Two days ago, after visiting a friend in the village, I walked home, a jaunt of about five miles.
I am a walker by nature, but it has been a while since I have taken a walk of any substantial length. Most of our walks around here are two to three miles. That, coupled with working in the gardens and doing chores up here on the hill, usually serves as a worthy, and tiring, supplement to longer walks.
However, that walk a few days ago reminded me of the salutary rewards of a long, leisurely walk, a walk Thoreau so sagely described as a ‘saunter.’
As I started my way up Pink Street, a neighbor stopped briefly to chat. After a bit of neighborly catching up, he observed I had two walking sticks. At that moment I was only using one, saving the other for the uphill climb ahead. I informed him of my wife’s encouraging me to walk with two sticks, believing it might help improve my posture.
He paused for a second, I suspect to gather up his philosophical wits and, with respect to my wife’s concern for my posture, said, “that’s why I don’t have one.”
It is ironic that those who achieved an impressive education simultaneously lack the very basics of Constitutional study. Upon the current topic of the Second Amendment seems to illustrate this dichotomy quite well.
The notion that the word “regulated” applies only to that of the government is both taking words out of context and as completely ignoring the very function of the Bill of Rights in the first place.
To exemplify this, the Second Amendment states: “A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to secure a free state, the Right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”
This can be split into two general parts. The former is by far the most commonly misinterpreted: “A well- regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free state.”
If one were to assume that “regulated” is deemed only to that of government, how can a government regulated (which is a method of control) secure a free state? Quite to the contrary, if a government evolved into a tyranny, what stops them from regulating the militia into virtual nonexistence and paralysis? After all, to regulate such in any manner would clearly be within stated
Current conversation that I have been seeing from our opponents is that such regulations are not even limited to the militia but also to the people themselves. One wonders why the latter portion containing “shall not be infringed” rings any bells.
It is pure nonsense to interpret the word “regulated” as only manifest from the government. To assume so renders the Amendment moot. For if it is permitted to allow government control of an armed populace, how then can such populace secure their republic free? The short answer is that it doesn’t.
The fact of the matter is that government is NOT the sole source of regulation. To the definition, to “regulate” is “to govern or direct according to rule.” Allowing government to control the Second Amendment is logically the same as allowing the prisoners to control the prison.
Rather, our Founders are concerned with a Militia being organized with a system of accountability, restraint, and method of function. All of which are well constituted without government intervention.
A logical parallel can be argued to that of organizational bylaws. Such bylaws form the lawful/unlawful order by which it functions. In other words, the rule is not by virtue of government, but rather to that agreed among the people of said organization.
Brought under this interpretation, the Amendment, as a whole, loses the contradictions and fully makes sense. By being separately regulated among the people from government control(s), the militia does indeed manifest the function to counter check the government if said government strays from the Constitutional Law and into despotism. Therefore, it secures a “free state”.
Further, by removing government controls and entanglements, there also is no longer the contradiction to the latter portion of the Amendment that “the Right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”
It serves proper advisement to the county representatives to heed Thomas Jefferson’s advice concerning Constitutional interpretation to rebuke such flawed arguments. For one to ignore the very purpose of our Bill of Rights and to ignore the innate contradictions in holding such flawed positions, only the uneducated would embrace such, and the fool to follow it.
If you haven’t read George Orwell’s book “1984”, now would be a good time to read it. In the book, Winston Smith wrestles with oppression in Oceania, a place where the Party (Big Brother) scrutinizes human actions with ever-watchful eyes.
Winston chooses to defy a ban on individuality by daring to express his thoughts in a diary and pursues a relationship with Julia – both are punishable by death.
I remember reading it and thinking, “This could never happen in America.”
I was wrong. It is happening each and every day, and it’s not just “Big Brother” that is keeping track of everything we do and attempting to establish new mores about what is socially right and wrong.
The “Left”, joined by a liberal media, is also changing the rules and holding those who don’t agree with them accountable. I recall when, in the 1960s, Berkley was a bastion of free speech. Today the liberal campus is torn by riots in protest of a conservative speaker. What happened?
