Sunday, January 17, 2016

Security and the Second Amendment

Question by President Obama
State of the Union 2016

“So let's talk about the future, and four big questions that we as a country have to answer — regardless of who the next President is, or who controls the next Congress.
First, how do we give everyone a fair shot at opportunity and security in this new economy?”

My Opinion

What kind of life is proper for a person living among other people? The question becomes a debate about whether the individual or the group has rights that dominate.  Also, the debate extends to duties and obligations owed to the group or owed to individuals.

One example of an individual right in conflict with group rights is Amendment II:  “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.”  In 2008, the Supreme Court (DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA v. HELLER (No. 07-290) 478 F. 3d 370) decided 5-4 to not allow the District of Columbia to have a law restricting firearms.

US citizens in the 21st Century do not “give everyone a fair shot at opportunity and security” when the individual right to firearms dominates the group right to security.

Federal and State governments in the 21st Century do not have, nor need a militia of armed citizens.  Governments created each state national guard. The right of individuals to possess and bear arms must be subordinate to the laws permitting the state national guard to possess firearms.  The Second Amendment is not about individual rights.  The primary subject is a “well regulated militia” for the “security of a free state.”  The group right to security dominates the individual right to firearms.

Gun laws are found in many federal statutes. These laws regulate the manufacture, trade, possession, transfer, record keeping, transport, and destruction of firearms, ammunition, and firearms accessories. They are enforced by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).

In the McDonald v. City of Chicago decision in 2010, the Supreme Court ruled that, because of the incorporation of the Bill of Rights, the guarantee of an individual right to bear arms applies to state and local gun control laws and not just federal laws.

The Supreme Court has not ruled on whether or not the Second Amendment protects the right to carry guns in public for self defense.  There are federal and state laws that restrict a citizen’s right to carry concealed firearms.

The clear purpose and historical context of the Second Amendment was militia service. The amendment does not create a legal rule that protects the individual right to possess and carry fire arms outside the context of service in a state militia. In the 21st Century, an individual, that is a member of the state national guard, has the right and duty to possess and carry firearms as part of their service as limited by the rules, regulations and laws that control that right.

The original source of the right to bear arms was the English Bill of Rights from 1689: subjects who are Protestants may bear arms for their defense as permitted by law.  There were two restrictions then, you had to be a member of a group called Protestants and you could only possess firearms “as permitted by law.”  The origin of the right to bear arms does not promote individual rights over the group right to use the law to regulate firearms.

The Second Amendment does not give an individual the right to possess and carry firearms without being a member of a group that is designated by state law in service of the government.  As a result, the traditional interpretation of the right to bear arms shall not dominate the federal and state government’s exclusive right to control access to firearms.  Therefore the federal and state governments have the right to restrict and control firearms so that only members of designated federal and state government organizations possess and carry firearms.

Monday, January 11, 2016

2020 Vision

Generations align every 80 years to form a trinity of elders, middle-aged and young adults prepared to fulfill their roles in an epic fight for survival.  The American Revolution, Civil War and WWII were examples of this alignment.  Envision 2020, when Baby Boomers will all be over 60, GenX will be in middle age and Millennials will all be young adults.

Boomers will hold the moral high ground.  GenXers will manage and supervise, when and where action is needed.  Millennials will have the youthful energy and teamwork to be the foot soldiers in an epic battle to save civilization.  But from what?

Pope Francis detailed in his Encyclical on Climate Change (LAUDATO SI’) the moral principles for Boomers to follow that justify global mobilization of money, production and people.  GenXers in business and government are mobilizing resources by leading organizations to align themselves with the new reality based on the consequences of climate change.  Also, GenXers will lead Millennials when the time comes to implement drastic actions needed to save civilization from the global consequences of climate change.

Like 1935 prior to WWII, the world will navigate a path from 2020-2028, the very existence of which everyone in 2015 denies.  As late as 1943, American politicians were not denying the truth of the concentration camps but were so shocked by the reports that they were unbelievable.  In the same way, the truth of the consequences of climate change are now undeniable however that does not make them any more believable.

The fairy tale ending comes after 2028 when a new golden era emerges.  But until then, what do we do?  Reduce CO2 emissions by converting to renewable energy, driving electric cars and using public transportation.  We need to change our lifestyles by not being as concerned with fashion and material things. We need to change our eating habits by eating less beef.  We need to find as many ways as possible to reduce green house gas emissions.

We will need to find ways to feed millions of refugees and migrants.  Agriculture will change dramatically due to droughts, food insecurity and reducing emissions.  We will also need to find ways to sequester carbon to reduce the CO2 already in the atmosphere.  All of these things mean that how we plant, maintain and harvest using large or small land holdings will change.