Senator Rand Paul was one of the fortunate bystanders at the scene of the shooting that took place at the batting cage on Wednesday. An unhinged gunman,66 year old James T. Hodgkinson, stormed the batting cage, firing over fifty rounds, which in turn wounded five people. Senator Paul praised the “bravery of the Capitol Police,” who like true heroes shot the gunman, despite the fact that they were injured themselves.
Paul’s attitude during the presidency of President Barack Obama, however, was completely different. Paul liked to shout from the rooftops one of the biggest pieces of Constitutional propaganda. He claims that the Second Amendment was established so that American citizens could overthrow their government.
.@Judgenap: Why do we have a Second Amendment? It's not to shoot deer. It's to shoot at the government when it becomes tyrannical!
— Senator Rand Paul (@RandPaul) June 23, 2016
The belief was echoed by Senator Ted Cruz, as he called the Second Amendment “ultimate check against governmental tyranny” within an email sent to supporters in 2013.
It is a fact that the Second Amendment guarantees the right to “keep and bear arms,” mostly on the grounds of maintaining a “well regulated Militia.” Former President George Washington along with his fellow founders believed that the military should be completely dispersed in times of peace, leaving the citizens militia intact for defense purposes. This was mostly due to financial constraints and experiences that they had with European soldiers oppressing citizenry. So no, the second amendment was not instated to overthrow the government.
The Declaration of Independence, however, does proclaim that right, saying:
‘It is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish [the government], and to institute new Government” and “when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.’
The belief in this right was so strong that 240 years ago a war was fought in order to create a government where those within the country would be guaranteed that they wouldn’t need to resort to violence any longer to get ride of the yoke of oppression. Instead they instituted a system that would call for peaceful overthrows. This would be what we now know today as elections.
It is the misguided merging of these two separate rights that has conservatives justifying the Second Amendment. Their logic, however, fails to line up with that of America’s Founders. This logic is not only incorrect, but dangerous, as it can be used to defend acts of violence against public officials.
There has been absolutely no reason to think that the shooter was influenced in any way by misinterpretation of the Constitution. Regardless of his motives, it is delusional to believe that condoning gun violence will not contribute to the problem already plaguing the United States.
There is no indication that the would-be assassin was directly influenced by the Constitutional misinterpretation, but it is irresponsible and delusional to think that words condoning gun violence do not contribute to a culture that is plagued by it.
Perhaps this near death experience will set Paul, and others with a similar mindset, straight. Or maybe Paul should take a second to read the Constitution a little closer.
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