Ignoring the human condition
The idea that we can legislate to prevent evil, social ills, and a medley of other human conditions has become so pervasive I think it can best be described as a cancer. Whether it is inoperable or not has yet to be determined.
What I love about our founders and the constitutional republican democracy they gave us is that they accommodated many ugly truths of the human condition. From self evident truths and constraints on government to us at our ugliest, power hungry, blood thirsty, and dictatorial. We have a sublime document, a truly magnificent work of the human mind that distinguishes between personal liberties, self evident truths, State power, and Federal power.
Alas, the bill of rights. Beautiful ideas protecting individuals from other individuals, the tyranny of the majority, and State and Federal powers. While probably as close to a perfect system of government as yet attempted, we have failed at many a turn miserably.
You would think that this high error of failure would compel us to slow down, study more, think more, and reason more. Not the case unfortunately. We move with vigor and fortitude to yet again remove the rights of citizens with no due process.
We think this is about the 2nd amendment, and it is to a certain extent. However in our haste to feel as if we have accomplished something and ease our mental anguish, we toss out the baby with the bath water.
Consider for a moment what you are proposing to do. You seek to remove a constitutional right from citizens who have committed no crimes and aren’t even charged with a crime. 4th, 5th, 6th, and 7th amendments in the bill of rights. No warrants, no judicial due process, no trial, no jury of peers. Guilty by the legislature and perhaps by the executive if signed (I’m certain he will).
Even more vile and immoral, if that’s possible, is the attack on the mentally ill. The vast majority of whom have never and will never commit a violent crime. We attack the weakest and least able to defend themselves with an assault on their rights with a database to register them like they are criminals and sex offenders and remove their 2nd amendment right while trampling on their 4th, 5th, 6th, and 7th amendment rights for good measure.
I understand the strong desire to protect children. Any crime can seemingly be made worse against a child. Consider that the child may one day have a need for the bill of rights. Perhaps one day you will too. Consider that we are more likely to make good decisions if we slow down, study, debate, and reflect on all of the implications of a piece of legislation. Consider the likelihood of solving one of the worlds oldest problems, murder, in a few weeks by a congress that has failed an approval test against cockroaches in the latest polls. Consider whether it is wise to implement pre-crime and completely junk judicial due process as part of any solution.
We are often preached to about the cost of liberty, usually in a very macabre manner, yet it does have the ring of truth. Liberty isn’t free and comes with great responsibility. Perhaps we should exercise some.
Let me list the bill of rights here to give you a chance to refresh your memory, admire them again, or read them for the first time.
- First Amendment – Establishment Clause, Free Exercise Clause; freedom of speech, of the press, and of assembly; right to petition
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
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.
No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.
- Sixth Amendment – Trial by jury and rights of the accused; Confrontation Clause, speedy trial, public trial, right to counsel
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.
In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.
Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.
- Ninth Amendment – Protection of rights not specifically enumerated in the Constitution.
The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.
- Tenth Amendment – Powers of States and people.
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.