I mentioned before that my favorite person on twitter is Kurt Eichenwald, a contributing editor at Vanity Fair. He is the writer who put together the mammoth criticism of the modern GOP and poked holes in all of their lies a few months back.
After Sandy Hook, Eichenwald has focused almost exclusively on gun control and brought lots of intensity to the issue. He also dedicated his page to one of the children who was killed and posted the boy's picture on the page as a reminder of the issue.
Today, he tweeted out a link to an article he wrote for Vanity Fair, titled "Let's Repeal the Second Amendment." It's long, brutal, intensely fact-laden, and is the kind of thing that all supporters of gun control should have in their back pocket when dealing with the nuts.
More below the orange croissant.
Eichenwald is not just saying that the country should get rid of the Second Amendment. That could never happen anyway. In fact, none of this could ever happen anyway but (I think) he is using the idea as a device to make an argument about the flaws in the amendment, in the courts, and in Scalia in particular. The point is that the amendment has been twisted beyond all recognition and that we should start over with a new one that represents reality.
The article starts by shooting down the "let's not politicize Sandy Hook" line.
As news of the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary played out around the country, the mantra from the gun-rights folks was fairly consistent: now is not the time to discuss how the government should deal with controls on firearms. It’s politicizing tragedy to talk about it, they whine.After bashing the NRA types for their anti-gun control rants (what he calls their penchant to " belch out that tiresome and frighteningly violent malarkey about prying their firearms from their "cold, dead hands,'"), Eichenwald goes on to point out a number of things about the Second Amendment that I didn't know.
O.K., I’ll agree. Let’s not talk about policy when it comes to Sandy Hook.
Instead, let’s consider the San Ysidro McDonald’s massacre in 1984. Following the shooting of 40 people at that time, gunnies also said it was too soon to discuss new firearms laws; it would politicize the shooting at a moment that should only be about remembrance, you see. So let’s do it now—28 years is long enough to wait.
Or we can talk about the 21 people shot at the post office in Edmond, Oklahoma, two years later. Or the 35 at Cleveland Elementary School in Stockton, California, in 1989. Or the 20 that same year at Standard Gravure. Or the 50 at Luby’s Cafeteria in Killeen, Texas, in 1991. Or the 14 at Lindhurst High School in Olivehurst, California, the year after that. Or the 25 on the Long Island Railroad in 1993. Or the 15 at Westside Middle School in Jonesboro, Arkansas. Or the 29 at Thurston High School.
Or Columbine. Or Virginia Tech. Or Tucson. Or Aurora. Or Clackamas Town Center, just three days before Sandy Hook.
Or any of the senseless mass murders that have left behind piles of the maimed and murdered—the elderly, students, children, shoppers, worshippers, moviegoers, diners, workers, and even a member of Congress. One young woman—Jessica Ghawi—missed a gun rampage while shopping at a mall by a matter of minutes, only to be killed weeks later at the Aurora movie-theater massacre. Almost 1,000 innocent Americans have been shot in the last 30 years in these bloodbaths. And at each instance, the National Rifle Association and company try to shame us with this “not the time” argument so that we can’t discuss adopting laws to protect ourselves; eventually, the horror recedes, we move on with our lives, and we walk out into the world never knowing whether our heads will be the next to explode after being struck by a madman’s bullet.
For instance, there are two Amendments, one passed by Congress and one ratified by the states and authenticated by Thomas Jefferson. The first one is the one we know - which he calls "a grammarian's nightmare" - although the second one is the only one that could be considered valid. Still, he says, the courts rely on the first version, which is "incomprehensible under any rules of grammar."
Then begins the long attack on Scalia. Eichenwald makes a strong case that Scalia is a blowhard and an idiot (surprise, surprise) who manipulated the Constitution to end up with the outcome he wanted in the big gun control case where he wrote the majority opinion.
In his ruling, Scalia calls the first half of the Second Amendment a “prefatory clause.” (To get a sense of how grammatically atypical that concept is, run those two words through Google. The vast majority of the entries are quoting Scalia.) The independent clause—about the right to bear arms—is the operative one, Scalia says....I can't keep going on without violating fair use, but summing up: Eichenwald points out Scalia's manipulation of the word "the people," he details the NRA's attempts to get guns into the hands with people who have been committed to mental institutions, he dug up some NRA membership piece that crowed about how they won in a political fight they publicly moaned about losing, details technology and guns. Then he rewrites the Second Amendment, saying that the original should be repealed and replaced with new language.
To explain the meaning of the supposed prefatory clause of the Second Amendment, Scalia—who holds himself out as a strict textualist of the Constitution—felt the need to rewrite the Bill of Rights. And this incompetently written phrase does nothing to expand or limit the scope of the amendment, he says; essentially, the words have no purpose. Nowhere else in the Constitution does this supposed blaring of trumpets announcing the about-to-arrive relevant portion appear.
He ends the post with another slam at the anti-control people.
Some gun owners—some—will rage about this idea, saying that they have the right to protect themselves. Well, so do the rest of us—the right to protect ourselves from them.There are some flaws in his argument. He seems to have a little too much faith in the ability of using liability insurance as a means of controlling guns. The insurance companies aren't going to take on the responsibility of making sure that everyone stores their guns correctly. But there are still lots of other important points in it.
It will take you some time to read the whole thing, but make the time. This is the kind of thing that the MSM should be writing more often.