Today’s mindset of living in The United States is indeed one of an extreme belief in a 200-year-old document:
The sacred rights of mankind are not to be rummaged for, among old parchments, or musty records. They are written, as with a sun beam in the whole volume of human nature, by the hand of the divinity itself; and can never be erased or obscured by mortal power.
The Bill Of Rights, or in this case The First Ten Amendments to the Constitution was not originally included in the Constitution. Yet these cherished Rights are held onto today with incredible persistence. There seems, in the general American mind, no fluidity, no willingness to change and no desire to modernize these concepts to adapt to our ever shrinking planet. What this has produced is a country who holds on to centuries old words that have no place in a modern and viably functioning society today. In other words, live by the gun, and of course die by the same. Alexander Hamilton’s quote indeed sums up the self-importance and arrogance still ingrained in America today.
But was it self-importance and arrogance at the time of penning this quote? No.
The first flourish of separatists from England were fleeing from an oppressive monarchy that did not include much leeway for religious freedoms. State and religion were still the law of the land, mainly focusing on Catholicism. This and the fact that England’s economy was deteriorating provided the impetus to find “the promised land” to start their mission of supremacy. Charles I, made the condition further injurious by raising taxes. This unpopular action led to political catastrophe. As well, the Church of England began to discipline Puritans[i] because they were dissenters and upset the fragile state of England and the Royal Prerogative. King Charles refused to allow anyone to criticize church actions and many citizens were punished.
There is much more history to be found regarding the fleeing of the disgruntled Puritans, but the main reasons were the belief that the right to religious freedom was tantamount, the Laudian church policies, and the belief that they would save England from Gods wrath by leaving. Although before coming to the New World, they resided in the Netherlands, which proved to be neither fruitful nor satisfying to them.
The first Separatists making landfall in Cape Cod in November of 1620 brought with it, not only the problems of survival but laying out the new order of Puritanism. Something far harsher than the requirements of religion in England. But we now leave England behind.
Forward to the Constitution. A century would pass and evolution in the New World had taken hold as more and more people were migrating. In 1761, 15 years before the United States of America authored their Declaration of Independence, colonists were considered British. Colonies reached from present-day Maine to Georgia and while “English” in nature, the settlers were made up of many migrants including Swedes, Finns, Welsh, Scots, Irish, Dutch, Africans, French, Germans, and Swiss, as well as English. Although present day Americans would have you believe they were from England alone, European history spells it out differently. It is certainly erroneous to believe such and the belief is still a deep-seated conviction today. I call that revisionism at its worst to deem that this is the circumstance.
We will now look at the Fourth Article in the Bill of Rights.
Article the fourth… 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.[ii]
It is clear in the Fourth Article of the Bill of Rights that an army of sorts most certainly did have the right to hold weapons and such is a necessity given the time period. In this time frame these were the “police” of a burgeoning nation. Perils outside of migration were rampant and the belief of superiority gave them state sanctioned privileges and the god given right to kill at will aboriginals, malcontents, and wildlife with the same impunity. This helped in land grab and the belief that all that was conquered was theirs.
Personal rights were also included in this Article. Necessary to say the least. But was it used judiciously? As history pans out, I would say no. Capital punishment was something transported on the Mayflower and enforced even to this day in some States. The death penalty varied from Colony to Colony and in most cases for wide-ranging and absurd reasons, up to and including murder. But not having a cohesive law of the land other that the Constitution; leaders could rewrite or proclaim their own laws and agenda. I call that interfering with the Constitution and it’s Amendments. So, because of this, many murders were either overlooked, justified in the eyes of the courts of the day, dismissed or discarded at the whim of the judge presiding. A pattern we still see today in present day US. The Second Amendment added the phrase “for self-defense” among some other drivel. It didn’t really change anything.
Is a gun necessary today? If asked that question 25 years ago I would say not. But the evolution and mindset of todays US citizens has this belief of their god given right to bear arms. 77% of adult Americans identify themselves as Christian[iii]. Christian doctrine indicates that killing another human being is a sin. Therefore the Fourth Article and the Second Amendment is really in conflict with true Christian beliefs. Why then are there so many guns in the US? Unfortunately the answer is the present culture of the US and that ludicrous ingrained belief in their right to bear arms. The people who actually believe this 200-year-old Right are wrong when they invoke this as their mantra. It is an outdated and obsolete “Right” as it stands in the Constitution. Every other industrialized nation has radically revised or rewritten their original democratic Rights and Freedoms with the exception of the US. There has been gun control laws that have been written from State to State oftentimes refuting its own Federal governments laws. But there is no real numbers, just extrapolation.
A new study aimed at figuring out who owns gun in the United States and why suggests that about a third of Americans have at least one.
Most are white males over the age of 55, and a “gun culture” is closely linked with ownership, the team at Columbia University reports.
The study, published in the journal Injury Prevention, is one of several trying to pin down the number of gun owners in the United States. No agency keeps statistics on gun ownership and many pro-gun activists advocate keeping gun ownership private because of fears about potential future laws that might take guns away.[iv]
This means that the US has inconsistent statistics ranging from 1 in 3 households to 1 in 5 households. This does not even take into regard the multiple, concealed, hidden or illegal arms that many Americans hide. With these statistics in hand it is obvious that the US has, and is, reverting back to 200-year-old ideals which have no place in today’s world.[v] US citizen murders by a firearm, including children, is the highest in the world.
So where does that leave us? What it means is that with todays downswing of the American supremacy, both economic and democratically; the culture pervading the US is one of anger and fear with a strong desire to hold on to the archaic belief that they are the best nation in the world.
As with the Roman Empire, all things must come to an end. How the US handles this reality will have an impact worldwide either for good or for bad. At the moment they are indeed shooting themselves in the foot.
 Alexander Hamilton – 1775
[i] A member of a Protestant group in England and New England in the 16th and 17th centuries that opposed many customs of the Church of England (Merriam Webster Dictionary)
[ii] The Charters of Freedom
[iii] Gallup 2012
[iv] Injury Prevention (CrossRef DOI Link to Publisher-Maintained Copy: