Another shooting in another school. This time at Saugus High School with a 45 caliber handgun. The gunman opened fire, killed 2 people and wounded 3 others. After the shooting he ran away and then shot himself when the police were closing in. This is a tragedy. It happens too often in this country.
The good news is he didn't have access to a semi-automatic long gun or the count could have been higher. California controls over weapons are the strictest in the country and the State is big enough that it is harder to smuggle weapons in. Though that happens.
Normalizing or Stopping Mass murder
The bad news is that these incidents are far too common and hard to prevent without hardening schools and controlling entry. The further bad news is that the risk of mass murder is still alive and well in most of the country because we do not properly regulate arms. We let people run around armed, while denying them a formal role in the security, self defense and emergency responses of our local and national land divisions and homes.
Security is a Collective Duty
Security is something that is supposed to be the collaborative responsibility of the Federal, State, and local governments,
and we the people
The constitution says that Congress has the duty of:
... “organizing, arming, and disciplining the Militia,”.... [Article 1, Sec 8 COTUS]
To which the Second Amendment clarifies:
“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State,” [2nd Amendment]
“the right of the people to keep and bear Arms,”
must be enabled and regulated.... So that law abiding people are part of the process of protecting their own homes and communities, local and general.
Palladium of Liberty
When the founders called the militia the “Palladium of Liberty”, they were referring to the reality that "militia" was intended to be a check on the power associated with standing armies. Standing Armies being a term that applies in a modern context to professional police forces, bureaucrats with coercive powers, and even security forces in private employment.
For more on the Palladium of liberty see:
Badly formed, Constituted, government
Regulating arms is not only in the constitution, it is a collaborative duty of a Democratic Government. That this issue is confused is because the original constitution of militia had different meanings and uses in different parts of the country. The Militia was initially vital for defense against immediate enemies. As the country became more generally settled, the idea of butchers and bakers, coachmen and candle makers, meeting weekly for drills and marching, made less and less. The original form of militia became outdated. At the same time the problem of standing armies and military forces as oppression never really went away. The national guard became a kludgy substitute for militia at the Federal and State level. Indeed the National Guard is pointed to when people think of Militia. But the concept was so muddied that private militia and even private armies, which are problematic expressions of militia, are posed as if they were what the founders were thinking of.
And so, the individual right to carry weapons has been made something blanket, that allows unregulated, undisciplined and sometimes criminal elements to engage in tyranny and oppression. Exactly the opposite of what the founders wanted.
And of course, even if the founders thought local tyranny was a good thing, all this goes against their own principles, the basic principles of a democratic republic that they expounded.
- For more on this see:
- Select Militia and National Guard
Turning the Second Amendment on its head
We have a system where extralegal violence is glorified. Where the right to bear arms for the common defense has been transformed into an individual right to shoot up shopping centers and police stations. From "Dirty Harry" thru "Barretta" to hundreds of examples of vigilantes and aggrieved revenge seekers, the lone criminal with a gun is glorified as some sort of hero. These media glorify cold blooded murder, revenge and grievance. Worse right wing propaganda also glorifies “standing ones ground” against strangers. It is telling that the “stand your ground laws” only seem to apply to murder situations where the [usually white] murderer can claim that his victim [black, gay, different] was at fault for being shot. It is no wonder that young men like this one in early November 2019, somehow saw something romantic in revenge murder. The propaganda is immature and appeals to teenage angst, and it encourages terrorism. Folks dress up in black. Try to look like ninja or their favorite hollywood mass murderer and attack. While hollywood may not the cause of gun violence, blood soaked fantasies fill the air nationwide. Thoughts lead to words, words lead to deeds. The propaganda builds on the frustration of people feel powerless. Powerless is the result when left out of self government. Militia was supposed to be an antidote to tyranny. The Second amendment has been turned on its head.
The Right to Participate in Government Functions is Democracy
The other reason that the militia clauses did not work as intended (at least by the defenders of the constitution) is that the militia did not always live up to its intended purpose as "the palladium of liberty" for everybody. Militia were associated with Slave patrols in the South. Militia were often used in "posse comitatus" actions. So much that in 1878 a law was passed to put a stop to it.
The Posse Comitatus Act states:
“Whoever, except in cases and under circumstances expressly authorized by the Constitution or Act of Congress, willfully uses any part of the Army or the Air Force as a posse comitatus or otherwise to execute the laws...”
It was intended to reduce the risk of the Government using the military to enforce martial law or arrest political opponents. But militia had been regularly used for posses and for “hot peace” civil warfare against indigenous peoples, immigrant communities and in internal disputes between rival settlements on the frontier. These have not been “well regulated” militia. Standing armies are dangerous, undisciplined militia are “no better than a mob” [Can't remember source of quote, will look later]. A well regulated militia is the palladium of liberty. Undisciplined or private militia and standing armies are dangerous to liberty.
Stopping the Glorification of Violence requires Participation
Children will do stupid things. But by glorifying violence, the combination of culture and access to weapons makes it more likely, not less, that an angry and confused young person will do something vile and vicious. Preventing that is difficult, but shoring up the democratic and just aspects of our economy can, maybe, change the culture. At the very least, when weaponry is well controlled, but available when needed, the incentives to keep unsecured arms around the house can be removed. To get to that point. We have to respect the first amendments original meaning and respect the right and duty of the people to participate in their own affairs, their own defense and their own security. Guns are supposed to enhance security, not be used to gun down other kids a confused and deluded kid is angry at.
Voluntary Service and temporary Service are Militia
Expanding the National Guard, volunteer service, using national service to train health providers, teachers, and the militia system to bring communications and transportation personnel into the Emergency management system would go a long way to changing our culture. Democracy = "People" [Demos] + "Rule" [kracy]. Our involvement as volunteers, compensated for, “organizing, arming, and disciplining” those in service to the United States, is democracy. Jury Service is Democracy. Poll worker service are democracy. If we want to reduce gun violence, access to them must be regulated. And only those trained and sworn to use them in service to community and country, or in active self defense, should carry them. And only militia, and services derived from the militia, should bear arms in a fight or peace keeping role.
This kid should not have had access to a 45 caliber weapon outside of an armory.
It is time to differentiate between settlements, where guns need to be in secure locations, like Armories under control of legal & supervisory, local, authority, and less secure locations, where a person should be able to keep a weapon in a locker or other secured location in his own home. It doesn't even make sense to let people carry weapons into super markets and shopping centers, other than security trained people. Let's make sure everyone is participating in their government, so the second amendment has rational meaning again.