For American Pro-Gun Pro-Violence Originalists

“The question Whether one generation of men has a right to bind another, seems never to have been started either on this or our side of the water. Yet it is a question of such consequences as not only to merit decision, but place also, among the fundamental principles of every government.” […]

“This principle that the earth belongs to the living, & not to the dead, is of very extensive application & consequences, in every country…”

thomas jefferson — in a letter to james madison, sept. 6, 1789

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Thomas Jefferson, as most of you know, was one of the six (6) Core Founding Fathers of our nation in the late 18th century. James Madison was as well and these two great scholars—Jefferson and Madison—contributed enormously to the idea, the drafting, writing, and ratifying of our U.S. Constitution in 1787–1788.

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In his letter of September 6, 1789 to Madison who was back in the American colonies, Jefferson was witnessing firsthand the start of the French Revolution. What he saw and interpreted from the French people was not unlike he and his American colleagues, the other five core Founding Fathers, and American colonists had also recently lived: revolution and independence from tyranny.

Now let’s jump to a modern enigma. What or whom is an Originalist? According to the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, PA, Originalism is a theory of the interpretation of legal texts, including the text of the [18th century] Constitution. Originalists believe that the constitutional text ought to be given the original public meaning that it would have had at the time that it became law [in the late 1700’s].

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As you might infer from his 1789 Madison letter, as well as his 1816 letter to Virginia lawyer Samuel Kercheval, Thomas Jefferson would have undoubtedly and adamantly opposed this view of our nation’s rule of law if he were alive today for comment. Yet, his many letters to friends and colleagues amply demonstrate his position on Originalism vs. Living Constitution. And Jefferson was not the only Founding Father who would most certainly oppose this controversial political theory of Originalism. Edmund Randolph, also an attorney and Constitutional delegate from Virginia, wrote in his draft of a constitution:

To insert essential principles only; lest the operations of government should be clogged by rendering those provisions permanent and unalterable, which ought to be accommodated to times and events.

edmund randolph — july 1787
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There are also historical precedents from our Supreme Court Justices referencing the Eighth Amendment in their 1958 decision on Trop v Dulles and evolving standards of decency. With this historical background in mind, I would like to propose an idea, a compromise for our modern American Pro-gun, Pro-violence advocates and fanatical Constitutional originalists.

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Let’s suppose for a minute that Originalism is an infallibly correct political, legal interpretation and application of the U.S. Constitution today and its first eleven Amendments up to the Twelfth Amendment of 1804. Let’s also suppose that the Second Amendment, written in 1791, should stand exactly how our legislators of the late 18th century explicitly meant its content between 1787 to 1791 regarding state militias and their arms/weapons of the time. Because those 18th century law-makers couldn’t have known the unspeakable level of carnage and lethality brought on targets in a matter of a few minutes by an armed 20th or 21st century shooter with specialized weapons or armaments, let’s see where this leads. Let us follow to its conclusion, for the sake of fairness or argument, the modern Originalist’s logic.

In keeping staunchly with the spirit of originalism and the original 2nd Amendment, and since it seems they all must have various high-capacity military weapons in their possession for their personal pleasures. So let’s say all modern-day Pro-gunners and Pro-violence advocates in America can choose from these 18th century (only) flintlock rifles and pistols to your heart’s content and their large private arsenals. Here are some of your choices; get your original 18th century firearms now and show-off your (asinine) stubborn commitment to original 1770 — 1799 laws, amendments, and flintlocks and their so-so not so rapid reloading! 😊 Footnote, notice the sale prices on each firearm by antique dealers.

If I were to follow to its end the logic of modern-day Originalists in the U.S., then I can argue my own ‘right to bear arms’ gives me the equal right to own a nuclear weapon or bomb. After all, nuclear weapons are an armament or arms as defined by the 18th century Second Amendment, and just as important, nor are nukes explicitly banned in writing by the Constitutional framers of 1791. Voilà! Me and my good ole boys all get nuclear arms; it’s our God-given Second Amendment rights! Let’s unload our 30- and 60-round AR-15 magazines in the air in wild celebration!

Pffft! I’ll grossly understate: ludicrous logic, right? By the way, as of the 185th day in 2022, the U.S. has had at least 314 mass shootings or massacres and more than 22,750 Americans have died due to gun-violence this year.

Now, back to reality.

How many Pro-gun, Pro-violence, 2nd Amendment defenders, and Constitutional Originalists—and probably Anti-abortion lovers too—like Justices Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, and Brett Kavanaugh and all other legislative, law-enforcement, and pro-gun American citizens do you think would gladly give up all their 20th and 21st century firearms for original late-18th century firearms that our Founding Fathers and Constitutional framers knew of back then when drafting our Laws of the Land? It really begs the question, Is Originalism even a tenable position today, legally or theoretically? Hah! 🙄

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Hope for Humanity?

As all of you can gather from my previous blog-post, and comments on other’s blogs about this last weekends multiple mass shootings and massacres, I was much more effected by them than in others past. That is not at all to say that the long, long list of all our country’s prior mass shootings, going as far back as 1966 at the University of Texas, Austin tower massacre, are any less crushing to me. They are! Every single fatality, every single wounded survivor scarred, perhaps permanently maimed, and those families having to deal with the life-altering aftermath and long, long, road of recovery, are all remembered and they all deeply effect me. This past weekend was especially gut-ripping heart-piercing because of how quickly they occurred in about one week. That is extremely disturbing for me. Actually, beyond disturbing.

