In 1998, Professor Carl Bogus published an article titled "The Hidden History of the Second Amendment" in the University of California at Davis Law Review. His thesis was novel. He suggested that James Madison crafted the amendment to placate Virginia colleagues Patrick Henry and George Mason, who had berated him in June 1788 at the state convention to ratify the Constitution, saying the Constitution potentially deprived states of the power to maintain militias. This was of great importance in the South, as the militias were the primary means of slave control. His thesis was reinforced in 2001 with the publication of Slave Patrols: Law and Violence in Virginia and the Carolinas by Sally E. Hadden.
The amendment specifically gives the power to maintain militias to the states, not the federal government. It requires the federal government to keep the militias supplied with arms, and allows members to keep their arms, as opposed to stockpiling them, where they might fall into the hands of the slaves.
The last vestiges of legalized discrimination/oppression/control were (supposedly) removed with the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts of 1964 and 1965. Shortly thereafter we got Nixon's Southern strategy, Reagan's Philadelphia, Miss., speech, Willie Horton, and now Charlottesville. Meanwhile, the NRA has gone from being a sleepy organization concerned with rifle competence to a political powerhouse for all things ballistic.
I wonder if the intractability of the gun debate is because the issue is not really guns so much as what people think they need them for. It is telling that Laura Ingraham, the day of the Parkland shootings, stated that the AR-15 was the perfect tool for defending one's home, although she did not specify from whom. Maybe if we could articulate our fears more honestly, we could start to relieve them with a system that does not have as much collateral damage as we have recently witnessed.
Address the problems
There are many issues in our current day that are needing to be addressed and are being ignored. The subject I'm going to discuss is gun control and security precautions that need to be taken at schools.
School shooting incidents have been happening for years and appear to be increasing as the years go by. Many people are distracted by less important things like our current president and things happening in other countries, but they're not focusing on what's important--our future. Our kids are the future for us. If they are being killed where they're supposed to be learning for that future, then we're failing.
Gun laws need to be properly enforced. A teenage kid shouldn't be able to get his hands on a gun as easily as he can. Another thing is the security at schools. Schools need to invest in more trained and armed security, whether that be security guards or more police officers.
Another topic that many people don't cover is how the kids feel. As a student I can properly tell you many kids are scared by these incidents. After a school shooting takes place, that's all they can think and talk about for the next few days. They always have that dread and fright of a school shooting happening where they go to learn. This is why security and gun control must be improved for the next generation to prosper.
Not the teachers' job
Unfortunately, over the past few weeks, gun violence and the Second Amendment have been everything people are talking about. After the shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School on Feb. 14, many people started saying that school districts will begin arming teachers.
I believe arming teachers wouldn't do any good or lower the amount of school shootings; it would do the opposite. It isn't the teachers' job to stop the shooter, it is the police's job. There are some crazy teachers and giving them guns would put the students in more harm. Teachers have no reason to carry guns at school.
Instead of wasting money on guns for teachers, they should instead use that money to educate the police, teachers, and students on what to do in those situations. Being well prepared will keep more people safe from harm than arming teachers ever would. School shooters know that no one is prepared for an active shooter, so almost every school is a good target.
Rights being denied
Gun lobbyists vigorously defend Second Amendment rights--the rights of all citizens to buy, own, collect, hunt with, and target practice with any and all types of firearms without legal controls.
What is ignored here is that when someone like a serial shooter exercises his (seldom her) Second Amendment rights, he violently assaults other citizens. Their Second Amendment rights are denied forever, as are the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness as expressed in the Declaration of Independence. These citizens (potentially, at least) forever cannot buy, own, collect or use in any way the firearms that the gun lobbyists promote.
Unless and until this point is recognized by the gun lobby and its proponents, resulting in cooperating with the law and other organizations to accept restrictions to prevent these assaults, I believe the Second Amendment will be indefensible.
Try different approach
On March 14, we were inundated by national and Arkansas news of students walking out of school to protest gun violence. I was proud to hear local news of Poyen High School holding a "Walk Up" assembly that day where the student body discussed how to prevent bullying. The students were encouraged to walk up and stand up for other students if they see bullying or excluding happening.
I believe we would have had a better chance of preventing some of the past school tragedies if more students were exposed to an approach similar to the one at Poyen.
Editorial on 03/20/2018
Print Headline: Letters