February 17, 2019

Historic Perspective on the Second Amendment Does Little to Stop Mincemeat Making of It

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I found Mark Alexander’s piece published at the Patriot Post to be one of the better attempts at explaining the historical background of the founding of the Second Amendment. This piece also includes information from what is described as an expert on linguistics who, it is claimed, understands the use of words and the structure of the Second Amendment at its birth to deliver an unquestioning description of what it meant.

What does this historical perspective actually do that is going to stop what is being described as  “Deconstruction and Repeal of the Second Amendment?” My short answer would be, nothing really.

Whether it is believed or not that the Second Amendment or any other amendment cannot be “amended” matters little when you give what’s been happening an honest assessment. Alexander writes, “Given the preeminent status of the Second Amendment and the growing chorus of leftists calling to amend it until they can rally enough populist support to fully repeal it, we should be clear that our Founders never intended for this right to be infringed.”

Well, what does that mean precisely – to never be infringed?

A dictionary defines the word infringe as: “actively break the terms of (a law, agreement, etc.).” and “act so as to limit or undermine (something); encroach on.”

In referencing the Online Etymology Dictionary for the word infringe, we find this: “mid-15c., enfrangen, “to violate,” from Latin infringere “to damage, break off, break, bruise,” from in-“in” (from PIE root *en “in”) + frangere “to break” (from PIE root *bhreg- “to break”). Meaning “encroach” first recorded c. 1760. Related: Infringedinfringing.”

The American Language expert says that the right to keep and bear arms is not granted to the people by this Amendment to the Constitution – that it reaffirms the assumption that there is no question of a person’s God-given right. He is directly quoted as saying: “The right is assumed to exist and to be unconditional..”

When the expert was asked to present the Second Amendment as it might appear if it were written today, he writes: “Since a well-regulated militia is necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be abridged.”

It is interesting that he chose to replace the word “infringed” with “abridged.”

A dictionary defines abridged as: “shorten (a book, movie, speech, or other text) without losing the sense.” and “curtail (rights or privileges).”

The Online Etymology Dictionary tackles abridged in this manner: “c. 1300, abreggen, “make shorter, shorten, condense,” from Old French abregierabrigier “abridge, diminish, shorten” (12c., Modern French abréger), from Late Latin abbreviare “make short,” from Latin ad “to” (see ad-) + breviare “shorten,” from brevis “short, low, little, shallow” (from PIE root *mregh-u- “short”).

Abbreviate is the same word directly from Latin. The sound development that turned Latin -vi- to French -dg- is paralleled in assuage (from assuavidare) and deluge (from diluvium). Of writing, “shorten by omission,” late 14c. Related: Abridgedabridging.”

Puzzling to me, after this author goes to such lengths to substantiate the exact meaning of the 27 words of the Second Amendment, he would write that there have been no successful attempts to “infringe” on the Second Amendment. He writes: “Historically, there have been no successful attempts to modify the Second Amendment’s assurance of the innate rights of the people to defend their Liberty, but there are now threats to do so.” This was followed by: “That notwithstanding, Second Amendment rights have most certainly been subject to much alteration by judicial misinterpretation and outright activism.”

Is this author suggesting that he is willing to accept those “reasonable” limits on a right he just finished defending as one that is clear-cut, unamendable and shall NEVER be infringed, disregarding all these actions as not infringements? I don’t get it! Isn’t this a direct contribution in and of itself toward the “Deconstruction and Repeal of the Second Amendment?” Many of the same people all aghast at the brazen attempts of late to destroy the Second Amendment fully support putting more and more restrictions on a right this author just described as one that was intended to never be changed. Isn’t this contradictory and perhaps even insane behavior? I’ll say it again, I don’t get it!

Upon examination of the word “infringe” and the American Language expert who might change that word to “abridge” if he was attempting to rewrite what the Second Amendment said in 1789 and how it might be worded today, how can any real supporter of the Second Amendment be willing then, with a God-given right that the Founding Fathers stated as unalienable and “shall never be infringed” see every hurdle in place in order for a lawful citizen to keep and bear arms, as “no successful attempts to modify the Second Amendment?”

What then is the purpose of having the Second Amendment or any other amendment if it can be amended without amending it and infringed upon without infringing upon it?

I understand that probably the author is attempting to delineate between court rulings and other legislative actions that place limits on the Second Amendment as being different than actually changing the wording of the Second Amendment or a complete tossing of the Amendment into the garbage.

Offering all this glamorous historical perspective on what the Founding Fathers meant and what the words and phrases at the time meant is certainly interesting, but so long as the Congress and the Courts can simply ignore any and all of the Amendments and make them into what they damn well please, while Americans applaud their efforts, what good is understanding what any of the Founders meant?

Isn’t this just more of the same of Congress exercising their powers of Article I, Section 8 “To make all laws that are necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.”

This is easily interpreted to mean Congress will do just as they damned well please. You lose!

Paper documents worthy of nothing I’d say!

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