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Thomas Jefferson

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Spring has officially sprung, fellow bikers! While your ever-lovable Grey Beard Biker rides year-round, the 2020 riding season is officially here. Where will 2020 take you? Perhaps to Smoky Mountain Thunder over Memorial Day Weekend? I certainly hope so. It is an amazing event that will make even the toughest biker well up with tears remembering the sacrifices our veterans have made to protect our freedom. We all know that FREEDOM IS NOT FREE!

We all cherish the Second Amendment. It is a very simple sentence:

“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.”

But this single sentence has been perverted by the gun control crowd more than any other sentence in our founding documents.

Our Founding Documents

Before we dive too deep into the Second Amendment, let’s take a look at all of our Founding documents:

  1. The Declaration of Independence was our original document. It was written primarily by Thomas Jefferson, with input from Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, Robert Livingston and Roger Sherman. This document declared our independence and described what our Founders were striving for: a democratic republic. It would be ratified by the Continental Congress on July 4, 1776.
  2. The U.S. Constitution was the operating blueprint for the United States. It was officially ratified by all of the states on June 21, 1788 and became the effective rule of the land on March 4, 1789.
  3. The Bill of Rights was our next founding document and became the first 10 amendments to our U.S. Constitution. After the adoption of our constitution, many of our Founding Fathers were concerned about a lack of protection for the citizens. These Founders were primarily aligned with the Anti-Federalists and included the most outspoken critic of the Federalists, Thomas Jefferson. These wise men wanted protections for the people including freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of assembly and protection against an overarching Federal government. These ten amendments would be drafted on September 25, 1789 and ratified by all states on December 15, 1791.

These amendments obviously included the Second – which we freedom lovers cherish. Over the years, there have been continuous attacks on the Second Amendment by those who wish to limit our ability to “keep and bear arms.” The biggest being the Assault Weapons Ban of 1994 – a law which fortunately expired after 10 years of doing nothing to prevent violent crime with firearms. But the calls for new assault weapon bans continue along with other proposed legislation including: Universal background checks, restrictions in magazine capacity, banning of all semiautomatic firearms and gun registries. The biggest fallback fallacy of those wanting to take away our freedoms is, “the founders never envisioned modern weapons.” Or, “it only applies to the militia” – which they falsely claim to be our National Guard. This is all a bunch of hooey. Every single one of the Bill of Rights speaks to individual rights, with the exception of the Tenth Amendment – which provides that all rights not reserved to the Federal Government are reserved to the states.

Federalist No. 46

The Federalist Papers were written by three of the Founding Fathers: John Jay, Alexander Hamilton and James Madison. These essays were originally written anonymously under the pseudonym, Publius, and were used as a way for these Founders to speak directly to the “People” – before the ratification of our Constitution.

Federalist No. 46 was written by James Madison and spoke to the “right to keep and bear arms.” Keep in mind this was before the ratification of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Some of the key portions of No. 46 are:

With regards to our right to bear arms, Madison writes, “The highest number to which, according to the best computation, a standing army can be carried in any country, does not exceed one hundredth part of the whole number of souls; or one twenty-fifth part of the number able to bear arms. This proportion would not yield, in the United States; an army of more than twenty-five or thirty thousand men. To these would be opposed a militia amounting to near half a million of citizens with arms in their hands, officered by men chosen from among themselves, fighting for their common liberties, and conducted by governments (states) possessing their affections and confidence.” Madison continues, “Besides the advantage of being armed, which the Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation, the existence of subordinate governments (states), to which the people are attached, and by which the militia officers are appointed, forms a barrier against the enterprises of ambition, more insurmountable than any which a simple government (Federal government) of any form can admit of.”

Conclusion

So, what does this all mean? First, the citizens of the United States are the last protection against any enemy, foreign or domestic. Domestic? Yes! Madison, and all of the Founders, recognized that a strong central government, with an ambition to force its will on her people, is dangerous to all God Given rights. Including speech, the press, assembly and the right to a speedy trial. Second, Madison recognized that these God Given rights are not given by the government. This includes the right to protect yourself. Someone attacking you is wanting to take away your rights to everything outlined in the Bill of Rights – with the exception of the Tenth Amendment. So, the next time a gun grabber tells you that you don’t need a gun, confidently tell them that it’s the Bill of Rights – which includes your right to live how you choose and protect yourself.

