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The Bill of Rights Is Not a Takeout Menu

We’ve got a problem in this country. Somehow, citizens, egged on by media, have gotten it in their heads that the Constitution’s Bill of Rights, which consists of its first ten amendments, is a pick and choose affair like some takeout meal menu. Even though it all springs from a common experience, it seems that they like this part, but not that, and the press will use their influence to promote such agendas. Much of this problem may well lay with the issue that the average American doesn’t even know what the Bill of Rights is, let alone how and why it came to be and what these rights mean for their lives. To get this rolling along, I’ll offer this quick reminder.

I. Freedom of Speech, Press, Religion and Petition
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

II. Right to keep and bear arms
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.

III. Conditions for quarters of soldiers
No soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

IV. Right of search and seizure regulated
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

V. Provisons concerning prosecution
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use without just compensation.

VI. Right to a speedy trial, witnesses, etc.
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.

VII. Right to a trial by jury
In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury shall be otherwise reexamined in any court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

VIII. Excessive bail, cruel punishment
Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

IX. Rule of construction of Constitution
The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

X. Rights of the States under Constitution
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

These initial amendments to the Constitution’s base document were conceived and ratified after a brutal revolutionary struggle that freed the American people from the oppressive rule of a monarchy. Each and every one of these rights were expressed to limit the government’s ability to harm its citizens because during the revolution Americans had faced every one of these issues under British rule.

This all brings me to the point of this article. It seems everyone loves the First Amendment, especially the press because they enjoy the right to say whatever they want. But, they don’t seem to fond these days of the Second Amendment. SSD is considered by many to be a blog. There are loads of “gun” and “tactical” blogs out there. Most are run by private citizens but as print media has seen a serious decline in recent years, large media corporations have set up their own blogs as a means to offset revenue losses. AS you can imagine, along with those blogs comes their parent corporation’s agenda.

Some corporate blogs will have two or three levels of cut outs between them and the parent corporation. Some will happily talk about guns all day long but not about support the industry to manufacture guns or the right of the individual to bear arms. As I understand it, some corporate blogs fancy themselves as having journalistic integrity, with a policy on 2A issues that they must provide “balanced” coverage. For example, if a writer posts a pro-2A article, it must be countered with an anti-gun article to offer both sides of the issue. I’m pretty appalled at that notion. How can you justify legitimizing the erosion of Constitutional rights? Imagine if the articles were discussing attempts to eliminate First Amendment freedoms, they’d be yelling from the rooftops. Worse yet, several of these sites with questionable attitudes toward the Second Amendment feature writers who are well known in firearms circles. I don’t understand how you can make a living from firearms but work for an organization that wants to put you out of business. But they do it, and they don’t disclose the agenda of their parent companies when they work with the firearms industry.

Recently, a writer for a corporate blog commented that I must be working for a company because that company chose to provide content to SSD rather than his blog which is owned by a large media corporation with a long history of anti-2A action. In a way, he was right. Unapologetically, SSD works for the firearms and tactical industries. We exist to cover them. There’s no subterfuge here. We don’t pal up to a company, write about them and funnel the profits of that coverage to be used to fundamentally undermine the industry.

I urge industry to investigate any media they cooperate with including us. Regardless of size, blogs exist for three reasons. Some blogs are set up as a means to get free stuff. Others are there solely as a means to make money. And there is a third category, those blogs that have a passion both for the industry as well as our system of government and the way of life it provides.

Readers and industry alike should support those that support them. In case you have difficulty considering who is on “our” side, take a look at both coverage and actions. If a blog is always asking for freebies but not supporting the right to bear arms, they are a part of the problem. So go out there and see for yourself. Investigate. Ask questions of media who want to write about you. This includes web-based and print magazines, newspapers as well as blogs.

Don’t let others treat our Constitution’s Bill of Rights as a takeout menu, picking and choosing which suits their agenda. They will use any means to undermine our cause. The Constitution’s Bill of Rights exist for a reason and that is to protect the individual from an oppressive government. Every time one of these rights is weakened the strength of the others is as well.

26 Responses to “The Bill of Rights Is Not a Takeout Menu”

  1. MaxM says:

    Well said.

  2. Garrett says:

    People really don’t understand Rights vs. Privileges …

    Rights are inherent and privileges need permission…

    Since we have a Bill of Rights and NOT a Bill of Privileges…

    Machine guns bans, concealed carry permits, virtually all other gun control is Unconstitutional.

