What's All This Then?

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Friday, June 27, 2008

Had I been blogging away when the break through "truce" was announced between Israel and Hamas, I would have made my usual prediction which of course has now been confirmed by the swift resumption of rocket firing from Gaza into southern Israel. How long did it last? Three days? That’s probably some kind of record for longevity when it comes to a Hamas commitment. If it wasn’t so painfully tragic, I would have greeted the resumed rocket firing with laughter - as I did the announcement of the "truce."

Perhaps it shows how desperate Israel is to get some relief for the residents of Sderot. Hamas probably is just as desperate to get some breathing space to rearm for the full scale resumption of its never ending war. But however frustrated the Israelis may be, I have to wonder what cockeyed reasoning led them to agree to this kind of nonsense. What does a six month "truce" mean? It means that whatever "agreement" was reached, Hamas is still dedicated to the impossible goal of the destruction of Israel and almost certainly on day one of month seven will fire a barrage of rockets across the border. It means that Israel will be postponing the inevitable - a full scale military operation in Gaza - which will likely be more difficult because Hamas will almost certainly have acquired a larger and more sophisticated arsenal over that six month period.

A "truce" between warring parties only makes sense if the period of the truce allows for the parties to hold discussions to settle their differences - so that the "truce" will be extended to a permanent cessation of hostilities. There isn’t a snowball’s chance in hell of that happening here. Unless and until leaders of the Palestinian Arabs of Gaza and the West Bank arise who are sane and practical people, who are elected and respected by a majority of the Palestinians and who are willing to negotiate with Israel on the basis of what is possible, a "truce" will accomplish nothing of benefit other than a period of relative quiet for people living close to the Israeli side of the border.

As I have said here many time, there will be no solution to the conflict while madness rules - and temporary "truces" between Israel and madmen will contribute nothing toward reaching an ultimate solution. Anyone who thinks otherwise is as irrational as the leaders and followers of Hamas.

Even though I’m not all caught up with all the things worthy of comment that happened while I was staying completely away from blogging, I have to comment on what took place just yesterday. The Supreme Court’s interpretation of the second amendment to the constitution.
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.
I have nothing against the private ownership of guns, but I’m all for the ability of state and local governments to legislate gun regulations. For example, I would like to see gun laws similar to laws governing the ownership and use of cars. Registration, license, testing knowledge and efficiency etc. It wouldn’t stop the bad guys from acquiring and using guns to commit crimes , but it might help to keep track of guns that are sold and at least assure that the original buyers conform to whatever laws are enacted.

Fortunately, the majority decision didn’t give carte blanche to anyone who wants to buy a gun for any purpose and it doesn’t necessarily follow that gun regulations in place in various states and cities are no longer valid - though for sure many of them will now be challenged in court.

But my main reaction to the decision was one of admiration for the way the majority looked at Whistler’s Mother (Arrangement in Grey and Black) and concluded that it was definitely an arrangement in red and yellow. English is my native tongue and I have never had any trouble understanding what the second amendment is all about - and neither have the members of all previous Supreme Courts. But this court is something else. Five of its members looked up the wording of the amendment and saw the last fourteen words. That clearly says that people have the right to keep and bear arms. But back when the amendment was written, there were twenty seven words and they more or less meant that no one had better get in the way of the horseman riding through town yelling - "Emergency, emergency. Report to the town square immediately and bring your muskets."

If the founders had meant the amendment to mean what five members of this Supreme Court says it means , they would have written just those last fourteen words But obviously, the amendment was about the need to ensure the security of a free state by having a well regulated militia - something that would be similar to our well regulated armed forces of today - except that when members of the National Guard are called to serve in Iraq, they’re not expected to bring their own weapons with them. So the founders wrote the first thirteen words and then - maybe they were tired, maybe they’d had too much to drink - but for whatever reason, they added the last fourteen without stopping to think that someone in the future might not understand what they meant. They could have said "therefore white male property owners between the ages of 18 and 45 should keep and be ready to bear arms when called upon to do so" In stead, they were sloppy and wrote those other words that blinded Justices Scalia, Roberts, Alito, Kennedy and Thomas to the first thirteen. On the other hand, if they’d written it the way I’ve suggested, I think the gun toting five would have approved - even Thomas.

O.K, I’m just kidding. I’m not accusing esteemed members of our highest court of being racists. But I ask you, dear reader, to read the entire 27 words of the second amendment. Read them a few times and try if you will to interpret them the way the aforementioned justices interpreted them. The ask yourself - what constitutes an "activist" judge or judges?"