Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Gun Rights Activist Threatens the Lives of State Legislators

From what I understand, Mr. Watkins is hardly representative of most gun rights activists, since, at least according to Gawker.com, he is shunned by even the NRA, the same institution I would like to see abolished and which I modestly think is a threat to public weal.

What interests me more is some of his rhetoric, which I find compelling in certain simplistic ways, but which also explains certain values.

Mr. Watkins says, passionately, at one point:

And these are our rights that they're playing with. Okay? And I don't know if they forgot what their duty is but it's to protect the Constitution. And lemme remind you. Going against the Constitution is treason.

So eloquent one might be well confused for thinking him the Shakespeare of Tarrant Co., Texas. Apparently he was in a state of inebriation. A video can be found in the connected site, but I did not watch it because I hate to see people make fools out of themselves.

I am interested in this discussion of whose rights and the basis for them. For according to Mr. Tarrant, the rights of individuals are enshrouded within the Constitution [of the United States, presumably] like the features of an organism are contained within its DNA. That is to say, they are there and they cannot be changed.

Yet, he is wrong. For if that were true, then slavery would have made the Constitution spontaneously combust, since the actions of American citizens were contrary to what was written within it.  Mr. Watkins's statement could have been made by an abolitionist, or even a civil rights activists ...

Instead, let's substitute a more accurate view of the Constitution for this clearly false one. What the Constitution actually says, apart from any explanation, is, in part, meaningless. Really, what makes the constitution meaningful in any way is the way that it is interpreted, by which I mean, not merely or even mostly explained, but executed.

If you have a view that is contrary to this, please let me know and explain why, but I am not sure that I can see how that could be possible.  Even my explanation bears some considerable unpacking, but I think it is a tremendously more accurate view than that of Mr. Watkins and most gun rights activists, which frequently argue for their rights based on this conceptualization.

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