The Jeff Cumberbatch Column – Exercising a Fundamental Right

Drapes billow out of broken windows at the Mandalay Bay resort and casino Monday, Oct. 2, 2017, on the Las Vegas Strip following a mass shooting at a music festival in Las Vegas. Authorities say Stephen Craig Paddock broke the windows and began firing with a cache of weapons, killing dozens and injuring hundreds. (AP Photo/John Locher)

I will give you my gun when you pry it from my cold dead hands – National Rifle Association [NRA] bumper sticker

Philinte: Do you wish harm to all mankind?

Alceste: Yes, I have conceived a terrible hatred for them –Act I, Sc 1 -“Le Misanthrope” -Moliere [1666]

An apparent misanthrope, of a twisted mind and hell-bent on taking as many people as possible with him as he shuffles off this mortal coil, fortified by a bizarre official interpretation of a Constitutional amendment that ostensibly relates to a collective entitlement but that has been construed as permitting any lunatic with enough wherewithal to arm himself to the teeth with high powered weaponry, sends his girlfriend home to the land of her birth, rents a luxury hotel suite overlooking a concert venue in Las Vegas and proceeds to murder no fewer than 58 innocent souls assembled to enjoy the music, thereby giving the lie to the popular slogan that “what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas!”

The media will record that this abyssal conduct on his part was a new record for the most people ever murdered in a mass shooting in the US. The resultant “human cry”, as it is put in the Barbadian mondegreen, sounds like so much crocodile tears in a country that can place men on the Moon but that seemingly has not grasped the notion that permitting a near unlimited civic right to bear arms and thus to use them however might lead inexorably to these sorts of tragedies.

I have explored before in this space my own interpretation of the notorious Second Amendment that is utilized as the vehicle for this dubious and enabling right. According to the text of the provision;

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.”

 

Given that a militia does not comprise one individual solely, and given the primacy accorded that body in the structure of the text, one might very well be tempted to read the amendment as empowering the people to keep and bear arms purely for the purposes of forming the necessary well-regulated militia for protecting the security and freedom of the state. This, however, has not been the construction that has found favour with the Supreme Court charged with the overarching interpretation of the Constitution.

In its 2008 decision in District of Columbia v Heller, the Court, by a five to four majority, iterated that the Amendment protected an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes such as self-defence. Further, they held that the prefatory clause in the Amendment that I rely on in my argument to control its spirit does not in fact limit or expand the second part whose text and history connotes an individual right to keep and bear arms.

The justices also made reference to the amendment’s legislative history, noting that it was the product of a response to the fears of the anti-federalists that Federal Government would disarm the militia in favour of a standing army or a select Federal militia. The Second Amendment was thus enacted to deny Congress the power to abridge the “ancient“ right of the people to keep and bear arms so that the ideal of a citizens’ militia would be preserved.

Moreover, although it did not form part of the ratio of the decision, the Court noted that at least three (3) states’ proposals had referred unequivocally to the individual and not merely collective right. The law seems to be settled given that the Supreme Court is at the apex of the system, unless a future Court ids minded to overrule this precedent.

As distasteful as it may be, the media have made much of the record number of those killed, a record that is likely to be inevitably broken so long as the status quo continues. An instructive WhatsApp post in one group last week, explored the illogic behind the individual right to bear arms whereby a youngster, thirteen years of age, is appropriately unable to purchase alcohol, cigarettes or adult magazines, but is nonetheless able to secure the supply from a dealer of a high-powered firearm intended for the sole purpose of ending a life, even if not necessarily that of a human being.

Veteran Congressman Steve Israel, in an op-ed piece in the New York Times last Monday, also addresses the issue of the likelihood of a reprise of the Las Vegas massacres. He puts it bluntly, “ In the wake of one of the deadliest mass shootings in our nation’s history, perhaps the most asked question by Americans is, and “Will anything change?” The simple answer is no. The more vital question is, “Why not?”

Israel recounts his failed attempt as a freshman to introduce legislation to require safety locks on certain guns when he failed to gain the support of a fellow freshman Democrat who begged off on the ground that “In my district we close the schools on the first day of hunting season”.

He relates too his disappointment after the murder of 26 children and adults at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012 and the image of President Obama with tears running down his cheeks. His thoughts that finally something would be done were dashed when the debate morphed into one over the rights of gun owners rather than the right to life of young schoolchildren. Some congressional colleagues, he writes, confided that any vote for gun safety would lower their NRA scores and increase the probability of their demise in the next election.

The identical scenario was to obtain after the mass shootings in the Orlando, Florida nightclub in June 2016 and the failure of a proposed amendment to prevent people on the terrorist watch list from purchasing firearms, opposed by the Republican chairman of the House Appropriations Committee on the basis that “in America, everyone is innocent until proven guilty.”

This principle is not peculiar to the US, but according to an October 2 article in the online newsmagazine Vox, there are 29.7 homicides by firearm per 1 million in the US people as compared to 1.4 in Australia and 1.6 in New Zealand, two jurisdictions that embrace the identical presumption.

