I read the 2nd... and the third and the fourth..


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Guy B. Meredith
January 16, 2006, 02:38 PM
Going through old papers I found a set of copies of the Constitution, Declaration of Independence and others I had picked up on a visit to DC. This is the first time I have REALLY read the Bill of Rights.

Firstly I was shook up to note that the 2nd amendment is actually the 4th and thought I had been sold a bogus item, but then noticed the first two originals were not ratified.

Then I took a look at the comma usage. I have seen this as part of the 2nd amendment debate, but have never thought to compare the usage in the 2nd with the usage in the others. After reading the others it appears that there is either no standard of use (spelling was not standard either) or a different standard from current use.

My take is that the commas are mostly irrelevant when translated to current usage and the 2nd should be read with a comma only after the word 'State'. The time spent on discussing the commas seems pointless leaving the definition of milita the only point of argument and writings from the period seem to seal that one simply enough.

Amendment II with original commas:

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.

With current usage:

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.

A look at other early amendments and comma usage:

Amendment III

No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

Amendment IV

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

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Harve Curry
January 16, 2006, 04:14 PM
Like this:

Guy B. Meredith
January 16, 2006, 04:38 PM
Yes. Again spelling was not standardized, nor capitalization I think.

taliv
January 16, 2006, 05:18 PM
As I generally use commas to replicate the pauses found in verbal communication, as well as to separate clauses in a sentence, I rather think, that neither is incorrect, and that copious use of punctuation, is to be desired.

Guy B. Meredith
January 16, 2006, 05:21 PM
Re: "...that copious use of punctuation, is to be desired." :scrutiny:

Only if you want to leave a legacy of legal battles over intent... :uhoh:

Graystar
January 16, 2006, 05:23 PM
I always thought the commas were strategically placed for dramatic reading out loud.

taliv
January 16, 2006, 05:39 PM
do you really, honestly believe that comma placement is the reason the 2A has been misinterpreted?

please.



if the 2A said "Neither the Fed or State or local government shall under any circumstances prohibit or even discourage any citizen from the purchase, sale, transportation or use of any firearms or ammo or tanks or grenades or missiles or any other weapon, regardless of age, religion, sex, criminal record, etc."

we'd have the exact same laws we have today because The People don't have the mental or testicular fortitude to do otherwise.

Don't blame it on the friggin commas. :)

Guy B. Meredith
January 16, 2006, 07:17 PM
Some arguments do use the commas as a means to read differing meanings. I've never thought the old style punctuation indicated anything, but was baffling. Nice to have one less point of argument for the anal retentives.

The capitalization is more likely to be a point as those who use the capitalization in the current sense would insist that the capitalization indicates that Militia is a body superior to the common militia and State is the political organization rather than individuals.

LooseGrouper
January 16, 2006, 07:39 PM
if the 2A said "Neither the Fed or State or local government shall under any circumstances prohibit or even discourage any citizen from the purchase, sale, transportation or use of any firearms or ammo or tanks or grenades or missiles or any other weapon, regardless of age, religion, sex, criminal record, etc."

we'd have the exact same laws we have today because The People don't have the mental or testicular fortitude to do otherwise.

Don't blame it on the friggin commas. :)

Sometimes I wonder if we are not better off due to what some see as ambiguity in the 2nd. If the text were really that cut and dry, it might scare enough sheeple to get a Prohibition-type peice of stupidity through the necessary wickets. Then we'd be stuck begging for priviledges instead of defending our rights. Seems to me that it is an important distinction. Then again, a Creator-endowed right does not cease to have meaning just because it ain't written on a peice of paper.

LG

xd9fan
January 16, 2006, 08:31 PM
Sometimes I wonder if we are not better off due to what some see as ambiguity in the 2nd. If the text were really that cut and dry, it might scare enough sheeple to get a Prohibition-type peice of stupidity through the necessary wickets. Then we'd be stuck begging for priviledges instead of defending our rights. Seems to me that it is an important distinction. Then again, a Creator-endowed right does not cease to have meaning just because it ain't written on a peice of paper.

LG


I disagree with a ambiguity "protection" angle. People forget that if we do not like how clear/unclear the 2ndA is (or any Amendment for that matter) ...we do have the 9th and 10th to help us just place an 11thA and make the intent cystal clear.

The problem is that america today has changed so much....its a mere shadow of its old glory. Today the Bill of Rights would NEVER get passed. America is too socialist. And the ambiguity "protection" angle proves it because people that believe this line of thinking are scared that if we really believe in the Individual Rights side of the2ndA arguement...that others (including both parties of Govt .....because after all the Bill of Rights ARE ANTI GOVT!!!) will find it "too outdated....too extreme....uncivilized. And try to kill it. The mistake in this fear is that socialists already find the Bill of Rights too outdated....too extreme.....too uncivilized and are trying to kill it anyways.......Because the BofR "gets in the way" of Govt trying to "help" you and keep you "safe".


