In 1986 the British heavy metal group Judas Priest released their 10th studio album entitled, Turbo. In support of that album the band went on tour and subsequently released a live version taken from recordings over the course of that tour. On the live album Priest performs one of the songs off Turbo called Private Property in which singer Rob Halford introduces the song by saying, “Hands off, this is private property!” Now that I’ve given you a bit of rock trivia I’d like to continue by saying that is exactly how I feel about my rights…Keep your bloody hands off them!
I have tried, literally dozens of times, to explain the principle that my rights are mine and neither you nor those you elect have the authority to deprive me of them. When those we call our Founding Fathers decided to sever the ties that bound them politically to Great Britain they signed a document which laid down the foundation upon which any system of government in America should be built upon.
That document states, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”
You see, people today don’t give much thought to the word unalienable. Unalienable means that something is unable to be transferred or taken away. Can I steal your DNA from you? Of course not, because your DNA is both inviolate, (meaning a part of your being) and unalienable. The same principle applies to your rights; nobody can take them from you other than the source from which they originate; your Creator.
I know I’ve written about it, but how many remember that the Bill of Rights contains a Preamble? If you recall, a preamble is an opening statement of sorts; explaining the purpose or intent for what follows. The Preamble to the Bill of Rights states, “THE Conventions of a number of the States having at the time of their adopting the Constitution, expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added: And as extending the ground of public confidence in the Government, will best insure the beneficent ends of its institution.”
During the process of ratification of the Constitution many of the States refused to ratify it unless a Bill of Rights were to be added to it; ensuring that government could not infringe upon certain unalienable rights. The first ten amendments to the Constitution list the rights that were agreed to by the States and which became things the government could not enact any law restricting.
Typically when one says government they are understood to mean either Congress or the President, but that is not 100% accurate. The Supreme Court is also part of the government, and their interpretation of the Constitution has led to many a law being upheld which restricts our fundamental rights.
Take for instance their ruling that prayer in school, (even when performed voluntarily by the students) violates the separation of church and state, and should therefore be banned. If you were to tell me that I cannot pray, whenever and wherever I want, then aren’t you depriving me of the FREEDOM to worship as my conscience dictates? It should not matter that you do not believe as I do; as long as I do not disrupt your life, or deprive you of your rights, then I should be free to pray whenever and wherever I choose.
In his Notes on the State of Virginia, Thomas Jefferson wrote, “The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts as are only injurious to others. But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods, or no God. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.” Here you see that the legitimate powers of government are confined to acts that cause injury to another. How does a person praying injure those who do not believe in the existence of God, or belong to a different faith?
Not only did Jefferson write that, in his Kentucky Resolutions he stated, “…in addition to this general principle and express declaration, another and more special provision has been made by one of the amendments to the Constitution, which expressly declares, that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, or abridging the freedom of speech or of the press”: thereby guarding in the same sentence, and under the same words, the freedom of religion, of speech, and of the press: insomuch, that whatever violated either, throws down the sanctuary which covers the others…”
What is prayer if it is not those who believe in God communicating their innermost thoughts and desires with their Creator? To ban this form of communication simply because others believe differently than you is the ultimate deprivation of a person’s freedom of speech.
Are you aware that in 1844 the Supreme Court held that the precepts contained in the Bible could be taught in public schools? That’s right, in the case of Vidal v. Girard’s Educators the court held, “Why may not the Bible, and especially the New Testament, without note or comment, be read and taught as a divine revelation in [schools] – its general precepts expounded, its evidences explained and its glorious principles morality inculcated? … Where can the purest principles of morality be learned so clearly or so perfectly as from the New Testament?”
How could the court rule one way in 1844 then turn around and change its mind in the 20th Century? Was it because the attitudes and beliefs of the people in this country had altered, and that the court was just keeping pace with how the people of America felt? Well, I wonder how many people know that in an interview for the Christian Science Monitor, Chief Justice Warren Burger said, “Judges … rule on the basis of law, not public opinion, and they should be totally indifferent to pressures of the times.” If a fundamental right was inviolate and unalienable back in 1791 when the Bill of Rights was ratified, it is just as inviolate and unalienable in 2018!
How many laws have passed, and been upheld by the SCOTUS, which restrict our right to keep and bear arms? All I have to do is say, “Assault weapon ban” to prove my point. Where exactly in the 2nd Amendment is the qualifying terminology that restricts our right to keep and bear any category of arms?
People support these laws because they want to feel safe when they leave their homes and they believe that an assault weapon is not required for the hunting of deer. This shows me that they do not understand WHY the right to keep and bear arms was so vitally important that it be protected by a constitutional amendment.
We do not have the right to keep and bear arms so that we can hunt deer, nor shoot those who might burglarize our homes; we have the 2nd Amendment so that the people of this country might be sufficiently armed, and trained in the use of those arms, to comprise a force that could rise up against the tyranny of their government. Yes, I’m talking about revolting against your government; for isn’t that EXACTLY what our Founders did when they stood at Lexington and Concord when the British attempted to deprive them of the same right our Founders later protected by ratifying the 2nd Amendment?
How anyone could believe that our Founders would have wanted a government to be better armed than the people is beyond me. As the character Spock in Star Trek might say, “That is highly illogical.” In his Commentaries on the Constitution, Justice Joseph Story explains the reason why we have the 2nd Amendment, “The right of the citizens to keep and bear arms has justly been considered, as the palladium of the liberties of a republic; since it offers a strong moral check against the usurpation and arbitrary power of rulers; and will generally, even if these are successful in the first instance, enable the people to resist and triumph over them.”
