Second Amendment

The Second Amendment states: "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."

So-called “stand your ground” laws have attracted a lot of attention in the wake of the Trayvon Martin shooting in Florida recently.

Critics of the law have politicized this event by simplifying a complex legal situation most people don’t understand and reducing it to the emotional equivalent of a sound bite. Of course it’s terrible that a teenager was shot, but that George Zimmerman was charged with murder recently proves my point, especially after all the nonsensical hysteria about stand your ground laws, which ironically quieted down after the indictment. That law, it seems, isn’t exactly the get-out-of-jail-free card certain political factions made it out to be after all.

But stand your ground laws aren’t what need defending here; it’s the Second Amendment itself.

I have written a great deal lately about being a good American and a good citizen. In my former columns on this subject, I’ve discussed our notions and the roles of government, media and the First, Fourth, Fifth and Sixth amendments in our lives. The much misunderstood and maligned Second Amendment needs a little air time too.

I wish I didn’t have to repeat this, but sadly our collective modern ignorance requires it: The Bill of Rights was written not to grant you rights, but to protect those you already have by virtue of being alive. Put another way, the government doesn’t grant you rights, you’re born with them, and the Bill of Rights simply protects them legally from government infringement.

The founders, American philosophers and the Supreme Court settled long ago the idea that our rights follow us wherever we may go. Your First Amendment right to free speech doesn’t stop when you leave your home or when you’re not in a ridiculous “free-speech zone.” Your Fourth Amendment right to be free of unreasonable searches doesn’t end when you step foot off your property and go for a drive.

Likewise, the Second Amendment doesn’t evaporate outside your home either, which is the whole point of stand your ground laws after all: a reassertion of something we already knew, that your right to defend your life goes with you everywhere.

Anti-gunners argue that the Second Amendment is an anachronism, that we don’t need it anymore. I can understand why this misconception exists. After all, the media doesn’t report on self-defense shootings very often since they're not as sexy as murder, and cases where bad guys are scared off by citizens with guns usually go unreported anyway.

Anti-gun bias in reporting news plays a role in forgetting about the Second Amendment too. For example, when those two college students at the Appalachian School of Law subdued their school shooter, of the hundreds of reports on the incident made, only a handful mentioned the students who stopped the attack were actually armed. That seems like a critical fact to forget about, and such things aren’t uncommon in the media.

The truth is, though, people need and invoke the Second Amendment every day. The Department of Justice estimates that approximately 1 million crimes are prevented every year by righteous citizens merely brandishing a firearm. A similar University of Florida study suggests that number may be as high as 3 million crimes prevented. Either way, both numbers dwarf the murder and violent crime rate by a massive margin.

Bigger events mark the need for the Second Amendment too. Martin Luther King is famous for his Ghandi-esque philosophy of nonviolence, which he used to great effect. But what the history books rarely tell you about is the band of armed men who followed King and many of his demonstrations to ensure that they stayed nonviolent. Yes, the civil rights movement was protected, in part, by people with guns. Read the history book “The Spirit and the Shotgun” by Simon Wendt if you don’t believe me.

Then there was the McMinn County War in Tennessee. Election fraud was rampant and the entire political and legal system was corrupted there. The federal government wouldn’t act, so the citizens literally confronted their local government, armed with every gun they could find — plus some dynamite — and instigated a little revolution in Athens, Tenn. When the smoke cleared, the rule of law had been restored.

How about the ad hoc citizen militias that formed after Hurricane Katrina to prevent the looting, rape and murder occurring all over the city? Positive examples of the Second Amendment are legion, and ignorance of them, while understandable given the efforts to keep you ignorant, is no excuse for castigating one of the most critical rights a person has.

The mark of a good citizen is defending all the natural rights that all humans have, regardless of one’s personal dislike of those rights. Don’t let others take advantage of your ignorance and your emotions to distract you from your duties as a citizen. Besides, you have no right to tell someone else what their rights are or aren’t anyway.

Want to be an American? Support the Second Amendment: It’s quite literally the only right that can protect itself and all the rest.

(24) comments

Steve Gregg

While I agree with the general thrust of this piece, I don't see how the stand your ground law applies to Zimmerman. Martin was on top of him, beating his head on the pavement. He could not retreat anywhere. Shooting Martin was straight self defense against a murderous attack. Zimmerman could easily have been maimed or killed by Martin.

The bottom line is that Trayvon Martin jumped Zimmerman in the dark, tried to beat him to death, and got shot dead in the act. Martin got exactly what he deserved. I wish more criminals were shot dead by their victims when perpetrating a crime. It would be a better world.

