Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Second Ammentment

Probably the two most emotional issues in America are abortion and the second amendment. Let’s set aside abortion for now because it is an emotional, religious and ethical issue.
I have had different attitudes about the second amendment, but the first time I rode across the American West I realized how individual firearms ownership made America virtually invasion proof so I became a believer. It is claimed that after Pearl Harbor Admiral Yamamoto said “I would never invade North America; there would be a rifle behind every blade of grass.”
Both sides of the gun ownership issue make claims. More guns more violence, or less. The second amendment implies individual ownership, or not.
So I did my own research. The correlation between tough or lenient gun laws is weak. You can find data that supports either point of view. What did they mean when they wrote the Second Amendment? The answer is in the Federalist Papers. There is nothing in there about hunting or sport shooting. It is about defense against tyranny from within or without. Now I hear the anti-gunners saying things like the people in those days did not have military weapons. No, their rifles were considerably more effective than the muskets the Armies issued. Membership in the militia required gun ownership, not the other way around. Irregulars with small arms have held off, and even defeated mighty armies. The mujahedeen kicked the mighty Soviet Red Army out of Afghanistan.
Guns do facilitate violence, but so do fists, knives, pitchforks, cars, explosives, and accelerants, e.g. gasoline. The unarmed part of the world is experiencing an increase in suicide bombing. Violence is cultural. Unarmed Britain and Japan are peaceful because that’s the kind of obedient people they are. Switzerland is heavily armed, but peaceful. Every adult male there is required to maintain an assault rifle and ammunition. America was founded on violence: The French and Indian War, the Revolution, the Whiskey Rebellion, etc. Many early “settlers” were convicts given a choice between America and the gallows. For 200 years the troublemakers from all over the world emigrated. Going to America looking for a home where they could escape the shackles and limitations of “civilization”.
Most of the violence in America today is related to the War-On-Drugs. Think about it, what does WAR mean, it means killing people to impose your will on their survivors. Take away the war, take away the violence; simple as that! Take away the drugs, good luck with that one. Prohibition was a dismal failure.  We learn from history the government never learns from history. The war on drugs has had no perceivable reduction in drug use. Forbidden fruit is especially attractive to teenagers. Take away the guns, how? There are more than 300 million, most of them unregistered and easy to conceal. There are many countries where guns are illegal. The level of violence has no correlation with the laws. And like whiskey and drugs, those who cannot buy them, or steal them will figure out how to make their own. In Afghanistan village blacksmiths were making fully functional copies of Lee-Enfield army rifles and AK47’s!
If you examine the war on drugs objectively, as Judge Gray has:

Or Ethan Nadelman:
Or LEAP :  http://www.leap.cc/
You can only conclude that the War-On-Drugs is a bigger mistake than Prohibition and wonder about the sanity (Or Motives) of its proponents.
Perhaps: (Previous post Nov 7)
I now see the error of my ways.  I thought of the war on drugs as pointless and ineffective. I now see it as perfect for what it is intended to do. Look what would happen if we ended the war. 
We have built the world’s largest prison system; we have to keep it and all the people and contractors it employs busy.  What would we do with all those people warehoused in prison?  Would they join the ranks of the unemployed, or become just be petty criminals?  In addition to prisons we have courts, judges and their other employees that depend on the jobs it creates.
 Without low level drug users to plea bargain prosecutors would have to work much harder to maintain their important win/lose ratio.  Thousands of defense lawyers depend on the drug trials for easily earned income with no remorse for failure 
Police at every level from local departments to FBI have become dependent on the opportunities it provides, advancement, excitement, publicity, overtime, free drugs, bigger budgets and the assets that civil forfeiture provides: cars, boats, aircraft, electronics, weapons, and cash. 
The small arms industry depends on equipment, gun and ammunition sales to police and organized crime to stay in business and employ thousands of people.
The economies of several countries, and counties in the US, are dependent on the high prices they get for crops that produce an illegal product. What will they do when cocaine and marijuana bring the same price as oregano and tobacco?  Legal drugs would deprive independent vendors of a major source of tax free income.
All the hoopla about illegal drugs distracts people from the tobacco and alcohol industries, and the pervasive and harmful effects of their products. Constant news coverage of the War pushes news about the harmful effects of alcohol and tobacco off the front page.  Celebrity scandals about illegal drug usage are almost as interesting as sex.  Rehab is so much more newsworthy when it is paralleled with a threat of jail time. 
Pharmaceutical companies can justify the high prices of their mass produced product on the comparably high price of street drugs.  How could oxycodone compete with legal codeine or even safer, more effective marijuana?  Hundreds of chemists, now busy designing drugs (prescription and illegal) around the controlled substances act would be redundant. 
The drug test industry employs thousands.  Employers need a simple reason to reject minority applicants "You failed the drug test".  Since marijuana usage is somewhere between 50 and 80% and can be detected for months, this is almost always credible, and impossible to rebut, although meaningless. 
Political contributions from all those with vested interest in the drug war would stop, then what would all the campaign service providers do without the Mothers-milk of politics?  War of any kind provides speech material for polidioticians, “We need to work harder, we're seeing the light the end of the tunnel, can't stop now.”  Gets more votes than, “300 million Americans are quietly behaving themselves.” 
In fewer words, the war on drugs has so thoroughly pervaded our culture that we, or at least our ruling class, can't live without it any more than they could live without their own hypocrisy. It is a small part of the basis of popular politics: keep the public alarmed with an endless series of boogie-men preferably imaginary, or manufactured as necessary to the needs, of the reelection cycle.

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