Second Amendment: What does it really mean?

 

second amendment

After every public shooting in the US, there is a cry for more gun control. If only there were more gun control laws then the shooting would not have happened. If only the NRA were weaker or non-existent, then we would all be safer. Over the last 30 years, the gun control megaphone has gotten louder and more persistent. What does the second amendment say about gun control?

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.

  • “A well regulated Militia”

A well regulated militia is a an organized, disciplined army. Our independence required an organized, disciplined army to defeat the British.

  • “being necessary to the security of a free State”

The armies were organized by states and provided for the security of each state. A free state requires a strong army. Federalism supporting states rights was supported by all of the states because the name of the country is the United States of America.

  • “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms”

The people in each state are empowered to keep and bear arms. The militias in each state were comprised of the citizens bearing their personal arms. Some say that the only weapons allowed were for muskets and then only for hunting. The purpose of the arms is for the defense of the state.

If the federal government tyranny becomes a threat to the states, then the states have a right to defend themselves against the overreach, even by succession. There is no authority for the federal government to attack a state.

We now have the Department of Defense, which did not exist when the Constitution was ratified. The Department of Defense (DOD) is to protect the United States, which is why it is not called the Department of Offense. The National Guard and the police are responsible for enforcing order within the country.

  • “shall not be infringed”

The right for individuals to bear arms is protected by the Constitution. Some arms are banned by law: machine guns, nuclear weapons, grenades, and many other weapons reserved for the military. Semi-automatic rifles and pistols are legal. Semi-automatic means that every time that the trigger is pulled then one bullet is discharged. There is a goal to infringe upon the right to use a semi-automatic rifle.

Many of the mass shootings have occurred in gun-free zones. Robbery or violent acts are hazardous when concealed carry weapons are legal.

Note: I have never owned a gun or been an NRA member. I have shot various guns during my Naval service  ( .50 caliber machines guns, M60 machine guns, 9 mm pistols, and colt 45 pistols). I am an avid supporter of the second amendment.

First Amendment: What does it really say?

first amendment

 

Separation of Church and State. Hate speech. Media freedom. Campaign finance. Cancel speeches due to threats. Supporters claim that the first amendment defends all of these actions. The founders were specific and passionate about the first amendment. Let’s look at the text.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

  • “Congress shall make no law” is the opening phrase. It doesn’t say that Congress shall make some laws. It doesn’t say that Congress shall make a lot of laws. It says Congress shall make no laws.
  • “Respecting an establishment of religion” means that Congress will not establish a national religion. The founders were aware of the Episcopal church, the Church of England. The King was the national and the spiritual leader. The Puritans left England because of this restriction on their worship.

In Everson v. Board of Education (1947), the Supreme Court introduced the phrase “separation of Church and State” to our lexicon. The phrase was taken from a Thomas Jefferson letter to the Danbury Baptist church. James Madison was the author of the Bill of Rights, not Jefferson. Here is an excerpt from his letter.

Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should “make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” thus building a wall of separation between Church & State.

The wall was intended to separate the government from the Church and not to separate the church from the government.  Madison was clear about the intentions in the phrase that Congress shall not establish a religion.

  • “or prohibiting the free exercise thereof” – Congress is prohibited from restricting the free exercise of religion. Restricting churches from involvement in politics is a violation of this clause. Christianity is about aligning our thoughts and ways with God’s thoughts and ways.
  • “or abridging the freedom of speech” – Hateful, offensive speech is covered under this clause. The majority cannot shut down disagreeable speech. Threats are not protected by this phrase.
  • “or [the freedom] of the press” – The fourth estate (media) are given special rights and protections. Due to the internet, cable TV, and mobile devices there are more media choices providing real-time reporting than any time in history.
  • “or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” – The right to peaceful protest is one of our unique privileges. Disrupting traffic, blocking access, and violent protests are not protected. Censorship is not the solution. The only appropriate way to confront disagreeable speech is more free speech. Present your counter argument and let the listeners decide.

 

The right to petition the government for a remedy for your grievances is primarily through the court systems or by addressing elected officials.

 

The first amendment is the foundation for all of the other amendments. It’s important to know what it says instead of what others tell you that it means. The first amendment gives me the right to publish this blog and for you to read it.

 

 

Protests and Progress

peaceful protest.jpg

Today, I received the following email from Seth Godin. If you are not already a follower, then I recommend that you digest his daily nugget of wisdom.

