Monday, August 6, 2012

#240 Okay Antonin "Tony Guns" Scalia and You Too Frankie "Dutch" Lautenberg--Let's Talk ... About THE Gun Law of 1791 [UPDATED]

Here is Justice "Tony Guns"  in his youthful gangbanger days sporting a  longer coif, and wearing a single, distinctive and quite becoming earring in the LEFT ear, which I'm told is the secret double-reverse signum of underworld connections (see last post), perhaps even unto the depths of Hell. Or not.

But he sure does love himself them fararms ... and that good ol'-timey Second Amendment of the US Constitution, by which he "justifies" his love. Sweet. Known only to intimates: the mobster-benchman has it tattooed where his tramp-stamp would go. A rite of passage in the organization. And which, lucky for us Patriots, he believes gives us the right to "bear arms" in a delightfully unfettered way.

Now as a "Strict Constructionist" (aka "entomologist") in interpreting the Constitution, he had to eliminate from his decision-making the possibility that the "Framers," or whoever, were NOT thinking of "bear arms" as a noun-noun double morpheme compound substantive as in "bear arms"--that is, weapons to kill bruin-kind (family Ursidae), such ursidicide being a common pastime in Colonial America, especially in Philadelphia, where these quaint gunslingers were meeting. But bears of several species (not including the Koala, which hadn't been discovered yet) can be dangerous for colonial campsites, and pose a threat to New-Nationhood. Proper weaponry guaranteeing Ursine lethality.would have been required of all.  Big long guns. Most antebellum colonists had them anyway. Did the 2ndA restrict firearms to bear-musketry only?

Here's the Original (spelling and all), consisting of one syntactically awkward sentence that "originalist" Justice Mafiabagman had to deal with--tattooed, as I said, slightly north of his hindquarters and tail, making it prima facie difficult for ready reference:
A well regulated Militia, being neceffary to the fecurity of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear armf, shall not be infringed.
Even the fpelling is difficult, as you can see, the Framers being inodinately fond of the alternate orthographic form of "s" (technically, the fistula) at the time. It's an effete rightward slanting "f"-like grapheme (as in parfum, not to be confused with parsum, which is not a word anyway), whose type key the Blogman had installed in the keyboard device for just such an occasion. A curious but meaningless  fact: an unusually high number of Founding Fathers had a lisp, or developed one soon after the Convention ... as would we all.

These minutiae are important to an "originalist" interpreter of our Founding Document and its first ten amendments, because there may be even more. The "textualists" represent the other related approach in the (coinage alert) "Constrictcunnalinctionist" family of two. This branch also sanctifies the words-as-written epistome, but unlike the "originalists" these seditious folk allow for some semantic evolution to be taken into account. Patriotic "originalists" (aka Tea-Baggers) will have none of that. They want to "figure out" what the "Framers" were "actually" THINKING at the "time" they were "actually" WRITING the "words."

Thus the Devil was appropriately in the details for Mr. Justice Uuderworld because he had to come up with the RIGHT (haha) Opinion as he consulted the oft-disputed 2ndA, as nobody affectionately calls it yet. He was deciding a case involving a law prohibiting home hand-gun possession in Wash DC, Difficult. But Antonin came through. This Associated Press headline and lead say it all:
Gun-Crazy*** Justice Scalia Writes Demented Majority Opinion That Strikes Down DC Anti-Hand-Gun Law Based On Delusional Constitutional Right To Bear Arm Joining Scalia in the 5-4 Decision Banning the Banning of the Ownership of Handguns in the Home Were the Other Barely Humanoid Members of SCOTUS [?]: Roberts, Kennedy, Thomas, and What's-His-Name (AP 6/22/12)

It would be hard to make these things up. Anyway, Justice Scalia's "originalist" interpretation began by eliminating something SO elementary that it was beyond even my ken, and barbie's too. Bear armf? thought Scalia, trying to think the thoughts of the great Thinkers-up of the thing. Could the Framers have been thinking of the severed fore-limbs of the Ursine-kind? As weapons? To CLUB a Redcoat into submission perhaps, after a soldier's ammunition ran out or gun jammed? Broken bayonet? Might work, till spoilage set in. Heavy enough. Lots of bears around then. The claws would surely be effective. But noooo, too messy for fussbudget aristocrats like Adams, Hamilton, and esp Dolly Madison, who I've heard wrote most of the Constitution. Problem is: never happened. And the OED cites no instance of  "armf" used for bear parts. 

Then the revelation. He had been painstakingly parsing the ideation of each word separately, but now he remembered the "and" preceding "bear armf" and ...  Epiphany. "Tony Guns" knew right then that he was on to something.

[NEXT: How "Tony Guns" justifies thousands upon thousands of needless homicides.]

 *** Saw Gun Crazy, the movie, at the old Avalon theater (q.v. in several archival posts) in 1950 on a "double-bill" (yes, Virginia, TWO movies for a quarter) and tried unsuccessfully to reach and relate it to Annie Oakley and Hoot Gibson . Re-saw it recently on TCM. Wonderfully trashy/campy noir with moral that gunf make good people into killers. Tsk, tsk, a truth for the ages.

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