    • Paul says:

      Suggest you read Justice Scalia’s opinion in Heller. He describes the right as “not unlimited.”

      • Garrett says:

        He’s wrong. If you have to have permission to do something, it’s a privilege not a right…

        I have the right to walk on my property, if you want to walk on my property you have to get permission and subsequent privilege to do so…

        If a right requires government permission, then it is a privilege and no right at all.

  3. Reverend says:

    Amen.

  4. Getting bored says:

    Dude, I’ve deployed 4 times, I three handguns and two rifles, and I still only come here to read about gear. I come here less and less right now because I feel like this website’s been taken over by either teenagers or cartoon characters.

    Of course there are limitations on the Bill of Rights. That’s just the way reality works. You can around believing that the Bill of Rights is exactly what you want it to be but meanwhile, on planet reality, that’s not the case and never will be the case. Take one law school class on American common law and then tell me otherwise, not in terms of “I want, I want”, but in terms of “this is what it is”. We have over 200 years of history telling us that every other part of the Bill of Rights is malleable, so to simply pout and pretend gun rights can’t be restricted isn’t just unrealistic, it completely takes us out of the debate. We have the complexities of society and the human existence to tell us otherwise, to tell us that grey areas predominate and that decisions are made at the margins of what’s acceptable, not in some absolutist vacuum. Try doing COIN for 15 months and tell me that life’s all black and white.

    Why are we gonna lose this upcoming firearms legislation? Because gun ownership increasingly stands for being a weird, almost certainly white person who lives in a dreamworld where he or she is fighting some mythical battle against paranoid fantasies and invisible presidents. The zombie apocalypse isn’t coming. The communist/fascist/alien reptile revolution isn’t coming. This isn’t a movie and life is still as boring as you wish it weren’t. A lot of the populace could be swayed either way in the assault rifle and high-cap mag debate, but that requires both reason and charisma. We’re our own worst enemy, and the people who “defend” our gun preferences might as well been handpicked by those with different preferences, so unlikeable are they.

    • SSD says:

      Why is it consistently that guys who want to make people believe that they are serving in the military invariably come up with IPs that are nowhere near a military base?

      • Getting Bored says:

        Really, thing?

        That’s your response? I’m 20 mins outside Ft Meade, 40 mikes outside DC, and I’m nowhere near a base? And that’s your idea of responding to reason? That’s exactly the kind of weird thinking I was railing against. Good luck protecting your rights in fantasyland.

        • SSD says:

          Posting from Towson at 0800 on a duty day is more than self identifying. And btw, there was no reason in your post, your point was to hijack to pontificate on your desire for gun control. Anytime I hear about “reason” I cringe because it’s used as a code word for compromise. You hit it chapter and verse right out of the anti-gun playbook. There is absolutely zero “reason” we are talking right now about curtailing the rights of responsible, law-abiding gun owners. Even Vice President Biden has openly admitted that none of the Administration’s proposed gun control measures would prevent mass shootings.

          • Getting bored says:

            Check my email name. What does it say? And what does it coincide with that it’s in Towson?

    • Long time reader says:

      I’ve been reading Soldier Systems for a long time and I can tell you that Eric is well known for presenting a pretty balanced view of the issues. From what I read in this article, it seems that he doesn’t see where any balance is needed. How do you compromise a right that you have? From your response, I’d say that you are a college student. Maybe you need to do some outside studying and rely less on what your professors are spoon feeding you. As for your assertion of military service, I’m with Eric on this one, how does 4 deployments equate to 15 months of COIN experience?

      • Getting bored says:

        Well, that’s the thing. You hear what you want to hear. I don’t agree with you, so I’m automatically a fraud. And if I send something from my AKO, you’ll say I’m a POG until I provide evidence to the contrary. Once I produce that evidence, I’m a FOBBIT. And once we’ve got that out of the way, I’m just a leftie college student. That’s what I mean by undermining gun advocacy. That’s exactly the kind of position the gun control advocates would love you to take. “No compromise or death!”. Great for you. Be the heroes in your own little martyr story. Look for conspiracies and frauds everywhere. But you’re not going to win this, because your idea of changing minds boils down to, “let’s scream at the other side until they agree with us”. How often does that approach work in our society? How often has that worked when someone tried it on you? And sure, you can keep posting stuff like this on websites where everyone agrees with you, but you know that is? A circle-jerk.

