-With apologies to Rush and Python(Monty) Pictures, LTD-
“We have found a witch. May we burn her? Burn her! Burn! Burn her! Burn her!”
“How do you know she is a witch?”
“She looks like one. Right! Yeah! Yeah!”
“Bring her forward.”
“I’m not a witch. I’m not a witch.”
“But you are dressed as one.”
“They dressed me up like this.”
“Augh, we didn’t! We didn’t.”
“And this isn’t my nose. It’s a false one.”
“We did do the nose.”
“And the hat, but she IS a witch! Yeah! We burn her! Right! Yeaaah! Yeaah!”
“Did you dress her up like this?”
“No! No. No. No. No. No. Yes. Yeah, a bit. A bit. She HAS got a wart!”
“What makes you think she is a witch?”
“She turned me into a newt.”
“Well, I got better … Burn her anyway! Burn! Burn her! Burn! Burn her!”
“Quiet! Quiet! Quiet! There are ways of telling whether she is a witch.”
“Are there? What are they? Tell us! Tell us!”
“Tell me. What do you do with witches?”
“Burn! Burn! Burn! Burn them up! Burn!”
“And what do you burn apart from witches?”
“More witches! Shh! … Wood!”
“So, why do witches burn?”
“B–… ’cause they’re made of… wood?”
“Good! So, how do we tell whether she is made of wood?”
“Build a bridge out of her.”
“Ah, but can you not also make bridges out of stone?”
“Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah. True. Uhh…”
“Does wood sink in water?”
“No. No. No, it floats! It floats! Throw her into the pond! The pond! Throw her into the pond!”
“Wait! Wait! What also floats in water?”
“Bread! Apples! Uh, very small rocks! Cider! Uh, gra– gravy! Cherries! Mud! Uh, churches! Churches! Lead! Lead!”
“Exactly. So, logically…”
“If… she… weighs… the same as a duck,… she’s … made of wood.”
“… A witch! A witch! A witch! A witch! Burn the witch!”
I love that movie. I don’t even own a DVD player, but I bought the DVD of Monty Python and the Holy Grail to watch on my computer. It never fails to crack me up, even though I’ve seen it hundreds of times and can quote most of the film from memory.
The reason I bring it up is less humorous. I have noticed disturbing similarities between the scene I have reproduced above and the arguments made by Gun-Control advocates. When they aren’t invoking silly arguments, gun-control advocates often use circular logic, cherry-pick statistics, and/or willfully ignore analogous comparisons. Mind you, anti-gun control advocates are often guilty of similar crimes against rational discourse. Ad-hominem attacks, self-serving emotional blackmail, and tons of empty rhetoric dominate both sides of every so-called debate on the subject.
I’m sick of it. All of it.
Both sides make valid points. Far too many whackjobs, criminals, and other people who have no business doing so are getting access to firearms- usually to the detriment of the people around them. On the other hand, the Constitution does specifically define the right to own and bear arms, and millions of sane and stable citizens own and use firearms without problems- far exceeding the numbers of idiots, nutcases, and crooks.
A foolish inconsistency on the part of gun-control advocates is one of my pet peeves. Most gun-control advocates are usually stalwart champions of the broadest possible interpretations of the Constitution and its amendments- with the sole exception of the Second. I have never been able to figure out a sound reason for this. Whenever I ask, I get a lot of sound and fury in response- signifying nothing. Maybe someone rational in the gun-control camp can explain it to me. By rational, I mean someone who is willing and able to engage in intelligent, reasonable, and civil discussion. Anyone responding with hyperbole, empty rhetoric, or emotional blackmail will be summarily ignored. This goes for responses from either side.
“They say there are strangers who threaten us,
In our immigrants and infidels.
They say there is strangeness too dangerous
In our theaters and bookstore shelves.
That those who know what’s best for us
Must rise and save us from ourselves.
Quick to judge, quick to anger,
Slow to understand.
Ignorance and prejudice
And fear walk hand in hand…”
from Witch Hunt, by Rush
The Constitution of the United States is not intended to grant rights to the citizens. Please read the Bill of Rights (the first ten amendments) and note carefully how each amendment is worded. These amendments spell out what the government cannot do. The wording of Amendments IX and X are particularly clear on this point:
“Amendment IX– The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.
Amendment X– The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.“
The citizens of the United States do not get their rights from the government. We, the people, cannot be granted rights by the courts or the government because they are the inalienable birthright of all Americans- indeed, all people of all nations. So long as we remember this, we still have the power to make government our servant and not our master. But power without responsibility and restraint is madness. We, the people, need to learn from history one sober fact- wealthy republics seldom last long. In fact, republics usually last only until the people discover that they can vote themselves largess from the public treasury. In my opinion, we haven’t reached that point. Yet. But the danger is always there.
“But can there be a more pompous or harmful attitude in politics than feeling that you know what is best for people to such a degree that you can’t risk them deciding for themselves armed with the truth?”
Therein lies the whole problem. People who own guns have made the choice to buy guns, and have had to jump through a significant number of bureaucratic hoops in order to do so. This is the free choice of the person buying the gun. People who do not own guns have made a decision not to buy guns or are legally unable to do so. This is the free choice of the person not buying a gun- and the not-so-free choice of convicted felons, mental patients, and abusive spouses. Gun owners are not trying to force others to own guns against their wishes. Why are non-gun owners so adamant about forcing their opinions on gun owners?
I have heard many people opposed to civilian gun ownership state that they are afraid of gun owners. This is not entirely rational. The mere fact that someone else might have in their possession a firearm fills these people with fear, apparently. Why? More to the point, why should one person’s phobia have any effect on anyone else’s choices? Many people claim to believe that the world is flat. Others believe that space aliens are coming to save us from ourselves- or maybe sodomize us to death (it could go either way, apparently). Would you permit these obviously irrational people to make your decisions?
Here is a better question: Why allow anyone else to make decisions for you? Put another way, why should I allow anyone else to make decisions for me- particularly if the person insisting on making my decisions for me claimed to be doing so for my own good? I do not trust anyone to have my best interests at heart. “If I knew a man was coming to my house with the fixed intention of doing me good, I would run for my life.”
From reading many anti-gun ownership editorials and listening to many people espousing the same objective, I have come to the conclusion that far too many of them don’t trust me to make up my own mind. Too many of these people want to force me to submit to their will- all for my own good, of course.
Let’s try something else instead. How about I mind my own damned business, and everyone else can mind theirs. Notice that I am not trying to force my opinions on anyone else. All I am trying to do is to be left alone. If you want to believe that God is a jelly donut, knock yourself out. I don’t give a shrill soprano hoot in Hell.
Until you try to force me to believe the way you do.
Current mood: Obstreporous
Current Music: Princes of the Universe by Queen