Bearing Arms through the Years

In McDonald v. City of Chicago, the Supreme Court incorporated through the 14th Amendment the Second Amendment individual right to possess and carry weapons that was created in District of Columbia v. Heller (2008) and not the right of the general populace to store weapons and render military service as the Organized State Militia that is today known as the National Guard, which was adopted in 1791. We must define Second Amendment terms in 1791 parlance and not in 2010 parlance.

“A well regulated Militia” in “The Federalist 29”, “John DeWitt V”, “Aristides”, and Luther Martin’s “Genuine Information” refers to the Constitution’s Article I Militia. And 10 USC 101 and 32 USC 101 state that the National Guard is the Article I Militia. If A equals B and C equals B, then A equals C. Therefore, if “A well regulated Militia” equals the Article I Militia and the National Guard equals the Article I Militia, then “A well regulated Militia” equals the National Guard.

In the Constitution, “people” describes the general populace, “persons” describes individuals, and “person” describes an individual. In the Fourth Amendment, the Framers would not have used “persons” twice to mean “individuals” after using “people” to mean “individuals.” The Fifth Amendment, which encompasses rights of accused individuals, uses “person” twice and does not use “people.”

Thus, “keep” refers to the general populace’s storage of weapons. (In neither Article I, Section 5, Clause 3 nor Article I, Section 10, Clause 3 does “keep” connote personal private possession.) 

“The Federalist 46” states that one quarter of the population is “able to bear arms” (“one hundredth part of the whole number of souls” in a regular army are “one twenty-fifth part of the number able to bear arms”). This means that one quarter is “able to render military service” and can indicate only that one quarter — able-bodied males, who are “able to bear arms” (“able to render military service”) — is “able to bear arms,” as in “able to render military service.” If “able to bear arms” means “able to carry weapons,” then only one quarter is “able to carry weapons.” Even the three quarters of the population (women, children and the aged) that are not “able to bear arms” (“able to render military service”) are “able to carry weapons” as long as they can grip and transport a gun. (Anyone who has hands that can grip and is able to walk is “able to carry weapons.”)

The Virginia Proposed Declaration of Rights (June 27, 1788) stated, “That any person religiously scrupulous of bearing arms ought to be exempted, upon payment of an equivalent to employ another to bear arms in his stead.” Since it would be absurd to require a person to pay another person to carry weapons for the personal use of the former in the former’s stead, the definition of “bear arms” in Virginia was “render military service.”

(For an extended version of this letter, see populist.com/10.15.massaro.html/.)

John Massaro
Nissequogue, N.Y.

Make Debt Work for Us

In his 8/1/10 TPP column, Prof. Robert Reich aligns himself with prominent academics and national figures to rebut deficit hawks urging Congress to balance the federal budget. “To get enough ‘demand’ back into the economy ... will require more deficit spending in the short term ...” Reich writes. Demand for what? Demand by consumers for more Chinese merchandise or demand by citizens for affordable medical care and steady employment?

Reich suggests unspecified “relief to state and local governments.” He does not demand the Fed buy state debt starting with California’s. The Fed has already paid out (created) trillions to save banks too big to let fail. Are not our 50 united states too big to let fail? The Fed creates money just like our commercial banks — by the stroke of a computer key. It is done with bookkeeping, not with mirrors! But the Fed is our US central bank, the bank to all banks. The buck begins life at the Fed! There need be no deficit spending as the Fed saves our state governments by buying their bonds. A $30 billion California bond bought tomorrow by the Fed would keep its public school teachers and police on duty and its state highways maintained.

The US national debt increased steadily from $2 billion in 1900 to over $12 trillion today, averaging 8% a year increase as the US economy grew. It has never decreased! Deficit hawks complained all those 110 years that financial disaster awaited our children and grand children. Reich’s 96-year-old father acknowledged he was wrong to fear government deficits. History seems to show government deficits are necessary for our present financial system to function and the US economy to grow.

