Weekly Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country
of West Texas
Friday, March 21, 2008
By Smokey Briggs
The world seems suitably worked up this week over the Supreme Court’s hearing of the Heller case that has challenged the District of Columbia’s total ban on handgun ownership, along with similar draconian restrictions on shotguns and rifles.
Finally, it appears that the Supreme Court may actually “rule” on whether the Second Amendment of the Constitution outlines an individual right, or a collective right embodied in the “right” to have a National Guard.
This question always seemed asinine to me — why would the authors of the Constitution have bothered writing down what constitutes a right for the government to have a standing army? All governments claim the right to have a military force.
The right described in the Second Amendment is that of the individual to defend himself, his family and his property. To come to any other conclusion, you have to be deluded, a slobbering idiot, or simply trying to bend the language to fit your own personal view of how the world should be, rather than how it is.
As a student of Constitutional law, the legal wrangling is interesting to me.
More interesting, though, is a much deeper question — if there is a right involved — where did it come from, and what would a free man or woman do if the Supreme Court declared there was no right at all?
There are more than a few rights listed above and below the Second Amendment.
The rights listed range from the right of free men and women to get together and speak their minds, to the right to print what I want without a government censor peeping over my shoulder, to the right to not be searched by the cops just because they do not like my looks.
Where did these rights come from?
Did they become rights when the authors of the Constitution wrote them down, or did they exist before that moment?
Can the Supreme Court create or alter or take away something that is a “right?”
If the Court reinterpreted the First Amendment tomorrow, and decreed that reasonable regulation of printing presses was an important tool in preventing domestic terrorism, would my right have changed?
In my opinion, a right cannot be created or denied (legally) by someone else – otherwise, we would call it a privilege.
Right’s come from some other source of power than a majority vote or a presidential decree, or a government court.
For me, they are derived from the Divine. When a man or woman is created, God vests in him or her certain rights.
The right to be free is the lynch pin of all the others.
Free men and women have the ability to protect themselves against those that would take their freedom in any way.
Free men and women have all the rights listed in the Bill of Rights, and a few more, and God grants these rights.
The founding fathers decided to write some of these rights down – to acknowledge them – but neither the Constitution nor the Supreme Court is the source of these rights.
In the best of times, our Constitution and the justices of the Court
are protectors of these rights.
When the justices fail in their duty to protect these rights, the right does not mysteriously vanish.
That cannot happen unless we, as free men and women, allow it.
So, the hoopla in the Supreme Court is interesting – but is has nothing to do with our rights – not really.
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York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
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