment? Our country has managed to ban automatic weapons – it would surely be a good start to get that ban re-enacted (not that I have much hope for that right now either).


  4. I think I’d like to see if the language and spirit of the original Declaration could work in a new declaration to end or at least abate our gun violence. Cherry-picking and paraphrasing from the original, words and thoughts like dissolving the political bands, assuming separate and equal station, self-evident truths, suffering the history of repeated injuries and usurpations that have established an “absolute Tyranny over these States,” and others, might trigger (sorry) fresh thinking on gun violence and the 2nd Amendment. That’s a big, probably impossible ask at this point, but what’s to lose except more of our democracy? We need action urgently. I can’t quite see a repeal-and-replace of the 2nd Amendment, but that’s just my raging scorn for the “swift, sure, fair, final” Rule of Law we (some of us) say we live by. Anyway, thanks for your thoughts. Let’s Roll.

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