I found this in the....


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sjSIG
December 27, 2002, 04:24 AM
Op/Ed section of my San Jose Mercury News this morning. Quite well put and to the point, I'd say !!

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The founding fathers understood: Guns safeguard liberty

MY VIEW: By Charles Wood
MANY years ago, my family helped to settle a small town in a foreign country to escape religious persecution. Although distant, the government continued persecution and suppression of dissent -- an activity in which my family was directly involved.
Eventually, uniformed soldiers invaded my family's house, demanded quarters, and searched for guns that were hidden in the house.
All of this was done without a warrant. But the soldiers were unsuccessful in their search, and a short time later those firearms were used to roust the soldiers from the town, and eventually to successfully separate from that government.
The town was Concord, Mass., the soldiers British, the year 1775. The British government's transgressions led directly to the first four Constitutional amendments: First (speech and religion); Second (right to bear arms); Third (quartering of soldiers); Fourth (search and seizure).
The U.S. Constitution is arguably entirely about the division of power -- and thereby preventing abuse by any one element. In particular, U.S. executive administrations (George Washington excepted) have consistently pushed or even abused their powers, demonstrating the necessity for ongoing vigilance against the corruption of power and ego.
Prevention of the abuse of power is the most important aspect of the Constitution, and the first two amendments are critical elements of this control.
Individuals will argue that the Constitution is dated, that two institutions have dramatically changed since the 1700s. First, we no longer have ``militias'' within the population; and second, we now have a strong centralized government with a standing army -- something the founding fathers would have viewed as too much power accessible for abuse.
So what was the intent of the founding fathers and what impact do these changes have? The militias of the past checked potential abuses against the people by the government and military. This is exactly the role they played against King George.
The Second Amendment was drafted to ensure that the government could not disarm the population as was attempted during the Revolution. Under civil conditions, free speech combined with constitutional process provides an effective check on power, but invoking force as the means of power quickly trumps free speech and civil process.
Today, the population's ownership of arms continues to serve as some check on abuse, albeit not as a ``militia.'' A recent ruling by three judges from the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that citizens do not have an absolute right to own guns would have pleased King George. To limit ownership only within government controlled militias defeats the intent of balancing government power.
If the court's decision were to survive a trip to the Supreme Court, the government would have free rein to disarm the population, and the door would be open to any executive in power to invoke martial law under false pretexts. We the people would have no recourse.
An armed population forces the government and military to make difficult decisions -- and creates a substantial motive to make decisions according to the population's will.
In short, the Second Amendment is not about hunting or self-defense or the sport of shooting. Rather, it prevents those in power from attaining absolute power. The founding fathers understood that -- and we should heed their wisdom.

Charles Wood is a high-tech quality assurance manager. His ancestors include William Wood, a founder of Concord in 1638. Many of William Wood's descendants were present in Lexington and Concord at the opening battle of the Revolutionary War, including the Minuteman Amos Wood, whose home was searched by British soldiers.

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Preacherman
December 27, 2002, 04:30 AM
Thank you for posting this! Very good read. Do you have a link to their web site for this article? If you can, please post one - I'd like to forward it to others.

sjSIG
December 27, 2002, 05:07 AM
Here you go, Preacherman.

http://www.bayarea.com/mld/mercurynews/news/opinion/4815727.htm

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