A Tale of Two Constitutional Rights

The reactionary Right in America are fanatical about the Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America, or at least their own interpretation of it as an absolute right (even though it  is the only Amendment in the Bill of Rights that begins with a qualifier).  If you were to parse it into today’s English from the convoluted 18th Century Noah Websterish phrasing, it would read something like:

As long as a well-regulated militia is considered to be necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

The primary reason for the Second Amendment (for you Strict Constructionists and Original Intenters) is that the Founding Fathers did not want to have a standing army (its why Congress can only fund the Army for 2 years at a time). As an alternative to a standing professional army, they envisioned state “militias” the structure of which would be defined by Congress (Article I, Section 8) and could be called out in case of invasion and TO PUT DOWN SEDITIOUS INSURGENCIES (not to arm loonies to start a seditious insurgency).  In national emergencies, the President as Commander-in-Chief has ultimate command of the militias (today known as state National Guard units) and can order them into battle against an outside aggressor or a seditious revolution.

Despite its stated purpose in the Amendment and the additional detail in the first 2 Articles of the Constitution itself, there is a significant group of deluded and paranoid conspiracy theorists who have been convinced for decades that our democratically elected government is, behind the scenes, an evil conspiracy working to destroy American values and freedoms, enslave the “real” Americans (those who also believe in the conspiracy), and hand American sovereignty over to the United Nations and/or the Muslim Brotherhood.  Essentially, a group of right-wing lunatics have believed in this conspiracy for the entire history of the country (only the evil mastermind changes in each generation (Illuminati, Freemasons, Mormons, Jesuits, the “Pope of Rome,” internationa bankers (code for Jews), Communists, and now one-worlders and Muslims trying to force Shari’ah down Americans’ throats.

These people believe that, in order to accomplish their dastardly mission, the evil satanic powers masquerading as ordinary politicians, media, and educators, must disarm the people before they can be rounded up and put into re-education or detention camps.  Thus, they arm themselves to the hilt with the closest thing to military weapons they can find, create survivalist groups, build bunkers, and are ever vigilant for ANYTHING that they can interpret as part of the massive plot to disarm them (some recently have actually said that the Newtown massacre was perpetrated by the Obama administration as the opening move in gun confiscation).  They are always manning the barricades, on the verge of violent revolution against their own government.

BTW, even more than the thousands of gun deaths each year through crimes, suicides, accidents, home disputes, and unbalanced spree killers, I think that this army of perhaps hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of wack jobs, already armed to the teeth, are the most serious threat that gun ownership poses – and all of their weapons will be grandfathered in under any new gun laws.  Millions of already owned guns, including semi-automatic assault weapons (as well as high-capacity clips) will still be in the hands of unbalanced paranoids.

Now, lets look at the attitude of the very same reactionary right-wing loonies when it comes to the Constitutional Right, confirmed by the Supreme Court, for women to have access to safe abortions, contraception, and family planning.  All of a sudden, Constitutional Rights they DON’T agree with are merely obstacles to be blocked by any means possible, including intimidation, bombs and murders, and state and federal intrusion into the freedom of individuals and laws designed solely to put abortion providers out of business.  Just imagine if the Progressives were doing the same to gun stores and passing laws not just to make gun ownership safer, but to do a similar end-run around a Constitutional Right that the wingnuts hold sacred to block them from owning or obtaining guns.  These people see issues as black-and-white conflicts between absolute good and absolute evil – there can be no compromise for them, only victory or defeat as they prepare to fight it out to the bitter end.

There is a phenomenon in the conspiracist mentality called “mirroring,” or, in Psychologists’ terms “projection,” where the conspiracist defines the “enemy” as a projection of the self, even to the most evil aspects of the conspiracist’s self.  It is easy for the gun nuts to believe that their opponents are willing to use any tactic fair or foul to violate their Constitutional Rights, disarm, and enslave them because they, themselves, are willing to use any tactic, fair or foul to do that very thing to the Constitutional Rights that THEY hate and oppose.

They are willing to fight to the death (preferably of their opponents) in absolute support of the Constitutional Right to “own and bear arms,” while also being willing to fight to the death (also, preferably of their opponents) in absolute opposition to the Constitutional Right for women to have legitimate medical access to safe abortions.

Is it any wonder that the rest of us think that their peculiar reverence for a dependent clause in the Second Amendment is worth dying for, while nothing else in the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, succeeding Amendments, recent Supreme Court rulings, and stare decisis (Supreme Court legal precedents) seems to matter to them, marks them as mentally unbalanced lunatics with extreme paranoid ideation and real fear and rage toward the rest of their own country?  And, it should be noted, they are already armed with millions of weapons that will not be subjected to ANY of the new gun laws being talked about.

Where are the concerned citizens and politicians talking about this very real, if not downright imminent, threat to the country’s safety from a subset of gun owners?

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