Monday, August 6, 2012

"When the 2nd Amendment was written the most lethal gun available was the musket."

Documenting another Facebook conversation.  This started with a reliably "liberal" FB friend's link to this double-facepalm dose of The Stupid:

When the 2nd Amendment was written the most lethal gun available was the musket.

Of course, this was in the middle of all the blood-dancing that immediately followed the theater shooting in Aurora.  All the usual channels had pretty clearly just issued a new set of talking points and bloody shirts to wave, and when this sleazed past on the FB stream, I just couldn't let it lie.  (That's not a trivial statement, either.  I let a lot of stuff lie.  A lot.)

I must admit, in addition to having something to say myself, I was pretty impressed at the other comments too (I don't know either of them).  The thread was "A"s, and I don't think that "A" expected this sort of response.  :-)

Comments were (in full, unedited):

D:  and everyone was on equal footing.

A:  It's a brave new world.

D:  and I still want to be on equal footing.

Me:  Putting aside for a moment the term "most lethal gun available", which broadcasts a complete topical ignorance in exactly the same way that "the gay agenda" does...the above statement is still pure BS.

If you remember your government-approved school textbooks, you may recall that the principal combat advantage that those seditious, secessionist, gun-loving terrorists to the Crown's authoritah demonstrated over the British regulars during the American Revolution, was their use of the "Kentucky Rifle", which was either the "assault weapon" or the "sniper rifle" of the day (depending on whatever you might regard as more evil), and the distinctly cheeky tactical habits of hiding and of targeting officers as an effective disruption of chains of command. The muskets of the regulars had an effective precision range of about 100 yards; the rifles were effective at two to three times that distance. It was significant.

Now although none of that is secret, and it would sure be nice if people would go to the trouble to say things that don't immediately discredit the point they're trying to make before they even get there, it is a bit of a technical matter, and ultimately I don't give a damn about technical matters when it comes to liberty. Given that the usual purpose of such a statement as [B's] is to act as a visibly pious lament that things are somehow just oh so different now--with the transparent implication that we should "fix" some technical loophole that the Founders could somehow "never have foreseen"--it is at least somewhat relevant to point out that, ah, no, things have not changed at all since the writing of the Second Amendment. It wasn't then, and isn't now, about reserving some types of weaponry for the state and some lesser subset for the plebes; anyone who doubts this is invited to explain Tench Coxe's "every terrible implement of the soldier" statement, and a fairly extensive selection from Jefferson, Mason, and several others.

This isn't some catechismic worship of the Second Amendment, either, which of course "grants" no right at all (like the rest of the BoR, it is simply a member of a list of specific things that the state is proscribed from doing to the individual...if the BoR did "grant" rights, it could then rescind them by repeal or further amendment, and therefore they would by definition be privileges rather than rights), but rather affirms a pre-existing right that someone has by virtue of breathing.

Finally...presumably, [B's] comment was delivered in the context of the recent "movie massacre", which has certainly unleashed the predictably standard torrent of quests for moral absolution via further state intervention. How it is that so many of these come from people who speak passionately (and eloquently) of the evils of, say, the PATRIOT Act, the Holocaust, or the War on (Some) Drugs, I fail to understand, but the failure to recognize history is rampant.

And I share the redoubtable Arthur Silber's perspective on what I've come to refer to as "the faux piety":

What happened right next to where I lived for fifteen years is horrible. So horrible that the only thing that could possibly make it worse is to do more of what made it possible in the first place: deliberately disarm those inclined to obey the law while not only failing to protect them from those who are by definition not so inclined, but absolving themselves explicitly from any legal responsibility for same.

M:  The recent mass shooting in Colorado (and others like it in recent years) is not a gun-control problem. These are mental health problems.

Reasonable, mentally healthy individuals do not act out violently. Regardless of whether the act was deliberate or not... regardless of whether the perpetrator had any sense of "right and wrong"... the act, itself, is the outward sign of a mentally unstable mind.

The similarities between this shooter and other mass shooting perpetrators seems to support that assumption.

The guns this man used did not make him commit these horrible acts. It seems reasonable to assume he would have acted out violently regardless of the tools available to him. (Don't forget he also used homemade bombs and booby traps.)

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