Robert W Zimmerer
Beaverton, Ore.

No Excuses for Illegals

Could I rewrite my letter to the editor [“Good for Arizona,” 8/1/10 TPP] as Mr. Stewart MacMillan suggested in his article “Go After the Employers of Illegal Aliens” in the 8/15/10 TPP, and also asked Kenny Cooper’s “Shut Your Piehole” [Letters, 8/1/10 TPP]. Mr. MacMillan, sir, may I first correct one thing in my article to which you objected. I had said (which I worded wrong and TPP corrected) I had known illegals cannot rent Section 8 housing. What I wanted to say: “Mexican Americans rent Section 8 housing and some do harbor illegals from Mexico. I know this to be a fact! Why ? I knew people who lived in Section 8 and there were illegals picked up who could not speak one word of English and in two weeks were back at the same apartment in a relative’s housing. You, sir, live in the State of New York that borders Canada on the north. Canada pays their workers a decent salary, not like Mexico where the rich live off the poor — a completely different scenario, Mr. MacMillan. We, as a nation, as you know, have 50 states, at least 48, except Alaska, probably, and Hawaii hire illegals. I have relatives in my original home state that tell me Wisconsin is getting many illegals, just as yours does and you cannot tell me NO! You defend them with words like this: They pay taxes, they get no benefits. DO YOU ACTUALLY THINK THEY DESERVE TO? WHY ? They entered this country illegally, took an American’s job. While respectful patient foreign country citizens wait on a list for years to become citizens of the United States, and call that fair! Don’t buy that baloney that they only take the jobs Americans do not want. Hog-wash! They find these illegals everywhere. Even in our Fort Huachuca Army Post in the Southeastern corner of Arizona. Hired with a crew to clean up buildings that were demolished. If an illegal Mexican can do that to our military bases what can a terrorist do! I answered your request, Mr. MacMillan, I hope Mr. Cooper does the same. You did deserve an answer, and I hope I did answer your request.

Hank W. Pergande
Tucson, Ariz.

Less Slogans, More Thought

It is sad when someone like the letter writer in the 8/1/10 TPP does not take time to think about the things he is saying. Such people are not usually bad, but they end up looking racist and vicious because they do not take time to reflect. This man, understandably anxious and angry about jobs and financial security, says Arizona authorities are focusing on “short, brown-skinned, Spanish-speaking males with indigenous facial features” because “they are the ones crossing the border illegally ...” That is only partly true, as he would have known if he had stopped to think. Some of them are. Many of them, on the other hand, were born here, and had ancestors born here, and have as much right not to be harassed by police as the letter writer or I. The proposition that some brown-skinned people are here illegally and therefore we should go after all brown-skinned people makes about as much sense as the proposition that some eggs are rotten and therefore we should throw out all eggs and never eat another. It is not good sense. It is also not how any of us would want to be treated ourselves, so we should not be doing it to others.

The problems in this country now need a lot more quiet thought, and mutual kindness, to be solved. Slogans and scapegoats will only make them worse.

Katharine W. Rylaarsdam
Baltimore, Md.

Blame Where Due

Regarding the letter from Kenneth Cooper of 8/1/10 TPP, Mr. Cooper wrote: “blue collar workers wages and real buying power has decreased in the last 20 years as the direct result of indigenous illegal aliens …” stealing jobs. Mr. Ken needs to do his homework and check his facts. Start with the bureau of statistics, etc.

Real wages and buying power reduction is a direct result of Reagan years’ deregulation of business and Wall Street that allowed jobs to go overseas unfettered, off-shore tax breaks that funneled workers’ wealth to corporate types and Wall Street investors that shifted investment from technology and innovation to personal bank accounts of the few and crippled the worth of the many (the middle class). It’s easier to blame the poor instead of putting the blame where it belongs. When was the last time tax breaks for the wealthy resulted in real economic growth (not just wealth)? I think Mr. Ken will see it all through Reagan, Clinton and Bush years … time to wake up ...

