Sunday, June 29, 2008

Letter To the Editor

I'm posting a complete copy of a letter I just sent in the last five minutes to the Des Moines Register. Since they habitually edit reader letters, and there is a very small chance that my comments will be posted anyway, I will post the letter here. Comment at will, I appreciate the feedback.

I have on more than one occasion sent a letter to the editor of the Des Moines Register related to the “right to keep and bear arms”. On one of those occasions I received a personal reply from Mr. Richard Doak in which he argued his wacky (albeit the standard liberal position) case that the Second Amendment was strictly limited to the militia and was not an individual right. So when Heller vs. DC was released this week, I made a special effort to see what the Register had to say about this decision.
Now if only a nobody like Justice Antonin Scalia were the only person in the history to argue that the Second Amendment was an individual right, then Mr. Doak and his ilk might have an argument. But when noted liberals like Laurance Tribe who called the Second Amendment "a right (admittedly of uncertain scope) on the part of individuals to possess and use firearms in the defense of themselves and their homes." [Tribe, American Constitutional Law, Vol. 1, pp. 901-902 (2000)] . And Alan Dershowitz stated “"Foolish liberals who are trying to read the Second Amendment out of the Constitution by claiming it's not an individual right or that it's too much of a safety hazard don't see the danger in the big picture. They're courting disaster by encouraging others to use the same means to eliminate portions of the Constitution they don't like.”. On the other hand the position that Mr. Doak takes is that championed by that noted Constitutional lawyer Rosie O'Donnell, who argued on her show on numerous occasions including one with Tom Selleck that the Second Amendment is not an individual right.
So lets see, on one side we have Justice Antonin Scalia, four other member of the Supreme Court, Alan Dershowitz, Laurance Tribe and millions of American gun owners, on the other we have Mr. Richard Doak, Rosie O'Donnell and thousands of Constitutionally illiterate liberals, unable to read the clear meaning of the language of the Second Amendment. I quote from Justice Scalia's opinion, “

Three provisions of the Constitution refer to “the people”

in a context other than “rights”—the famous preamble

(“We the people”), §2 of Article I (providing that “the peo-

ple” will choose members of the House), and the Tenth

Amendment (providing that those powers not given the

Federal Government remain with “the States” or “the

people”). Those provisions arguably refer to “the people”

acting collectively—but they deal with the exercise or

reservation of powers, not rights. Nowhere else in the

Constitution does a “right” attributed to “the people” refer

to anything other than an individual right.6

So what is clear to millions of us, is unclear to a few, who would argue that the right to free speech is an individual right, then turn around in the next breath and argue that the Amendment following is not. Clearly the Register and Mr. Doak don't like the ruling in Heller vs DC. The question you need to ask yourself is, do I hate guns so much, that I would ignore the clear meaning of the Constitution to limit the Right to Keep and Bear Arms? Mr. Doak and the Register answer the question in the affirmative.
One more thing, Mr. Doak's explanation that the State of Iowa does not have an equivalent to the Second Amendment is well, laughable. Sir, with all due respect, there are certain “self evident truths” which the writers of the Constitution both at the Federal level and here in Iowa assumed were so clear to the people that it was unnecessary to elaborate. I highly doubt that the founders could imagine a day when newspapers and other public institutions would attempt to describe the “Right to Keep and Bear Arms” as anything other than an individual right. They were wrong of course, because we have not only sunk to the depths of attempting to pervert that right, we now have a culture which would attempt to equate the meaning of the word marriage with the deviant acts of the sexually confused. I've got to believe that if the writers of the Iowa Constitution thought that someday Iowans would be told that the “right to keep and bear arms” was anything other than an individual right they would have included something like the Second Amendment in the Iowa Constitution, and furthermore I think if they had even considered the possibility that the citizens of Iowa would be forced by a judge to accept as “a right” the ability of sodomites to get “married” they would have written into the Constitution wording making that idea impossible. Come to think of it, I think a majority of the citizens of Iowa would vote for such a Constitutional Amendment today.