7th amendment

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.

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.[60]

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.

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.

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.

This coming December will mark the 123rd Anniversary.
A LITTLE BIT OF HISTORY TO THINK ABOUT…….December 29, 2012 marked the 122nd Anniversary of the murder of 297 Sioux Indians at Wounded Knee Creek on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. These 297 people, in their winter camp, were murdered by federal agents and members of the 7th Cavalry who had come to confiscate their firearms “for their own safety and protection”. The slaughter began after the majority of the Sioux had peacefully turned in their firearms. The Calvary began shooting, and managed to wipe out the entire camp. 200 of the 297 victims were women and children. About 40 members of the 7th Cavalry were killed, but over half of them were victims of fratricide from the Hotchkiss guns of their overzealous comrades-in-arms.

TWENTY members of the 7th Cavalry’s death squad, were deemed “National Heroes” and were awarded the Medal of Honor for their acts of [cowardice] heroism.

We hear very little of Wounded Knee today. It is usually not mentioned in our history classes or books. What little that does exist about Wounded Knee is normally a sanitized “Official Government Explanation”. And there are several historically inaccurate depictions of the events leading up to the massacre, which appear in movie scripts and are not the least bit representative of the actual events that took place that day.

Wounded Knee was among the first federally backed gun confiscation attempts in United States history. It ended in the senseless murder of 297 people.

Before you jump on the emotionally charged bandwagon for gun-control, take a moment to reflect on the real purpose of the Second Amendment, the right of the people to take up arms in defense of themselves, their families, and property in the face of invading armies or an oppressive government. The argument that the Second Amendment only applies to hunting and target shooting is asinine. When the United States Constitution was drafted, “hunting” was an everyday chore carried out by men and women to put meat on the table each night, and “target shooting” was an unheard of concept. Musket balls were a precious commodity and were certainly not wasted on “target shooting”. The Second Amendment was written by people who fled oppressive and tyrannical regimes in Europe, and it refers to the right of American citizens to be armed for defensive purposes, should such tyranny arise in the United States.

As time goes forward, the average citizen in the United States continually loses little chunks of personal freedom or “liberty”. Far too many times, unjust gun control bills were passed and signed into law under the guise of “for your safety” or “for protection”. The Patriot Act signed into law by G.W. Bush, was expanded and continues under Barack Obama. It is just one of many examples of American citizens being stripped of their rights and privacy for “safety”. Now, the Right to Keep and Bear Arms is on the table, and will, most likely be attacked to facilitate the path for the removal of our firearms, all in the name of “our safety”.

Before any American citizen blindly accepts whatever new firearms legislation that is about to be doled out, they should stop and think about something for just one minute-
Evil does exist in our world. It always has and always will. Throughout history evil people have committed evil acts. In the Bible one of the first stories is that of Cain killing Abel. We can not legislate “evil” into extinction. Good people will abide by the law, and the criminal element will always find a way around it.

Evil exists all around us, but looking back at the historical record of the past 200 years, across the globe, where is “evil” and “malevolence” most often found? In the hands of those with the power, the governments. That greatest human tragedies on record and the largest loss of innocent human life can be attributed to governments. Who do the governments always target? “Scapegoats” and “enemies” within their own borders…but only after they have been disarmed to the point where they are no longer a threat. Ask any Native American, and they will tell you it was inferior technology and lack of arms that contributed to their demise. Ask any Armenian why it was so easy for the Turks to exterminate millions of them, and they will answer “We were disarmed before it happened”. Ask any Jew what Hitler’s first step prior to the mass murders of the Holocaust was- confiscation of firearms from the people.

Wounded Knee is the prime example of why the Second Amendment exists, and why we should vehemently resist any attempts to infringe on our Rights to Bear Arms. Without the Second Amendment we will be totally stripped of any ability to defend ourselves and our families.

2

225th Anniversary of the First Congress: We’ll be posting documents and stories highlighting the establishment of the new government under the Constitution through March 2016.

On April 5, 1790, President George Washington forwarded Congress copies of New York’s February 24 ratification of Articles One and Three through Twelve of the Bill of Rights.

New York was the 7th state to ratify amendments to the Constitution. The Bill of Rights officially became part of the Constitution on December 15, 1791 when three-fourths of the states ratified articles three through twelve.

Letter from President George Washington Transmitting Copies of New York’s Ratification of the Bill of Rights, 4/5/1790, SEN1A-E2, Records of the U.S. Senate

Dear Ferguson, Missouri Police:

What the eff? I mean, what the effing eff?

This is America. Or at least it’s supposed to be. We have rights. They can  be violated, even legally sometimes, but they exist nonetheless.

The heart of the Bill of Rights is a series of amendments describing the rights of accused persons and/or suspects. The 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th (defunct), and 8th amendments ALL deal with the rights of citizens in criminal matters. So of the 10 amendments hailed as the “Bill of Rights,” HALF were about the rights of citizens when they are suspected of a crime or other nefarious activity.

It’s not hard to understand why. The government, after all, runs the prisons. And the prosecutors. And the police. It has vast resources to turn against you if it decides it wants to prosecute you – or persecute you (something the Framers definitely feared). You meanwhile, will have … whatever resources you have when proceedings against you start: personal wealth (if you have any, and assuming it hasn’t been seized by the State as well). An attorney (of varying quality). Umm … ? Anything else?

So the Bill of Rights is intended to partially rebalance the scales in favor of citizens and against the State.

So what the effing eff are you doing, Ferguson? You have taken the Framers’ fears and multiplied them beyond imagination. In place of muskets you have SWAT. In place of horses you have armored vehicles. Arrayed against citizens exercising their rights, which you seem hell bent on violating.

As regular readers of this blog will know, I am sympathetic to police. I did research with police. I have spent over 100 nights of my life riding with police officers. I have been to riots, had beer bottles chunked at me at 2 am, have been left in a housing project in the middle of the night, and watched a 17 year old die after a car accident. (Seatbelts save lives, people.) I can tell you what a burned body smells like. (You don’t want to know.) And much, much more. I recognize many of the contradictions and struggles of the job from a “been there done that” perspective.

All of which leads me to ask: Ferguson … what the eff?

What the effing eff?