Letters to the editor
Highlands TodaySecond Amendment
Published: January 10, 2013
Published: January 10, 2013
In arguing against the Second Amendment, many people look at the term "militia" in modern-day terms. They do not look at the history of the word.
In modern-day terms, a militia is "a body of citizens enrolled for military service and called out periodically for drill but serving full time only in emergencies." The interpretation is that these citizens are a member of the National Guard or the Reserves for the active military.
However, this does not reflect what our founding father called a militia. A look at the word itself will help people understand the meaning. The word originated around 1580-1590. The Latin for militia translates to the equivalency to soldiery. With just that, it is easy to see the misinterpretation of the word today.
As used at the time the Constitution and the Bill of Rights were written, a militia was a body of citizen soldiers as distinguished from professional soldiers. Citizen soldiers were ordinary citizens who in times of trouble gathered together to defend their town from invaders. There were no police and there was no standing army. It was you and your neighbors who grabbed whatever firearms they had available in the defense of their town.
At that time in our history, a militia was all able-bodied citizens. Their weapon of choice was normally a hunting musket used to put food on the table under normal circumstances. They had no uniform and no real organization other than predetermined meeting spots. Some of these citizens had military training, most did not.
One of the reasons that there is a Bill of Rights was to put limits on what the federal government could do to its citizens. The Second Amendment, in the Bill of Rights, specifically says, "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." Remember when this was written. A militia was nothing more than the common citizen.
The Second Amendment was designed to ensure that individuals retained the right and means to defend themselves against any illegitimate attempt to do them harm, be it an attempt by a private outlaw or government agents violating their trust under the color of law. The Second Amendment was meant to guarantee individuals the right to protect themselves against government as much as against private bad guys and gangs.
I would like to see someone with knowledge and access to the public do an in-depth study and report on how violence in TV shows, movies and video games affect children and young adults. The magnitude of violence produced in these venues and used by parents and children as entertainment has to make it very hard for young minds to tell the difference between fantasy and reality.
The media and some politicians and others have been quick to highlight the need for stronger gun control. It seems to me they are getting the cart before the horse. Why doesn't someone go back and find out what has given some people the idea to pick up a gun or other weapon and do harm or take someone else's life in the first place?
Weapons have always been around, but violent, vulgar and mean-spirited TV, movies and video games have not always been a part of our lives. I have to question the morals of the people who produce and promote such venues in the name of entertainment and profit, and the people who choose to watch or purchase such material. Our children don't have a chance to learn good behavior and the difference between right or wrong when they are allowed endless time in the company of harmful TV programs, movies and video games that have them participating in violent and unacceptable behavior.
If more people would take a stand to eliminate the violent and vulgar shows and video games, maybe the writers and producers would get the hint and go back to writing clean, caring, good living shows that set a good example for viewers. We might see the violent crimes against humans become a rarity instead of an everyday occurrence in our hometowns and in the news.