Tuesday, December 18, 2012
DEC 19 THREE HISTORICAL INACCURACIES ABOUT THE 2ND AMENDMENT
Last Friday's horrific tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut left everyone at the DUNER BLOG stunned and saddened. After the shock, grief sets in, then a strong bout of remorse. Then, a week later, Americans and renew the debate on Gun Control for a couple of days...and then we all go back to watching sports and reality TV. However, the young ages of the victims in this latest mass shooting has really grabbed the nation's attention. So...before you go back to watching ICE LOVES COCO...please spend a minute or two thinking about the SECOND AMENDMENT!
Let's take a look at weaponry in 1788...the year when the Second Amendment was being drafted in Philadelphia. In the 18th century, the mighty cannon was still king of all armed forces. The coveted...yet horribly heavy...cannon were the staple. They were mounted on ships and dragged onto muddy battlefields. The whole concept of a hand-held, miniature, gunpowder-exploding device in warfare was strange. In fact, the American Revolution was the first major war to use a musket..and it was not a favorite of artillerymen. They were heavy (twenty pounds)...gunpowder was often unreliable...and it fired only one lead ball, three-quarters of an inch in diameter. Then, it took two minutes to reload. In short, the most important thing on any musket was the sharp, silver bayonet on the tip of the weapon. For every one soldier killed by a musket's bullet, ten more were killed by the sharp spear at the end of the gun.
Americans love the Bill of Rights...even more than the Constitution itself. See, while the original document took care of the big, important stuff...like congress, courts, elections and stuff...it did little for the common man. That's when our founding fathers sat down and came up with the Bill of Rights. These ten amendments made sure everyday folk couldn't be picked on by King George Washington. In addition to freedom of speech, they covered other important civil liberties as well. For example, people can't be tried twice for the same crime...(5th)...or subject to whips, chains, cruel and unusual punishment (8th)...nor could an American army enter your house and search and seize everything (4th amendment). We all agree these laws are just as important in 2012 as they were in 1788. However, other things in the Bill of Rights aren't as important today. Point in case: The THIRD Amendment. It provided protection against the quartering of troops in your home. Back in 1790, there was a high probability French troops might force their way into your home and demand lodging and chickens for a month. But this doesn't happen anymore. The Third Amendment has never been the subject of a Supreme Court case. Times change and civil rights change too.
American movies and novels set in Colonial times incorrectly have citizens with firearms. For example, when there's a stranger at the door, the man grabs a gun and points it at his visitor. Wrong! We already covered how few muskets and rifles there were in Colonial America, so let's now discuss handguns. The pistol is a Czech invention from the 1500's. While used in warfare, it was mostly used by the upper class game hunters and for the occasional duel. These guns...like muskets...could only fire one shell at a time and had a range of 15 feet. (The Smith & Wesson wouldn't be invented until 1858). Historical records show only a few gunsmiths in the whole of North America in the 1700's and very few handguns were imported from Europe at the time.
In summary, we here at the DUNER BLOG hope we can learn from the Newtown Massacre and move forward with serious Gun Control Legislation like civilized people. Any American who has traveled overseas lately knows the rest of the world sees us as the most violent nation on earth. Let's change!