A simple dialog can turn opinions into plans (or perhaps, into less tightly held opinions).

We ask, “And then what happens?”

Flesh it out. Tell us step-by-step. The more detail the better.

No miracles allowed. And it helps if each step is a step that’s worked before, somewhere and sometime else. The other question that helps with this is, “has that step ever worked before?”

We don’t have a shortage of loud and strongly held points of view about business, culture, or technology. But it may be that finding the time to draw a map helps us get to where we want to go (or to realize that we need a new map).

This email reminded me of the sincere #NeverTrump protests. Protests are meant to affect the desired change. It’s painful to watch angry, loud protesters with an incoherent, rude message annoying leaders. Protests are a first amendment right as long as they are peaceful.

The town hall meetings where protesters shout down the speaker, yell “Do your job.”, and dominate the public mic by asking pre-written questions are feckless events. Speakers will stop showing up if the audience does not want to listen to the speaker. “Do your job.” Seems to mean Do your job the way that I want you to do your job, regardless of how your district voted. Jason Chaffetz was reelected by 75% of his constituents. Do you think that he should ignore supermajority and bend to the 2000 protesters at his town hall? If so, then we have moved from a democracy to a mob rules state, which is the first step to fascism. Being fed questions to ask is not an organic movement.

Follow the tea party movement. Not the part where they shouted down speakers, but by promoting candidates that you support, starting in 2018.

Calling Trump and his administration fascists proves that it’s not. No fascist regime has ever been overthrown by political protests. The fascists will beat up and then jail the protesters. Temper the hyperbole.

To affect lasting change, speak reasonably but passionately. Also, other people have first amendment rights. Do not trample them in defense of your first amendment rights. These differences need to be decided by free speech, persuasion, and the voting booth. It’s worked 240 years. Hopefully, it will work for another 240. (Note: Running a third party candidate for President without winning any state house, governor, or congressional seats first is as futile as sweeping up the beach.)

The people protesting for a $15 minimum wage are seeing unwanted consequences. McDonald’s and Wendy’s are both rolling out self-service kiosks. This means that there will be some $15  jobs, in addition to layoffs.

Keep the end in mind. The extremist already supports your view. Your only hope for change is to persuade the moderates and independents.  Preaching to the choir can elevate emotion but reason moves those in the middle. Leaders need to detach emotionally during strategic planning. This allows clear thinking to prevail.

I have friends that are passionate on both sides. I like to see protests that lead to progress instead of uncivil emotional outbursts.

 

An Abortion Law with Legs

fetus

Over 40 years of failure trying to overturn Roe v. Wade demonstrates how strong the opposition has fought against the Republicans. The arguments are well known. A woman, not the government, gets to choose to deliver and keep, deliver and give up for adoption or to have an abortion.  The controversial choice is abortion. When does a child become a person with rights? In 1973, the Supreme Court decided in Roe v Wade that a child becomes a person after viability, during the third trimester.

On the same day as Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court ruled in another abortion case, Doe v. Bolton. This case extended abortion up until birth based on the woman’s health, which included physical, mental, and emotional health. It was a sketchy case on behalf of Jane Doe, even though the real Jane Doe did not support the case and asked the Supreme Court to hear her story about the fictional case. Her appeal was denied and she has passed away.

I believe that Conservatives and Republicans need to stop trying to overturn Roe v. Wade and instead focusing on overturning Doe v. Bolton for the following reasons.

  1. Overturning Roe v. Wade is a difficult political topic because taking away a woman’s choice has strong support among non-Christians and even among some Christians. Liberal judges side with a woman’s right to choose.
  2. Overturning Doe v. Bolton involves banning abortions after 6 months. The majority of Americans do not support late-term abortions, especially partial birth, even among pro-choice women.
  3. Overturning Doe v. Bolton avoids the discussion of abortions due to rape and incest.
  4. Overturning Doe v. Bolton forces the pro-choice people to defend the abortion of a little person. An abortion delivers a dead baby and a C-section delivers an alive baby

We just completed a Presidential election cycle where I heard Roe v. Wade repeated but never Doe v. Bolton. The nominee to the Supreme Court will be nominated next week and I have heard Roe v. Wade mentioned multiple times but never Doe v. Bolton.  Why has this tactic not been tried in 40+ years? I would prefer for Congress to pass a law concerning late term abortions instead of it being a court decision. Any ideas whom in the Congress or Senate that would support this bill?Doe v. Bolton link that explains the case.

