Why Did Founding Fathers Give Americans the Right to Bear Arms?

It’s difficult for me, born in Jamaica and spending my early life in Canada, to get my head around the Constitutional “right to bear arms” that Americans seem to treasure. Were the authors of the Second Amendment expecting an attack from British Redcoats dispatched to recapture the Americas for George III? Or were they so profoundly suspicious of their own new government that they had to arm their citizens in case of a resurgence of tyranny?

I wish someone with a better understanding of American history would enlighten me. From the dim memory I have of Jamaican classrooms, we stopped learning about the Americas after the Revolution. As far as the British historians that we heard from were concerned, it seems the United States barely existed.

So forgive me if I look around in amazement at the growing number of American citizens who join militias and attend events where they can enjoy target practice with their rocket launchers and machine guns. Are they seriously expecting armed conflict? Who is planning to attack them? Whom are they planning to attack? How long do they expect to stand up to a real military assault – from tanks and helicopter gun ships?

The Southern Poverty Law Center recently reported that militias have increased dramatically in America since the election of Barack Obama as President.  The center noted a rash of domestic terrorism cases, plus skyrocketing firearms and ammunition sales, and an explosion of heated rhetoric – especially since the health care debate erupted. Some hate groups see health care reform as a form of “Socialism.”

Republican opponents of health care reform and lobbyists hired by companies that feel threatened by proposals for a “government option” have launched a campaign designed to generate hatred for the President. This movement is supported by vitriolic media commentators like Glen Beck and Rush Limbaugh.

And, with the election of America’s first black President, the hate groups have a valuable recruiting tool in the innate racism that’s never far below the surface of American society.

“The face of the federal government today is black, and that has injected a whole new element into the militia movement,” said Mark Potok of the Southern Poverty Law Center. And author Ronald Kessler reports in his new book, “In the President’s Secret Service,” that threats against Obama are up 400 percent over threats to George W. Bush.

To get an idea of the lunacy bubbling menacingly below the surface of American society, watch this YouTube video:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BDbWs8q5fek]

Are you as puzzled as I am? What is this guy babbling about? Who is going to attack the American people? And why? And why wouldn’t the armed forces be able to defend the country against an attack? Or is it the armed forces that these nut cases fear?

Sadly, American law enforcement agencies cannot ignore the craziness because it could have real consequences. American Presidents have been assassinated before. Let’s pray it never happens again.

gwgraeme

I am a Jamaican-born writer who has lived and worked in Canada and the United States. I live in Lakeland, Florida with my wife, Sandra, our three cats and two dogs. I like to play golf and enjoy our garden, even though it's a lot of work. Since retiring from newspaper reporting I've written a few books. I also write a monthly column for Jamaicans.com

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