Should the 2d Amendment have been the 1st?

| January 15, 2013 | 68 Comments

No honest debate of any issue can be conducted without both parties agreeing to some basic definitions of terms. And that is precisely what is wrong in the currently heated debate on the matter of gun control. Those who wish to limit the gun ownership rights of Americans read and interpret the constitutional guarantee of the right to bear arms in a very limited way. Let’s look at what the constitution actually says:

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.

Look at that provision in the terms of the times in which it was written. The authors of the constitution were men who had just declared their freedom from an abusive sovereign power and then won that freedom through force of arms. What did the authors of the 2d amendment mean by the term militia? From an excellent discussion of the issue written in the 1990’s:

Many civil libertarians, uncomfortable with the private possession of firearms, have found the militia prefatory clause of the second amendment a convenient exculpatory clause. The Supreme Court has not dealt directly with the constitutional militia, as opposed to the National Guard, but there is nothing to indicate that the militia, under second amendment analysis, is anything other than the “whole people.” [40]

The whole people indeed! And what did our founding fathers mean by the term keep and bear arms? In their time, it almost certainly had to carry with it significance not readily apparent to much of our current population. In our War of Independence from Great Britain, many if not most of the arms used against the European forces were provided from local sources, even cannon and mortar, those coming from local militia. The arms borne by individual soldiers were, for the most part, self-provided, at least in the early stages of the war.

So when the founding fathers included language in our constitution guaranteeing the right of the people to keep and bear arms, do you not suppose that they most likely meant that guarantee to mean the ability to fight back on terms and weaponry of the times when such conflict occurred? Did they not mean that the people reserved that right in the possibility that future events would necessitate the use of such arms as ongoing weapons development provided to once again overthrow tyranny?

They granted us, the people, the right to keep and bear arms. Those who wish to constrain that right frequently use the very lame argument that the 2d Amendment allows us this freedom to maintain arms for hunting purposes only. That is the anti-gun lobby’s most frequent argument when attempting to deny American citizens the right to possess semi-automatic handguns and semi-automatic rifles. The failure of their argument is that the constitutional grant of power to the people says nothing whatsoever about hunting. Further, the very term “bear arms” carries with it a definition that has nothing to do with hunting. Here’s what we find at Dictionary.com. Do you see there any reference to hunting?

The reason for that is clear: The founding fathers, in the preparation of the principles which would ensure the continuance of the democratic experiment they had put into operation, weren’t concerned with the then everyday practice of provisional hunting, they were determined to preserve their political accomplishments and protect them from future threats of tyranny. They gave us, in the form of the 2d Amendment, the right to defend all those other freedoms they had bestowed on us through that remarkable document spelling out our human rights. They knew, better than most, that the right to keep and bear arms was the bedrock freedom of the rest of those freedoms so clearly set out in that Bill of Rights. Without the implied protection of force of arms, those other rights are just so much wishful thinking, mere ink upon paper.

Those who would disarm us to meet their feel-good need to eliminate murderous atrocities from society say we have no need of weapons capable of firing thirty rounds. Think for a moment what the founding fathers might think about that should they somehow learn that the people are now facing a standing federal army with weapons of far greater lethality than a simple semi-automatic rifle with a thirty round magazine. Don’t you suppose that the founding fathers were familiar with the concept of parity of arms? Considering what they had just been through in fighting for their independence, don’t you suppose they understood that concept very clearly and that their experiences in opposing the standing army of Great Britain may have very well been the primary reason for the 2d Amendment and its placement in the Bill of Rights as the only right secondary to that of the freedom of speech? Is it too farfetched to believe that those who founded this nation and put in place our guiding documents would not want to see the citizenry, that is, we the people, to at least be so well-armed as to prevent the rise of a tyrannical central government that would negate the rights they, the founding fathers, bestowed upon us? Where I believe those brilliant, inspired founders may have erred though, is in making the 2d Amendment second, rather than first, where their intent would have been crystal clear and unmistakable to posterity. And may I suggest that the primary placement of free speech was likely due to the prevalence of lawyers among them, men more accustomed to fighting with words than arms?

