Sunday, June 19, 2011

How to Understand the Second Amendment

On Science Blogs a commenter named Dingo Jack wrote the following wonderful comment.

Those poor Founding Fathers, they'd never have thought that even well-educated Americans wouldn't have a clue what a Nominative Absolute* is and how to use it.
* The Nominative absolute is similar in structure and use to the Latin Ablative Absolute and the Greek Genitive Absolute (the subordinate clause being in the Nominative, Ablative and Genitive cases, respectively).

I'll translate for you: "[When a] ... well regulated Militia... [is] ... necessary... [for] ... the security of a free State, [then] the right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed [but if the first clause is false, then the second clause is inactive.]
(The main clause is in bold, the subordinate clause in italics)


  1. I don't know what you think you're going to accomplish by posting dishonest crap like this on Daily Kos, but know this:Daily Kos is a site primarily intended to advance the electoral goals of the Democratic Party, and nonsense like this energizes the right and costs Democrats elections. We of the Daily Kos RKBA group have noticed you slinging your bullshit for awhile now, and please know that you will be challenged when you post dishonest tripe like this to the site.

  2. I see from dog gone's comment that this is the level of intelligence and critical thinking we can expect on this blog. Fair enough. The larger point remains, that outright dishonesty and misinformation such as contained within this post will meet with robust challenge when dropped onto Daily Kos.
    Every. Time.

  3. k9, you haven't provided any robust challenge here. IF you had, you would have received critical thinking; but you offer no place to begin.

    So you get the assessment you deserve.

    I'm confident that I can match and exceed you in critical thinking, reasoned argument, and factual research any day of the week - and as with today, twice on Sundays.

    Keep pathetically beating your chest, and boasting in your vaguely ominous way about how potent you are. It's good humor for the rest of us.

    I don't give a rodent's rear end if the right is energized or not; they are factless feckless fools and hypocrites who cower in fear and then use it to justify their gun fetishes.

    Don't take my word for it; go have your amygdala MRI scanned, LOL!

  4. kestrel9000, Thanks for coming over here to share your opinion with us. I disagree that what I posted is "dishonest crap" or that what I generally write is "bullshit." It sounds to me like what you object to is a differing opinion. Is that what makes Daily Kos the great blog it is, I'm asking 'cause you seem to be speaking for them?

    I say the interpretation of the 2A represented in the quote I provided in the post, basically that it's meaningless outside of the 1790's "militia" context, makes a lot more sense than what many pro-2A guys say.

    The idea that owning a physical item like a gun is a basic human right protected by the Constitution is where the bullshit lies. That's my opinion.

  5. mike, your opinion means fuck-all in the face of court rulings. You also have added words that are not there, which means you are not arguing the Second Amendment,but rather a figment of your imagination. Dog Gone, I and others have indeed provided robust challenge, and will continue to do so. And all you seem to offer are adhominems rather than reasoned discussion. Now here, on this blog that receives next to no traffic, you can do that in a vacuum,but you won't find it quite so easy on Daily Kos. Human rights are a progressive value. Self defense is a human right.

  6. Interesting theory. I'm not sure how much it holds water with what the drafters intended when they wrote the Second Amendment. That is whether the syntax of the Second Amendment was exactly what he describes.

    Ultimately, he is correct in how it should be interpreted since the "right to keep and bear arms" is related to the existence of "a well regulated miliitia". The problem is that he inserts words into the language.

    But this isn't the first time I have heard this construction offered as an explanation for how to interpret the Second Amendment. One commenter said that the word "because" needs to be placed in the language to turn the effect into something like:

    Because a well regulated militia is necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

    Anyway, one needs to look to the actual debates to see that the issue was the Federal government's power to arm the militias under Article I, Section 8, Clause 16 and the Federal Army. The Anti-federalists feared that the Federal government would neglect the institution of the militia.

    Instead, popular disdain led to the demise of the militia and replacement by a professional army. This has become more pronounced post-WWII to the extent that the military has become a large segment of the US budget.

  7. Kestrel neglects that both Heller and McDonald contained dissents that used the Civic right interpretation of the Second Amendment.

    This interpretation is far from dead and is the only one which makes logical sense in the Constitutional Framework of Article I, Section 8, Clause 16 and historic documentation.

  8. Good morning Laci - always nice to see you commenting here. I have to admit that as I don't have a lot of time this morning, I was rather hoping you might wade in and address K-9k.

    Thank you! I hope to hear more from you later.

  9. The problem with Heller-McDonald is that they are wide open to attack from a well educated lawyer.

    First off, they overturned the unanimous US v. Miller decision.

