I just read something that is absolutely, positively enlightening about the 2nd Amendment. Did you know that when the Constitution was being drafted that the original wording was “Country” and not “State”? So it was originally written to read like so:
A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free Country [emphasis mine], the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
Is the change a big deal? Yes, because the use of “Country” would have opened the door for the Federal Government to call up the militia instead of the states. See all of the states/colonies had militia at that time–indeed some states, like Georgia, had laws that required white men of property or their white male employees to be a part of their state’s militia. However, the Southern Colonies used their militia or they formed smaller groups of soldiers to perform “slave patrol” duties. Again, state laws specified that the militia or “slave patrols” mission was to go around and inspect slave quarters, look for signs of insurrection, and publicly punish any slaves who appeared to be plotting rebellion, which back in those days could mean anything from taking up arms to just being “uppity”.
Why would they have done that? Because the number of slaves, in some areas, vastly outnumbered the white population and they were terrified of being overrun by slave uprisings. And their fear was a real fact–something documented in the literature and political discussions of that era. We saw similar fears expressed in South Africa during the era of Apartheid where there was a ratio of 6 blacks to every 1 white South African. We don’t know the ratio in the U.S. of slave to owner in the pre-Civil War era because we didn’t keep track of the number of “slave owners” but we can do some estimates. We do know that in two states, slaves outnumbered the white population: South Carolina (57,000 more slaves) and Louisiana (21,000 more). Historians estimate that 3/4 of the white population owned no slaves at all. Taking the population numbers, subtracting 3/4 of the white people out and then comparing the slaves to owners, we’re talking a 5 to 1 ratio. That’s a serious advantage in numbers, wouldn’t you say? The owners had quite a lot to fear if you ask me.
All of this discussion and reasoning is well documented so we can be fairly clear on the Founding Father’s thoughts on the matter. What the historical documentation boils down to is this–the Southern Delegates insisted that by using the word “Country” in the 2nd Amendment, it would jeopardize the safety of their state’s population (the white population that is), their entire economy, and a good portion of their wealth. So Madison changed the wording of the Second Amendment and put in State instead of Country. Ever since lobbying groups like the NRA have been sowing the lie that the purpose of the 2nd Amendment was about protecting the States from the Federal Government. No, it turns out it was brown people–the one’s that weren’t even citizens.
We no longer have slavery and we certainly shouldn’t fear violent uprisings from our fellow citizens–we’ve evolved beyond it, at least I hope we have. But hearing all the paranoid and revolutionary talk from right-wing spokespersons, groups like the informal right-wing militias that sprouted up (so far as I know there aren’t any such things as a liberal militia in the U.S.) and individuals like this guy, I am not so sure. And it wouldn’t be ironic if we, meaning the average American, will end up needing guns to put down the paranoid gun nuts who turn traitor because we as a country had the gall to enact laws saying the average citizen doesn’t need assault weapons to kill Bambi or protect themselves in their home? I mean government hating paranoid gun fetishists wouldn’t start an uprising or kill innocent Americans, would they?