Readers’ comments: May 12, 2023
‘Original intent’ of Second Amendment was to protect slavery
Those Supreme Court justices who profess to rely on original intent of the founders should be told where the Second Amendment came from. The Virginia delegates to the constitutional convention proposed what became the Second Amendment because they wanted other states to form militias to help put down slave insurrections, and also to help capture runaway slaves and return them to their owners.
Since we no longer have slavery in this country, the original intent for the militias and their gun rights is no longer necessary.
Second Amendment grammatical jousting continues
In his article [“SCOTUS misses the point of the Second Amendment,” May 5] Merrill Ring offers an interesting historical critique of the Supreme Court’s disregard of the “militia” clause in the Second Amendment. I, too, would like to criticize the Court’s disregard, but from a strictly grammatical angle. The wording of the amendment is “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 a construction like that, the first clause serves as a reason for the second and thereby constrains how the second is to be understood. One implication would be that the federal government cannot prevent a state from maintaining its own armed defense force. As qualified by the first, the second clause does not imply any right for citizens who do not belong to militias.
A statement grammatically parallel to the Second Amendment would be “What individuals do in their own homes being of no consequence to others, the right of the people to smoke cigarettes shall not be infringed.” Since the first clause provides the reason for the second, it also constrains the interpretation of the second. No one would read the entire sentence as laying down a right to smoke outside your home in places where others may be affected.
James Van Cleve
Second Amendment piece missed the point
Pretending to know more than the U.S. Supreme Court, Mr. Ring’s convoluted theory [“SCOTUS misses the point of the Second Amendment,” May 5] that the Second Amendment is no longer necessary tries to rewrite history by misrepresenting the words “militia” and “regulated.”
Suggesting that freedom loving patriots who just overthrew their government purposely left a loophole for future citizens to be unable to overthrow their own government is absurd! “A well regulated (practiced/competent while using their own money) Militia (local armed people that can fight/protect at their will), being necessary to the security of a free State (any entity or governing body), the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”
The world-changing significance of the Second Amendment is that citizens now had the “teeth” to force government to recognize all other enumerated rights. During the Revolutionary War there were three types of citizens: patriots (those that fought), those who did not care, and loyalists wanting everyone to remain under the boot of the British. Just like a bad date, modern day loyalists make arguments for registration, restriction, infringement, licensing, and/or taxation of guns emotionally easy to swallow — until you realize you’ve become a target like all the other fish in the barrel. My original letter of March 17 cited the facts that firearms are used in less than 8.3% of violent crimes and that citizens use firearms almost three million times a year to stop a violent crime. Isn’t it nice to know that being submissive and defenseless is your choice? That is, until you’re enticed by a bad date.
Sancho’s Tacos: consider internalized racism
Mexicans in Southern California have been targets of Anglo racist attitudes for a long, long time. This has been evident in housing as the barrios were razed, in education where Spanish was not allowed in the classroom or playground, in health care, employment, policing, and so many other ways.
One of the worst results of this prejudice and discrimination is an ongoing internalized racism aimed at ourselves. It is exhibited for example by those of us who oppose immigration and devalue the contributions of other Latinos and fail to use voice and vote to protect and improve the lives of those who have the most basic needs.
The enormous improvements in the lives of those of us fortunate to call SoCal our home are a testament to our self-advocacy, leadership and organizing in partnership with a supportive broader population and systemic social progress. This is reflected in Claremont’s new budget priority to develop “Anti-Racist, Anti-Discrimination Policies.”
Let’s start by requiring Sancho’s Tacos [“Are graphics at new business out of step with city priority?” Readers comments, April 14] to change!
Rita Gonzales Levine