The Daily Dose/January 10, 2016
By Gaylon Kent
The Writer's Shack
Notes from our Human Experience…
HERE WE GO AGAIN: Unable to get Congress to act to his satisfaction, President Barack Obama recently issued several executive actions regarding how we are allowed to purchase guns. Some applauded these directives, on the not unreasonable theory that our nation has become a shooting gallery and something must be done. Others decried them on the also not unreasonable theory he was not authorized to take these actions.
Both make good points. On the one hand, the tragedies in this country simply are not stopping and it is human nature to want to do something. On the other hand, nothing in the Constitution gives any president the authority to take action that limits our ability to exercise rights protected - not granted, protected - in the Constitution. They were not the actions of a chief executive of a nation conceived in liberty.
Can We Talk?: Let's be honest these measures will not stop someone determined to create tragedy, havoc and mayhem from doing just that. If laws and directives could do this existing laws would have prevented them in the first place. They didn't because criminals don't obey laws. It's what makes them criminals.
Dry, Technical Matter: The measures, of course, will do nothing to address the underlying reason our nation has become a shooting gallery: because we have violent government. This nation has been at war continuously since 1989, producing both an America that has become a shooting gallery and violent world.
Broad, Constitutional Context: The Second Amendment, of course, is part of the Bill of the Rights, ten amendments to the constitution adopted by the several states in 1791, two years after the Constitution was ratified. It is wonderfully ambiguous, too, stating:
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.
Some will say the first part means arms can only be borne in conjunction with militia duties. Others say the second part is pretty clear, too: the right to bear arms is the right to bear arms. Our own view is taking into the consideration the times in which the Second Amendment was written and the British laws and customs that inspired, both are true.
You Have Interns For This, Right?: There was some debate about whether a Bill of Rights was necessary. Some said yes, that only written guarantees would prevent government intrusion. Some said no, that anything not specifically proscribed are inherently granted.
Get Your Official Writer's Shack Policy Right Here: A president taking unilateral action to curtail our ability to exercise a constitutional right is dangerous and it's useful to take a look at the Second Amendment just like we would look at the First Amendment which protects, among other things, our freedom to worship as we do - or do not - see fit and our free press.
Consider This: Would we accept a president issuing executive measures limiting our First Amendment rights? Would we accept a presidential measure authorizing Lutherans to worship only on every other Thursday? Would we accept a presidential directive requiring me to have obtained a government permit before I wrote this?
Of course we wouldn't. We would not accept any limitations on the exercise of our First Amendment rights. Then why are we accepting them on our Second Amendment rights?
CROSSING THE RUBICON…LITERALLY: Julius Caesar, with an army consisting of about 5,000 men, ignores orders of the Roman Senate and crosses the Rubicon River in Italy, igniting the Roman Civil War. The war would last four years, ending in victory for Caesar.
The Die Is Cast: The phrase 'crossing the Rubicon', of course, has come to mean a person or a group committing itself, irrevocably, to a course of action.
Great Moments In American Revolution: Thomas Paine, one of the Founding Fathers of the United States, publishes the pamphlet Common Sense on this date in 1776. Common Sense favored American independence from the British and its influence was immediate and profound.
FunFact: Common Sense was originally published anonymously, and Paine's original title was Plain Truth.
Paine had been born in England, and came to the Colonies in 1774 and would later cause problems in England and France before returning to the United States, where he died in 1809. Never afraid to say what was on his mind, Paine renounced organized religion, never a popular thing to do in America, and only a handful of people attended his funeral.
This Isn't A Capsule Book Review, Is It?: Common Sense is not the most original work in history, but its style did a good job of putting complex ideas into the words laymen could understand.
He Shoots…He Scores…And Scores!!: The Montreal Canadiens defeat the Toronto St Patricks 14-7 on this date in 1920, establishing the record for most goals by both teams in an NHL game.
FunFact: The record still stands, though it was tied in 1985 when the Edmonton Oilers defeated the Chicago Blackhawks 13-9.
The Original Four: The NHL was a four-team league back then, with the Ottawa Senators and the Quebec Athletic Club/Bulldogs also playing. The season was divided into two twelve game halves. Ottawa would win both halves, was awarded the NHL title, and defeated the Seattle Metropolitans - champions of the Pacific Coast Hockey Association - three games to two for the Stanley Cup.
The Journey Begins: Man reaches the moon for the first time when an US Army project known as Diana sends and receives radio signals to and from the moon on this date in 1946.
Dry, Technical Matter: It took about two-and-a-half seconds for the signals to make the round trip.
The importance of Project Diana cannot be underestimated. It was the birth of radar astronomy and, by showing that radio waves could be sent to and received from space, was a cornerstone of the US space program.
Thought For The Day: You may achieve your goals only to find they are no longer important to you. That's all right. That means you have come to the end of your interest and are now free to go on to something else. - Deng Ming Dao, 365 Tao
Answer To The Last Trivia Question:Roy Halladay of the Toronto Blue Jays holds the record for most innings pitched in a season this century with 266 in 2003.
Today's Stumper: Which Founding Father suggested the title Common Sense to Thomas Paine? - Anser next time!
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