        • SSD says:

          We are at the point where we aren’t going to change the minds of the other side no matter what we say. To negotiate is to capitulate. That is the way of America in 2013. But, there is absolutely no reason to negotiate in the first place. There is no reason to give away anything.

      • Philip says:

        Wouldn’t 4 deployments add up to something like 48 months of COIN experience? I know the Army shortened deployments, but not by that much…

    • Interesting says:

      Dude,
      You need to really read the news and keep in touch. Everywhere is saying this ban is NOT going to pass, there is NO support. So, where do you get this idea that it is going to pass? Who is living in a dream world? I think it might be YOU. You do not live in Utopia, the real world is dangerous, bad things happen, it’s life. That’s why there are good people out there to help protect. It is funny how no one wants to acknowledge the fact that firearms were used 2.5 million times last year to PROTECT people from these bad things. AND, how many men and women sacrifice all for the RIGHT for you to say the things you say, let alone live in the freest country on earth. Better sit down and take a self-check BEFORE posting. And by the way, stay in school so you can learn how sentences are structured, your grammar is terrible.

      • JES says:

        I always worry when the press starts pimping a point of view, such as, “Of course a gun ban will never pass.” Kinda reminds me of, “Obama’s way behind in the polls.”

        Something that REALLY bothers me, though, is when military folks who ought to know better go on about how us little civilians “don’t need” proper weaponry to defend ourselves. What, are YOU stepping up to the plate to personally protect me? No? Didn’t think so. So get out of my way- I’ve got a gun to buy.

    • veteran says:

      You need to reassess your “oath” to protect the constitution if this is your conclusion as to it’s merits.

      You are part of the problem rather than part of the solution according to your thoughts posted above….

  5. Interesting says:

    SSD,
    Very nice, well said.
    Thanks

  6. Lawrence says:

    I think New Model Army said it best in their song “Here Comes the War”…

    “put out the lights on the age of reason!”

  7. Average joe says:

    SSD well said and keep on doing what you do. I sell firearms for a living and go to college full time so I can tell you, though you already know, that my peers are malleable morons. They learn the world from a biased book, instead of trying to find answers themselves. When I meet anti 2A students I let them rant and argue, then (without anger or cockyness) I slam them with statistics and try to get them on the range. Many friends are now not only pro 2A but turning their friends on to it as well.
    Getting bored you sound like you have been near DC too long, thanks for your service, now get your head out of your a$$ and do something productive.

  8. Wild Bill USMC(Ret) says:

    RIGHT ON, BROTHER! The Bill of Rights just about says it all. The Bill of Rights has been good enough for 221 years (1791-2012), I believe it is still pertinent and relevant today. Hey, maybe the “gun-banning” leftist liberals and progressives should appreciate the fact that without a bunch of us “gun-toting maniacs” they would not have the freedoms, which they are so willing to destroy. Case Closed — 2D Amendment stands firm with the other nine!

  9. veteran says:

    Thanks SSD for recognizing how important the current crisis is! America has failed at teaching our younger generations what the Constitution really is and we must change that…

  10. Va Beach says:

    Why is it that when there is always somebody who says they served, and deployed, and own guns, then spouts out some rhetoric about how people need to get used to the flexibility of the bill of rights, always seem to miss the biggest point of all.

    The point being that the bill of rights, as stated, is not a pick and chose affair. It is what it is, and at anypoint when you try to limit the inherit power and word of you, those actions themselves are unconstitutional. You limit free speech through fining the news networks for improper language, ultimately unconsitutional. You limit americans abilities to fight off a threat from the US military itself, unconstitutional. Etc etc. While this comment is not for SSD, its more for that sad excuse of a military member who thinks we all need to get used to the fact that the constitution will be limited. If that mindset was overwhelmingly present over 220 years ago, we would have british accents, and you would probably not enjoy your cush ability to provide stupid comments.

  11. Jim says:

    The US Bill of Rights was not really ‘conceived’ as such, more a copy of the English Bill of Rights, a hundred years before. It was a reiteration of the rights of all free Englishmen.

    As a foreigner, I’ve always thought that as these are amendments, surely they can be amended.

    Looking at the BoR, it appears some of those are already being broken by your Government.