My letter is in response to Ms Pam Alexander of Kingston Springs and her letter published in the Advocate, edition of September 1st, 2012.
As a fellow resident of Kingston Springs, I could not let Ms Alexander’s attempted rebuttal to a claim made by Colonel Harley. She states that the Colonel uses the 2nd Amendment with “the premise that we may need arms to protect ourselves FROM (the emphasis supplied by Ms Alexander) our government.”
As much as I am sure it will distress Ms Alexander, assuming that Colonel Harley in fact made such a claim, is exactly correct.
With a cursory understanding of the principles, concepts and reasoning used by our Founders in writing not only the the 2nd Amendment to our Constitution but virtually the entire Bill of Rights, it is clear that their intent was to insure but one thing … that We the People of the United States were as much as possible, protected from an over-reaching, intrusive and potentially tyrannical government. What Ms Alexander seems to have missed in her civics class was stated very clearly before, during and after our Constitution was stated most succinctly by James Madison when he wrote and spoke during the Virginia constitutional convention, December 2, 1829 … “The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse.” This same understanding of the potential for government to abuse its power was well understood at the time of the writing of our Declaration of Independence in 1776, the adopting of our Constitution in 1787 and when the first 10 amendments to that document, the Bill of Rights, were adopted in 1791. As the above quote re-states, nothing in the subsequent 38 years had eased Mr. Madison’s concern for what throughout history had been the natural state of government.
You really do not need to be a Constitutional “scholar” as all one need do is simply “Google” the terms “Founders“ and “right to bear arms”. Had Ms Alexander done that, she would have realized that one of her major “slams” against the Colonel was on its face absurd. Of course had she done her homework, she probably would not have written her letter.
To help Ms Alexander and other who may have suffered from a modern Leftist education, a few quotes from our Founders regarding the subject follows. There are countless others if you desire to read them.
“The strongest reason for people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.”
– Thomas Jefferson
[The Constitution preserves] the advantage of being armed which Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation…(where) the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms.
—James Madison, The Federalist Papers, No. 46
“The right of the people to keep and bear…arms shall not be infringed. A well regulated militia, composed of the body of the people, trained to arms, is the best and most natural defense of a free country…”
(James Madison, I Annals of Congress 434 [June 8, 1789])
“What country can preserve it’s liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance. Let them take arms.”
(Thomas Jefferson to James Madison, Dec. 20, 1787, in Papers of Jefferson, ed. Boyd et al.)
Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed; as they are in almost every kingdom in Europe. The supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword; because the whole body of the people are armed, and constitute a force superior to any band of regular troops that can be, on any pretence, raised in the United States. A military force, at the command of Congress, can execute no laws, but such as the people perceive to be just and constitutional; for they will possess the power, and jealousy will instantly inspire the inclination, to resist the execution of a law which appears to them unjust and oppressive.
—Noah Webster, An Examination of the Leading Principles of the Federal Constitution (Philadelphia 1787).
“…to disarm the people – that was the best and most effectual way to enslave them.”
– George Mason
…but if circumstances should at any time oblige the government to form an army of any magnitude, that army can never be formidable to the liberties of the people, while there is a large body of citizens, little if at all inferior to them in discipline and use of arms, who stand ready to defend their rights…”
–Alexander Hamilton, The Federalist Papers, No 29
I will leave Ms Alexander and others who may doubt the intent of our Founders and whether they did indeed worry about the potential for our government to become tyrannical and think that the good Colonel, Mr. Dobson and I are simply being a bit paranoid, we all know how those “right-wingers” are, right?, with a statement made by the great Russian Patriot, author and historian Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn who’s words unfortunately ring as true today as when they were written …
“The timid civilized world has found nothing with which to oppose the onslaught of a sudden revival of barefaced barbarity, other than concessions and smiles.”
–Russian novelist and historian Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (1918-2008)
Colonel Haney, Mr. Dobson, I and many millions of other Americans understand the reasoning of the Founders when they constructed the 2nd Amendment. They were most assuredly correct then and in their wisdom and understanding of the nature of men, knew that there will always remain the need for those who desire Liberty and Freedom to be armed for until that day arrives, men are governed by men.
John A. Thomas