Matthew Bailey in his Feb. 6 letter asserts the Second Amendment is about only our right to defend ourselves against the “tyranny of the federal government.” People like Bailey define “tyranny” as having a democratically elected president with whom one disagrees. They also define “constitutional” as something they favor, and “unconstitutional” as something they disfavor. Bailey’s particular disagreement is with two straw men, legalization of marijuana and gun confiscation, neither of which seems imminent.

The founders were concerned with the tyranny of an unelected monarch of a foreign power, and their concern was with national defense, not self-defense. State militias (analogous to today’s national guard units) were for community protection, but the members were often expected to provide their own firearms. Thus the language in the Second Amendment, which mentions “well-regulated militias,” not “universally armed and unregulated individuals.”

It is unlikely in our democratic republic that our own government will become tyrannical. Unlike the monarchical/parliamentary/unitary England — the founders’ model of tyranny — our system is democratic/separation of powers/federal. These checks, along with a free press and government transparency, make tyranny almost impossible. It could happen, but only as a result of a successful armed insurrection, which would come from Mr. Bailey’s own extreme right. It would surely be led by those who have been created by NRA propaganda and carefully nurtured by NRA leadership — I call them “paranoid insurrectionists” — whose stated purpose in stockpiling arms and ammunition is to fight off the feds, or the U.N., when they come to seize private weapons.

Mr. Bailey needn’t fear tyranny from the left. Today’s left-wing extremists are armed only with good minds and noble intentions. Meanwhile, the Baileys among us need not fear government. About half the people in government hate government. They are called “Republicans.”

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