    I would also add as a refutation to kestrel's assertion that "self-defence" is a right that no where in the Second Amendment is that concept specifically mentioned. He might have a legal basis to assert that if the Second Amendment were worded like this:

    7. That the people have a right to bear arms for the defence of themselves and their own state, or the United States, or for the purpose of killing game; and no law shall be passed for disarming the people or any of them, unless for crimes committed, or real danger of public injury from individuals; and as standing armies in the time of peace are dangerous to liberty, they ought not to be kept up: and that the military shall be kept under strict subordination to and be governed by the civil powers.

    From The Address and Reasons of Dissent of the Minority of the Convention of Pennsylvania to their Constituents, December 12, 1787. However, even that "individual right" friendly text makes it quite clear that the issue was Article I, Section 8, Clause 16's federal power over the militia.

    That is the power to arm the militia.

  10. kestrel yaps:"your opinion means fuck-all in the face of court rulings."

    Dred Scott, anyone? I can just see k9 defending slavery 'cause our opinion means nothing in the face of Justice Taney.

    Look, k9, you and your teenyweeny group at dKos aren't even Dems or progressives. You're card-carrying NRA lackeys for the GOP.

  11. This is slightly off topic, but not by much;

    Mike B., since your blog is almost entirely about guns and gun control, how come you haven't blogged about the "Fast and Furious" Gunwalker scandal? You know, where the ATF coerced gunshop owners to sell guns to "straw purchasers", even though the owners didn't want to. Then the ATF allowed the guns to "walk" across the border to be sold to drug cartels - in the end one of those guns being responsible for the death of ATF agent Brian Terry.

    Heads are already starting to roll over this scandal, reaching into the highest echelons of government power. Of course, the Obama administration is doing what it always does - throwing whom ever under the bus. Acting head Melton is going to be sacked this week and Obama's nomination, Andy Traver, head of the Chicago branch is slated to take his place. Just what we need...another thug from Chicago in a position of power in the government.

    ATF field agents don't want another politician or slacker like Traver put in charge of their organization. They would prefer someone who actually has law enforcement experience. You know, like a former police chief, someone who actually knows how to organize a branch of law enforcement.

    But I guess that doesn't fit your narrative.

    Back to the topic at hand;

    Self defense is one of those inalienable rights God imbued all creatures great and small with...even the "meekest" animal will resort to fighting mode if cornered. And Humans are just more advanced animals after all. Human's just happen to have more advanced brains which enabled them to invent things to make self defense easier like spears, knives and yes, guns.

    Face it, gun control advocates are fighting a losing battle and will continue to do so.

    Mike G.

  12. Mike G., That's a fair question which actually I have addressed a number of times. In the beginning of the scandal I accussed Robert Farago and others of attempting to make more out of it than there actually was. They blogged about it incessantly trying to generate some false momentum. I also pointed out at that time that it sounded to me like the ATF did what undercover cops do all the time. I never argued that there wasn't corruption or that some of the ATF guys involved weren't profiteering from it, cops do that all the time too.

    Mainly I mentioned several times that in no way have I hitched my little wagon to the ATF, or any other agency or group for that matter. Whatever went down does nothing to smear the gun control movement, which seems to be the pro-gun push, as if we're one and the same. I disagree that this situation in any way denigrates the gun control ideas that we preach over here.

    I don't write about it much because I'm not interested in it very much.

  13. Laci the Chinese Crested said...

    The problem with Heller-McDonald is that they are wide open to attack from a well educated lawyer.

    First off, they overturned the unanimous US v. Miller decision.

    Laci, the problem with US v. Miller is that it was a constructed offense, railroading a simpleton through court, who later died and the Supreme Court never ruled on the merits - merely unanimously ruled that as the Appellant was diseased, so was the case. The SCOTUS returned the case to the lower courts.

    Further, the lower courts in Miller held that a short barreled shotgun was not a "martial arm" despite evidence that such arm was used in the comparatively recent WWI battlefields as a "trench gun".

    The GCA '68, a racist bit of legislation designed in whole to correct the granting of certain rights to minorities, requires the Director of the BATF certify a gun as of "sporting purpose" for civilian ownership.

    That alone flies in the face of Miller, which held that guns must have a militia-use to be held in civilian hands.

    Thanks for playing.

  14. Hey fantastic blog! Does running a blog such as this require
    a massive amount work? I have absolutely no understanding of programming however
    I had been hoping to start my own
    blog in the near future. Anyway, should you
    have any recommendations or tips for new blog
    owners please share. I understand this is off topic but I simply had to ask.

    Thanks a lot!
    Here is my webpage : Car Accident Lawyers