Congressman Israel offers finally three reasons why nothing will change. First, he notes, the gun lobbies are now in a race to the bottom to see who can become more brazen and more extreme since more moderation means less market share. Second, the political right now adheres to the view that anything less than total subservience to the gun lobby is perceived as supporting gun confiscation, anathema to that sector. Third, there is the public inoculation to gun violence –“You’ll read this essay and others like it, and turn the page or click another link”, he writes presciently. You’ll watch or listen to the news and shake your head, then flip to another channel or another app. This horrific event will recede into our collective memory….”

Exactly what the gun lobby is counting on.

431 comments

  • Oh how sweet it is.

    better than dat is

    OH HOW SWEET TO TRUST IN JESUS JUST TO TAKE HIM AT HIS WORD

    WHICH SAYS…..
    THE POWERS THAT BE ARE ORDAINED BY GOD! ah lie SWEET SWEET

    Like

  • The FBI is building a psychological profile of Stephen Paddock. Among the most telling documents might be a yellowed, 4-page psychiatric evaluation of his father.

    @Vincent,
    This is FBI cow dung. Fiction is fiction if it is written by the FBI, Hollywood or the RBPF.

    Like

  • WW re-read what I said ….in my cryptic way I said he would not be interested in her, look at the women he preyed on …you said that was fake news, leave gp and myself alone or you may get us crying.

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  • LAWSON
    HERE THE WORD
    Said the apostle Paul, “Not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: but God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; and base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to naught things which are” ( 1 Corinthians 1:26-28).

    theTRUMPET HIS AID TO BE FOOLISH, OTHERWISE AND BASE
    HE IS NOT MIGHTY IN THE ENE THAT HE GOT NO SUPPORT FINANCIAL OR OTHERWISE FROM THE REPUBLICANS
    AND HE CERTAINLY DESPISED BY THE ALL KNOWING WELL WELL’S OF THIS WORLD SYSTEM…………BUT THE TRUMPET IS BRINGING TO NAUGHT THE THINGS THE SILLY BAMA WROUGHT….EVA TING DAT HE IS KNOWN FOR

    but God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; and base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen,

    THE POWERS THAT BE ARE ORDAINED BY GOD

    HE PUTS UP AND HE TAKES DOWN

    HE HAS CERTAINLY PUT UP TRUMP AND TAKEN DOWN SILLY BAMA ah lie?

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  • is that why WW is so smug ..because she knows the geek will inherit the earth

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  • Hal Austin October 14, 2017 at 2:28 PM wrote:

    The FBI is building a psychological profile of Stephen Paddock. Among the most telling documents might be a yellowed, 4-page psychiatric evaluation of his father.
    @Vincent,

    This is FBI cow dung. Fiction is fiction if it is written by the FBI, Hollywood or the RBPF.

    Problem is way too many people are inclined to blindly accept state authored fiction as gospel truth (if it’s authored by their own state or a state with which they identify).

    Psywar – Full Documentary

    This film explores the evolution of propaganda and public relations in the United States, with an emphasis on the “elitist theory of democracy” and the relationship between war, propaganda and class.

    Includes original interviews with a number of dissident scholars including Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn, Michael Parenti, Peter Phillips (“Project Censored”), John Stauber (“PR Watch”), Christopher Simpson (“The Science of Coercion”) and others.

    Like

  • Greenmonkey,
    The other bogus organisation is the American Psychiatric Association. They come out with waffle at every annual conference.

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  • Hal

    No disagreement.

    I enjoy posting the latest news if it pertains to any points under discussion……the readers….like you and green monkey correctly did….do a critique of it.

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  • Vincent,
    Cutting and pasting is good sometimes, most often it is a waste of time. One regular lifts stuff from the Independent, a Russian-owned web site. The pint version went out of business because it was inferior journalism.

    Like

  • Hal

    Yup….thats the problem one gets when people start to slavishly believe everything they hear, read, post or say.

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  • Well Well & Consequences Observing Blogger.

    Both of you are full of shit, very little either of you post is accurate and both of you think ya can brainwash thinking people with ya outdated nonsense…..yall just about ready for the boneyard.

    Lawson…now what would Obama’s beautiful young daughter want with a fat, smelly, drugged up, alcholic, viagra fueled slob like Weinstein….who only preys on females looking for work in hollyweird….

    ….the girl dont need any work and would not want some dying old goat.

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  • POOR THING.

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  • @Lawson,

    Dear Sir, why did you select my column to publish the racist garbage you did at 11:56 this morning? You have the right to be objectionable, of course, but I resent it being done on a thread that I started. Frankly, I am disappointed in you!

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  • Well Well & Consequences Observing Blogger.

    Lawson is stuck in Canada with nothing better to do…lol

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  • WHO MADEST THOU A RULER OVER ANYONE OF US HERE SUH?

