Second Amendment: Not About Self Defense

I recently heard about an appearance by Ben Shapiro on the Piers Morgan show in which Shapiro told Morgan that Morgan was standing on the grave of the school children killed at Sandy Hook in order to promote his political agenda. Ben Shapiro is a young, smart, orthodox Jew who is an American Conservative who engages with reason and evidence to discuss his ideas. Piers Morgan was a CNN talk show host. That show was canceled. From what I can tell doing a bit of research on Morgan, he has a sorry reputation as a journalist. 

These days it is rare that you can see and listen to people actually say what they mean especially on contentious topics like “gun control”. (I don’t like the term “gun control” since the gun isn’t doing anything that needs controlling in these situations, rather the operator of the gun should be the thing that needs controlling.) So, I went looking for this exchange between Shapiro and Morgan.

In the world of quick access to pretty much all information, that was easy. I quickly found the video on YouTube and hit the play button. Ben Shapiro and Piers Morgan

Yes, Shapiro told Morgan to his face exactly this: 

“You tend to be a bully toward people who differ with you politically by standing on the graves of the children of Sandy Hook.”

Bam! Pow! No holds barred or quarter given.

To say that Morgan was incensed and almost speechless would be an understatement.

"How dare you?"

  “How dare you?” This was the best he could come up with.

Morgan then retreated quickly behind the tried-and-true barrier of sloganeering, slinging facts that don’t matter and dodging Shapiro’s direct questions. One example: Morgan and his like minded followers are totally incensed about “assault rifles” and so-called high capacity magazines. Shapiro pointed out that most people killed in America with guns are killed with handguns. 

Did Morgan want to get rid of handguns? 

No, Morgan said, he did not. 

Shapiro asked why Morgan wasn’t bothered by the kids being killed in Chicago with handguns. 

Morgan’s response: “We’ll get to that.”

Of course he didn’t.

Even though what Shapiro said to Morgan was harsh, I have to agree with Shapiro. Focusing one's opposition to gun ownership in the US on a particularly sad instance of homicide and claiming that those who do not agree with that opinion are somehow morally bankrupt is a false and morally corrupt argument.

During the ensuing "debate", Morgan challenged Shapiro to defend the assertion that the Second Amendment was about keeping and bearing arms for self defense. Shapiro's response was direct, honest and stopped Morgan in his tracks yet again.

I will paraphrase (see the YouTube link to the actual conversation so you can see exactly what happened):

No, the Second Amendment isn't about that, Shapiro replied. It specifically guarantees that people can be armed in order to ensure the security of a free state. Since people, and it is the people, the citizenry of that state or country, who will compose the militia should it become necessary to convene it, people must be armed in order to be effective.

History aptly demonstrates that governments can and do change, and sometimes they change for the worse. The founders of the United States and the creators of the Constitution were educated men with recent personal experience in the necessity of armed conflict in the defense of freedom and liberty.

Why is the right to keep and bear arms the second amendment? Because the freedoms enumerated in the first amendment cannot be sustained without the second.

In my opinion the framers of the Constitution well knew that there might come a day when citizens would have to insist that the freedoms we enjoy, secured through armed conflict, might have to be so secured again, so they set forth in the Second Amendment the guarantee that we would have the means to do so should it ever come to that.

Where the significance of the Second Amendment to self defense arises is that by having the right to keep and bear arms, we are also better able to protect and defend ourselves and those freedoms enumerated in the Constitution.

It is an individual choice. A right is not an obligation. Those citizens who choose to not keep and bear arms are free (there is that word again...) to not do so. They are not free to force others to do likewise.