Whatever, by their placement of the right to bear arms as the 2d article in the Bill of Rights, we can reasonably assume that they were making a clear statement of their strong belief that the democratic republic with which they endowed us can only be preserved through a well-armed militia, a citizenry, a general public, well-armed to sufficient extent as to overthrow a tyrannical, central government.

Category: Guns

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  1. James says:

    In all of history man has not enjoyed any right that was not gained and maintained by force of arms.

  2. Mud says:

    Not to disagree too strongly with your piece, but the Constitution to include the Bill of Rights, does not “grant” me any rights per se. The documents simply preclude the government from infringing upon my “God/Natural” given rights.

    Yes, its a nuanced perspective, but our rights, “Life, Liberty, and Pursuit….” come from God/Nature and no where else. Our rights do not come from government, or man. They are only protected by government or man.

  3. DFK says:

    I always thought the law was pretty clear on who was in the militia.

    Title 10, Subtitle A, Part 1, chapter 13, SS 311 of the US Code:

    The militia of the United States consists of all able-bodied males at least 17 years of age and, except as provided in section 313 of title 32, under 45 years of age who are, or who have made a declaration of intention to become, citizens of the United States and of female citizens of the United States who are members of the National Guard.

    http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/10/311

  4. rb325th says:

    The United States Supreme Court has already ruled on the Militia aspect, and determined it meant all of the people and that there was no requirement for military service. It is the well regulated part that is really the sticky point… what does well regulated mean? To me it meant that the people need to understand it is their obligation to be ready to be called upon to defend their Nation, and by prepared; be armed and able to use those arms if need be.
    The left uses it to justify gun control laws.
    Though they hurt themselves when they include in those arguments any limits on weapons or feeding devices, as the intent was that the “militia” be well armed and capable of taking on an outside force or tyrannical government.
    Kind of like the Libyans and Syrians we have aided, who had no weapons of their own to fight back with. That is alright though, it is okay to arm foreign militias, civilians to help them protect themselves but We The People should be disarmed??
    The very last part of the amendment reads “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” “Shall not be infringed”… so you shall not tell us what kind of “arms”, what type of “feeding devices”, what kind of stock it will have, or heaven forbid the barrel has a “shroud” over it…
    The gun grabbers have tried saying the founding fathers never envisioned the invention of an “assault weapon”, which is utter bull…. but that aside, I am sure if Washington was around today he would have loved to arm the colonials with AR-15’s…. he would see justification in the ownership of those weapons today and that is based entirely on his known opinions and the opinions overall of the founding fathers. Men who gave their all so that we could live in freedom today.

  5. rb325th says:

    The 2nd is where it is in my opinion as it is meant to protect the 1st, which is our right to speak our minds, to worship as we see fit. Both of which were severely restricted by the king and the Church of England. Speak first, voice your grievances, petition your government for redress…. if your government oppresses you and takes away your rights? Then you have the 2nd to stop that from occurring.

  6. 2/17 Air Cav says:

    @3. DFK: The Constitution cannot be trumped by a mere statute. And by narrowly defining militia and applying the definition to the Constitution’s 2nd amendment, that’s precisely what you have done. That’s a miss, a big miss. If it were not, then a statute could define “the press” to mean a newspaper with a circulation of less than, oh, 10 or 15, thereby castrating the 1st amendment. Think.

  7. NHSparky says:

    If this pres__ent tries to usurp the Constitution per Executive Order, it WILL be a Cat 5 shitstorm raining down on him and his supporters.

    I guarantee my Representative/Senators will get VERY tired of hearing from me.

  8. J says:

    The Amendments were NOT added in order of importance- the current first amendment was NOT the original first, two others before it were stripped out. This means our current 1st was 3rd and the current 2nd was 4th. http://www.lexisnexis.com/constitution/amendments_failed.asp

    Also, see comment 2 regarding the protection from government rather than the grant of some set of rights. Consider it in terms of freedom of speech- you don’t get some all encompassing right to say whatever you want without consequence, rather the government is severely limited in their ability to restrict what you say.

    Additionally, you could still be sentenced to death for treason, so the founding fathers weren’t exactly encouraging you to rise up against your own government.

