The nation's highest court has made rulings in the past that left me scratching my head, but when it gets it right, it gets it right.
Thursday, nearly 220 years after the Founding Fathers did a good thing by making sure we could always protect ourselves, the Supreme Court did a better thing by making sure that right couldn't be taken away by irrational sheep who place all their trust in government and none in the individual.
In a 5-4 ruling, the court struck down the District of Columbia's ridiculous ban on handguns, and in the process ruled once and for all what the Second Amendment means.
And it means just what it says: that the right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. That means I can keep a gun in my house to defend myself. It doesn't matter whether it's against some maniac methmouth looking to steal from or hurt my family or if, God forbid, it's against the government, should it ever become so powerful and hostile toward liberty that we must exercise "the Right of the People to alter or abolish it," as Thomas Jefferson wrote in the Declaration of Independence.
And that, friends, is what this is really about - rights. The gun control people will tell you it's about reducing violence, that we're headed for some sort of Old West world ruled by whoever is quickest with the shooting iron, that it will make it easier - altogether now in a singsong voice - for the criminals to get guns.
Well all of that is misinformed falsehood told by ignorant followers who are too cowardly to accept the responsibility of living in a free society.
This ruling is about the fundamental principles upon which this country was founded. Jefferson made it perfectly clear that we have the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. It is absolutely stunning to me the lengths the gun control crowd will go to relinquish those rights.
And they always make the same argument. They point to the first half of the amendment that reads, "A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state ..." and then they scream "See! Guns were meant for the militia, and by militia, the Founders meant the military. Not you and me."
Their right to life and liberty, in their opinion, means having a strong military to defend them. But these are the exact same people who like to wear T-shirts that say things like, "It will be a great day when our schools get all the money they need and the Air Force has to hold a bake sale to buy a bomber." As usual, they want what they always want from government. Protect me at all costs, just please don't ask me to do it myself.
Well, I hate to tell you, but that's what a militia is - you and me. The whole reason you have a right to complain in the first place is because average citizens - though at the time they were called subjects - grabbed their squirrel guns and hunting rifles and fought to shake off the bonds of tyranny.
Please, if you're in the anti-gun crowd, take just 10 minutes and do a little research on the subject. The truth is self-evident:
· George Mason on Britain's goals in the colonies: "... to disarm the people; that it was the best and most effectual way to enslave them."
· Thomas Jefferson, quoting philosopher Cesare Beccaria: "Laws that forbid the carrying of arms ... disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes."
· James Madison, the man who wrote the Second Amendment: " ... governments are afraid to trust the people with arms."
· And my favorite from Benjamin Franklin: "Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote."
We weren't meant to be lambs, ripe for slaughter on the whim of criminals or governments. We were meant to stand up for ourselves and for others too weak to do so. To that end, we were given some very precious rights, rights that many thousands of men and women have died to protect.
With those rights go responsibilities. But if you don't want to take the responsibility, that's your business. Place all your trust in the government and hope it will protect you and never turn on you.
And the greatest irony? You folks can do that, safe in the knowledge that there are people in this country who will protect you - even if you wouldn't do the same for them - because you don't want the responsibility that goes with being free.
Those of us who do want the responsibility don't have the same luxury. Thank God the majority of the court knows that.
E-mail Nate McCullough at firstname.lastname@example.org. His column appears on Fridays.