On Sunday, the Trib published this editorial decrying the recent spate of gun violence. As expected, the ever-vigilant 2nd Amendment Militia was able to turn this: "Make it harder for criminals and the mentally ill to acquire guns and ammunition" into this: "The Sarasota Herald-Tribune has joined the Obama administration in the clarion call for gun control...The right to bear arms is an "inalienable right" grated (sic) to us by natural law to protect our life, liberty and property."
If you spend any time at all reading the paper's comment forums, you will recognize this as the handiwork of one Rich Swier, local editor of 'Red County', a blog that is so far to the right, it is bordering on falling off the edge.
In the forums, he is famous (to me, at least) for his assessment of a shooting that occurred in town some months ago. A rabid--oh, sorry, that should be avid--gun-totin' Sarasotan got into an argument with another guy at a local 7-11. First guy pulls a gun, second guy disarms him, first guy pulls ANOTHER gun and kills second guy. Local constabulary does its usual fine job (shooter had been investigated for having an arsenal that was bigger and better than Sheriff's dept. but was given a pass), only to be outdone by the local judicial system, who gave the killer a handful of years in the pokey. After all, the deceased was only some black guy--it's not like he or the family he left behind was somebody worth caring about.
After the verdict, King Richard declared that "The system works!" I guess if your the white guy that was carrying all the hardware, yeah. If your the dead guy or his family, I would think not so much. But if Swier says it, it must be so. And, of course, he couched his argument in the hallowed 2nd Amendment and quotes from our founding fathers, whom he channels regularly in his comments. He must have them on speed dial.
So, what about this 2nd Amendment that these big guns cling to?
"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."
OK, I got it. A well-regulated militia shall have the right to bear arms to protect the security of the country, as has been accomplished by America's citizen-soldiers for over 370 years. According to the National Guard's official website: "Following independence, the authors of the Constitution empowered Congress to "provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining the militia." However, recognizing the militia's state role, the Founding Fathers reserved the appointment of officers and training of the militia to the states."
Rich Swier receiving his recent promotion in the 2nd Amendment Militia from 'Windbag' to 'Pompous Ass, j.g.' Congratulations and well done!
Bullet heads would just as soon forget that first part about the 'well-regulated militia' and concentrate on the part about keeping and bearing arms--that's the part that gets their juices flowing. Glocks, AKs, Uzis, .50 cal. water-cooled machine guns--sorry, I think I just peed my pants with excitement.
Then, again, there's this pesky bit from the National Guard website: "In 1903, important national defense legislation increased the role of the National Guard (as the militia was now called) as a Reserve force for the U.S. Army."
WHAT??? You mean the 'well-regulated militia' is the National Guard? You mean that if I don't belong to the Guard I DON'T have the right to keep and bear arms? You say they have armories for that? Well, slap my ass and call me Sam Colt....
Now, granted I'm just some schlub sitting at a computer, so what do I know. I'm not connected to Jefferson and the boys or the Almighty like Rich Swier.
What I do know is that the families of all those people killed by gun violence in the past several weeks or the families of the Columbine victims or the families of the Virginia Tech kids killed last year don't really give two shits about your skewed view of the 2nd Amendment or your pedantic quotes or your catchy slogans about only outlaws owning guns.