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Rethinking the Whole Country


Rethinking the Whole Country

Robert C. Koehler

Repeal and replace? How about the Second Amendment?

“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.”

Setting aside the antique strangeness of the wording, isn’t it time to give thought to the values that permeated the era in which it was written — and who, exactly, “the people” were to which it referred?


Robert, I appreciate and value your idealism, but in order to re-think the country–an audacious and necessary project–we need a media and national leaders who have the courage to start a national conversation. We also need citizens who can think beyond their own self interests–and in my view, only a minority are capable of that at present. Seems we have much preliminary ground work to accomplish before any of this can happen. We’ve wasted trillions on wars and invasions but can’t even discuss that at a national level. I’m worried that we will ever be able to do the things you suggest.


From the article:

“For America to be America, does it need an enemy?”

To get the right answers, first ask the right questions, thus:

For the people who rule America to continue to rule America, do they need an enemy? The answer is plainly yes. Where enemies don’t exist, the US creates them. Where enemies are found, the US hunts them down and kills them—or, at least, kills anybody who looks like them.

The US then calls these killers “heroes,” and spends inordinate amounts of taxpayer dollars on commercials glorifying them and recruiting their replacements. It should surprise no one, then, that generations of us have grown up knowing that all problems can be solved with the pull of a trigger.

This culture, like all cultures, can be changed, but tinkering with the Constitution should be the last step, not the first.


God given rights? What a laugh. In about 20 years as global warming kicks up and social order begins to collapse you will find out exactly what rights your God has given you…none. Rights are bestowed on members of a society by the society as a whole and last only as long as it is expedient or possible for society to provide them. God given rights are a pipe dream.


…and, if we ever do begin a serious conversation that asks what kind of nation we wish to be, the Great Divide will become quickly evident: Those of the Authoritarian Personality with those who so easily manipulate them, and those who choose not to use violence and repression --those who do the work to be reasoning, caring, collaborative members of a community seeking to live well together.


Answer: Yes!


A constitution is only as useable as the court decisions that interpret it and only as effective as those in power are willing to abide by it, since there is very little in the way of enforcement or accountability built into the U.S. Constitution. Those in power have routinely ignored it, or circumvented it, or pushed the limits, since the very beginning. Two-hundred plus years of erosion have now placed us in a post-constitutional era.

Repealing the Second Amendment is not the cure-all for controlling guns that so may on the left now think it is. Repealing the Second is not only an astronomical a long shot, it will also have very little effect. The actual legal standing of the Second, as per recent Court interpretations, already allows the government a wide latitude in restricting guns. Banning the sale of military style weapons, large capacity magazines, universal background checks and all the other current proposals for gun control are well within what is allowed via current Court interpretations of the Second. If we don’t have those at the federal level, it isn’t because of the Second.

I would also caution those who believe the Second is an ironclad guarantee of gun ownership. It’s not and is already subject to a wide range of restrictions, not to mention that the Second can be be just as easily circumvented as the First and the Fourth or any other amendment as our increasingly authoritarian government sees fit.


While I advocate strongly for common sense gun reform, it is my belief that if you tried to actually repeal the second amendment, you would have nothing less then a civil war on your hands.

But let’s ponder for a moment what the concept “constitutional right” actually means.

My question about the national cornerstone comes down to this: For America to be America, does it need an enemy? Is the unquestioned presence of an enemy at the core of how we have defined and organized ourselves? Or do the nation’s constitutional ideals transcend the assumption of an ever-present enemy — that is to say, its default storyline?

Does the Second Amendment pay homage to the default American storyline: that the enemy is always out there and the only defense is shooting first (or building a wall)? I will say this much. Big Two puts the right to bear arms in the context of a well-regulated militia, which is to say, in the idea that security is a collective enterprise. The amendment’s present-day defenders do no such thing.