    It is interesting how little we know about the Constitution as a country and particularly as veterans.

  9. J says:

    A full list of the original 12 proposed amendments, clearly showing that our current 1st and 2nd were the original 3rd and 4th:
    http://www.usconstitution.net/first12.html

  10. Hondo says:

    Uh, 2/17 Air Cav: that definition is from Federal law. And it’s virtually identical to that in the Militia Acts of 1792, which were contemporary to the Bill of Rights.

    In short: that’s a legal codification and definition of the term “militia” – and is essentially the same as it was when the Bill of Rights is adopted. What DFK is doing is observing that the definition of militia is inclusive, and does NOT include any requirement to be a part of any organized military reserve unit.

    Bottom line: if you’re a male between 17 and 45, you’re by definition a part of the militia of the United States. Ditto if you’re female and a member of either the National Guard or Federal Reserves, or if you’re a male over 45 in either the National Guard or Federal Reserves.

    It’s also immaterial. The first clause of the 2nd Amendment is merely explanatory, giving the rationale for why. It’s the second clause which is operative, and which provides protection to the public against governmental action.

  11. 2/17 Air Cav says:

    The Bill of Rights contain what are called negative or prohibitive because they establish what the federal government may not do. Positive or affirmative rights tell us what we can do, such as petition the government. What the progressives want to continue to do is read-in positive rights to the Constitution, care of the accomodating Supreme Courts we have been cursed with over the many decades. One such creative court found an unspecified “penumbra” of rights in the Constitution which was, without a doubt, some seriously damaging stuff.

  12. 2/17 Air Cav says:

    Hondo: I understood DFK’s point to be that reliance on the term militia in the 2nd amendment is faulty because the term is narrowly defined in code. I do not dispute the statute, only reliance upon it to give effect to the 2nd amendment. To do so is error.

  13. J says:

    The current 2nd Amendment when part of the 17 original proposals (later combined into 12) was a bit longer and described a militia as that composed of the body of the people and being the best security of a free state. This was also written during a time that we did not have a standing Army.
    http://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/ampage?collId=rbpe&fileName=rbpe21/rbpe212/21200200/rbpe21200200.db&recNum=1&itemLink=r?ammem/rbpebib:@field(NUMBER+@band(rbpe+21200200))&linkText=0

  14. 2/17 Air Cav says:

    Regarding the order of the amendments collectively known as the Bill of Rights, I would ask this: Is the 2nd Commandment more important than the 3rd or 8th Commandment?

  15. J says:

    @6, a law could be passed defining, for example, what the press is, but the Supreme Court can step in to say that law is unconstitutional.

  16. Hondo says:

    2/17 Air Cav: agreed that the statute does not trump the Constitution. I took his point to be that the statute supports a broad interpretation of the term militia even today.

    Further, two additional items here undercut the bogus claims by gun control advocates that the term “militia” in the 2nd Amendment only refers to members of an organized reserve unit. The first is the fact that it’s virtually the same language as was the case in 1792 (roughly contemporary with ratification of the 2nd Amendment); this shows that an all-inclusive definition was indeed the original intent of the term. Second, that definition has been preserved in Federal law ever since, and has even been extended to cover an even broader group of people between then and today.

  17. Twist says:

    @7, A Texas Rep (his name escapes me at the moment) has already stated that he would file for impeachment if the President tries to do an end run around the Constitution via exex order.

  18. Hondo says:

    Twist: see today’s “Day by Day” cartoon for the name. Jonn links to it on the right-hand side here right after “Recent Posts”. (smile)

  19. Twist says:

    Hondo, I didn’t see that before I posted. My situational awareness sucks this morning apparantly.

  20. 2/17 Air Cav says:

    @16. I guess it would be nice if DFK made his point explicitly. The inferences we both took from his comment don’t square with one another.

  21. Veritas Omnia Vincit says:

    “Well-Regulated” also has different connotations today than when this was written, in the 1770s well regulated meant in good working order….

