Solitary, Poor, Nasty, Brutish and Short

Ratified in 1789, the Constitution of the United States was written for a national population of four million; precisely the population of Los Angeles today. At that time, there was no army, no navy, no marine corps. Citizens were responsible for themselves, their villages, and their families. Their 18th-century muskets delivered a single shot. The Second Amendment to the Constitution was written for settlers in a wilderness. Now 380 million people live in this country, and half of them own guns, many of those guns capable of multiple shots. Our feeble gun control measures make buying a gun easier than renting a car. All the buyer need do is answer no when yes on the simple questionnaire could delay the sale.

In 1651, more than a hundred years before our Constitution, the philosopher Thomas Hobbs wrote Leviathan, in which he defined the natural state of mankind before a central government is formed. No knowledge of the face of the earth, no account of time, no arts, no letters. No society, and which is worst of all, continual fear and danger of violent death; and the life of man; solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short.

Now we have a central government, but that central government has not protected us from continual fear and danger of violent death. Our schools, our universities, our theaters, our market centers, our airports, and virtually every public gathering place is vulnerable to vicious attack. Gun “rights” advocates believe and insist that “Only a gun can stop a gun”. Could any of these armed advocates have been present at the growing number of mass massacres — at exactly the right time and in the right place? Of course they could not and were not.

Shall we close our schools, shutter our theaters, barricade our shops? Shall we revert to Hobbes’s natural state of mankind, or should we repeal the Second Amendment, created for an era that has not existed for four centuries and that could not have been conceived by the founders of this country? We must.

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