But first . . .


Jim Burt:  “[With respect to yesterday’s post], the Second Amendment has been interpreted by our right-wing (not ‘conservative’) Supreme Court to provide for an individual right to gun ownership independent of membership in ‘a well-regulated militia.’ But I don’t believe there has been any regulatory effort concerning firearms which has tested that 2008 ruling by taking the Amendment to its logical conclusion:  Make gun ownership a form of ‘implied consent’ – as with breathalyzers for drivers – to membership in a ‘well-regulated militia,’ a sort of extended National Guard.  Subject to that, make gun owners subject to call-up, muster formations, and inspections.  Given my own military experience, I am confident most gun owners would not want the hassle.  On the other hand, it would be hard to argue that such a scheme would be inconsistent with the terms and spirit of the Constitution.  There’s nothing in that document suggesting that the ‘real’ purpose of the Second Amendment is to arm vigilantes so that they can overthrow the constitutional government if they disagree with it, as many of the extremist radicals, such as Ted Cruz, have suggested.”

☞ And what a good moment to plug Michael Waldman’s The Second Amendment: A Biography, just out in paperback . . .

. . . prime the pump with this relevant little nugget from the introduction:

The Constitution was drafted in secret by a group of mostly young men, many of whom had served together in the Continental Army, and who feared the consequences of a weak central authority.  They produced a charter that shifted power to a national government. “Anti-Federalists” opposed the Constitution. They worried, among other things, that the new government would try to disarm the thirteen state militias.  Critically, those militias were a product of a world of civic duty and governmental compulsion utterly alien to us today. Every white man age 16 to 60 was enrolled. He was required to own – and bring – a musket or other military weapon.

Did you know this? I didn’t!

Valuable context, as one tries to divine the intent of the Framers when they wrote — in the Amendment’s entirety — “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.”

Those 27 words are why we can’t have universal background checks when some nutjob goes to buy a dozen assault weapons at a gun show?  Really?


The long-term solution is a planet where everyone gets along, sustainably, and enjoys the basics required for a decent, healthy life.  It seems to me we already have the resources and technology to do that; we just haven’t figured out how to organize ourselves, as a species, to achieve it.

(Killing and oppressing each other in various ways around the world and spending a fortune to blow things up doesn’t help.  Neither, I’d argue, does having 17 children — or even, on average, more than 2.)

A tiny piece of the short-term solution may be this African-assembled, gravity-powered electric light.  Just how it will stand up to real world use I have no idea, but I love the ingenuity.

Have a great weekend!




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