It’s complicated

Dear Editor:

Again, horrific mass shootings.

Free speech and the right to keep and bear arms cannot be a free-for-all. Supremacy remains about power, and the risks associated with where we are positioned.

Should we be able to say anything?

Considering the First Amendment, I echo and support the basic principles as:

  • The right to criticize.
  • The right to hold unpopular beliefs.
  • The right to protest.
  • The right of independent thought.

Even in the most heated discussions, civil discourse works best with respect and discretion. Yes, we can all be fed up. But aggressive bluster to seek advantage dumbs down the discourse, gaming the First.

The Wild West of social media is under appropriate scrutiny. Additional regulation can make a difference if we can agree on an acceptable balance.

Regarding the arms challenge, under the Second Amendment, our right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. Yet, recently, its important lead-in gets limited play: “A well-regulated militia.”

In the Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision in 2008, the majority posits the militia is already in existence, referencing past court decisions re: “All males physically capable.” This needs to be revisited.

Many of us enjoy the shooting sports. Many as well work on defensive training, driven by a resolve to have a fighting chance should we be caught in dangerous confrontation (e.g., mass shootings). But, to suggest that our individual programs and controls, those of our local clubs, those of patriotic organizations, are “well-regulated,” implying a high-level of competency, equal to our state and federally focused professional armed forces, is a stretch.

George Washington expressed concern that “inadequately trained militia members were a risk, insofar as the primary means of providing for the common defense.” Further that “Regular troops alone are equal to the exigencies of modern war, as well for defense as offence …. No Militia will ever acquire the habits necessary to resist a regular force … The firmness requisite for the real business of fighting is only to be attained by a constant course of discipline and service.”

The National Guard is the closest we have to a functional militia. If that’s what it takes to “keep and bear,” sign me up.

We are all here but for a moment. In such a short time, we cannot, and should not, expect a conclusion. Any who feel they have all the answers, please, take pause. As we all are witnessing, it’s complicated.

David Trigg




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