To pass a law which deprives us of this right is to say that we must submit to the arbitrary will of a government that is better armed than are the people who created it; and this is true whether those laws are passed to provide you with a false sense of safety and security. People say they want to be safe from the actions of criminals, but do they ever stop to ask how they would be safe from the actions of a criminal organization known as government?
Patrick Henry spoke on this very issue when he argued against ratification of the Constitution, “The Honorable Gentleman who presides, told us, that to prevent abuses in our Government, we will assemble in Convention, recall our delegated powers, and punish our servants for abusing the trust reposed in them. Oh, Sir, we should have fine times indeed, if to punish tyrants, it were only sufficient to assemble the people. Your arms wherewith you could defend yourselves, are gone; and you have no longer an aristocratical; no longer democratical spirit. Did you ever read of any revolution in a nation, brought about by the punishment of those in power, inflicted by those who had no power at all? ”
In 1846 the Georgia Supreme Court held, “The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.’ The right of the whole people, old and young, men, women and boys, and not militia only, to keep and bear arms of every description, and not such merely as are used by the milita, shall not be infringed, curtailed, or broken in upon, in the smallest degree; and all this for the important end to be attained: the rearing up and qualifying a well-regulated militia, so vitally necessary to the security of a free State. Our opinion is that any law, State or Federal, is repugnant to the Constitution, and void, which contravenes this right.”
In 1878 an Arkansas Appellate Court held, “To prohibit a citizen from wearing or carrying a war arm . . . is an unwarranted restriction upon the constitutional right to keep and bear arms. If cowardly and dishonorable men sometimes shoot unarmed men with army pistols or guns, the evil must be prevented by the penitentiary and gallows, and not by a general deprivation of constitutional privilege.”
Yet today we have laws restricting what type of guns we might own; the capacity of the magazines those guns can hold; the addition of things such suppressors…all of which are limitations upon our right to keep and bear arms of all kinds. All of these laws have been passed because there is an ever growing climate of fear regarding the private ownership of firearms.
Guns are what gave our Founders the ability to resist the tyranny of King George III. Can you imagine how the American Revolution would have turned out had the Redcoats gone into battle with muskets while the Colonists were limited to bows and arrows? Can you imagine the outcome of the Battle of Gettysburg had Lee’s Army been equipped with modern day weaponry; the South would have won its independence from the tyranny of Abraham Lincoln and his overbearing government.
Now I want you to read something. Although this is not a law, nor a Supreme Court ruling, it still bears a great deal of consideration when you are deciding whether or not to support a measure that violates any of our fundamental rights; be it the right to pray freely or the right to keep and bear arms.
This comes from the 16th American Jurisprudence and I suggest you think hard about what it says, “The general rule is that an unconstitutional statute though having the form and name of law, is in reality no law, but is wholly void, and ineffective for any purpose; since it’s unconstitutionality dates from the time of its enactment, and not merely from the date of the decision so branding it. An unconstitutional law, in legal contemplation, is as inoperative as if it had never been passed. Such a statute leaves the question that it purports to settle just as it would be had the statute not been enacted.
Such an unconstitutional law is void, the general principles follows that it imposes no duties, confers no rights, creates no office, bestows no power or authority on anyone, affords no protection and justifies no acts performed under it.”
Now I’d like to focus on 7 words from that statement; .”…bestows no power or authority on anyone…” How is it that the government can create agencies whose sole function is the enforcing of laws that violate a fundamental right, or how is it that local law enforcement can arrest and imprison people for exercising a right that the government has no authority to restrict?
Who, in reality, is the criminal in these instances; the person who is exercising their right, or the government or agency which passes laws and punishes them for doing so? Remember, for a crime to be committed a person must violate the rights of another, so whose rights are being violated by those who attempt to own firearms the government has deemed to be illegal?
Just doing their job, just following orders does not justify the punishment of those exercising their fundamental rights; and makes tyrants of those who commit such crimes against our rights; no matter how much good they do in the other aspects of their chosen profession. The Nuremburg Trials upheld that principle; that just following orders did not relieve a person from guilt when they violate the rights of others.
Our government is guilty of violating almost every single right we have; including our right to property. If we do not pay the property taxes upon our land we can be evicted from it; even if we have paid it off in full. If we do not pay registration fees on our vehicles we can be fined or imprisoned for operating them on public roads. We need to purchase a license or a permit to hunt, to fish, and even to build a home. Our income, the very fruits of our labors, is taken from us in the form of taxes and spent upon things that are blatantly unconstitutional.
How anyone can consider themselves free is beyond me; unless of course freedom to you is defined as what clothes you choose to wear, what food you will eat, and what mindless drivel keeps you entertained. And even those things are taxed; so they are not free either.
Our country was founded by men who understood what liberty was and who were ready to die obtaining it. People today don’t have the faintest idea of what liberty is, so allow me to enlighten you. According to Thomas Jefferson it is as follows, “Liberty then I would say that, in the whole plenitude of it’s extent, it is unobstructed action according to our will: but rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will, within the limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add ‘within the limits of the law’; because law is often but the tyrant’s will, and always so when it violates the right of an individual.” (My emphasis)
If you, because you fear, or are offended by what others do, seek to restrict the liberty of the one, or the many, then you are just as tyrannical as any form of government. If you do these things because of your misguided understanding of what rights are and why we have them, then you don’t know the first thing about why our system of government was created, and should be restricted from participating in choosing those who represent us in that government.
But oh, that’s a violation of your rights you say. Now you know EXACTLY how I feel when you try to restrict mine. To rephrase what Rob Halford said, “Keep your hands off my rights, they’re private property!”