The everlasting conflict in the great republic of the United States of America revolving around the Second Amendment is inflamed once again after 17 people died in Florida on Valentine’s Day. These men, women and children died at the hands of a boy who abused an instrument. An instrument that normally is meant to kill animals and paper targets on the civilian side. This basic narrative has played out frequently in the past couple of decades. The decency that is expected to follow in somber occasions such as this fails to arise due to conservatives rushing for their shields and liberals lunging to attack. The nation as a whole cries more intensely with each tragedy that plagues our localities. A plea is wanted, but reasonable discourse and deliberation is needed.
The Second Amendment is ingrained in our culture, and it is not going anywhere. Conspiracy theorists need not worry and are encouraged to continue reading. The Second Amendment need not be changed at all, but our understanding and knowledge of the history and current realities of this clause are essential if one is to reach an informed and respectable conclusion on the matter at hand. As we continue, there are three topics that will be elaborated on: a citizen’s fight against tyranny, legal and court history, and the idea of liberty. In this column, a citizen’s defense of tyranny will be discussed. The remaining ideas will be demonstrated in following articles regarding the Second Amendment debate.
The Declaration of Independence demands that the people rise against their government, abolish it, and start anew in the event they suffer a long train of abuses and usurpations. Alexander Hamilton advocates the rise of men in arms in self-defense against a government that betrays his people in Federalist 28. With this idea confirmed by the founders and our founding political philosophy, one would be quick to buy an Armalite rifle and stock up on ammunition. But, however pretentious this idea of the second Revolutionary War may be, it is extremely unlikely to happen.
Our Constitution and the American philosophy was built with the idea that the nation and its government would be stable and provide for the people. The functions of Checks and Balances, Separation of Powers, and an independent Judiciary are three primary and founding mechanics that were formed and instilled in our Constitution so that tyranny, despotism and any concentration of powers would be near impossible.
The Civil War is a past scenario that many might point to as being an example of the faults of our system of governance. However, the Civil War was not a response to true tyranny, but a major split on the issue of slavery. The South displayed an act of anarchy and lawlessness that equates to a toddler’s temper tantrum. Fits of tyranny that call for the people to rise to arms and abolish their government have never occurred in this country. Has bad policy occurred? Yes. Bad presidencies? Sure. Long trains of abuses and usurpations? Not even close.
Let us venture to the theoretical rather than the practical. Imagine that the government has suspended Habeas Corpus, ended jury trials, censored political speech, tortured prisoners and those yet to be convicted, quartered troops in citizen’s houses, and has given police full reign to search and seize anything they feel necessary for an investigation with no doctrine or reason to follow for a few decades. In this case, the Declaration of Independence, the founders, and the overall political philosophy that has driven the United States as so far as to survive in this day and age, demands that the people must rise up and attempt to alter or abolish their government and form a new one.
In 1776, the citizenry of the United States were generally equipped the same as the military. In 2018, the military has invested in technology so great, powerful and destructive in order to bring security to the people that it now vastly overpowers the citizenry.
It is an important concept to understand that the men and women during the founding of the Constitution were armed with muskets or similar firearms that equaled that of the military. Then it would make sense that 95 percent of armed citizens could defeat the 5 percent that stayed in the military. The idea of overthrowing a unjust government may stand if the equipment used was similar or relatively equal. Unfortunately, our contemporary military power far exceeds the power our citizenry can provide.
Yes, the United States military may make up less than one percent of the population, but the far superior technology, weaponry, and training they possess drastically exceed that of the general population. How many men with Armalite rifles and homemade explosives can effectively destroy ONE tank? Too many to be worth it. In a fight with arms and ammunition, the United States military will win through and through. Many citizens hold their Armalite rifle, lying in wait for a cause that will never come. They dream of being a hero. If you want to be a hero, join the military and fight for a cause worth fighting for, not your petty vanity!
One must see that the American citizens would be overwhelmed by the United States military. They hope that the military, who is full of men and women who love the Constitution, will defect and join the temporary militia hell bent on altering and abolishing the government. The same military that, not too long ago, fought and died for the United States against hostile enemies. According to history and common sense, this will never be the case.
Regarding whether or not military members will defect or stay loyal to the state will be investigated in the next article.
Greyson Oswalt-Smith is a political science major at Kennesaw State University who plans on going to law school. He enjoys being politically involved locally, and serves on the Sara Hightower Board of Trustees. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.