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  • @Money Brain, October 13, 2017 at 4:10 PM “Note HC is managed Provincally, not nationally.
    ONT HC is far from perfect service but is inexpensive. ”

    I was sitting in an airport in the summer of 2016, just before the U.S. Presidential election and got into a conversation with a woman from Miami, she told be that she and her husband are in business in Miami and that her dad is a university professor there, and that the family are Cuban emigres and Republicans who intended to vote for Trump She was on her way to Toronto to visit a niece and she told me that “the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) is awful, just awful” she spent a couple of hours describing its awfulness to me, she said that her niece has to fly her children from Toronto to Miami in order for them to be immunised.

    Question: Is OHIP as awful as this Trump voter characterised it? What happens to those Ontarions who cannot afford to fly their children to Miami for them to be immunised?

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  • @Simple Simon

    This Canadian Doctor appeared before a US Senate subcommittee and should answer some of your questions; note when Sen Burr asks “how many Canadians die because they are on waiting lists” she answers “I don’t know but I know that 45000 Americans die annually because they don’t have health insurance at all”.

    BTW I think that woman doesn’t know anything about Canada and perhaps her niece wanted to come to Florida and used that excuse to get deep pocket Auntie to pay for her flight.

    Like

  • Just over a week ago I wrote that Jeff should make this an annual column as this type of incident will recur.

    The spokesperson for the President, Republican members of Congress and their apologists said “now is not the time to talk about gun control” and they got their wish.The initial flurry of calls for gun control has receded from the headlines, hardly anyone is talking about that subject anymore, it’s about Obamacare, NFL Players and the madness of King Donald.

    Next year on BU Jeff

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  • Thanks Sarge.

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  • @Georgie Porgie October 14, 2017 at 12:27 PM “HOW YOU KNOW THAT BARRY DORTOR IS NOT A VIRG-AINT?”

    Who you to give anybody talk.

    Long time I hear ’bout wunna HC boys, not one a wunna walk out the gates of Crumpton Street in wunna virginity.

    Like

  • @Well Well & Consequences Observing Blogger. October 14, 2017 at 5:05 PM “a fat, smelly, drugged up, alcholic, viagra fueled slob like Weinstein”

    You don’t like Weinstein?

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  • Well Well & Consequences Observing Blogger.

    Simple…have you taken a good long at the dusgusting, bloated looking piece of flesh calling itself Weinstein, evil oozes out of every pore, just like dotard, see them tigether in phitos and they pour evil.

    Ya should also hear the many horror stories about how some of them lost that virginity, from both Harsun and Cawmere, the rights of passage….heavy on the passage…lol

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  • Jeff I am very sorry, I was just yanking on WW ;s chain, I never thought anyone else reads what I put down. But to be fair you should be disappointed in others as well.
    I will give your column the respect it deserves .. I think roughly 13000 people are killed by guns each year….40000 are killed by cars…they are not getting rid of cars and I am afraid it will be the same result for guns. But there is hope many companies are involved in making self driving cars to take the human element out of driving, maybe guns will be next.

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  • Apology accepted, Lawson. You would be pleasantly surprised at the respect accorded by more than a few to your comments, provocative or otherwise. I am especially sensitive about comments that deprecate black women, especially since my late mother was one and I hold her in the highest regard.

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  • Jeff I dont have a racist bone in my body, I love to provoke others that do. Sometimes my attempts at being funny goes off the rails again I am sorry. This summer I put all the flags of the nationalities of my immediate family around the patio for a party on canada day it looked like the united nations lol. We all love our mothers unfortunately mine has passed on but her one saying that has forever stuck with me was..oh the lord the gift to gee us to see oorselves as others see us… in your and my mothers honor I will now only make jokes about scottish and black men

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  • Lawson, I am not sure that either of our mothers would have appreciated jokes about any human being, especially jokes that seek to denigrate or abase him or her…but I appreciate your attempt to be civil.

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  • Wrong Jeff scots love to laugh and can see humor in any situation if its desperate its funny ,grave its funnier, dire is just plain hysterical. Byron called us a country of meanness sophistry and lust , coming from a club foot bisexual revolutionary makes it that more hilarious.

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  • lawson October 15, 2017 at 6:35 AM #
    Jeff I am very sorry, I was just yanking on WW ;s chain, I never thought anyone else reads what I put down. WHY SHOULD YOU NOT EXPECT THAT FOLK SHOULD READ WHAT YOU WRITE. DONT FOLK READ THE SHITE THAT THE HAUGHTY Jeff Cumberbatch WRITES VA SUNDEE?

    I will give your column the respect it deserves YES SHITE IS SHITE. TREAT THE SHITE HE WRITES JUST AS WHAT IT IS…………BARE SHITE

    HERE THE PUNK ….. I am especially sensitive about comments that deprecate black women, especially since my late mother was one and I hold her in the highest regard.

    IS IT OK TO MAKE JOKES ABOUT WHITE WOMEN OR BLONDES OR OTHER WOMEN
    WHAT MAKES BLACK WOMEN ANY WORTHY OF ESTEEM THAN WOMEN OF ANY OTHER HUE?

    WHO MADE Jeff Cumberbatch A JUDGE AND RULER OVER ANY ONE ON BU SAH?

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