An Announcement

I saw a headline today:

NRA announces opposition to Supreme Court nominee

So I thought I’d take the opportunity to make a formal announcement of my opposition to the NRA.

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18 Responses to “An Announcement”

  1. JD Says:

    And if there had been no right to bear arms in 1775, there would be no Constitution to protect your right of free speech. Take away the Second Amendment, and you will have given away the First Amendment.

    • markbittner Says:

      I don’t think we’re really free. As a friend once said to me, “We can say whatever we want as long as it doesn’t make any difference.”

  2. Karen Says:

    Personally, I’d rather prevent my government from oppressing me via the pen and the ballot box. Voting is so much more civilized, and whistle-blowers and muck-racking journalists have been more effective at preserving our constitutionally-granted freedom and liberty than gun-toting militias.

  3. Margaret Says:

    When the writers of the Constitution protected “our right to bear arms,” the arms they had in mind were muskets which took at least a full minute to load, and could then fire one (ONE) shot. Nothing in the Constitution protects our “right” to use modern automatic weapons, which can massacre dozens. It does not protect the use of Saturday-night-special-type handguns, which are so handy for homicides. The NRA is perverting the clear original intent of the writers of the Constitution.

    • JD Says:

      The Second Amendment makes no mention of specific types of weapons or of rates of fire. The intent was to prevent a totalitarian government from denying the citizens their right of self-defense.

      Applying your logic to the Constitution would mean that the First Amendment only applies to printing presses, not to radio, television, telephone, billboards, the Internet, etc. or any other form of communication not in existence when the document and amendments were written.

    • markbittner Says:

      I’ve never cared what the original intent of the founding daddies was. They were not specially enlightened beings. All that matters is what’s true, what’s sane.

      Weapons are instruments of bad omen:
      all beings, I believe, loathe them.
      Therefore, whoever has the true Tao
      does not want to know about them.

      This is from the Tao Te Ching. I don’t believe it’s simply one man’s opinion. It is the truth.

    • JD Says:

      What is true is that there will always be some people willing to use guns to assert control over others (Mao, for example), and the defenseless quickly become the oppressed.

      “Weapons are instruments of bad omen,” is appropriate. The weapons are only instruments; the bad omens are what is evil.

      Even if you could magically delete all guns from the world, do you believe that violence would cease? I don’t believe so, and I would rather have a means of defending myself if necessary.

    • markbittner Says:

      I think you’re wrong. The problem here, to my way of thinking, is this is the type of issue that cannot be resolved in a blog. Blogs exist to express opinions. My real opinion is complex. I can put it out there simply, but it will be open to misinterpretation and then an endless round of defense. But here goes (although I refuse to go into the endless round of defense): The source of our trouble is our materialism. Materialism leads to the delusion that we are separate individuals. That delusion of being separate individuals leads to aggressive competition and violence. We are the biggest materialists on the planet. Who’s violent? We delude ourselves about our noble intentions. We’re currently a greedy and frivolous people. There is an element of idealism in our makeup, but it’s been pushed into the deep background by our love of money. You cannot serve God and Mammon. You can choose to go for ideals. That’s my choice.

  4. Margaret Says:

    JD, there was no mention of specific types of weapons in the Second Amendment because our forefathers weren’t futurists. They didn’t forecast or imagine innovations that would occur. Also, there is a big difference between having a weapon which will allow you a reasonable self-defense–for example, somebody living in a high-crime area might decide to have a shotgun in his home–and having enough firepower to wipe out an Army unit, which is NOT reasonable.

    In regard to the parallel you drew between changes in weaponry equalling changes in disseminating information from Constitutional days, the difference is that a modern extreme weapons kills…extremely. Modern TV or radio messages might annoy us, but they won’t kill us.

    • JD Says:

      I’ve read the Constitution many times, and am convinced that the authors were conscious of the inevitability of future changes, even if they couldn’t anticipate the specifics. Weapons had evolved even in their lifetimes, and they certainly didn’t limit themselves to fighting the Revolutionary War with only guns in existence before 1700.

      Since fully automatic weapons are generally not legal for civilians to own in the U. S., your assertion that a person could have enough firepower to wipe out an Army unit is a stretch. I am familiar with civilian handguns, shotguns, and rifles, and none of them would be a match for a modern Army unit.

      If you really believe that ideas don’t kill people, then why have dictators throughout history expended so much time and energy to espouse their propaganda and to suppress dissent? Ideas are the ultimate weapon, and are far more powerful than any AR-15 rifle.

  5. Diane Says:

    “The source of our trouble is our materialism. ”

    This is very true.

    Most criminals do not want our lives. They want our property.

  6. Jared Says:

    Weapons are the tools of violence;
    all decent men detest them.

    Weapons are the tools of fear;
    a decent man will avoid them
    except in the direst necessity
    and, if compelled, will use them
    only with the utmost restraint.
    Peace is his highest value.
    If the peace has been shattered,
    how can he be content?
    His enemies are not demons,
    but human beings like himself.
    He doesn’t wish them personal harm.
    Nor does he rejoice in victory.
    How could he rejoice in victory
    and delight in the slaughter of men?

    He enters a battle gravely,
    with sorrow and with great compassion,
    as if he were attending a funeral.

    — Stephen Mitchell Translation of Tao te Ching (1975)

    If the NRA had this in their mission statement, I maybe might almost consider being a member. But probably not…

    • markbittner Says:

      “If a man should strike you turn the other cheek.”

      You seem to have an obsession with seeing the world as a competitive struggle between egos. It doesn’t have to be that way. It’s a choice, and a bad one. I don’t have to opt for violence, and I won’t honor any system that fosters it.

      And if I were you, I would avoid Stephen Mitchell’s translations.

    • JD Says:

      “If a man should strike you turn the other cheek.”

      Not a very practical policy if one is being robbed or attacked at gunpoint. Are you advocating that in-kind resistance to violence is never acceptable?

    • Kelley Says:

      Actually, in the metaphysical tradition, “turn the other cheek” does *not mean turn the other cheek indefinitely. It’s a specific act to precipitate karmic judgment. It’s their “second chance” and if they fail it, karmic judgment falls on them. He said turn the other cheek–*not forever!

  7. Jared Burton Says:

    I wouldn’t say I have an obsession, but I think that most violence stems from a competitive struggle between egos.

    Mitchell’s translations were my introduction to Taoism.

    I stand on your side of the line about the forefathers’ imperfections.

    http://etext.virginia.edu/jefferson/quotations/jeff1480.htm

    • markbittner Says:

      Sorry, Jared. I thought I was replying to JD. I wasn’t paying close enough attention, and the J tripped me up. JD is the one who seems to have an obsession with seeing the world in terms of competitive struggle.

    • markbittner Says:

      And sorry, JD. “Obsession” wasn’t right. I wouldn’t have used that word to your face. (Well, I could have had the argument become genuinely heated.) This is the kind of thing to which the Internet lends itself too easily—something I’m always bitching about.

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