The Second Amendment

The Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States is not sacrosanct. It is, however, decrepit and anachronistic.

When I was a teenager in Philadelphia, sometimes while doing delivery chores downtown, I would wander into Independence Hall. There were no guards or hovering docents. As you entered the back door, there was the Liberty Bell at eye-level. It was not encased, and was fully available for hands-on inspection. The most popular thing was to stick your fingers into that famous crack.

When I visited Philly recently, the Liberty Bell had been placed in a special building. You had to purchase tickets and wait in line at a predetermined time. There were guards and docents controlling everyone’s movements. No one touched the bell. It had been elevated to the, “Holy of the Holies.”

The first time I visited the Louvre, several decades ago, the Mona Lisa was at eye-level as well. It could be approached face-to-face, with nothing more than the same hands-off admonition that applied to the rest of the paintings.

On subsequent visits to Paris, the Mona Lisa was still in the same vicinity, however, she is now enclosed in bulletproof casing and raised to an overhead, untouchable level.

Thus it is with the 2nd Amendment – and the Constitution itself, now in a subterranean, climate-controlled vault. It is raised on an elevator platform only for viewing purposes. As with the Liberty Bell and the Mona Lisa, time, the times and perhaps overdone reverence have isolated these historical and artistic icons to the point of almost non-human relevance.

I have heard otherwise very intelligent people discuss whether the 2nd Amendment ever could be changed. That is because of its bulletproof, climate-controlled encasement. If the people in question could get beyond those barriers, they would discover the obvious fact that, “Change” is an indispensable detail of the Constitution. That Founding Document makes it clear that since it is created by the People of the United States, any portion of the document may be changed or amended at any time the indicated numbers of the people so dictate. This means that the 2nd Amendment could be brought up to date simply by this further amendment:

“Congress shall make all laws governing the possession of firearms by the citizenry.”

Yeah, ri-i-i-ght… -- Good luck!

*****  *****  *****

The Bill of Rights has units ten.
The Deuce defies the Nation’s ken.
If we all were armed,
No one would be harmed.
So, open fire! Who’ll say, “When”?

Curtis W. Long

Curtis W. Long

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  • "The circumstances of the world are continually changing, and the opinions of men change also; and as government is for the living, and not for the dead, it is the living only that has any right in it. That which may be thought right and found convenient in one age may be thought wrong and found inconvenient in another. In such cases, who is to decide, the living or the dead?"
    —Thomas Paine, Rights of Man: Part 1, 1791