Whether or not you like our current President, I’m hoping you’re shocked by the behavior of the FBI with regards to its pursuit of justice. We don’t spy on our own citizens without just cause – we just don’t do that. Or do we?
And if we do, does a majority of the American public support it? I hope the answer is a resounding “No”, because, if it isn’t, any one of us could become tomorrow’s “target”.
Technology, as suggested by Orwell, has made it ever easier to keep track of everything we do. Our cell phones are used to track our habits and patterns and the information collected without our being aware of it is sold to those seeking to exploit us.
I received an unsolicited report via e-mail from my new vehicle telling me that during the course of the past month I had come to an abrupt stop 16 times. It went on to report that my driving habits were better (whose definition?) than 85 percent of other monitored drivers. If that is true, I hope I don’t meet one of them on the highway!
You may not be aware of it, but a new partnership among Cornell, Syracuse and DEC will allow them to monitor, without your being aware of it, how you are stewarding your land. If you are not managing it for “sustainability” (not sure whose definition is being used) you could be subjected to some form of punishment; for example, not be allowed to sell your timber into the marketplace.
I wrote this because the changes that are occurring are subtle and thus often go un-noticed when taken one at a time. However, when taken in their totality, they are having an enormous impact on our lives.
Consider the camera on Chestnut Street just East of “Nick’s Diner” that monitors your speed. The day will come, as it has in many cities, when it will initiate the process of issuing you a speeding ticket and cameras don’t care if you’re a townie or from out of town.
Is it time to think about how good we had it in days past? Is there a way to return to them? There was a time when we had five police officers in Oneonta and the SUNY campus had a custodian with a broom for security.
Mike Zagata, a former DEC commissioner in the Pataki Administration and environmental executive for Fortune 500 companies, lives in West Davenport.
DANCE DEMONSTRATION – 10 a.m. Informative demonstration in the art of dance presented by Jillian’s Dance Arts. Foothills Performing Arts Center, Oneonta. foothillspac.org
ART RECEPTION – 5-7 p.m. “Migration-Immigration: A Creative Depiction” opens depicting the arduous and dangerous path that has led many immigrant to the US throughout our history. Features the work of local artists working in water color, acrylics, oils, pen, ink, sculptures, and more. Cherry Branch Gallery, 25 Main St., Cherry Valley. cherrybranchgallery.com
CONCERT – 5 p.m. Come enjoy food and refreshments by the Cooperstown Rotary club. The concert by the Cooperstown Community Band starts at 8 p.m. and is followed by the Independence Day fireworks at Dusk. Lakefront Park, Cooperstown.
FIREWORKS – 6 p.m. View the Fourth of July Fireworks, enjoy free ice cream donated by Stewarts, live music, and lawn games for the kids. Feel free to bring a picnic dinner to enjoy in the garden. Suggested donation $5 per person/$20 per family. Children 14 and under, free. Brookwood Point, 6000 St. Hwy. 80, Cooperstown. otsegolandtrust.org or call (607)547-2236
INTERFAITH COMMUNITY GATHERING – 3 p.m. Program titled “With Malice Toward Non: Honoring America’s Legacy of Religious Inclusion.” Affirming America’s principles of democracy, religious freedom, compassion, and unity for people of all faiths. Temple Beth El, 83 Chestnut St., Oneonta. Info, Ken Sider, email@example.com or visit www.templebetheloneonta.org/2017/04/with-malice-toward-none/
EARTH FESTIVAL – 10:30 a.m.-2 p.m. 13th annual festival featuring interactive exhibits, activities, vendors, and entertainment. Milford Central School, 42 W. Main St, Milford. Info, occainfo.org/calendar/earth-festival-2017/
CONFERENCE – 8:30-10 a.m. Local manufacturers and training providers meet to discuss goals to ensure there is a trained workforce in the county to meet employers needs. Reservation required. Foothills Performing Arts Center, 24 Market St., Oneonta. Info, Barbara Ann Heegan, President/CEO Otsego County Chamber of commerce, (607)432-4500 ext. 202 or email firstname.lastname@example.org