How much of this consciousness has been preserved in our basic laws? Did the founders manage to transcend even their own prejudices? Why, in any case, is this country so violent and how can we move beyond it?

excellent questions to ponder! does our “right” to carry a weapon supersede our “right” to live in safety? fdr listed our basic freedoms as: 1) freedom of speech, 2) freedom of worship, 3) freedom from want and, 4) freedom from fear. fear is of the essence, a basic emotion shared by every living entity. however, our u.s militarized government spokesmen have from day-one been busy propagating fear as a tactic to cower and control citizens. after all, happy and content people see no need for war. fear exists as an integral component for survival. all animals flee from impending danger. however the anxiety, xenophobia and paranoia in 21st century america is an unhealthy aberration.

the students marched to tell governors that we have a “right” to feel safe in our schools. but . . .do we want an expanded police presence? is expanded helicopter parenting the answer? our governing “authorities” our police and our military serve at the pleasure of the international corporate oligarchy. therefore, i am not anxious to leave matters in the legislators’ venal hands. the u.s. was born of war and yes!, the mistrust, bigotry and sexism of our founders dogs us yet today.

how can we move beyond the violence? most here do not embrace violence. you know, i really think we have to let this insane scenario play through. a good friend often reminded us, “buckle your seat-belts, laddies, we’re in for a rough ride!” stay strong committed to love and peace and non-violence.

“When systems fall, when things break down … people remain. Don’t be afraid of what comes next. Be ready.”—Ed Snowden 11/13/2016

“May your choices reflect your hopes not your fears”—Nelson Mandela


Who are we going to have rethinking the country here? I don’t doubt that the need exists, but the proposition sure begs a lot of questions.

Certainly if we do want anything like an effective control of arms, the repeal or considerable change to the Second Amendment makes sense. If we do feel that the founders’ language does not suit the present conditions, we ought to discuss how it is to be changed and change that rather than just assume that it might be interpreted any old way that suits.

I suppose it might be high time. After all, the language in the amendment is arms, not guns. And I don’t know a lot of people who feel that all their neighbors out to be allowed access to each of the military playthings that the government has sitting around. I’d take most of them from the government, too, if I could. I might be more sympathetic to the argument that individual weapons help keep the state under control if the arms culture that I grew up with had seemed concerned with liberty rather than property and taxes.

But I also have to wonder about the wisdom of letting our current group of yo-yos decide anything. Other than XI, which does not itself enumerate rights, which of the original ten amendments to the Constitution has not fallen into abuse?

I. Persecution of whistleblowers is at an all-time high for the States. American executives, presidential candidates, and legislators can all publicly call for the murder of journalists with little loss of faith.

II. The Second includes the phrase “shall not be infringed,” which has been ignored, for better or for worse.

III. “Harboring of soldiers” has been routine in occupied countries, though not so much in the States post-Reconstruction.

IV. Warrantless search and seizure over digital media is not only routine, but near-universal.

V, VI, VII, VIII. Political prisoners are held for years without trial and often tortured.

X. This is routinely violated in most US military actions by the executive and the shadow government agencies.

I cannot say that it leaves me with a lot of faith. The original framers, for all their faults, were men scared of centralized power. The current crop seems quite enamored of it.

But you know, it’s not like things are run right now. What might we propose?


Your tone implies a veiled threat, and comes real close to sedition. It is not helpful.


You know that individuals will never be able to defend themselves against the firepower of the State. That makes gun ownership and use solely for protection from vandals and for hunting or target practice. A community of unarmed people might be much safer if it was a closed enclave. A greater obligation to enhance the commonweal should take precedence over the thrill of gun ownership.


What a disappointing, mean-spirited response to a thoughtful article. It makes me despair of ever being able to have a rational debate about any issue in America.


Didn’t know Ted Danson was a climate expert - lol!


conduct or speech inciting people to rebel against the authority of a state or monarch.
synonyms: rabble-rousing, incitement to rebel, subversion, troublemaking, provocation.

An attitude that envisions a civil war as a potentially desirable reaction to stricter gun control,
gets pretty close to the definition, dude. I’ll stand by that.


No, you did not bring it up. Your response to it was the striking part, in which you seem to be saying: “My side would win, for we have the guns.”


Thank you, bard. From the title of the article, I was hoping all of these things were going to be discussed. As many have already mentioned, the gun thing is so divisive, that it doesn’t go very far. Added to the amendments, is basic rights for shelter, food, clean water, warmth, maybe?
And perhaps the Constitution needs some work on the presidential election process?
Yes, we dream on.


I saw Creepshow. Ted Danson has a legitimate personal concern about rising sea levels.