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31 December 2012

Gun Control, Hysteria, and a Letter to Senator Vitter

*Updated with Vitter's response see end of article)

Recently, many people have raised their voices against gun violence and more directly against guns in general, and in particularly against semi-automatic guns. I remind these people, guns ensure your ability to speak out against guns. The adage "guns don't kill people, people kill people," while correct and lyrical, is still an oversimplification of a serious problem. If people didn't kill people, guns wouldn't be necessary, nor would guns have been invented. Additionally, if people didn't kill people war would finally be obsolete and we could all go about our business in a happy-go-lucky world. Unfortunately, no matter how idealistically we view the world, no matter how rosy our rose-colored glasses, we live in a chaotic and dangerous world where evil people do evil things to other people.

The Founding Fathers comprehended the dangers that the colonists faced, whether we like to admit it or not, the Second Amendment was a tri-purpose amendment that recognized the people's rights to protect themselves from foreign (British) invaders, American turn-coats (British loyalists/Colonial traitors), and indians (Native Americans who suffered mass genocide and forced relocation by the U.S. colonizers). For clarification below is an excerpt from the Declaration of Independence, these are the last of the grievences against King George:

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation. 
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

Today, we face dangers that would have given the Founders nightmares, I'm sure even Ben Franklin would balk at the total destruction possible with nuclear weaponry. The current array of armament available to government is precisely why, now more than ever, the rights mentioned in the second amendment must not be infringed.

The Second Amendment

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.

No where in the Second Amendment does it specify what types of "Arms" the people have a right to "bear" nor does it specify any people "without" the right. It does, however, specify that "the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed." Now, linguistically, some argue that the comma before "shall not be infringed" indicates that the right belongs to the "well regulated Militia" and not "the people." However, they are only partially correct, the comma immeditaely after "Militia" indicates a condition. The two clauses between "well regulated Militia" and "shall not be infringed" are conditional clauses acting as clarification of the subject "Militia." The Founding Fathers were men of letters, they were well-versed in grammatical convention. For modern readers, who feel the second amendment is an ambiguous run-on sentence (you're mistaken, its a complex sentence, get over it). Writing the two clauses into two separate sentences may be more appropriate for some readers.

The Second Amendment ("Broken Down" for the 21st Century)
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, shall not be infringed.
A well regulated Militia, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

Through the simple process of making two sentences, we can clearly see that the militia is necessary to security and necessarially made up of rightfully armed people. You see, the Founders understood that the people were the Militia and that they were on the frontlines fighting the British, the loyalists, and the indians. Without the people and their weapons the states could not protect themselves. The country was too new, there was no United States "land or navy Forces," there were only the citizens in the militia that brought their weapons from home.

Many people claim that the National Guard, police departments, and other federal, state, and local "soldiers" are the "well regulated Militia" provided for in the Articles of the Constitution. That may be how the system has been twisted by corruption and propaganda, but that is not what is provided for in the founding documents. In fact, the various federal, state, and local "soldiers" that consitute the "standing-armies" of the United States are actually part of what the Founders were warning perpetuity against when they inserted a two-year clause. What two-year clause?

Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution of the United States breaks down Congress' responsibilities (this is an excerpt, there are more responsibilities listed in the section):

To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;

To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;
To provide and maintain a Navy;
To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;
To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;
To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress

In this section of the Constitution, we find Congress has the right to declare War; raise Armies (with two-years financing); maintain a Navy; make rules for the land and naval Forces; call forth the Militia; and organize, arm, and discipline militia members "employed" by the United States (the States themselves, appoint officers and train the milita). The Founders were careful with their words, they listed provisions for "Armies," "a Navy," and "the Militia," these words were not interchangeable, not synonyms. These various lines of defense were not professional soldiers, they were civilians meant to receive training and if necessary arms "according to the discipline prescribed by Congress." The U.S. military, in all its glory, is now a standing army regardless of war or peace and it has a yearly budget that outpaces all other categories of government spending.

Since the beginning the U.S. has been weaponized, war after war attests to the fact we've managed to provide and maintain a standing army that, my friends, is unconstitutional. Since no amendment was ever passed to change the two-year clause within Article 1, Section 8, it is safe to say: our long-standing army is historically unconstitutional. Our Founders made clear "A well regulated Militia" is not the same as an army and that armies have funding time limits. What does it say that the national deficit is a two-fold problem whereby Congress, through incompetency and corruption, has sold its money making and financing abilities to private bankers (Federal Reserve Bank) and then professionalized a standing army for Wall Street to use as world-wide mercenaries? National Guard units have seen combat in Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, etc. If the National Guard is truly a state militia, why have they been called to serve in oil wars overseas?