But as luck would have it, in a small way, I was fortunate to catch last night on PBS American Experience their excellent documentary about Woodstock 1969. How timely it was. However, as I watched, my own memories of what took place at Woodstock were clouded, not like this show. It was different in some/many ways compared to what these actual attendees, band members, event coordinators, and journalists (actually there the entire 3½ days) interviewed and they interviewing fans, filming, photographing were saying in 1969 and was now made into this documentary. Clearly, I had been shown and told a distorted version and reports about the festival from what I now suspected were anti-Woodstock people, anti-Hippie people, anti-freedom people, pro-Warring people, all of whom would’ve had me believe their perceptions. Their presupposed conjectures while, ironically, not even there or within 5-miles of the ’69 festival. Imagine that.

I was determined to watch every single second of Woodstock: Three Days that Defined A Generation! Why? Because I wanted to know with all the major potential disasters I was foreseeing, I had to know the end results, about the injuries, the utter failures, Mob-panics turned into sheer chaos to survive, and therefore, probable casualties/deaths. What was going to happen and how bad was this going to end?

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If any of you plan to watch it—and I highly recommend you do—then I won’t give too many spoilers. But there were two segments I found deeply profound, spiritual in the sense that had one been there, in those days and nights, by early Sunday you would have known beyond any doubt… you were part of something incredibly monumental, uplifting, and proof of what a half-million or so decent men, women, young boys and girls, and children, toddlers and babies, were all capable of doing, having received, and gave, helping… because it was just the decent thing to do. All these human virtues were undeniable, unavoidable as told by every person there.

When Jimi Hendrix came on stage Monday, (calm down Arkenaten!) toward the end of his set, he played The Star-Spangled Banner, a once-in-a-lifetime version of the national anthem. Spectators said it was an artform beyond verbal description. Hendrix had added his styled sound-effects dispersed throughout the anthem, like ‘rockets and bombs bursting in air.‘ Many fans picked up on his guitar-violence, death and carnage of war, the Vietnam War, and broke down in tears. The thousands there had lost dear ones, family members, brothers, husbands over there in the jungles and rice-fields. Other fans were speechless for several minutes after he finished, frozen in their postures their mouths gawked by what they just heard, felt, and witnessed.

Jimi’s encore song was Hey Joe. Perhaps one of his greatest songs ever.

As the end of the festival was drawing near, much of the crowd wanted to see/meet and hear from the owner of the farm and land they were on:  Mr. Max B. Yasgur. He was politically Conservative and had had serious reservations about what he had approved and more so when he saw how so much bigger and challenging the event became in just the first day! In the end, even he was astonished:

Today, in our current state of affairs in the 21st century, I would have been dumb-founded by what happened and more… by what did not happen! I would’ve been speechless given those 1969 events and what happened between July 28th and August 4th, 2019… and too many other times since 1966 on the campus of the University of Texas, Austin. Amazed would be an insane understatement.

Woodstock 1969 showed me that even during one of our nation’s most turbulent, bloody, violent two decades in the Cold War, the 1960’s and several major assassinations of peacemakers—John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Jr, and Robert Kennedy—that about 400,000 to 500,000 “people” (labelled derogatorily Hippies by pompous Conservatives) CAN INDEED conduct themselves exemplary over 3-days and 3-nights crammed onto one little farm to share music, fun, love, drugs (of course), and peace—only one accidental death during the 3½ days—and exhibit kindness to total strangers.

Yes, humanity’s best is absolutely possible! Half-a-million people packed into a few acres, outdoors, with security/police named “Po-lease” (i.e. hospitality) not legitimate police officers, and so potentially volatile to panic and countless other possible flash-points, proved it does happen, and ended instead with no violence whatsoever. Better yet, no serious problems to the chagrin of Conservatives who prior wanted to shut down the festival or were hoping it would have horrible injuries and fatalities! That is what they had warned to newspapers and TV reporters.

What really moved me was that when natural weather-forces moved-in coupled with the opposition of bigoted, arrogant, slandering Conservatives labeling the event a pending or complete disaster and certain subsequent humanitarian rescue… the Hippies of Flower-power, cannibus, and LSD helped each other for FREE! They worked together, volunteered to resolve many arising problems! Apparently it was contagious. The tiny town of Bethel’s residents pitched in to provide food for all the festival-goers! Are you FREAKIN’ KIDDING ME!!!?

People… WordPress readers… THAT is what an intelligent species does full of compassion, unity, selflessness, understanding, and embracing pure HUMAN connection. You don’t even have to belong to any nation, any charity, any political party. It’s JUST. NOT. THAT. COMPLICATED.

What a spectacle. What an epiphany those four days must have been… intimately amongst 400,000+ others you had not known before that Friday! Wow. My hope in and for humanity, decent caring people—if any Woodstock-goers would’ve ever been called that by 60’s ultra-Conservative Americans—but human beings being very human, were part of something bigger than self, glad to help each other while having fun openly, loving freely, dancing, smiling and never once considered gun-shots to be a fix, ever. YES… my belief in humanity’s finest virtues were restored, are restored. At least from Hippies in 1969 they are.

However, I think there are some/many today equal to those good Woodstockers who were grossly stereotyped and wrongly judged as useless before anything started Aug. 15, 1969. Because there are many of us today, many decent people like them in 1969, who know violent-hate or verbal-hate can be stopped and will not be tolerated, ever. Let’s not forget we have many, thousands, millions who know what the right thing to be, say, and do is really about, what it actually looks like, sounds like, and behaves like… for anyone from anywhere on this beautiful planet.

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Live Well — Love Much — Laugh Often — Learn Always — Stop Stereotyping & Hating

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