Contemporary Lincoln, Part 4

Address to the Young Men’s Lyceum of Springfield, Illinois   

Abraham Lincoln’s Speech and how it pertains to the current situation of the United States, Part 4

As a reminder, I am working through the speech Lincoln gave in 1838 to the Young Men’s Lyceum of Springfield, Illinois sentence by sentence and putting it into current terms and meanings.  The speech picks up immediately from where it left off.

“Accounts of outrages committed by mobs, form the every-day news of the times.  They have pervaded the country, from New England to Louisiana;-they are neither peculiar to the eternal snows of the former, nor the burning suns of the latter;-they are not the creature of climate-neither are they confined to the slaveholding, or non-slaveholding States.  Alike, they spring up among the pleasure hunting masters of Southern slaves, and the order loving citizens of the land of steady habits.  Whatever, then, their cause may be, it is common to the whole country.”

This excerpt is particularly more difficult to discuss given the events of today, how should I relate it?  To Syria?  To the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington?  To Citizen’s United?  To the Occupy Movement?  While all of these certainly have a stake in the relatable argument category, none are more relevant than one: senseless gun violence.  Since the Sandy Hook tragedy on December 13, 2012, 7,527 gun deaths have been reported.  By reported, I mean covered in the news – not just sent into the CDC – that number stands at an incredible 22,282 souls on August 25, 2013.

This is a problem common to the entire country.  Not a single state is without a gun death in less then one year.  The ‘mobs’ in this case are the disenfranchised, the malcontent, the dregs of society some would say.  But are they really?  How many of these deaths were instigated by the ‘usual suspects’ as the media and white fear defines them?  How many of these deaths were children and young adults?  How many were just accidents?  How many victims will it take for us to realize there is something wrong?

517 children.  That’s really the only thing that matters.  Nearly two children every day die from gun violence.  No questions mentioned above actually matter when you realize that 517 children have been denied their future by senseless violence.

Our Constitution grants us the right to bear arms and form militias.  In fact it says this:

“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.”

Here’s the real question: Do well regulated militia kill children for the security of a free state?  Answer: No.  Our well-regulated militia (Marines, Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, National Guard, and Law Enforcement) does not kill children.  Not a single one of the 517 deaths were committed by on duty US militia personnel for the security of our freedoms.

So we have the right to keep and bear arms – like Zimmerman, right?  To stand our ground, form our private militias?  No.  Constitution covered that quite nicely with the big red bow of ‘well regulated militias.’  It is not the citizen’s job to protect the security of our free state, it is the militia’s.  Don’t get me wrong, we have the responsibility to protect our freedoms and our country with a different weapon: the pen.  Every citizen has the right to keep and bear this arm, and that right shall not be infringed.

Yes, you have been given the right to own a gun – but where in the Constitution did it say that felons cannot own one?  Guess what, it didn’t.  Which means that this right has already been infringed upon if you believe the face-value of the 2nd Amendment.  I have no qualms with gun ownership, in fact I have gone to a shooting range for entertainment.  But keeping and bearing of guns for the sole purpose of use on another human being is wrong.  That right belongs to the military and law enforcement alone.

Citizen’s are not a militia.

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