This article is the second of a seven part series highlighting Michael Ventura’s well thought-out columns in the Austin Chronicle.
Recap – Bill of Rights Articles 1, 2 and 3
Part 1 focused on why the first 2 Articles in the Bill of Rights are history.
The First Amendment: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
- Dumbing down of the electorate – A free society assumes an educated electorate electing intelligent leaders. Witness the third grader behavior of the DC leadership regarding the shutdown (both sides). A great primer for this is the movie “Idiocracy”.
- Money = Free Speech – Dark money and the Super PACS (declared OK by the Supreme Court) gives anyone with the cash power to influence any election anywhere in the country.
- Intelligence Authorization Act severely limits the news coverage of National Security issues by restricting the Press’ access to government employees.
- Tarek Mehanna got 17 years for speaking his mind. Granted he is a “stinkin’ thinker” in favor of al_qaeda. That said, until his conviction, “ugly beliefs” were protected by the First Amendment. Here is a wikipedia link describing his Thought Crimes. (Yes, this is a reference to George Orwell’s “1984″.)
The Second Amendment: “A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”
We would not have a country if the American colonists were not an armed citizenry. The Second Amendment is not about our right to shoot rabbits or burglars. It is about our right to fight oppressive rulers.
It is important to understand what “militia” meant in 1787. The Oxford English Dictionary cites the old U.S. definition as: “The whole body of men declared by law amenable to military service, without enlistment, whether armed and drilled or not.” “Militia” meant men of age for military service, rather than a federal- or state-controlled outfit.
Gun control is constitutional; so is packing heavy ordnance. Ah, those Framers, what a sense of humor!
Third Amendment: “No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.”
Good news: nobody has messed with the Third Amendment. For what it’s worth
The second column in Ventura’s series picks up with the Fourth Amendment.
Fourth Amendment: “The right of the People to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”
I feel a BIT safer knowing that I am not Muslim and I don’t live in New York City.
Next Time – The Fifth Amendment
Part 3 explains why the Fifth Amendment effectively no longer exists.