(Mike Montandon) – Our ignorance is assumed, even counted on, in the war against our freedoms. Even a cursory examination of the history of the first ten amendments to our Constitution, the Bill of Rights, would give us an indisputable argument against the forces that assail our liberties.
First, why was it amended right off the bat? The discussion amongst the framers of the Constitution as to whether or not to include a Bill of Rights in the original document was lengthy and heated. It was concluded that it wasn’t needed. That a country knowledgeable enough to understand and create a government like our new Constitution would create, would not need to re-iterate the inalienable rights that allowed us to become a nation.
But the States needed an assurance; an assurance that if they were to become a part of this type of government, that its power would be limited as to not usurp the power of the citizens, or the States they lived in. Thus was born the Bill of Rights; the conditions upon which the citizens of the individual States were willing to accept this new Federal government that the Constitution would create.
Each of the amendments is specific, simple, and in a specific order.
The first amendment covers all of the basic issues that a non-warlike citizenry found of utmost importance. In the vernacular, they said to their new leaders, “We’re in, but your not going to tell us how to worship, and we’re going to talk about what we want, amongst ourselves, in groups, or in print; and if we aren’t happy with the way you are running this government, we are not only going to tell you about it, we want to be able to do something about it.” Pretty simple and direct, and covers most of the ways to deal with power getting out of control.
History had proven itself, and has continued to prove that all of the courteous means of redress are only effective if the ability to protect individual rights exist. The citizens knew that States had no rights that were not individual rights of its citizens, an inasmuch as citizens could defend their rights, so could the States. Therefore, the second amendment was placed immediately following. It is crystal clear. “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 second amendment is not about hunting. It is about self-defense. It is about the States rights to exercise their citizens rights to defend themselves against an over-reaching Federal government.
The States were willing to be part of a Nation that was willing and capable of defending itself against other Nations. Given the vast natural resources of the land we occupied, it was likely that we would have to defend ourselves as a Nation. But the States were equally concerned about protecting themselves from our own Nation run amok. History had provided more examples of this than any library could have gracing the pages of its books.
Today, supporters of the second amendment fight daily against what they believe are attempts to take away arms. The reality is that fight has already been lost in the purpose for which the amendment was written. As soon as we began to allow a difference between the effectiveness of the weapons that the States (citizens) could have vs. the Federal government, the battle was lost.
Citizens involved can continue to fight the small fights, over ammunition rationing, concealed vs. open carry, etc., but they are just distractions. They distract us from the big issue. While we may have the ability to defend ourselves against our own ilk gone awry, we have lost the ability to defend ourselves from a Federal government gone awry. Without that ability, we are simply left to stretch out the loss of our other rights through the exercise of our best diplomatic abilities.
There is an old Marine saying that goes something like, “if you find yourself in a fair fight, you haven’t planned well.”
Our leaders know this well and demagogue the issue well. No one would intentionally allow a leader to say that they are afraid of a fair fight and therefore would like to make sure that are better equipped than we are. True citizens would never give in to that. They appeal to our emotions by portraying a truly depraved individual using a highly effective weapon to do evil.
“We cannot let this happen to our children”, we hear, and the result is that the law abiding citizens no longer have weapons as effective as the Federal government. It has very little effect on the depraved, as they have no intention on obeying one law in the act of breaking another. If arms as we know them did not exist, poison, bombs, disease or weapons of another sort would take their place. Weapons are not evil of themselves. They are simply tools to make either defense or destruction more effective. There are few limits on the mind of the truly devious.
It is not my argument that we should not continue to fight against the incursions on our rights at all levels. However, we cannot allow each fight to become a distraction from the real issue.
We must never fail to use the most powerful weapon we have at our disposal; our voice. We must speak out. To do it well, we must be educated. We must be knowledgeable on the issues on which we choose to speak. We cannot allow our ignorance to be an assumption made by our enemies or our leaders. It takes very few IQ points to blindly be opposed to any issue. It takes both mental capacity and mental effort to be actively in favor of that which is right. We cannot go into this fight outgunned, especially by those fighting with lies or limited information.
The war is ours to win or lose.
(Montandon is a former mayor of North Las Vegas and a Republican gubernatorial candidate in Nevada)