January 30, 2004

Amendment 2 and the Rights of Man

CNN: Cyanide, arsenal stirs domestic terror fear

A raid in April found nearly two pounds of a cyanide compound and other chemicals that could create enough poisonous gas to kill everyone inside a space as large as a big-chain bookstore or a small-town civic center.
I am a person who stands on principle. The second amendment states very clearly, "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. " Thus, I do not see any reason to restrict the ownership of weapons of all sorts from the hands of citizens.

But what about nuclear weapons?

Should I be allowed to have my own Fat Man?

It's very easy to say that there are some weapons that are so destructive that just anyone should not be allowed to have them on the grounds that merely possessing them is sufficient reason to think that you will nuke something and most likely lots of someones. If a certain Palestinian mommy came frollicking into a strip mall near you pushing her Little Boy in a buggy, what do you think is about to go down?

But isn't that the same argument that has been used to keep people in some states from owning firearms of a caliber any higher than a warm serving of Jiffy Pop?

In the case of the Palestinian woman with a nuclear bomb, we have a very specific set of contextual data to draw a reasonable conclusion.

Speculate on this: An American Army General pulls into a service entrance of the Pentagon in an APC full of weapons of all sorts. What's going to happen? Who knows?

The problem is that restricting ownership of anything on the grounds that it may be used to hurt someone or lots of people is legislating potentials. Potential outcomes may be said to have statistical probabilities but they are far from certainties.

In the case of nuclear weapons, the statistical probability that the outcome of civilian ownership will be disaster seems pretty high. I don't know how to work a nuclear weapon myself, but I'm sure I could still put an eye out with one given enough effort.

But should it really be illegal? As a person of principle, making laws against possible outcomes makes me nervous and restricting my right to own anything makes me irritable.

If we say that it's not reasonable to own a nuclear weapon, what makes it unreasonable? Is it reasonable to let folks own ICBMs? C4? Hand grenades? M80's? Poppers? Upon what principle would an ideal government draw the line?

Posted by: Flibbertigibbet at 06:37 PM | Comments (5) | Add Comment
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1 Minority Report?

Posted by: The Bartender at January 30, 2004 10:33 PM (32NnO)

2 The real key, though, is to make the laws such that only weapons are banned, and not components that can make weapons.

Because the slippery slope of "paraphernalia" or "conspiracy" would lead to prosecuting people with Jr. Chemistry sets and model rocketry kits.

Part of the beauty of America was that you could always go into your garage or basement to do some private study, which might lead to innovation and revolutions in industry. By making means to some physical sciences illegal.

Posted by: Brian J. at January 31, 2004 06:28 AM (yJyUC)

3 You can become totally ridiculous legislating against possibilities. Do we need to surrender our kitchen knives just because sometimes they're used to stab people? Can we pass laws against influenza because it kills more persons each year than SARS? On the other hand, the main reason I believe there should be restrictions on owning chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons is the fact that most of us lack the training and facilities to store them properly.

[Trey Givens responds] The argument of potentially is definitely absurd. But what of this argument from ability? One might claim that bad guys are the perfect storage place for bullets. Bad claims claim that good guys are safer, though. And now seriously, what if I were able to store nuclear weapons safely? Should I then be allowed to have them?

Posted by: Bloodthirsty Warmonger at January 31, 2004 05:48 PM (JCWUc)

4 My answer to that question is, of course, yes. If a private party is responsible enough to store and use chemical weapons, they should be allowed to do so. Nuclear and biological agents are more problematic, as it's difficult to control the spread of fallout or disease vectors once they're released into the environment.

As for bad guys, the only rights they should have (aside from due process leading to conviction) is the right to be surprised if they engage in illegal activity. What shall it be today, a .44 magnum, a whiff of nerve agent, or being cut in half by machine gun bullets? Law-abiding citizens shouldn't put up with the crap of living in fear and being punished for retaliating while career criminals are free to buy or steal all the guns they want and terrorize entire communities. Charles

Posted by: Bloodthirsty Warmonger at February 01, 2004 05:05 AM (V9e1l)

5 True confession: Charles is my real first name. "Bloodthirsty Warmonger" is my nom de guerre. If Idiotarians are going to call me by that epithet because of my beliefs, I might as well wear it as a badge of pride.

[Trey Givens responds] hmmm... Secretary of Homeland Security... maybe?

Posted by: Bloodthirsty Warmonger at February 01, 2004 05:15 AM (V9e1l)

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