We have met the tyrant and he is us

If we really want to end the senseless gun violence in our country we have to first debunk the ludicrous notion that an armed populace is a bulwark against governmental tyranny. In the entire history of man, there has never been a successful armed uprising against a sovereign state without the intervention of another sovereign state or within the context of a larger conflict. Anyone who thinks that another country would come to the aid of a bunch of rednecks in army surplus camouflage fighting the US military is clearly insane. If anything, armed uprisings foster tyranny; consider the Warsaw Uprising in 1944 or the history of the Irish Republican Army.

Scholars continue to argue about the meaning of the Second Amendment to the Constitution. I personally favor the explanation, advanced by Professor Carl Bogus of the Roger Williams University Law School, that it was intended to protect the private militias hired by slave owners to capture runaways. To the best of my knowledge, no serious scholar has ever supported the idea that it was aimed at preventing a tyrannical government. In any case, had it been so intended, advances in weaponry have made such a purpose moot. The only tyranny we need fear today is that of living in constant fear of being shot down by a deranged person or a paranoid cop.

If we want to restore our freedom to go about our lives free of the fear of random gun violence, we must reexamine the tropes on which our inability to enact sane gun control is based. And that must lead to a legal reinterpretation of the Second Amendment if not its outright repeal. In the words attributed to Abraham Lincoln, among others, “the Constitution is not a suicide pact.”


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