    The j3rkoffs on the left have always been working to change the meaning of words, if you can control the meaning you can realize the result you desire. I am tired of conceding rights to privacy, speech and ownership of the means to protect myself to the hypocrites in DC an state capitals around the nation who own weapons but don’t want you to do so.

    Poetrooper the link you post is great, I like the reference the author makes in that summary from 22 years ago about how the left is actually practicing a form of class warfare by pricing low income families out of the market to defend themselves, while preserving the rights of the ruling elite to own weapons…it’s an interesting point then, and still relevant now I believe.

    It’s important we all keep the pressure on our representatives to prevent further erosion of our rights.

  22. Matty_J says:

    “well-regulated” meant…

    1) To control or direct by a rule, principle, method, etc.
    2) To adjust to some standard or requirement as for amount, degree, etc.
    3) To adjust so as to ensure accuracy of operation.
    4) To put in good order.

    “regulated” to today’s progressive donut-heads, means only definition 1. That’s a major disconnect, and one that we cannot allow to stand.

    To put “well regulated” into context, the 2nd Amendment meant that the militia, consisting of all males between the ages of 17 and 45, and others who were members of the National Guard, be well armed and equipped.

    Simple, one would think. Nothing about hunting, nothing about anything other than defense.

    When one dives into the Federalist Papers, you find that the well regulated militia is intended to be the defender against the same things that soldiers swear to defend against, “all enemies, foreign or domestic”.

  23. AW1 Tim says:

    Actually, fellahs, “well-regulated” referred to training in the care and feeding of weapons and in the efficient employment of them against an enemy.

    “Regulations” referred to the drill manuals of the period, especially the manual of arms. The first example is Von Steuben’s “Regulations for the Order and Discipline of the Troops of the United States”. It was commonly known as the “Blue Book” because of the original binding and covers used.

    Von Steuben’s manual taught the Continentals how to effectively use their weapons, including the bayonet, and it was this training the quickly led the Continental forces to be able to stand up to the British troops and beat them.

    So with that understanding, the 2nd amendment could well be taken to mean that the people are to be well armed and well trained so that they are able to counter effectively any potential use of force by the government to suppress their liberties, or otherwise expand the government beyond the strict limits of the Constitution.

  24. Joe says:

    I thought I’d heard everything, but this takes insanity to a new level. What next Poetrooper, Abrhams tanks, drones, and tactical nuclear weapons for every private citizen so they can fight “government tyranny”? Oh pulleze! This just supports what I’ve always thought – 2nd amendment fanatics and religious fanatics are cut from the same cloth; they have one immutable idea, and no matter how outrageous the idea is, all logic must be contorted to fit the demands of that idea and they dig themselves deeper and deeper until they are on the far lunatic fringe. Out on Pluto somewhere.

  25. PintoNag says:

    Careful, Joe. That door you opened swings both ways!

  26. Twist says:

    Oh the irony of the person who stated that he has no problem standing on the backs of dead children to get his way talking about a far lunatic fringe.

  27. Hondo says:

    Welcome back, Comrade Joseph – Socialist Hero of Rockclimbing for Greater Glory Socialist Republic of Durango.

    By the way: that’s not even a good strawman, nor is it even particularly good histrionics on your part. No where does Poettrooper say a damn thing about tanks, drones, or nukes above.

    No surprise, though. First move of a fool without an argument is to change the subject or obfuscate. You didn’t disappoint.

    Now, how about you run along and let the adults discuss things rationally – child.

  28. Adirondack Patriot says:

    Similar to what is posted at #3 above, Article 1 Section 2 of New York State Military Law states that all men between the ages of 18 and 45 residing in New York are automatically in the unregulated militia.

    “The unorganized militia shall consist of all able-bodied male residents of the state between the ages of seventeen and forty-five who are not serving in any force of the organized militia or who are not on the state reserve list or the state retired list and who are or who have
    declared their intention to become citizens of the United States, subject, however, to such exemptions from military duty as are created by the laws of the United States.”

    That means that people like Anthony Wiener, Chris Cuomo, Derek Jeter and any other male resident have a duty to serve.

    The New York State Constitution also states under Article XII, Section 1: “The defense and protection of the state and of the United States is an obligation of all persons within the state.”

