Welcome to the second week of the Know Your Rights series, in which we are exploring and explaining the Bill of Rights and the rights, therefore, that we have and must protect against every offender. This week we are talking about the 2nd Amendment, which is a hot topic these days.
The 2nd Amendment is best known as the right to bear arms. The full text reads; “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.”
The idea to be able to protect yourself from others and from oppressive government is an idea that came from many heads. From John Locke to Samuel Adams; from Thomas Jefferson to George Washington; all of the founders and influential thinkers supported the rights of the citizens to keep and bear arms. They understood that it was a necessary part of the security of keeping a free state.
There is little that you have to study or understand about this brief but clear statement. The right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed. It isn’t written in some old-timey English that doesn’t translate well to modern terms. It isn’t referring to any single type of arms – it is referring to all arms.
Regulating the age at which a free adult may purchase a gun is an infringement on their rights. Regulating the types of guns that a free adult may purchase is an infringement on their rights. Regulating the amount of ammo that a free adult may purchase is an infringement on their rights.
At any time that Americans have their right infringed upon – especially by their own government – Americans should be outraged. We should stand up and speak out. We should demand our rights be respected by our government and tell them that we will not tolerate a government that aims to lord their authority over ours.
Perhaps the most persuasive argument in favor of the Second Amendment actually comes from a Japanese Commanding Officer. During World War II Isoroku Yamamoto said, “You cannot invade the mainland United States. There would be a rifle behind every blade of grass.”
Homework: Look for reliable statistics about gun violence. Do your own homework and come to your own conclusion. Be educated about your beliefs, do not start empty arguments.
I’m excited to start on a series that I’ve been wanting to do for a while now. I want to make sure that I fulfill my civic duty by making sure that everyone who is a reader of this blog knows the Bill of Rights. If you do not know, the Bill of Rights is the first ten amendments of the U.S. Constitution, and contains text that ensures Americans their God given rights. We must know these rights. We must exercise these rights.
We cannot defend our rights if we do not know our rights. And very many people do not know their rights. In 2015, a Newseum Institute poll showed that 33% of Americans over the age of 18 could not name any part of the 1st Amendment! It is critically important that we know our rights and fight to keep them.
So, without any further ado, I present to you The First Amendment of U.S. Constitution.
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.
There are five parts to the first amendment – every one important, every one under attack.
1. Freedom of Religion
Freedom of religion is often misinterpreted as the separation of church and state. In fact, the term “separation of church and state,” never appears in the constitution, or in any other government document from the 18th century. That term was taken out of context from a letter that Thomas Jefferson wrote to the Danbury Baptist Church. What the first amendment means – what it guarantees – is that the government would not be involved in running the church or enforcing or regulating religion; and that you would have the freedom of exercising your beliefs without fear of retaliation.
2. Freedom of Speech
Freedom of speech is the most straight forward of these five rights. While you cannot make terroristic threats, you do have the right to say what is on your mind without government regulation or censorship.
3. Freedom of the Press
Freedom of the press is another layer of freedom of speech. It allows reporters, columnists, newspapers – today, even bloggers! – to say their piece and express their opinion without being censored or restricted by government forces.
4. The Right of Assembly
The right of assembly allows people to peaceably assemble with the intent of enacting change or promoting an idea.
5. The Right to Petition
The right to petition is often downplayed or overlooked in the grand scheme of the first amendment. However, the right to petition is actually very significant. It means that we the people have the right to petition the government; petition, not necessarily meaning a piece of paper with a bunch of signatures. A petition is any formal request to someone in a place of authority. Every time that we write a congressman, call the White House, email the governor, we are petitioning. The right to petition is a crucial part in keeping the power of government in the hands of “we the people.”
I’m not a student of the law. I do not have a degree in American History or Civics. Perhaps you want to get interpretations from someone who is – that won’t hurt my feelings at all. I just want you to know what the Constitution says and what rights you have.
Homework: Memorize the rights guaranteed to us in the first amendment. Then, do research and be on the look out for stories that show a violation of these rights. Prepare yourself so that you do not become a victim.
The hot topic in the news this week is gun control. This comes as a result of the horrific school shooting in Parkland, Florida. Unlike many, I disagree that the right time to talk about such a big policy change is right after an incident like this when everyone is thinking emotionally. As much as you need your heart to be influential, you need your mind to be clear and the logic to prevail. Nonetheless, we are human, and the emotional side of us wants to have this discussion right now. So, let’s have it.
I want to forewarn you that I am a huge supporter of the 2nd Amendment and this will be a controversial post. I try to touch on these sensitive subjects in a way that doesn’t offend anyone, but I will also be direct and unapologetic about my beliefs.
I have heard some shocking things lately from people the I considered to be conservatives. I still respect these people, but I couldn’t disagree with them more. I am going to list a couple of things I’ve heard, and the reasons I cannot agree.
- There is no reason for the public to have assault style rifles.
- Maybe there is, maybe there isn’t. But it is there right to purchase one if they would like. There are far more responsible, not murdering, legal assault style rifle owners than there are those who commit crimes. Should we punish the many because of the few? Maybe you think we should. But how about this statistic? Rifles are used to kill approximately 374 people a year, while falling out of bed kills approximately 450 people a year. And really, who needs a bed? Maybe we should ban furniture, so no one dies falling out of a bed ever again!
