Your responses this week can be summarized with two words: outrage and activism. You were upset with our Congress and postulated grassroots solutions to change the corruption. You were also upset with my perceived take on the second amendment.
While the connection I noted between the two stories was of Congress shooting itself in the foot, you made the connection between gun usage and social change.
Jim Donbavand of Waco, Texas writes:
Why don’t you publish a simple list of all of the senators and representatives who have gone on record that their offices should be "crime sanctuaries." A list of shame of sorts from which we could assume would identify DC’s worst.
SRE: Thanks Jim, that’s a great idea. The greatest check on our Congressmen is going to be holding them accountable in public and in the polls.
Sean Padlo writes:
How about we get a referendum to roll back all congressional pay raises until they get their act together and start working for the people again?
SRE: Good idea Sean, I think many of you feel that way.
Nick Cusmano of Port Deposit, Md., writes:
Maybe this is the best illustration yet of the overwhelming need for constitutionally mandated legislative terms. I truly don’t believe there are enough people in the world to provide 535 ‘volunteers’ who can ‘serve’ in Congress for a lifetime and not fall victim to the prestige of public office. Enough of them become sufficiently enamored with that prestige to stop doing what they think is best for society and start doing what’s best for their next election.
SRE: Great point Nick, many of you wrote me with this idea. It certainly would reduce a lot of corrupting influences.
SRE: And the one that gave me most to chuckle at:
Denis Rick writes:
I bet now there are a lot of boxes leaving the congressional offices. Here come the U-Hauls and I wonder who is paying for them!
Elliot Atkinson writes:
All ten amendments in the Bill of Rights are to protect us from government oppression. It wasn’t so people on the frontier could hunt and it wasn’t to protect America from invasion. It was to make the [federal] government think twice before seizing your property or taxing you into property.
It is the enforcement arm for the other nine amendments. It guarantees you freedom of the press more than the first amendment does. Repeal the second amendment or put limitations on it if you want, but don’t write about censorship or treason when the same happens to the first amendment.
SRE: Thanks Elliot, I think it’s really important to note the history of the second amendment as it points out why we have gun control laws in the states. Until the fourteenth amendment, our bill of rights only applied to the federal government. Although most of the amendments have now been incorporated against the states, the right to bear arms hasn’t been because, historically, it was a collective right to belong to a state militia rather than an individual right to own a gun.
The Supreme Court reasoned that if the states wanted to regulate the manner in which their militias could bear arms, they were free to do so, and therefore, state gun control laws are constitutional. I think it is both fascinating and unfortunate that many of us are exasperated with our government to the point of thinking a state militia is today a viable option for change.
Sonny Poteat writes:
Our forefathers had great foresight (obtained directly from hindsight) when they added the second amendment. They knew full well the path an overpowered government can and will ultimately take.
SRE: Thanks Sonny, I would be interested to see what many of you think the role of state militias is in an age of advanced weaponry.