    That means all New Yorkers (women included) have an obligation to defend and protect New York and the United States, including the ACLU and their ilk.

    Like Joe the Moron above.

  29. Adirondack Patriot says:

    So, Joe, who is asking for drones and Abrams tanks?

    Who? Name one person?

    Otherwise, STFU and and go back to playing Call of Duty.

    In your room.

    In your mother’s basement.

    That smells like mothballs.

  30. Old 21B says:

    Liberal two-prong attack. Convince everyone that the 2nd Ammendment is only for hunting then get PETA to convince congress to ban hunting.

  31. NHSparky says:

    What next Poetrooper, Abrhams tanks, drones, and tactical nuclear weapons for every private citizen so they can fight “government tyranny”?

    Notice how Joe parrots the latest talking points of the left, and does so in an elequent and dutiful fashion.

    Uh, Joe? Read your history–back in the day, civilians on the frontier regions in some cases were REQUIRED (note that word, REQUIRED) to also store mortars, cannon, and the like because of the logistics of moving them from armories in the
    “civilized” portions of the colonies in an expeditious fashion would have been impractical, if not impossible.

    And as has been stated before, nobody has asked for a F-16, tactical (or any other kind) of nuke, tank, etc.

    Then again, since you want to parrot talking points, respond to this, if you can: why isn’t anyone talking about removing these “assault weapons” from the hands of law enforcement? Just curious.

  32. UpNorth says:

    For Joey Fuckstick, or Comrade Joseph – Socialist Hero of Rockclimbing for Greater Glory Socialist Republic of Durango, got a nugget for ya. Free men do not ask permission to bear arms.
    Or, “A free people ought not only to be armed and disciplined, but they should have sufficient arms and ammunition to maintain a status of independence from any who might attempt to abuse them, which would include their own government.” George Washington.

  33. PintoNag says:

    @30 Actually, it’s the part about “militia” in 2A that indicates it’s not just for permission to hunt. The anti-gunners tried that back in the 80’s, and that was the sticking point to their “it’s just for hunting” argument.

  34. NHSparky says:

    Pinto–the last letter I wrote to my Congresscritter before she got voted out in 2010 (and unfortunately, haven’t asked her since she got back in last year) is where in the Second Amendment the word “hunting” appears.

    She’s a real piece of work, lemme tell ya.

  35. Ex-PH2 says:

    The right to bear arms was at one time only afforded to the upper classes, granted to them by the king.

    The dubbing ceremony (not the modern one) specified this in this way: “By God, St. Michael and St. George, I give you the right to bear arms and mete justice.” (Mete means to hand out or promote.)

    The peasants who made up the soldiery or troops in warfare had no right to bear or own arms. Everything was kept in an armoury at the local lord’s castle. Everything belonged to the liege lord, who was required to swear fealty to the King first and God second, or face being executed as St. Maurice was in 687AD.

    The British government ran roughshod over colonials in the American colonies because they could get away with doing whatever they wanted to do, including seizing weapons that belonged to a homeowner and living in his home without compensating him.

    The 2nd Amendment puts everyone on a level playing field. Nowhere does it say that anyone is REQUIRED to own weapons, only that they have the RIGHT to do so.

    I find it interesting that Robert Heinlein in several of his books refers to something called a gunwearer’s oath. See “The Red Planet” for reference. He never specified what the gunwearer’s oath was, but Jim (one of the characters) was disappointed that he had failed to live up to it. Heinlein simply liked guns; thought they were elegant as well as utilitarian.

    However, I’ve found it interesting that his perception of modern parents from several books, including “Tunnel In the Sky”, closely parallells what current parenting seems to be like.

    “Heinlein holds up for ridicule many parents of the complacent “non-survival” type: dithering mothers upset by the harsh realities of life, and pompous fathers whose authority is not really grounded in the common sense and intellect it should be. Rather than encouraging the intellectual and moral growth of their children, these parents hinder by coddling them, stifling their creativity, or depriving them of the intellectual resources needed to face the world. As George Edgar Slusser puts it, “Heinlein’s stereotypes” include “the henpecked husband; the weak-willed, fuzzy-brained, hysterical wife…;” and the product of their ineptitude, “the impossible brat”. — source is The Heinlein Society.

