Bearing arms

The intent of the Bill of Rights was to protect the states (and us) from the federal government. The purpose of the second amendment was to assure, for all time, the national army could never suppress its own people. Where I sit, with my comfortable appointments and my excess of things, I often forget that purpose, and imagine instead I’d prefer to be rid of private weapons so someone doesn’t unnecessarily shoot me.

I, and many like me, are tempted to believe government is good – that it represents me; that it operates on my behalf. Perhaps it does, but I forget: it won’t, if I lose my ability to shoot back at it. That’s why our right to organize and resist was written into our Constitution.

Surprisingly, at least to me, all those crazy people terrified of the liberal president, buying guns with food stamps or however else they can afford them, and heading for the hills: those people are giving all the wrong responses – but their instincts are correct.

Sadly, it’s too late for all of us.

Here it is: in the nature of things, if I attack you, you suffer. You strike back, and I suffer. From the suffering we learn the character of respect, of restraint, and of peace. Globally, we have become an invulnerable behemoth, waging war thoughtlessly, on whims. No longer exposed to suffering, no longer fearful of consequence, we abase ourselves before the whole world. Nationally, there is no alternative for the citizen but to obey.

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