Need

One of the questions being blasted over the airwaves and over print media has been “why does anyone need an assault rifle/high capacity magazine?” (My apologies over the use of assault rifle per my previous rants on this misnomer).

This is a difficult question to answer as the sort of person asking the question either has not thought through the ramifications of their premise, nor are they knowledgeable enough about Constitutional construction, modern firearms technology, or lethal force application principles to be involved in the discussion anyway.

How do you answer their question sufficiently in a way that they will understand without belittling their lack of information or understanding?

Christ often used parables to insert a thought into the minds of men who were either incapable or unwilling to know and understand the Truth if presented openly.  What follows was inspired by a number of similar writings on message boards and hopefully conveys this concept in a way more commonly understood than by those of us who have taken the time to learn not only where we stand, but why we stand there based on facts and historical writings.

The authors of the Constitution were extremely forward thinkers.  They understood when they put pen to paper to write our foundational document that they would not have all of the answers.  They included things like the amendment process in order to allow the document to be modernized and changed while still preserving the integrity of it and the principles it codified.  They also understood that they would one day die and it would be up to others to interpret that document to infer those principles as time and technology advanced.  They wrote extensively in the Federalist Papers of the Constitution and the first ten amendments to it (which are the Bill of Rights) and how those should be understood for common men and for future generations.

Now, the United States, with all of it’s component parts, side-by-side systems and hierarchical structure is fairly similar to a computer.  The Constitution is the computer’s operating system.  It provides the framework for all of the computer’s potential to be put to work.  All of the various laws and bureaucracies are like computer programs – some are big, some are small, but they are supposed to work with the operating system to enhance the computer.

The founders understood men to be fallible, so they codified the First Amendment, our right to freedom of speech, the press, to assemble, to petition the government to tackle our complaints and fix the problems we have with it.  The First is like an antivirus and firewall on a computer.  It protects the inner workings of the computer from malicious programs or data packets that would damage it, one of the regular programs, or the operating system as a whole.  The founders considered it to be the first line of defense against corruption and destruction of the computer of the U.S.

Imagine your computer, what is the first program that starts after you turn it on?  The operating system.  The second is the antivirus and firewall.

What happens to your computer though when something invades through the firewall and disables the antivirus?  What can you do?

There are a few options remaining.  You can wipe the system, reinstall the operating system, and essentially start completely anew, but having lost a great deal of time and irreplaceable data.  Terrible damage was done, but all was not lost.  That is what the Second Amendment to the Consitution is for… it codified the right, that the founders understood to be possessed by all by virtue of their very existence, to keep and bear arms (more on this momentarily).  They understood that the computer needed a way to defend itself as well and that if the very programs that defended the computer, such as the antivirus (freedom of the press), were co-opted to work for the malicious program, then a built-in defense mechanism would be necessary.  That mechanism needed to be sufficiently powerful to be able to overthrow the rogue programs and files, beat back the original malicious program, and basically do a system restore to the “computer.”  It’s dirty, annoying, and takes time, but some malicious programs are that mean.

But, do you really need a rifle that can shoot thirty times before reloading?

Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed; as they are in almost every kingdom in Europe. The supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword; because the whole body of the people are armed, and constitute a force superior to any band of regular troops that can be, on any pretence, raised in the United States. A military force, at the command of Congress, can execute no laws, but such as the people perceive to be just and constitutional; for they will possess the power, and jealousy will instantly inspire the inclination, to resist the execution of a law which appears to them unjust and oppressive.

Noah Webster

Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect every one who approaches that jewel. Unfortunately, nothing will preserve it but downright force. Whenever you give up that force, you are ruined.

Patrick Henry

The whole of that Bill [of Rights] is a declaration of the right of the people at large or considered as individuals…[I]t establishes some rights of the individual as unalienable and which consequently, no majority has a right to deprive them of.

Albert Gallatin

The right of self defence is the first law of nature…. Wherever the right of the people to keep and bear arms is, under any colour or pretext whatsoever, prohibited, liberty, if not already annihilated, is on the brink of destruction.

St. George Tucker

No clause in the Constitution could by any rule of construction be conceived to give to congress a power to disarm the people

William Rawle

The right of the citizens to keep and bear arms has justly been considered, as the palladium of the liberties of a republic; since it offers a strong moral check against the usurpation and arbitrary power of rulers; and will generally, even if these are successful in the first instance, enable the people to resist and triumph over them.

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story

The arms intended by the Constitution are such as are suitable for the general defence of the community against invasion or oppression.

Thomas Cooley

So the next time someone asks why you need a thirty r0und magazine for your evil black rifle, don’t belittle them. Educate them on why.  Use a metaphor if you need to, but let them leave the conversation with a deeper respect of the reason why.  If you can break the framework of their thought process a little, you might just find them able to better understand the truth differently phrased.

Or simply ask them why they seem to want the return of feudalism or the rise of centralized totalitarianism so badly?

Violation of Second Amendment liberties is part of a comprehensive program to centralize political power and to overcome the ability of citizens to use the ballot box to resist the extension of this centralized political power.

Gary North

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