- Maybe we need stricter gun laws and tougher background checks!
- The states with the strictest gun laws contain cities with the highest rates of gun violence. Furthermore, I would like to submit to you that regardless of whether or not they obtained their guns legally, people who kill people aren’t afraid to break the law. I come to this conclusion based on the fact that killing people is against the law.
Those are the two biggest things I have heard from some of my friends on the right. Of course, my friends on the left are saying all this and more. The call for common sense gun control is out of control. But if it is common sense gun control they want, then it’s common sense gun control they shall receive.
Step 1: Research shows that 98% of mass shootings occur in gun free zones; thus, common sense dictates removing gun free zones.
Step 2: Short of being Superman, the easiest and quickest way to stop a shooter is with a gun; ergo, more responsible people should carry guns. Think about putting armed guards in schools.
Step 3: Reform the education system and challenge parents to get more involved in hopes that these kids may not grow up with the desire to do harm.
It is time we realized that common sense gun control means more guns, not less.
“Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” -Benjamin Franklin
What is the book about?
The book is just a collection of short stories about theoretical conversations I would have with certain historical figures. I don’t put words in their mouth or manipulate their political agenda; I use their own words and cite every source.
How did you come up with the idea?
Growing up, my dad would ask us random questions. “If you could be any animal what animal would you be?” “What time period would you most like to visit?” “If you could have dinner with any one in history who would it be and why?” About a year ago, I took that last question and wrote my first My Dinner With story as a blog post. It got a lot of attention and I decided to write more and make a book.
What type of things do you talk about with the Founding Fathers?
Anything and everything. Small talk is an important part of any good dinner party, and that’s where a lot of the humor comes into play. Beyond that, however, we talk about the thing that links us all together – America.
Who is this book for?
Anyone and everyone. It’s a really quick read: just five short stories full of whit and wisdom. It can be used as a teaching tool – I was homeschooled growing up and I know homeschoolers love to pepper this type of thing into their curriculums. But it’s also for the casual reader. It’s a lot of fun, honest.
When is it available and how can I buy it?
eBooks are available on President’s Day, February 19th, 2018. You can get them at lulu.com, kobo.com; or on iBooks, nook, or Amazon Kindle.
What are you working on next?
My big project right now is just getting this book out there and read. I do have plans to add more My Dinner With books to the series, so hopefully this first book will be received well. I’m always looking for ways to help connect people with American history and I think story telling is a really great way to do that.
“I have thought for a long time that conservatives needed to change their approach. I thought we should become better story tellers, better listeners; that we should be better at explaining our plans and why it is good for the American people. I thought that some more compassion and thoughtful articulation would simultaneously shut down the liberals go-to attacks and appeal to a broader base.”
That quote is from a blog post I wrote in December, titled They Didn’t Do It My Way. I wrote this because I was – I am – fed up with the Republican Party. I am done with politicians who want to complain that the left draws a false narrative about them, but then does nothing to fight the misconceptions about them. If the good, caring conservatives out there would just explain themselves more clearly, sympathize with anyone, and told stories that we could all relate to, than the wouldn’t fall prey to the attacks of the liberal media. They shout that the liberals have demonized the conservative movement but haven’t so much as whispered a good reason to disavow their talking points.
Here are just some of the ways the conservatives could effectively fight back against the slander the left and many in the media have assigned them.
- Fight back against the notion that conservatives are racist by going into the inner-cities and listening to the people. Hear from the people, the business owners, and the school teachers to find out what they need. Explain how you want to help the minorities and the people in poverty through your policies. Show them how school choice will allow them to get their children access to better education, more appropriate class sizes, and the best teachers. Tell them a story; pain them a picture – in New York City, more African American babies are aborted than are born. That trend WILL result in the extermination of the race within the city. The numbers aren’t much different in inner-cities across the country. Let them know that that is not what we want. We want the presence of all peoples in our society to make us stronger. Assure them that you aren’t trying to take away their entitlement programs (that keep them in poverty) cold turkey so that they end up flat on their faces; but that we want to help them get a good job and move up so that they may move out of poverty and into a better life. Show them that you care.
- Tell women you hear them; that they matter. Give the leftist feminist movement some acknowledgement. Verbalize that you are proud of the ground women have made: now graduating from college at a larger rate than men. Recognize that they have valid concerns about the taxation of tampons and other feminine care products. Most medical necessities are not taxed, and these feminine care products should be considered a necessity. (You wouldn’t want these women to go without these products, and as a conservative, you should have no problems cutting taxes.) Tell stories about strong women who have inspired you. Women are more than half of the electorate – and you are letting the other side paint you as blatantly anti-female.
- You’re a politician: your words should be politically correct. Don’t fall into the anti-PC trap. When someone says something insensitive – don’t defend it! Don’t explain away inappropriate behavior of yourself or others. You are a leader, so act like one. Take the responsibility of your position seriously, and don’t say things to offend anyone you are representing.
While I am not a big fan of political parties in general, I believe the republicans could do so much to help themselves. I think many are trying to copy the Trump model, and I believe that is the total wrong direction for the party. Try caring. Try loving. Try representing. Try doing good.