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We’ll do nothing about gun violence until we accept that the Second Amendment was about slavery

America is the land of the brainwashed and gaslit.

Violence appears in the opening book of the Bible, as a jealous Cain murders his brother, Abel. Advancements in technology have made it easier to kill, period, and also easier to kill massive numbers of people quickly.

In the United States, we saw how modern technology facilitates mass murder once again, on Tuesday. This week’s tragedy in Texas joins a litany of mass shootings.

Yet Brian Broome argues persuasively in the Washington Post that this recent school shooting will have no more impact on our ability to stanch the blood of our children, parishioners and other innocents than any of the dozens of preceding tragedies.

We won’t do anything because those among us who think their fears and their rights are the same thing hold all the cards […] America is the land of the fearful and trapped.

I agree that neo-Anti-Federalists are winning the 21st century Civil War, having first lost the 18th century Constitutional battle and then mid-19th century battles marked with carnage.

I believe America hasn’t done anything about gun violence because we are the land of the brainwashed and gaslit.

Fundamentally, what we think we know about the Second Amendment is untrue.

Virginian James Madison was a Federalist. He didn’t think the newly-drafted Constitution (1787) needed a Bill of Rights.

Former Virginia Governor Patrick Henry and Virginian George Mason were Anti-Federalists. They worried that a centralized government would leave Southern states without protection from slave revolts, given that state militia were an instrument for controlling the southern slave population.

“Slavery is detested,” Henry reminded [those at the Virginia constitutional convention]. “The majority of Congress is to the North, and the slaves are to the South,” he said.

Madison agreed to write a Bill of Rights.

Madison was willing to put a provision in the Bill of Rights explicitly stating that Congress would not disarm the state militias. At the same time, he had no interest in preventing Congress from regulating weapons in the places where Congress had clear legislative power.

In return, Virginia would narrowly ratify the Constitution on 26 June 1788. White landed men who insisted on a Bill of Rights then elected Madison to the newly formed House of Representatives that fall.

text of second amendment to the US constitution

Ironically, today is John Wayne’s birthday (26 May 1907).

There is perhaps no greater origin myth than that of the rugged western individualist, a myth perpetuated by Hollywood and the characters played by Wayne.

That Hollywood myth makes it easier, I think, to believe the 20th century myth that the Second Amendment was about the right of an individual to own a gun. Of course in 1787 Southerners who owned slaves (or who lived near slaves) owned guns. So did most White households in the North.

That Hollywood myth also makes it easier to believe the 20th century myth that the Second Amendment was written so that “armed citizenry” could be “prepared to fight the government itself.”

History can be rewritten with enough time, money and aggression. Repeated messaging, even when full of lies and misinformation, is effective. (It’s called illusory truth.)

In the United States, that messaging has made us the world leader in individuals committing mass murder.

At Medium: What the NRA and GOP demagogues don’t want you to know about the Second Amendment. It was about slavery.

Mass Shootings Chart
The worst mass shootings since 1991

#scitech, #society  (125/365)
📷 CC, Kathy E. Gill
Daily posts, 2022-2023

By Kathy E. Gill

Digital evangelist, speaker, writer, educator. Transplanted Southerner; teach newbies to ride motorcycles! @kegill

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