Letter to the editor: I own my life.

The following is a letter to the editor I wrote, published in the Philipsburg Mail on 22 March 2018.

I own my life.

To community members: Are the guarantees of the United States constitution in full-effect when a man is an adult? The answer to that question should be “yes”.[1] All rights and protections and requirements of the laws governing the lands confined to the United States of America are in full-effect when a man reaches adulthood. A man can vote, be employed, sign a contract, and go to war. He shall also abide by the laws adopted by the government. If he does not obey the laws, then he is tried as an adult in a court of law and may be jailed. Our society has determined that adulthood is when a man has reached the age of 18-years. It is an arbitrary number, but that is the age of Majority we are working with.

There are a few notable exceptions to this and none of them make society any easier to operate in. A man can go to war at 17 and risk death.[2] At 18, he can sign a debt-contract to purchase a home or worthless degree. He cannot, however, buy a beer until 21.[3]

Currently, the minimum age to purchase a rifle in the United States is 18-years. To purchase a new handgun, a man shall be no less than 21-years of age.[8] Now the question posed by President Trump is raising the minimum age to purchase a rifle to match that of a handgun.[9] The ownership of a firearm does not change a man’s brain development like can be argued for alcohol. A firearm does nothing, in-and-of-itself. A firearm sitting in the closet or under the bed will sit there for eternity and do nothing. It is inert. The tool will bring no good and cause no harm. Unlike alcohol, firearms are specifically provided for under the Second Amendment of the United States constitution Bill of Rights. “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.” – Thomas Jefferson, Secretary of State (at time of authentication).[10] If the head of the government is considering this limitation with a tool explicitly listed under the laws that supposed reign said governing institution, what else is he considering? Of course, this is only one grain of sand on two-centuries of increasing infringements…[11]

The question I now pose is this: When is a man an adult? If we, as a collective, are going to have a status of “adulthood” based on age, then let’s pick one and stick with it. Why must we have a sliding scale of privileges and protections? When is it the government’s job to progress and regress this age-defined adulthood status? In Montana, a license to operate a vehicle which if driven unsafely can kill several individuals may be obtained at 15-years.[12][13] The age of consent for sexual intercourse, which if unwisely performed may cause the party to contract life-threatening disease, is 16-years.[14][15] A man can go to war at 17-years to kill or be killed and forever change his soul. A man may smoke cigarettes and shorten his life by decades at 18-years.[16] He may not purchase a new handgun or consume alcohol until 21-years. Of course, though he may not purchase a new handgun until age 21, he may openly carry somebody else’s handgun in public at the age of 14, provided he has a note from his parents…[17] If ignorance is no excuse for the law, then please have consistency.

To President Trump: there were several key issues that got you elected.[18] Among the election-swaying issues is immigration (which has not slowed), a physical barrier on the southern border (which has not been built), tax reduction and simplification (which got more complicated), and firearm protection and national concealed carry reciprocity (which is now in question). This does not include budget management (which remains unmanaged), shrinking the overall size and scope of the government (which continues to grow), and unemployment and job creation (which continues to be lied about and manipulated).[19]

To former President George H.W. Bush Sr.: on 7 July 1989, you declared a permanent prohibition of the majority of foreign-made semi-automatic rifles.[20] While many were criticizing your predictable back-tracking on the 1988 pledge, “read my lips, no new taxes”, the majority of voters were not likely taken aback at the federal budget deficits, as all roads to financing a bloated government end in one place: new taxes.[21][22] What was unforgivable and continues to be unforgivable is the betrayal of all Americans and the continued usurpation of the few remaining rights We enjoy under a degraded constitution. The same constitution you and your Lifetime NRA status swore to protect and defend. This was your fatal error. This is what cost you in 1992. It wasn’t taxes. It wasn’t Perot. It was the continued infringement of the fundamental tools used to protect our lives and our property. It is the Second Amendment which protects the First.

To President Trump: there were several key issues that got you elected. Please do not repeat the mistakes of the Republican past. Your actions now will not be flushed down the memory hole. Your constituency is watching.

I now pose a question to all those who voice opinion on firearms and their regulation: how much do you know about that which you speak? Are you familiar with the difference between semi-automatic and automatic? What is a clip and what is a magazine? What is standard-capacity and what is high-capacity? What is an AR-15 and what is a “hunting” rifle? What is military-pattern? What is the point and purpose of the Second Amendment of the constitution? If you don’t know, that is okay. The subject of firearms is very dense, though it can be very exciting for those who wish to learn. The Dunning-Kruger effect is witnessed far too frequently in the subject of firearms, and this goes for figures on both political sidelines. Please read about the Dunning-Kruger effect and think how it may manifest in your life.

What a better example than Florida to demonstrate the government’s ability to protect an individual. The government is not there to protect you as an individual. There is no politician that will jump in front of you to take the bullet. There is no bureaucrat that will wrestle a would-be murderer’s knife away. There are only politicians who seek to remove the remaining few tools which equalize you with those who wish you harm. You are the absolute authority on your own protection and the protection of your legitimate dependents. I am responsible for my safety and the security of my property. I own my life. Do you own yours?


[1] https://definitions.uslegal.com/a/age-of-majority/
[2] https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/10/246
[3] https://alcoholpolicy.niaaa.nih.gov/UnderageDrinking.html
[8] https://www.atf.gov/resource-center/minimum-age-gun-sales-and-transfers
[9] https://www.pbs.org/newshour/politics/trump-endorsees-raising-minimum-age-to-21-for-more-weapons
[10] https://www.archives.gov/founding-docs/bill-of-rights-transcript
[11] http://washingtonsblog.com/2013/02/constitution.html
[12] https://dojmt.gov/driving/driver-licensing/#DLID3
[13] https://www.cdc.gov/motorvehiclesafety/teen_drivers/teendrivers_factsheet.html
[14] http://leg.mt.gov/bills/mca/45/5/45-5-503.htm
[15] https://www.cdc.gov/healthyyouth/sexualbehaviors/
[16] https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/fact_sheets/health_effects/ effects_cig_smoking/
[17] http://leg.mt.gov/bills/mca/45/8/45-8-344.htm
[18] http://www.people-press.org/2016/07/07/4-top-voting-issues-in-2016-election/
[19] https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-09-04/peter-schiff-its-same-crappy-economyonly-difference-trumps-not-candidate-anymore
[20] http://www.nytimes.com/1989/03/15/us/us-bans-imports-of-assault-rifles-in-shift-by-bush.html
[21] https://millercenter.org/president/bush/domestic-affairs
[22] https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-kennedy-bush/george-h-w-bush-honored-for-courage-with-1990-tax-hikes-idUSBREA4308G20140505

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