June Charles
Lumberton, Miss.

Return to Ag

Jim Van Der Pol makes a compelling argument for a return to an agrarian society (“Make Some Room for Old McDonald,” 9/1/10 TPP), i.e., to “believe in husbandry and excellent animal care and management,” but there is a better reason. It’s a nice fantasy that we might all awaken one day infused with a jolt of compassion for our animal cousins; unfortunately, we are controlled by an alien master race of corporate persons, overlords who are all about making a killing, not making a living, with all the ramifications those opposing statements imply (see also Lisa Griffith’s “Banks Profit While Our Farmers Fail,” same issue). These “Frankenstein’s monsters” we, ourselves invented, who only need our cash to survive, are killing us softly with bad food that makes us obese and unhealthy, and also feeds an insurance industry having nothing to do with health, everything to do with profit.

At the same time, real humans are in the midst of an epidemic of violence, mental breakdowns and suicides. The progressive press has unearthed stories recently about prisoners, mental patients and urban poor — those at the brunt of the brutality — finding peace and gentle prosperity (as opposed to profit) in projects where they care for horses, bees or seedlings, or create sustainable urban organic gardens. This is not “doing a job,” it’s “having a life” working on life. Perhaps our corporate profit-driven culture has so removed us from nature for so many generations that we are not even aware the solution we cry out for is to move back to a future of agrarian peace.

At the very least, just switching to nutritious, organic fare, while costing more on the front end, would be so much better for us that the health care savings, alone, would be huge, not to mention we’d live longer, be more productive, and undoubtedly be much happier. We could stop being about making money, and instead be about finding new ways of making our livings, our lives. You might title an movement like that “Your Money or Your Life.”

Thanks so much, keep up the good work!

Nancy Churchill
Princeton, Ill.

Short Memories

We should all read Connie Schultz’s columns to boost our collective morale. She never disappoints! Even the title of her column, “It’s Just Not American to Feel Helpless,” (8/1/10 TPP) is a balm to cure pessimism.

Most of us, I’m sure, are “the kind of American who believes we’re all about doing what’s right.”

But unfortunately, we also have short memories.

To overcome that deficiency, we must never forget the oil spill of 2010, just as we must never forget the dropping of two nuclear bombs 65 years ago, which, in a few seconds, incinerated 120,000 blameless civilians and brought unimaginable suffering to thousands more.

Since then, no responsible leader on earth has used that diabolical weapon — not even to engage in humankind’s perpetual “man’s inhumanity to man.”

Likewise, the oil spill of 2010 should be a decisive moment in history — one that convinces all of us that we Americans must put ourselves on a serious fuel diet, and that we must harness alternative sources of energy to provide the power that we, and the rest of the world, need to keep the machinery running.

David Quintero
Temple City, Calif.

Keep the Faith

My discouragement continues to rise, most recently with the failure of the campaign reform bill — by 3 votes. Whatever happened to majority rule? Long gone in that most undemocratic of governing bodies, the US Senate.

And yet, heaven help us if we let our dissatisfaction keep us out of the constant fight to improve the Senate and House, which means electing those officials who represent values that we think essential to the continuing function of this society. That means forward-looking Democrats such as Feingold, Boxer, Walz, Clark, and Conway.

The hatred running rampant in the news is of concern to most of us. It infects the body politic, and is dwelt on by some thoughtful writers, from the pulpit, and by our friends. And such hatred can bring on terrible actions, as we have seen before in this country.

This is possibly the most difficult environment any president has faced, and we must give him the few votes needed in the Senate to overcome the filibusters. If we think it is bad now, the thought of a Republic majority in the House and Senate, surely must give pause. So we must work to galvanize those voters who are becoming complacent or disillusioned.

Burt Newbry
Mesa, Ariz.

From The Progressive Populist, September 1, 2010


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