Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Someone Please Hand Wayne La Pierre A Bigger Shovel

Wayne LaPierre Jr., Executive Vice President and Chief Executive Officer of the National Rifle Association speaks at its members annual meeting during its national convention in St. Louis on Saturday. Because he clearly doesn't believe he has hit the bottom of his self-dug grave yet:

WASHINGTON — Wayne LaPierre, the executive director of the National Rifle Association, angrily accused President Obama on Tuesday of demonizing law-abiding gun owners and of wanting to put “every private personal firearms transaction right under the thumb of the federal government.”

In a fiery speech at a hunting conference in Nevada, Mr. LaPierre criticized Mr. Obama’s Inaugural Address on Monday when the president said Americans should not “mistake absolutism for principle.”

That reference, Mr. LaPierre said, was intended as an attack on the N.R.A. and gun owners who believe that the Second Amendment to the Constitution provides an absolute right to bear arms.

What gun nuts won't tell you is that the Second Amendment is the only one, the only one, that places a condition on a Constitutional right. They'll ignore the language of the first part about a "well-regulated militia" -- and if the Founders were alive to address this, I think they'd acknowledge local police forces as constituting said militiae -- but woe betide anyone who interprets the rest of the Amendment to read as anything but "all the guns we want, all the time."

But then La Pierre doubled down on teh stoopit:

“I urge our president to use caution when attacking clearly defined absolutes in favor of his principles,” Mr. LaPierre said. “When absolutes are abandoned for principles, the U.S. Constitution becomes a blank slate for anyone’s graffiti.”

In effect, La Pierre is demanding absolutism on his relative terms. For instance, the gun that Founders referred to is a muzzle loader, a musket. At best, you might have a flintlock pistol. Why doesn't he mention that in his "principle"? After all, colonists had to defend their farms against varmints both human and animal, and they seemed to do a pretty good job of surviving. If the purpose of owning a gun is to defend yourself and your family, then it seems to me that mission accomplished there.

Having seen the failure of his "only a good guy with a gun can protect us from a bad guy with a gun" meme, La Pierre has quickly branched out into terrorism. Not that he was above terrorism before this, but it seems pretty clear that he's trying to broaden the scope of his argument past the Second Amendment advocacy of the NRA to include Teabaggers and other "l"ibertarians by scaring them about free speech, or freedom of religion, for example.

The "absolutist" argument is stupid. The Constitution has long been viewed as a malleable document. Indeed, the reason the Founders made amending the document so damned difficult is that it was intended to be interpreted to fit the times, and not make the times fit the document. They knew the world was changing rapidly and that if their intent was to concretize the Constitution and to stultify any debate about its meaning, they would have included amendments indicating that it would never be changed, could never be changed, and would have more specifically outlined the rights it endowed, instead of taking what is essentially the lazy way out and leaving it up to the People.
In other words, leave it to the wise men and women selected by the People, who would in turn select the men who oversaw the document's meaning, to let the Constitution play in the fields of the future. Up until now, that's been a widely accepted view of our democracy.
Until now. I mean, it's still widely accepted, but there's a significant if small minority of people who are home-schooled and attend "colleges" like Liberty University who have been brainwashed into believing in "original intent."
When it's clear that "original intent" was to let the document breathe the air of a free people who may choose to view the document as a mirror, not a granite slab.