But then Loose I agree with you that : "Then again, a Creator-endowed right does not cease to have meaning just because it ain't written on a peice of paper."

But the problem with this statment of logic is that "the people" do believe this anymore and the parties know it.

In time God knows how long....this country will fall like Rome....because we are loosing liberty and self govt.
What are peoples first answer to a problem....any problem??? "Well the Govt needs to blah blah blah..." "Not we, my street or my friends or I need to...." but the Govt.



Taliv: LOL awesome!!

Standing Wolf
January 16, 2006, 10:12 PM
The use of commas still isn't standardized. The gods willing, it never will be.

Defining language down to the least, last microscopic nit is an enterprise better left to the French.

Wllm. Legrand
January 16, 2006, 11:01 PM
One of my majors was English, but I would welcome the definition of the word "infringed" from the audience.

I've always believed that the first point in any substantive conversation was to have all parties agree on what the words used actually mean. Otherwise you find you are arguing about different things, rather than disagreeing on one specific issue.

Frankly, I can't see any definition of the word "infringed" that doesn't point to the conclusion that the huge majority of laws concerning gun ownership and acquisition are unconsitutional on their face.

But what would I know. I only read the documents and understand what they mean to say.

tellner
January 17, 2006, 04:43 AM
See "Eats, Shoots and Leaves" (as in "A Panda is an animal that...").

El Tejon
January 17, 2006, 10:57 AM
The commas reinforce the notion that the militia clause is dependent upon the right of the people.

The capitalization in the original is a hold over from English's mother, German. Dutchies capitalize nouns, even in the middle of the sentence. Darn Dutchies, even have different words for things.:D

BigG
January 17, 2006, 01:11 PM
Ja wohl! Methinks El Tejon is right, as Germans capitalize Nouns all the time and use the funny double "S" that looks like an "f" and an "s". You can see that in some of the olde federal documents, like where they spell, for example, progress, "progrefs.

El Tejon
January 17, 2006, 01:25 PM
Big G, just keep that between me and you. The fact that some of the Founding Fathers had trouble with English could set off alarm bells in the Border Guard section.:D

taliv
January 17, 2006, 04:09 PM
yeah, i heard the founding fathers spent a lot of time in france... you gotta wonder about them

;)

MudPuppy
January 17, 2006, 04:36 PM
"I had a copy of the Soviet Constitution and I read it with great interest. And I saw all kinds of terms in there that sound just exactly like our own: 'Freedom of assembly' and 'freedom of speech' and so forth. Of course, they don't allow them to have those things, but they're in there in the constitution. But I began to wonder about the other constitutions -- everyone has one -- and our own, and why so much emphasis on ours. And then I found out, and the answer was very simple -- that's why you don't notice it at first. But it is so great that it tells the entire difference. All those other constitutions are documents that say, 'We, the government, allow the people the following rights,' and our Constitution says 'We the People, allow the government the following privileges and rights.' We give our permission to government to do the things that it does. And that's the whole story of the difference--why we're unique in the world and why no matter what our troubles may be, we're going to overcome."

Ronald Reagan got it right.

MrTuffPaws
January 17, 2006, 04:43 PM
Firstly I was shook up to note that the 2nd amendment is actually the 4th and thought I had been sold a bogus item, but then noticed the first two originals were not ratified.

Huh? Never heard this before. Can you post the text of the first two? I am interrested in hearing them. I can't seem to find them on line.

progunner1957
January 17, 2006, 05:05 PM
do you really, honestly believe that comma placement is the reason the 2A has been misinterpreted?


The Second Amendment has been misinterpreted for the convenience of socialist gun banning politicians.

The Second Amendment and Bill of Rights were ratified in 1791. The "National Guard" came into exsistence 130 years larer.

From this, we can come to the following conclusions -
1: When they wrote and ratified the Second Amendment, The Founders were not referring to an institution (the National Guard) that was at that time nonexsistent.

2: In referring to the citizen's right to arms, George Mason said, "What is the Militia? It is the whole of the people. To disarm the people is the most effectual way to enslave them." He wouldnot have made that statement if he were referring to the National Guard - which (again) did not exsist at the time.

3: The American Revolution was fought over the Brit's attempt to disarm the colonists. To say that the colonists would then turn around and disarm themselves defies logic and fact.

bowline
January 18, 2006, 08:30 AM
Hypothesis - No law which restricts, regulates, or taxes firearms of any type was drafted to control crime.
Supporting arguments;
- The 1934 NFA was written to provide hundreds of treasury agents, previously employed enforcing Prohibition, with something to do in the wake of Prohibitions' repeal.
- The 1968 GCA was drafted and passed with the assistance of firearms manufacturers, the intent being to restrict the war-surplus firearms which threatened their profits.
- The 1994 Crime Act (what an apt name!) provision that prohibited the manufacture of 'high capacity' magazines was pushed by one William Ruger, a noted manufacturer of revolvers.
Notes - of the 3 classes of firearms owner, (Citizen, Criminal, and Agents of the State), only 1 is actually affected by laws which regulate, restrict or prohibit, or tax firearms.
- The only laws shown to restrict criminal behaviour are those which regulate sentencing of criminals, largely through prohibiting recidevism by keeping the criminal in prison.
Conclusion - Those who restrict, prohibit, or otherwise infringe gun ownership do not have crime control as their true goal. They know this. We know this. They deny it, because to admit their actual goal is to suffer defeat. They associate crime with firearms in order to continue the masquerade of 'reasonable restrictions'.

