Tweet of the Day 05.24.14


For the overseas crowd:

This tweet is in response to yet another horrific gun massacre, this time in Santa Barbara, California. The tweeter’s use of the word “militia” points to the U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment:

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.

Our Constitution was drafted in the 1780s, a decade after the American Colonies had won their war for independence from the British. Each colony maintained a militia composed of regular citizens who kept their weapons at home. (Not unlike our present-day National Guard which is organized in each state – because the federal military is forbidden from operating in country).

It is easy to understand why the new federal authorities would have wanted to insure the continued functionality of a well regulated militia. That comes in handy when you’re a brand new country which could be attacked by powerful enemies. (In fact, our friends the Brits did attack us again, about 20 years later. Even burned down the White House! So yeah, militia = good.)

But that was more than two hundred years ago. “The right of the people to keep and bear arms” has become uncoupled from its antecedent, “A well regulated Militia”… with the most tragic results. Eventually, we will learn to cope with gun violence the way other countries have, notably the U.K. and Australia. It will require the election of members of Congress who refuse to be bribed or extorted by the NRA. And it will very likely also require several new justices on the Supreme Court. Both of those requirements could be satisfied within a few short years. But I think it will take longer than that.

In the meantime, 12,000+ gun homicides and 18,000+ gun suicides will plague the United States. Year after year after year. No, the militia is not well regulated.

The End (so far)