Doe v. Bolton case explained.

 

 

 

Indecision

indecision-parks-and-rec

“Alice asked the Cheshire Cat, who was sitting in a tree, “What road do I take?”
The cat asked, “Where do you want to go?”
“I don’t know,” Alice answered.
“Then,” said the cat, “it really doesn’t matter, does it?”
― Lewis CarrollAlice’s Adventures in Wonderland

I don’t know. Let’s wait. I’m not sure. Maybe, possibly. One of the hallmarks of adulthood is exercising our freedom of will which is manifest in our ability to make decisions, which leads to consequences and rewards for our decisions. This requires a close coupling of authority, responsibility, and accountability.

There are various methods of decision making.

  1. Impulsive – I want it now – is a manifestation of lust, usually results in poor results.
  2. Analytical aka analysis paralysis – I need to consider all of the angles – is a rational process based on the facts as perceived by the decision maker.
  3. Intuitive – I know the right path – is a gift visionairies, successful business leaders, and many managers possess.
  4. Emotional – This feels right – is a result of the present feelings due to circumstances or relationships.
  5. Predetermined – My boss told me to do it this way – requires obedience to the person in authority.
  6. Biblical – I think this is the Lord’s will according to the Bible — could be based on the bible or spiritual knowledge and spiritual wisdom.

Indecision produces discomfort and pressure.  Seek God as you pursue your answer. God’s thoughts and ways are higher than your thoughts and ways.

Let the peace of Christ rule (be the umpire continually) in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Col 3:15

1- Determine if this is a decision that you need to make. Can I? Should I?

2- Be thankful and peaceful as you pursue answers from God and enjoy the process because God is loving and faithful.

3- After your prayer is answered –  Congratulations. You added a new page to your testimony. Share the goodness of God with somebody else.

Can I? Should I?

decisions

 

Where should we focus our efforts?  The myriad of choices is endless. Decisions confront us at school, work, and with relationships. How should we prioritize our decisions?

There should be two parts to all decisions, whether you are boiling an egg or starting a company.

Can I do it? Do I have the skills or talents to complete the task? Can I learn the requisite skills? If you determine that you believe that you can, then comes the critical next phase.

Should I do it? This is where the profit is evaluated, a business case is built, or you trust in an intuitive sense. Some visionaries, like Steve Jobs and Elon Musk, developed products that people were not looking for.

Spending all day on social media or gaming consumes some teenager’s lives. The bible talks about most things in our lives should be tempered with moderation.

Focusing on “Should I?” will engage your mind and heart. Sit down before I share this stunning news. Believe it or not, there are mistakes, errors, and blatant lies on the internet. Anybody with a strong sense of right and wrong, could spend hours correcting spelling and grammar, discussing logic fallacies, and arguing about how their opinion is right. Or you can just ignore it.

Engage in the profitable, fun, and relational. There is no “Should I?” flowchart to follow, but just asking the question will improve the quality of your decisions.

Why Do We Need The Electoral College?

electoral-college

Why do we need an Electoral College to determine our president? Isn’t the popular vote a better way to elect a President? After all, the popular vote is the method to select Senators, Congressional representatives, Governors, etc.

The President is based on a national election. Our founders designed our government with checks and balances to limit control by a majority. The Executive, Legislative, and Judicial are designed to limit overreach by the other branches. The branches were designed as follows:

Congress – Each state is allocated representatives based on population.

Senate – Each state was allocated 2 Senators per state. The state legislators voted on the Senators. In 1913, (Woodrow Wilson’s term), the 17th amendment was ratified, which authorized Senators to be elected by popular vote.

Judicial – Appointed by the President and approved by the Senate. Legislatures need an amendment to overturn Judicial decisions.

President is decided by an electoral college instead of popular vote. The founders knew that the heavily populated states could dominate an election. How could they limit the impact? Through an electoral college. There are 538 electoral votes.  The same total as Congress, 438 representatives plus 100 Senators. The plurality wins the same number of electoral votes in a state regardless of the margin of victory.  In North Carolina we have 15 electoral college votes. If a candidate wins with 40% or 100%, then they both receive 15. This forces a candidate to campaign in all states. Otherwise they could target California, New York, and Illinois and avoid South Dakota. This encourages a national campaign to woo all voters. The electoral college is another example of the founder’s foresight and wisdom.