Oil is a commodity traded on stock exchanges (Wall Street), its value is determined by speculators speculating on the commodity's potential future value. Constricting the flow of oil increases the demand on oil and drives up the price. Conversely, opening up the flow of oil decreases the demand on oil and drives down the price. The history of oil in America is one rife with bribery, theft, and murder. To think that has changed is naive. Wake up! Bribery, theft, and murder are still the typical answers to obtaining control over commodities. The general rule: Bribe, if unable to bribe, steal, if unable to steal, murder.

Regardless of what some may say, our second amendment right exists, not for killing animals, but for killing people who threaten our security. Hunting animals is target practice as well as a way of obtaining food and clothing. The militia is a security fail-safe, a way for the state to obtain immeditate protection when an act of Congress would take too long or when the States need protection from Congress. The second amendment rightfully places the duty of securing the state into the hands of all armed citizens because, sometimes, the people have to protect themselves from the usurpations of rights, the human experimentations, and the mass genocides performed by governments.

With the historical implications of armament in mind, I wrote Senator Vitter. As some of you are aware, I regularly write our representatives. On occasion, they respond. I'll update if he does. I can't recall what day I sent this letter, perhaps Christmas Eve, not that that matters. Suffice it to say, an armed citizen prepared to defend their state against invasion is not the same thing as an armed person who becomes a mass murderer of civilians (regardless the reason or lack thereof). I don't blame mental health institutes nor do I support the subsequent demonization of mental health patients, however, I'll save that rant for a later article.  

Here's the letter. Please bear in mind, I'm not generally this polite to him. I take my rights very seriously and he has a serious habit of denying my rights. I'm sure whoever checks his email can attest to that:

Senator Vitter,

Please continue to fight for 2nd Amendment rights for all Americans.

We disagree on a number of issues, including my civil rights (I am an American lesbian and a Navy veteran).

I know after a tragedy, many want to place blame on guns, gun makers, and mental health institutions. There is a better solution: blame the responsible party, the shooter, the bomber, the terrorist. Do not blame the gun makers, nor the ammunition factories for the actions of the person who pulled the trigger. A killer will kill, regardless the weapon.

As your record testifies, you also hold the trigger-person responsible. I'm glad to see gun rights are one of the things we agree on. I commend you for your work on protecting the 2nd Amendment and I pray you continue to vote in favor of the people by maintaining vigilance.

Once again, thank you for standing up for our gun rights. Please stay strong in the upcoming fight against hysteria that often arises after such tragedies.

Thank you,
Monique Finley
*UPDATE: Vitter's response (received 17 January 2013):

Dear Ms. Finley,

Thank you for contacting me to voice your opposition to new gun control laws in response to the recent school shootings in Connecticut and California. I appreciate hearing your views, and I agree with you. 

In the wake of  these tragediesmany in Washington are calling for increased restrictions on the right to keep and bear arms, arguing that it will help to reduce gun violence. For example, Senator Feinstein (D-CA) has announced plans to reintroduce a ban on assault weapons and to limit magazine capacity. Also,  President Obama has signed 23 executive actions and has called on Congress to pass legislation, including background checks for all firearms salesHowever, as many supporters of the Second Amendment have pointed out, increased restrictions do little to affect the actions of criminals, who by definition do not abide by the law. Instead, they restrict the rights of law-abiding Americans.

am a firm believer and ardent supporter of the rights enshrined in the Second Amendment. This constitutional right, and our heritage of using firearms for sporting and self-defense purposes, does not have to be sacrificed to reduce gun-related violence. Instead, we should focus on enforcing the extensive laws already in place and turn our attention to more appropriate measuressuch as increasing the safety of our schools and keeping guns out of the hands of those who may be mentally incapable of owning them  responsibly .

Again, thank you for sharing your thoughts on this important issue. Please do not hesitate to contact me in the future about other issues important to you and your family.


  1. Thank you for this brilliant analysis that cuts through the current anti-gun hysteria (and I apologize for being so late in doing so).

    If only more folks left of center utilized the same common-sense approach regarding the Individuals fundamental right to self-defense by ANY MEANS NECESSARY. Face it; the only folks who don't trust the Average Citizen with firearms are the ones who live in fear of them, and, more often than not, that fear is because these folks either are making (or endorse) some quite nefarious plans for their future!

    Thanks again, Mo! I truly wish there were more Internet folks with the guts to call this issue (and our government's real reason for gun control laws) for what it is!

  2. Thank you for the compliment! I don't really consider myself "left of center," but I definitely concur that utilizing a common sense approach would be beneficial to all. Sadly, common sense is lacking in the majority...which gives rise to fabulous sayings like: "Common sense isn't very common, is it?"


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