Arguments over the structure, grammar, and meaning of the Second Amendment are akin to the misdirection used by any good magician. Those who want to regulate guns understand the amendment quite well, but as long as they can get you to argue over a clear and concise amendment, you are on the defensive. You are attempting to use logic and statistics to convince them of the obvious. They are perfectly happy to deny facts in order to continue this debate, which is (for them) infinitely preferable to a debate on suitable punishment for willful, malicious theft of a constitutionally guaranteed right.
Its' like debating with a bank robber who insists he is merely making a withdrawal. As long as you are debating with him he can continue the robbery. Its' only when you present an argument which does not respond well to debate that you get him to stop stuffing the money in the bag.
It is, for example, non-productive to argue the finer points of banking when the other fellow holds a shotgun.
The politicians who are pushing for 'gun control' are simply trying to ensure that they are the ones holding.
Gun control does not prevent crime - it prevents punishment.

hugh damright
January 18, 2006, 01:18 PM
1: When they wrote and ratified the Second Amendment, The Founders were not referring to an institution (the National Guard) that was at that time nonexsistent.

I think everyone knows that, but some folks believe that the State Militias evolved into the NG, which I suppose has a grain of truth, but misses the whole point. The intent of State Militia is majoritarianism - if only a select group were armed then they might take over, but an armed people can ensure majority rule. In other words, Virginians have the right to take over Virginia, the NG does not.


2: In referring to the citizen's right to arms, George Mason said, "What is the Militia? It is the whole of the people. To disarm the people is the most effectual way to enslave them."

I think Mason's view differed from the consensus. For instance, Mason wanted the Constitution to be ratified by a popular vote ... and I would expect such a person to say that the militia was the whole people. But just as I do not recognize the right of the NG to take over Virginia, neither do I recognize the right of the whole US to take over Virginia. If Virginia is a free State, then, by definition, it is controlled by Virginians - and that is the very thing that the Militia was intended to secure.


3: The American Revolution was fought over the Brit's attempt to disarm the colonists. To say that the colonists would then turn around and disarm themselves defies logic and fact.

Yes! And further, it defies logic and fact to think that the Colonists would have fought off their own British Army just to turn around and create an American Army or even a National Militia. Instead, they declared that a standing army is dangerous to liberty, and that the proper/safe/natural defense of a free State is the people, trained to arms, and organized into capable militia.

Of course, the US was delegated the power to call forth the State Militias, but the point is that they were State Militia, a concern that was addressed in Federalist #29:

"What reasonable cause of apprehension can be inferred from a power in the Union to prescribe regulations for the militia and to command its services when necessary, while the particular States are to have the sole and exclusive apportionment of the officers? If it were possible seriously to indulge a jealousy of the militia upon any conceivable establishment under the federal government, the circumstance of the officers being in the appointment of the States ought at once to extinguish it. There can be no doubt that this circumstance will always secure to them a preponderating influence over the militia." - Federalist Paper #29

hugh damright
January 18, 2006, 01:46 PM
I am amazed to read that our Founding Fathers were unable to master capitalization and punctuation. I think they were much better educated than we are, and they could have probably written the Constitution in Latin with proper capitalization and punctuation if they had wanted to.

* * * * * * * * *

One thing on my mind lately ... one of the original amendments which failed, but was a hot topic, had to do with representation. I won't bother to look up all the numbers, but the point I want to make is that it was considered critical that we have a representative for every 30,000 or so, but today I think that number has grown to where we have one rep for every 600,000 or so. Hmmm ...

* * * * * * * * *

I have found that reading the requests for the original amendments and for the Bill of Rights shows them in a different light ... for instance, until I read the State Ratification documents, I didn't know that the States considered a Bill of Rights to be one issue and original amendments were considered to be a separate issue.

El Tejon
January 18, 2006, 02:16 PM
hugh, the educational standards were different, thus the Germanic influence on the English language.

hugh damright
January 18, 2006, 03:30 PM
Well ... I think it would be one thing to question if their style of using capitalization as a form of emphasis is archaic ... but quite another to suggest that they hadn't mastered the English language!

El Tejon
January 18, 2006, 04:08 PM
hugh, several had not as it was their second language.:)

Gordon Fink
January 18, 2006, 08:19 PM
Defining language down to the least, last microscopic nit is an enterprise better left to the French.

Standing Wolf, you always make me laugh. :D

~G. Fink

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