Grey Beard Biker
gbb@TheGreyBeardBiker.com
@GreyBeard_Biker on the Twiter

This is the age of the P.C. police. And the P.C. police have nothing to do with that portion of first responders who put their lives on the line every day when they go to work – those who respond to an active shooter situation, a domestic disturbance or a strong-armed robbery. The P.C. police are those who police our society looking for potentially hateful symbols, speech or groups of people they disagree with. Upon finding something they despise, they go after it with every form of vitriol they can summon to prove how hateful, those they hate, are. Kind of ironic isn’t it? The Grey Beard Biker thinks so.

Debate has had a place in our country’s history since the First Continental Congress met to promote the interest of the British colonies in America. Debate is good. Debate, when used persuasively can change opinion and build respect amongst those who oppose each other. But what the P.C. police are doing is shutting down the constitutional rights of groups they disagree with. They succeed in yelling louder than those they disagree with. In your ever-lovable Grey Beard Biker’s opinion, they are trampling on the U.S. Constitution – and they know it. They simply don’t care.

A few years ago, I was outraged about the removal of Confederate monuments in places like New Orleans, Louisiana, Baltimore, Maryland and Charlottesville, Virginia. As recently as April 2019, Maryland legislators had voted to remove the Robert E. Lee statue from Antietam National Battlefield. Since Antietam is a Federally owned property, Maryland has an uphill battle. My rage a couple of years ago had nothing to do with me agreeing with the beliefs of the men being memorialized by these statues. In fact, I disagree vehemently with nearly everything the Confederate States of America stood for. My rage had everything to do with the P.C. police trying to sanitize the history of our country. Whitewashing our past does not change it – it only dumbs down a society which is already clueless to our history, our form of government (like those who would call the United States a Democracy – it is not) and remove key figures of our Founding generation because they did not agree with beliefs these men held 250 years ago.

This morning, I came across a post on Facebook from a longtime American Civil War historian friend of mine. Unlike me, he keeps his politics to himself (probably something Old Grey Beard could learn from). Harry originally posted the article “Historical Symbols, The Nature of Truth and the Sides of History” on his blog, Bull Runnings, four years ago. He shared it on Facebook today, because there is a movement to cease observing Thomas Jefferson’s birthday. So much Harry originally wrote was prescient then – and spot on today. Obviously the P.C. police want to marginalize Jefferson because he owned slaves.

The point Harry makes in his blog article is that we cannot judge people for their actions in the time they lived in. That was their time, not ours. White supremacists are a blight on our country today. But if they were judged by a southerner in 1872, what they stood for would be viewed differently than today. Harry also makes a great observation that if we were to judge leaders of the past through the corrective lens of what we see today, we would be forced to banish Franklin Delano Roosevelt to the dustbin of history for his treatment of Japanese-Americans after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Naturally, that would lead to the removal of his statues. Interesting to think about, but unlikely to happen since FDR was a Democrat and successfully managed the entry of the United States into World War II – and nearly managed complete victory over all the Axis Powers (this would be finished by his Vice President, Harry S. Truman after Roosevelt’s death).

Grey Beard has lots of friends – and I mean friends – that hold far different views. Some are hesitant to condemn ANTIFA, a group that is fascist in actions and ANTI-FAscist in name. This single group has a goal of shutting down any free speech they do not agree with – even resorting to violence. They will block traffic on the streets of our cities, throw things at passing motorists and assault groups they do not agree with all in the guise that the message their opposition represents is hurtful to them. This is not American. It is not even adult like. It is childish behavior from childish adults. The fact that we will accept this behavior today, when these same groups are trying to erase our past, demonstrates how myopic society is today. If you do not agree with them, you are truly the enemy.

In the Grey Beard Biker’s opinion, Harry gets it right in his article when he says, “What do we do with the wrong side? Erase it? Write over it? Maybe it’s just too hard to interpret it. But isn’t that the historian’s job?” Let’s spend more time trying to understand our history, even the institution of slavery, instead of trying to hide it. Are we going to remove Thomas Jefferson next? Perhaps get rid of the Jefferson Monument? There is even talk today about whether we marginalize George Washington, the father of the United States, in our children’s history books. Who is next? Abraham Lincoln? FDR? What about Ulysses S. Grant? The Civil War may have turned out differently if he had not become commanding general of all Union Forces during the Civil War. His wife owned slaves. Should he be banished to the dustbin of history too?

We should take a lesson from British statesman, Edmund Burke: “Those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it.” While we don’t have to agree with the beliefs of our important historical figures, we need to understand how the work they did make the United States the shining castle on the hill it is today.

Grey Beard Biker

Here is a link to Harry’s original article on Bull Runnings: