I’m not sure which the better example of being delusional is: Ed Asner (aka Lou Grant) and Ed Weinberger (a comedy writer) co-authoring an article about the Second Amendment as if they were scholars or Salon Magazine publishing their article and pretending they are scholars. What’s going on, an LSD renaissance?
In their Salon article “Sorry, NRA: The U.S. was actually founded on gun control,” Asner and Weinberger follow the talking points that reflect their comedy careers – they’re written by someone else. For instance:
…Let’s consider the case made by the NRA, its Congressional hired hands, the majority of the Supreme Court, and various right wing pundits who claim the Second Amendment is not simply about state militias but guarantees the unfettered right of everyone to own, carry, trade and eventually shoot someone with a gun.
That’s about as funny as a Joyce Behar stand-up routine. What these has-been funny men are missing is that it isn’t the NRA that has the clout. It’s the millions of members who make up the NRA that have the clout.
The authors try to make the usual anti-gun case that the Second Amendment is about being in the militia and citizens don’t really have a right to personal gun ownership. One of the stupidest things I have ever read was the author’s claim that “…the Constitution was written, a new nation conceived and a more perfect union formed because the Founders were afraid of guns — and the wrong hands they might fall into. Not just slaves. Not just Native Americans. But poor white men. Hell, the Framers didn’t want everyone to have a vote, let alone a gun.”
Clearly, neither of these two clowns made it to fourth grade American History class or, for that matter, watched Davy Crockett on television. Everybody owned guns in the 18th century. It would be difficult to imagine even being able to survive without a firearm. Guns put food on the table, protected your family from all manner of threats man-and-beast, and provided a collective defense – the so-called militia.
Recognizing freedom backed by an armed populous can have its concerns, Thomas Jefferson wrote in a letter to James Madison dated January 30th, 1787: “I prefer dangerous freedom over peaceful slavery.”
Later that same year, on December 20th, he also wrote to Madison saying, “What country can preserve its liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance. Let them take arms.”
Regarding the issue of the militia, On June 4th, 1788, George Mason, in a speech before the Virginia Ratifying Convention said, “I ask who are the militia? They consist now of the whole people…” In point of fact, John Q. Citizen was, and remains, the militia.
On January 8th, 1790, addressing both Houses of Congress for the first time, George Washington said, “… the Constitution should never be construed to authorize Congress to infringe the just liberty of the press, or the rights of conscience; or to prevent the people of the United States, who are peaceable citizens, from keeping their own arms…”
History books are full of citations from the Founding Fathers and other influential men of the time, all making it very clear that firearms were an integral part of their lives. Equally important, their firearms were similar to what the military had, because they served as a constant reminder of the harsh reality of the consequences of tyrannical rule.
There is one point where the class clowns get it right. The founding of this nation has its roots deep into gun control. By 1775, tension had grown substantially to the point where the British government began to fear an armed colonial population. British General Gage had heard that John Hancock and Samuel Adams, two leaders of the patriot group the Sons of Liberty, were in Lexington. So, on April 19th, Gage sent 700 British soldiers to arrest Hancock and Adams. They were also tasked with continuing on to Concord where Gage believed the colonists stored ammunition for the common defense. The plan was to confiscate the powder, thereby, implementing the first gun control scheme aimed at disarming John Q. Public.
Boston patriots Paul Revere and William Dawes got wind of the plot and warned Hancock and Adams, as well as the local minutemen who surprised British troops as they arrived at the North Bridge in Concord. Whatever thoughts the British had about the efficacy of the ragtag American colonists were dispelled with the “shot heard ‘round the world.” The Battle of Concord was on, several British soldiers fell, and the Revolutionary War had begun.
So Asner and Weinberger at least got one thing right. In a manner of speaking, the United States was founded on gun control – patriots taking up arms to prevent the government from implementing it. It is a lesson that the comedians – both in and out of government service – might do well to remember.