10 April 2013


Armed with the belief that effort is more important than success or results, we have stripped children of the motivation to be more than mediocre.  We teach them to be lazy and complacent, and fail to prepare them for life outside of academia.  We have taught our children to accept information as fact, solely on the basis that it came from an authority figure; we discourage our children from thinking critically; and we discourage our children from questioning information or the authority providing it.  This places a huge amount of responsibility on those authority figures to which we expose our children.
So... what happens when they abuse it? 


I can already hear people calling me "paranoid".  I just don't empathize with children, people don't abuse their authority, blah blah blah.  If you're still reading, I'm assuming you've gotten over the fact that I'm a terrible person who doesn't trust authority and eats baby seals alive.

Attached to this article is a photocopy of a homework assignment sent home with students from a Connecticut elementary school.

The assignment sounds reasonable enough.  It's relevant to issues we are dealing with today, both locally in CT and nationally. The tone comes across as very moderate and "matter of fact"; it challenges the views of people who believe in gun-control, and of people who believe in gun-rights... or at least, it does a very good job of pretending to do that.

If you take a step back, and take a look at the reading, one sentence stands out as being obvious propaganda.

"... a person has no right to complain about a Second Amendment violation by state laws."
Any American has a Constitutional right to complain to their government about literally anything.  In fact, the White House recently wrote a formal declination to a petition to build a Death Star.  The idea that any US Citizen may petition the government for a redress of grievances, and that Congress shall make no law preventing the free exercise of political speech, is directly written into the First Amendment to the Constitution.

I started to look closer at the assignment, and I noticed something even more unsettling... the entire argument is a lie.  

"The courts have consistently determined that the Second Amendment does not ensure each individual the right to bear arms.  Instead, the amendment provides the right for the states to arm a militia such as the National Guard.  The courts have never found a law regulating the private ownership of weapons unconstitutional.  The courts have also said that the Second Amendment is not incorporated against the states.  This means that the rights of this amendment are not extended to the individual citizens of the states.  So a person has no right to complain about a Second Amendment violation by state laws.  According to the courts, the Second Amendment only provides the right of a state to keep an armed National Guard."

Here's where I'm going to throw some legal speak at you.  Title 10 United States Code, Section 311 definitively outlines what constitutes a militia in the United States.  In fact, it defines two different and distinct militias: the organized militia, and the unorganized militia.

The Militia and an Individual Right

The organized militia essentially amounts to the sum of the Army, Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps National Guard.  They are the uniformed, national defense force.  For the unorganized militia, if you are an able-bodied male between the ages of 17 and 45, you are a citizen (or have made a declaration of intention to become a citizen), and you are not currently serving in the organized militia or the active duty military... then you are part of the unorganized militia.  As you can probably guess, this broad definition of "militia" is not something that gun-owners try to keep hidden away in some box nobody talks about.

It's not even really uncommon for a gun-owner to self-identify as being a part of the unorganized militia; but it's also not uncommon for those individuals who claim that they are part of a militia to be ridiculed and dismissed as being "right-wing extremists."

However, that didn't stop the District of Columbia, et al. v. Heller, 554 U.S. 1 (2008) ruling that "... the militia consists of all able-bodied men ..." and that "... the adjective 'well regulated' implies nothing more than the imposition of proper discipline and training."

In District of Columbia v. Heller (2008) the Supreme Court struck down provisions of Washington D.C.'s "Firearms Control Regulations Act of 1975", on the basis that handguns were included in the definition of "arms", and that an outright ban on handguns was therefore unconstitutional.

"The handgun ban ... [violates] the Second Amendment.  The District's total ban on handgun possession in the home amounts to a prohibition on an entire class of 'arms' that Americans overwhelmingly choose for the lawful purpose of self-defense.  ... Similarly, the requirement that any lawful firearm in the home be disassembled or bound by a trigger lock makes it impossible for citizens to use arms for the core lawful purpose of self-defense and is hence unconstitutional." (D.C. v. Heller, 2008)

The Court also ruled that "... the Second Amendment protects 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-defense within the home."

The Justices explained that the prefatory clause ("a well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state") announces a purpose for the right to bear arms, but does not imply that it is the only purpose; that the operative clause's text ("the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed") and history demonstrate an individual right to keep and bear arms.

State Preemption

The idea that the States can ignore Federal laws and restrictions has been met with mixed reactions.  Liberals applaud "sanctuary cities", where illegal immigrants are protected from federal immigration laws, as well as the relatively recent moves by several states to legalize the non-medical use of marijuana.  Similarly, Conservatives celebrate the decisions by local sheriffs not to enforce federal gun-control laws which they believe to be in direct opposition to the spirit of the Second Amendment.  

I hold deep respect for people who are willing to stand up for what they believe is right, despite strong opposition from people with even more authority than themselves.  As a libertarian, I am strongly in favor of just about any individual right which does not inherently interfere with the rights of another person.  When petitions, voting, and protest don't work, civil disobedience is the only peaceful tool that Americans have left.  

The big difference between tyrannical tenancies and civil disobedience, is in who is breaking the law.  Our Constitution is founded on the idea that a government exists to serve and protect the freedoms of the governed.  The idea that State governments may undermine those rights which have been specifically enumerated in the Constitution, simply because they are individual States, is completely unfounded.  Fortunately, it has been tried, and it has been found to be unconstitutional.

In McDonald v. City of Chicago, Illinois (2010), the city of Chicago had a ban that was described as "effectively banning handgun possession by almost all private citizens."  The Seventh Circuit court had previously determined that District of Columbia v. Heller specifically avoided determining whether the Second Amendment applied to the individual states, and that therefore the states had an implied right to individually limit the Second Amendment.  Prior to the Civil War, they would have been correct.

The Court held that the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment incorporated the Second Amendment of the Bill of Rights against the individual States, and forced all states to observe the Right to Bear Arms as understood by the Federal Government.  This is also a direct example of a citizen "complaining about a Second Amendment violation by state laws," and being correct.


I am not inclined to believe that the person who wrote this piece into an elementary school curriculum "accidentally" constructed an entirely false argument.  Despite the moderate tone that the assignment tries to portray, the amount of outright incorrect information speaks to an agenda.  By telling children that they "have no right to complain" that their rights are being violated, and that the Right to Bear Arms "only applies to the National Guard", their teachers are abusing their positions and power to push a morally and legally unfounded ideal on those who are trained to believe anything they are told.

The only alternative is that the educators, themselves, are completely ignorant that their curriculum is false, and that they are accidentally pushing that information on unsuspecting minds.  If this is the case, then it begs the question: if they can't be bothered to fact-check their information, then why are we letting them educate our children?

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