Thursday, June 26, 2008

Guns and Gold

The thump you just heard was the stock market falling 350 points today. I predicted at the beginning of the week that the market would drop 600 points this week, wiping out about 6% of the value of a common 401(K). Retire at 59 now you son of a bitch ! I hope I am wrong and there is a rally tomorrow, but I see no reason why there should be. I see where gold closed at $900 an ounce. I went down to our mail scale to weigh my wedding ring to see if I am now wearing the most valuable thing I will own by next week on the fourth finger of my left hand, and decide whether to put it in my safety deposit box with all of my baseball cards. I was disappointed to find that my wedding ring weighs only .3 oz and even when combined with my .4 oz. signet ring, I have only $630 on my fingers. That’s not going to be enough to pay the rent.


So while riches allude us we can all breathe a sigh of relief that the United States Supreme court held today that the Second Amendment guarantee of the right to bear arms is an individual right and not a collective one which applies only if you are  a member of a militia. My sigh of relief is because I can now finally come out of the closet and admit that I have always thought that to be the case, but have argued otherwise because of my personal fear of hand guns (as well as rifles, hand grenades, missile launchers,etc, etc.). There, I’ve got that off my chest at last. I feel better. And now that there is not going to be any money left in my stock portfolio I can buy a hand gun and use it to make a living with, or shoot my financial advisors.


I always secretly thought that the Second Amendment was an individual right because I figured that Congress would never be given the power to outlaw the only means of obtaining food that about half the population had in 1789. What were the settlers going to do ? Throw rocks at the deer and the ducks? Sneak up on the bear, trip him, and hit him on the head ? No, I figured that someday the truth about the Second Amendment would come out. Now it has, and now comes the onslaught of litigation. What does the Second amendment protect ? Why not thermonuclear weapons ? Those are arms. Why can’t I have my own little H-Bomb in the attic ? Justice Scalia says that is nonsense, that the “arms” the constitution is talking about are “ordinary arms” the kind most folks have. In other words, it’s a popularity contest. If everyone buys a tank, then ipso facto, they become  ordinary arms ! The only way Scalia’s argument makes any sense is if we limited arms to those borne by the citizens in 1789. Flintlocks. Those were the ordinary arms at the time of the passing of the Second Amendment. Scalia says that’s preposterous. One of my partners said that the test will be like Potter Stewarts old definition of pornography (“I know it when I see it”). The Judges will mostly  agree that howitzers are not normal arms, Berettas are, and M-16s fall into that gray area. Just because there were no automatic weapons in 1789 does not mean that society has not evolved to a different standard by now.


I have never owned a gun (and now I can’t afford one). This ruling will probably not make a huge difference in my life. Especially since I don’t often go breaking into houses at midnight to steal flat screen T.V.s. But you never know. I could “get mine” from a bad shot out a window as I walk past a neighbor’s house, or maybe  a ricochet off someone’s front porch. If that bullet has your name on it………


The good thing is that life here in Texas will not change at all. We have never outlawed the hand gun and we will never outlaw the hand gun. But at least now we can sleep easy if we have to move to the District of Columbia. Wonder if the President will go to a gun show this weekend ?


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