Rob Stone

Steve, you seem to know exactly what happened and your eye witness account would be very helpful to the case. Call the police immediately and tell them your story. Thank you for finally speaking up.

Steve Gregg

A witness saw Trayvon Martin on top of Zimmerman, striking him. Zimmerman says that Martin punched him in the face, knocked him down, and slammed his head into the pavement. He has a broken nose, grass stains on the back of his shirt, and bleeding wounds on the back of his head. So the evidence and witness back his account. This was so obvious the night that the police took him into custody that they released him after questioning.

Sometimes somebody needs to stand up and point out the obvious to the ignorant, racist mob. The lynch mob headed by Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, the liberal media, et al, is merely the flip side of the racist coin that bears David Duke and the Ku Klux Klan on the other side. Both must be confronted and defeated.

Here are some relevant facts for the lazy, politically correct racists to chew on:

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/04/25/us-usa-florida-shooting-zimmerman-idUSBRE83O18H20120425

Rob Stone

Thanks for providing the WHOLE story, Steve. And I'm glad right-wingers now have a new hero to gush over. I wonder if Zimmerman will have a TV show on Fox News after the trial (or after he's served his time)?

Jake Pierson

" And I'm glad right-wingers now have a new hero to gush over."

I love how you think Steve speaks for all conservatives. I especially love how you assume his interpretation of the facts is a right-wing position. This is another example of why the Liberal slogan should be "Don't Label Me You Bigot!"

Steve Gregg

Allow me to note that nobody disputes the facts I lay on the table here. Liberals like Rob Stone just hate the facts, which clearly rebut their racist narrative that Zimmerman was out hunting black guys. When liberals are losing an argument, they resort to empty ad hominems like this. And the liberals are losing this argument.

Rob Stone

You are right, Jake. I shouldn't have generalized. I was attempting to mirror the way Steve regularly generalizes (read his latest post).

I noted that you did the same thing. And that you didn't criticize Steve for doing the same thing. I take responsibility for my actions, will you? I try for consistency, do you?

Steve, I dispure the so-called "facts" you have put forth. You believe one side of the story (the side you want to belive) based on cherry-picked information you heard on right-wing media. I've read conflicting things. Unlike you, I don't pretend to know the truth based on unchallenged hearsay.

"When liberals are losing an argument, they resort to empty ad hominems like this."--Steve Gregg

What makes you resort to empty ad hominems?

Jake Pierson

Rob, I'm not realy sure how I did the same thing. I didn't come to a conclusion about Liberals based soley on your opinon of one particular subject. Although I haven't pointed any previous examples out to you, you comment is another example (to me) that liberals don't practice what they preach. Civility, indivualism, free thinking etc....

Additionally, Steve didn't make any generalization until after I posted and even then his comment was "Liberals like Rob Stone" - not all liberals. After he clarified the reader (you) should logically assume all subsequent references to Liberals retain the same limitation(s). It's just basic rules of writing style.

Rob Stone

Jake, with all due respect you are splitting hairs to defend Steve Gregg and yourself from obvious double standards. You cherry-picked in order to support your evasion.

Steve did, and regularly does, generalize a conclusion about all liberals based solely on one of my opinions (actually, not on my opinion but on his misperception of my opinion). He wrote: "When liberals are losing an argument, they resort to empty ad hominems like this."

And you are defending him while criticizing me, with: "This is another example of why the Liberal slogan should be "Don't Label Me You Bigot!"" Another generalized conclusion based on one of my comments.

It's hard to fool most people when contrary evidence is right below.

Jake Pierson

Rob, seriously?

"Another example...." That specifically means my generalization did not come just from your single opnion. In fact I came up with that slogan for Liberals about 10 years ago and take notice when a Liberal says something that supports my idea.

Again, Steve specified who he was talking about. "Liberals like Rob Stone...." not all liberals. That is not splitting hairs - you are making that up.

Does Steve typically generalize about all Liberals? Possibly, maybe even probably but so what? We all do that. You, me, Steve and most anybody who debates informally like in this forum. You pointing it out only shows how weak your position is. Like Steve pointed out you realy haven't disputed his facts.

Jake Pierson

Hmmmm. After thinking about it - me pointing out your generalization only shows how weak my point is. Damn I lose.......

Rob Stone

I have disputed the "facts," as Steve reported, in that we don't know all the facts. Steve's "facts" seem to consist of what he has heard on Hannity and hearsay and rumour aren't always true.