    I also find it odd that these parents, who do not want their darling brats to be exposed to guns and violent crime, will take them to see a movie like “The Dark Knight Rises” or “Transformers”, all of which are riddled with extreme violence and heavy use of weapons for no other reason than to give the effects people some work. This conveys a very confusing message to these kids and clearly shows no understanding of or consequences related to extreme violence.

    So, Joe, your intentional misinterpretation, and that of your fellow travelers, of the purpose of the 2nd Amendment is made abundantly clear by your refusal to acknowledge what goes on in the real world around you.

    Your opinion doesn’t hold up, but maybe you can just bore people to death with it.

  36. Joe says:

    Ex-PH2,

    It figures that you refer to science fiction in explaining your point of view.

    A lot of you refer to the 2nd and fighting government tyranny. Are you really ready to get in a fire fight with, well who, the cops? the national guard? the army?

  37. Common Sense says:

    Here’s a good list of quotes original to the Founding Fathers regarding the meaning of the 2nd Amendment:

    http://www.guncite.com/gc2ndpur.html

    If you know anything about the founding of our country, you know that the Constitution was written to protect the people from tyranny by the government. Period. They would have fallen over laughing if someone had mentioned that it applied only to hunting.

  38. Joe says:

    Common,

    That was 250 years ago for cryin’ out loud.

  39. NHSparky says:

    Joe–also consider that Heinlein was a socialist until he served in the Navy. A lot of his writings (as with any writing) is based on personal experiences and observation.

    And nobody WANTS to get into a firefight with someone who at present is FAR better armed than the average citizen, even those you label “gun worshippers.” But as George Mason said, “To disarm the people is the best and most effectual way to enslave them.”

    My government no longer fears me, the citizen. That’s a problem.

  40. NHSparky says:

    “Today, we need a nation of Minutemen, citizens who are not only prepared to take arms, but citizens who regard the preservation of freedom as the basic purpose of their daily life.”

    Five points if you can name who said that, Joey.

  41. NHSparky says:

    That was 250 years ago for cryin’ out loud.

    And still as relevant today as ever. I can point out Greek philosophers (Aristotle, for one) who knew that free men bearing arms was the only REAL defense against tyrannical government.

    But that’s okay, Joey. You just sit back and let your betters do the work you’re too lazy/scared to do.

  42. UpNorth says:

    Um, Joey, I do believe that was the point that Common Sense was making. He pointed out for the learning deficient(Joey) that those were quotes from the Founding Fathers, did he not? You don’t seem to have any problems with the Founding Fathers when it comes to the rest of the Amendments. I think that the First should be repealed for people like you. We should be allowed to see, daily, which internet sites you visit. And, you shouldn’t be allowed to associate with anyone the government deems too radical. The police should be able to enter your house any time they want, to look for anything they want, ditto for your car and person. You should be required to incriminate yourself when you’re tried for wrongful associations. How do you like it now?

  43. 2/17 Air Cav says:

    Stay down, Joe! Stop taking such a beating, man! Just stay down!

  44. Joe says:

    UpNorth,

    From restricting gun ownership to all that other stuff, wow, that’s quite a leap in logic.

    I mean who exactly are you defending yourself against? When Obama’s tyrannical government agents come for you, will they be marching in formation up your driveway dressed in red coats? Or will the sneak up in the wee hours with night vision goggles in SWAT gear, toss a stun grenade thru your window and take you that way? How realistic is this sh*t? I think a lot of you guys buy into the Olde Tymey rhetoric snd fancy yourselves as proudly defending kith and kin against government tyranny, but how relevant is that today? So I’m trying to remember the last time a state or federal agency decided not to arrest a criminal because he had too many guns and they felt outgunned. Come on!

  45. SFC Holland says:

    You say 250 years ago like that’s a long time. Also, that exact argument could go something like this: Obey the Constitution? But that was written forever ago!” Can’t we just pretend it doesn’t apply to us?

