Saturday, December 15

A Note On Usage

IF we can't quite grasp the concept of "clause" where the 2nd amendment is concerned, can we try "phrase", or should we head straight to orthography?

"Well regulated". It means, first of all, regulated. And well. If you want to argue that "not at all" constitutes the wellest form of regulation, okay. But that's not the same thing as unfettered

Incidentally, you might mention to your grandchildren, since the best-case scenario is that they might finally be able to do something about this, that civil liability would eliminate machines for killing people. It seems damned sure that body counts won't. 

By the way, can anyone tell me what th' fuck Clint Van Zandt has ever done? Aside from his uncanny prediction that the Unabomber would be a married suburbanite middle manager? 


Kathy said...

... or a law could be passed requiring every person who owns a firearm to joint their State's Militia, spend every weekend doing... militia stuff (mostly marching around if my daughter's ROTC class is an indicator). Then they'd belong to the ebil gubment of which they seem to be so terrified.

Or maybe we could just admit that "guns" are penis substitute/enhancement objects, and should be at least as "well regulated" as the stuff advertised on TV for (ahem) size enhancement.

Kathy said...

eh. join the state militia, not joint. Joint might be more fun.

Eck! said...

In the usage of the time (18th century) _regulated_ applied to adjusted or trained. It does not mean rules, restrictions or laws.

Example sentence is a well regulated clock keeps accurate time.

So the phrase in context means that a trained person is a militia candidate. Further a free state is not defined as a specific territory but can be a condition where security is maintained.

Pecking at the words gets a lot of stuff but the whole of it is clear and specific. it is a protected right not unlike speech.


ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

Sure, Eck!

And "arms" meant a muzzle-loading flintlock.

Anonymous said...

Well, then it's clear that the only legal guns should be muzzle-loading flintlocks.


Deggjr said...

Here's a thought experiment: who had more firepower, a company of Continental soldiers or Adam Lanza?

Fiddlin Bill said...

Here's a thought experiment: what if the legal status quo viz tobacco and alcohol were applied to guns and gun purveyors, e.g. Walmart and your friendly independent Guns'n'Ammo Shop.

Li'l Innocent said...

Someone commented somewhere on the Liberal Intertube yesterday that the firepower of someone packing the kind of guns Adam Lanza had in Newtown was equivalent in killing power to a body of 18th century artillery. As in cannon.

As to the upthread claim about the meaning of "regulated" in the time of James Madison, anybody who's interested in the rather important subtleties of historic grammar and semantics regarding the 2nd amendment might like to look at this:

It's a flowing, fascinating read by a linguistics expert who was involved in a 2008 SCOTUS case about a Washington DC gun control law. Interestingly, he parses every other part of the amendment, including its commas, but not the word "regulated". Apparently the 2008 SC discussion did not consider that to be a point of contention.

hawiken said...

I wonder what we'd be hearing if this asshole had shot up an NRA convention instead of an elementary school?

Anonymous said...


Apparently the shooter's mother loved her guns and spoke often about her arsenal to the other patrons at the bar she frequented - I'd be surprised if she wasn't an NRA member.

Although she didn't deserve what happened to her she shares some culpability for this tragedy by failing to safeguard her weapons. It seems after these atrocities the one thing that is perfectly clear is that even a modest increase in regulation and monitoring of weapons could have prevented most of them from occurring.

TM said...

Eck!, that's a strange contention. As far as I understand, you're stating two things: 1. 18th century use of the term "well regulated" was different than how it's used today, and 2. that different use excluded our modern understanding of the term.

The first may be true, though beside point (it was broader, but it still included our modern understanding of the term) and the second is arguably false.

Kathy said...

Yeah, back in the Olden Days "regulated" meant firearms given freely to anyone who wanted one.

Eck! said...

TM, you found the cookie. At least one gave it more than a thought and snark.

Yes its incorrect but not absolutely so. I believe they
(the founders) meant it as part of regulation as in law _and_ order. It does not say that arms regulation happens or is not as a matter. They didn't have police as we know it either. So good order was maybe dealing with the thief in the hen house four legged or two.
As well as their more recent dealings with the lobster backs.

It is that ambiguity of the wording that needs critical study. It should not be casual. It does not grant or deny all.

I don't think it ever meant the general people could have war making weapons like drones or artillery. Then again people back then didn't own cannon only rifles and shotguns (long guns with bird shot).

FYI: I've seen state militia doing what I call real work for the people like emergency support and forest fire control in support of the fire fighters. Militias are not all about guns, they are about being prepared for those emergencies (not gunfights) that are of concern to the good order and safety of the populace. They do serve with distinction.


Both Sides Do It said...

KWillow, the recent DC v. Heller decision's first holding is that it's unconstitutional to require someone to be a part of a militia in order to exercise the right to bear arms.

The Constitutional arguments are infuriating, because they're so obviously constructed to support a specific conclusion. (Eck, the dissent to Heller pretty effectively deals with your "maybe it was about policing" idea). But they're almost beside the point.

The legal arguments only exist because of a coordinated push of political power to create and enact them. In dramatic fashion; Thurgood Marshall said that the individual right interpretation of the Second Amendment was "the greatest fraud ever perpetrated on the American people" in the early 90s.

It's that political power that needs to be reckoned with. Even under the Heller decision there's lots of room for sensible gun control: huge concealed carry obstacles, assault weapons bans, magazine bans, bans on specific types of ammo. And they haven't been carried out because of the political difficulty in doing so. Overcome that and not only can the effects of the legal arguments be mitigated somewhat but they can be changed relatively quickly.

Eck! said...


name one thing that would have prevented the horror in Sandy Hook?

keep in mind when you answer that the person that did this had an apparent psychotic break and started by killing his mother then proceeded from there. Would he have use gasoline, knives, improvised explosives???

We don't know, it was unique case.

All your railing against guns is not the beall and endall solution its still about violent people doing violence with weapons.


cgregor said...

One thing that would have prevented the horror in Sandy Hook:

81% of gun homicides are committed with weapons whose owners have sold, pawned, given, lent, mislaid, left unsecured, etc. In other words, they were irresponsible about their guns.

If Adam Lanza's mother had not been irresponsible about the security of her weapon, it wouldn't have happened.

This country at the very least needs a law that says, "The gun you buy is the one you are responsible for, forever." People would be much more responsible about seeing that nuts never have access to their weapon of choice.

prairie curmudgeon said...

Rest assured that in our defining of the 2nd amendment and assault weapons, we will be ruled by the obviously ludicrous instead of the ludicrously obvious.

Ufotofu9 said...

That was a very interesting article you linked to, Li'l Innocent. Thanks for posting it.