David Jackson

"I have disputed the "facts," as Steve reported..."
-Rob Stone


I have not clicked on his links but you have yet to tear apart the claims or the sources Steve provided in this argument. Rob you have been in a nasy habbit lately of claiming to have refuted points you have never even responded to.

Rob Stone

David, his "facts" are based on rumour and hearsay. Therefore, they are not credible. Therefore I dispute them.

I have also pointed to "facts" that counter what he wrote. They are just as disputable.

The facts in court (backed by evidence and challenged) are credible.

But let's check Steve's link and match it to his facts.

"A witness saw Trayvon Martin on top of Zimmerman, striking him."-Steve Gregg

The article he links to indicates no such thing.

"Zimmerman says that Martin punched him in the face, knocked him down, and slammed his head into the pavement."--Steve Gregg

Of course he does. But the article Steve links to indicates no such thing.

"He has a broken nose, grass stains on the back of his shirt, and bleeding wounds on the back of his head."--Steve Gregg

That's what Zimmerman claims but the article Steve links to indicates nothing of the sort.

Maybe you should click on his links before assuming he's telling the truth and taking his side without question.

Tell me the best way to refute claims that have not been established as true.

David Jackson

"Maybe you should click on his links before assuming he's telling the truth and taking his side without question."
-Rob Stone

Read my post again Rob, I didn't take any side. I pointed out you were taking one without even bothering to address what Steve had posted. If you are going to say someone's post is incorrect you had best argue why.

"Tell me the best way to refute claims that have not been established as true."
-Rob Stone

Point out that they have not been established as true.

Rob Stone

"Point out that they have not been established as true."--David Jackson

I did. Thrice

"Unlike you, I don't pretend to know the truth based on unchallenged hearsay."
12:39 pm on Mon, Apr 30, 2012

"I have disputed the "facts," as Steve reported, in that we don't know all the facts."
7:21 am on Thu, May 3, 2012

"David, his "facts" are based on rumour and hearsay. Therefore, they are not credible. Therefore I dispute them."
4:32 pm on Mon, May 7, 2012

David Jackson

"I did. Thrice"
-Rob Stone

Which one of those posts showed how the links in Steve's post didn't support his statements again? Oh yeah, it took you till 7May to respond directly to those. you posted twice previous to that with nothing more than argumentative politics.

Rob Stone

David, your double standards are spell-bindingly clear.

You asked me to point out that Steve's facts had not been established as true. I had done that. Now you pretend like you asked me to debunk Steve's links (there was only one link).

Why do you require me to prove him wrong rather than hold him accountable for his own bogus claims? You do know how to follow a link, don't you?

Or maybe it's just because you want to believe him and don't want to believe me, regardless of the truth.

David Jackson

You responded to him multiple times without bothering to respond to his sources. You simply spewed some rhetoric, then have the audacity to accuse me of harboring double standards that are "spell-bindingly clear."

Simply awesome.

Rob Stone

That's right. I called his "facts" rumours and hearsay (which they are). His link doesn't even address his "facts." And yet that's my fault rather than his for posting BS in the first place.

You lost all credibility.

David Jackson

"You lost all credibility."
-Rob Stone

Ha! So says the guy who blasted someone for posting something he didn't like without bothering to address the listed sources until multiple posts down the line.

With respect if I lost credibility with you I'll wait to be concerned until you debate on the merits of your opposition's arguments first and keep the petty politics second.

Rob Stone

"merits of your opposition's arguments"

He didn't present any arguments! That's the whole point.

He made claims based on hearsay and rumor and then posted a link that had nothing to do with the claims. And you defend him.

That's why you have no credibility.

David Jackson

“He made claims based on hearsay and rumor and then posted a link that had nothing to do with the claims. And you defend him.”
-Rob Stone

What!? Steve posted links at 1:16 pm on Thu, Apr 26, 2012. You responded at 6:20 am on Fri, Apr 27, 2012 with some rhetoric. It was 8:30 am on Mon, May 7, 2012 when you finally decided to address his sources. That and when did I defend him? Oh that’s right, NEVER in this thread. In fact I believe I stated I didn’t even click on his links. What I did do is point out you had been claiming to have refuted points you have never even responded to. That's why you have no credibility.

Rob Stone

David, I'm tired of bickering. Anyone reading this (probably no one but us) can easily see what we have written and when.

You chimed in after I DISPUTED Steve's "facts" and then tried to change the terms of the discussion. And, as usual, we get into a back and forth over the terms of the argument instead of the issue at hand.

Welcome to the discussion.

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