  46. 2/17 Air Cav says:

    Joe, there were many colonists who were loyal to the Crown. Read up on what happened to them during and after the Revolution. Read up, too, on security versus freedom.

  47. Joe says:

    A lot has happened in the last 250 years Holland that the founding fathers could not even have dreamed of. I am not saying we should ignore the constitution, nor should it be rigid and unchanging (i.e., a dinosaur). It should adapt to the times. We could have a spirited discussion as to the mechanics of that process, but I bet a lot of the founders would be aghast at how their well intentioned words have been interepreted today.

  48. Ex-PH2 says:

    Seriously, such weak arguments!

    Science fiction not a valid resource? Oh, yeah?

    Okay. Do you have a smart phone? Dick Tracy’s two-way wristwatch/TV/radio.

    Lasers? Microwave oven? Bullard of the Space Patrol, 1944, Malcolm Jamieson. When Bullard finds that his patrol ship is about to be boarded/hijacked by pirates, he exits the ship with a length of gold wire and a synthetic ruby and as is done in lasers, he wraps the ship’s radar focusing arm with the gold wire and fastens the synthetic ruby in place, creating a focused microwave beam. The pirate captain sits in Bullard’s command chair on the bridge and is microwaved to death by it. The laser (light amplified sequential emission radiation) has been around since the 1960s. The microwave that you have in your kitchen.

    Computers — the HAL computer in ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ is and advanced form of artificial intelligence. It considers itself superior to the astronauts on the ship and kills them off. Current cybernetics include research into increasing AI to make robots and computers more independent. The keyboard that you use is still the QWERTYUIOP layout, based on the most commonly used keys on the typewriter.

    Stun guns — well, you haven’t heard about Tasers, you’re not paying attention. The phaser technology is currently under research.

    The tricorder from Star Trek, all series — the giant MRI scanners use the same radar technology. There is current research underway to reduce the size of the equipment and the radiation emitted.

    “Aliens” the movie — bioengineered bipedal insects that lay their eggs in a living host. This is based on the spider wasp, which paralyzes a spider and lays her eggs in it, so that the spider is eaten alive by the larvae from the inside out.

    PERN – a series of sci-fi novels by Anne McCaffrey, about a colony of settlers from Earth. P.E.R.N. means ‘parallells Earth, resources negligible’. There are currently identified 42 more alient “earths”, meaning close to Earth in size in orbit in the Goldilocks zone around their stars, most of them well-within a 50 light year distance from Earth.
    The formula for faster-than-light travel or warp speed was calculated in 1997 by Sergio Alcubierre. It allows a ship to bend or warp space so that it literally surfs through space with no increased mass.

    Large-screen 2-way video communications equipment, seen in many, many TV shows and movies — you can buy a smart TV that you can hook up to your computer and internet service. You can also use it to make Skype calls.

    My favorite: this one takes me back, too.

    1957 TV show: Men Into Space. A TV show about an active moonbase and space tourism. Richard Branson is working on that as I write this. The Space-X prize was won by Bert Rutan a few years ago with the launch of his space plane, SpaceShipOne. It has since been launched 14 times.

    Also, Felix Baumgartner set the altitude record for a freefall jump from 128,000 feet a few months ago.

    H.G. Wells’ novel The War of the Worlds was based on the invasion of Tasmania by the British government. The weapons used by the alien invaders are basically focused heat guns. The light is for aiming purposes.

    Any questions? I can come up with a whole lot more.

    This was just TOO easy.

  49. Twist says:

    “I am not saying we should ignore the constitution”

    Except for the parts that you don’t like, like the 2nd Amendment.

  50. Hondo says:

    Joey – actually, you are. You’re saying that the 2nd Amendment should be ignored – as Twist points out, because you don’t like it.

    It’s not a pick and choose menu, fella – it’s a package deal. You want the 1st, 4th, and 5th Amendments? Well, you get the 2nd also. They’re a set.

    And pretty soon, there’s a damn good chance that the SCOTUS will rule that concealed carry as well as possession is a fundamental Constitutional right – just like the 2nd Amendment says it is (that pesky little “keep and bear” clause).

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