The Right to Bear Arms: Purchasing Power — Part 1


When this nation was founded in the late Eighteenth Century the predominant weapon used by an infantryman was a flintlock musket. A proficient musketeer could load and fire his weapon two or, maybe, three times in a minute. The weapon had an effective range of about 100 yards.

The American Long Rifle (Kentucky rifle, Pennsylvania rifle) was accurate — could hit a man-sized target — at a range of 200-250 yards, but was slower to reload than the musket. The slower reloading times were due to tighter tolerances required for the bullet to make use of the rifling — spiral grooves which caused the bullet/ball to spin and thus increasing its accuracy.

Pistols were also single-shot weapons requiring similar load times of the era’s muskets and rifles — the six-shooter weapons of our Western movies had not yet made an appearance on the scene.

These were the weapons in use when our “founding fathers” wrote and adopted the Constitution and the Bill of Rights (including the 2nd Amendment).

There were no semi-automatic or automatic pistols and rifles capable of firing several rounds a second or hundreds of rounds a minute. And yet, deaths in battles and wars still reached into the hundreds and thousands.

These were still the basic weapons used during the American Civil War of the 1860s. The opposing armies were each made up of tens of thousands of men and boys — and casualties in a single day “often” exceeded 10,000.

It seems to me that most of the mass-shootings in the US over the last several years have occurred at close ranges; i.e., at distances of less than 50-100 yards. The shootings at schools such as Sandy Hook Elementary and Douglas High School occurred at ranges of less than 50 yards. Thus, it is not the weapon’s accuracy but its rate of fire that is important.


A large infantry platoon might contain 50 men. In the late 1700s such a group of soldiers might fire their muskets a combined 100 to 150 times in a single minute. Today, a single individual, using an AR-15 type semi-automatic rifle can fire a like number times per minute — limited only by the strength of his trigger finger and the time it takes him to reload (change ammunition clips).

How might Washington, Jefferson, Adams, Franklin, Hamilton and Madison and other “founding fathers” have written the 2nd Amendment to the U. S. Constitution had the weapons of today been in existence in the 1790s?


Perhaps, just perhaps, we should visit that question again.

Perhaps, just perhaps, the 2nd Amendment should be repealed and another, better suited to the weapons of today, adopted in its place.

And perhaps, just perhaps, Mr. Trump is more right than he realizes; perhaps we need to examine the mental health of our entire society. A society which places the “right to bear arms” above the lives of its children.



A Peculiar American Insanity

My father used to talk about a movie he liked and watched repeatedly. (Or as repeatedly as could be done by a man who worked two jobs in the 60s.) He wanted, he said, to see if a certain train ever arrived late. He said this, of course, (I hope) tongue-in-cheek.

To expect something that keeps repeating itself to change is not realistic. To keeping doing the same thing — again and again, again and again — and expecting the results to be different is nonsense — perhaps it is even insane.

And yet, we — with each mass shooting that occurs in the United States — refuse to alter either our attitudes toward guns or the laws that regulate them.

We are wedded to the idea of the “minuteman” with his single shot musket defending his home and country.

We are wedded to the myth of the “cowboy” defending his farm, ranch and family from bandits, rustlers and Indians with a Colt six-shooter.

Today, a single individual can legally carry the equivalent firepower of a 1700s regiment.

“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.”

Perhaps it is time to re-visit our Constitution. Perhaps it is time to amend the 2nd Amendment to our Constitution.

Aug. 1, 1966: Austin, Texas

– – –

July 18, 1984: San Ysidro, California

Aug. 20, 1986: Edmond, Oklahoma

Jan. 17, 1989: Stockton, California

June 18, 1990: Jacksonville, Florida

Oct. 16, 1991: Killeen, Texas

July 1, 1993: San Francisco, California

Dec. 7, 1993: Garden City, New York

March 24, 1998: Jonesboro, Arkansas

April 20, 1999: Columbine, Colorado

July 29, 1999: Atlanta, Georgia

Sept. 15, 1999: Fort Worth, Texas

Nov. 2, 1999: Honolulu, Hawaii

Dec. 26, 2000: Wakefield, Massachusetts

July 8, 2003: Meridian, Mississippi

March 21, 2005: Red Lake Indian Reservation, Minnesota

Jan, 30, 2006: Goleta, California

Oct. 2, 2006: Nickel Mines, Pennsylvania

Feb. 12 2007: Salt Lake City, Utah

April 16, 2007: Virginia Tech University, Blacksburg, Virginia

Dec. 5, 2007: Omaha, Nebraska

Feb. 14, 2008: Northern Illinois University, Dekalb, Illinois

April 3, 2009: Binghamton, New York

Nov. 5, 2009: Ft. Hood, Texas

Aug. 3, 2010: Manchester, Connecticut

Jan. 11 2011: Tuscon, Arizona

Oct. 12, 2011: Seal Beach, California

April 2, 2012: Oikos University in Oakland, California

July 20, 2012: Aurora, Colorado, movie theater

Aug. 5, 2012: In Oak Creek, Wisconsin, at a Sikh Temple

Sept. 27, 2012: Accent Signage Systems in Minneapolis, Minnesota

Dec. 14, 2012: In Newtown, Connecticut, Sandy Hook Elementary School

July 26, 2013: Hialeah, Florida

Sept. 16, 2013: Washington Navy Yard, Washington, DC

May 23, 2014: Near the University of California, Santa Barbara

June 17, 2015: Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina

Oct. 1, 2015: Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon

Dec. 2, 2015: San Bernardino, California

Feb. 20, 2016: Kalamazoo, Michigan

June 11, 2016: Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida

Jan. 6, 2017: Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport

Oct. 1, 2017: Las Vegas, Nevada

Nov. 5, 2017: First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas

. . . perhaps.