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Tuesday, June 23, 2015


by William Aarnes

Cartoon by Steve Stegelin, Charleston City Paper,  July 25, 2012

“For more than a hundred years, the answer was clear, even if the words of the amendment itself were not. The text of the amendment is divided into two clauses and is, as a whole, ungrammatical: “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.” The courts had found that the first part, the “militia clause,” trumped the second part, the “bear arms” clause. In other words, according to the Supreme Court, and the lower courts as well, the amendment conferred on state militias a right to bear arms—but did not give individuals a right to own or carry a weapon. Enter the modern National Rifle Association. . . . ” —Jeffrey Toobin, The New Yorker, December 17, 2012 (i.e. after Newtown)
“The most recent national poll of NRA members that we could find, done in January 2013 by Johns Hopkins University, found that 73.7 percent of the members supported requiring background checks for all gun sales.” —PolitiFact Wisconsin, March 18, 2015

An accidental death here and there,
an impulsive murder-suicide,

a massacre of moviegoers,
a gunning-down of worshippers,

a slaughter of children in classrooms,
a lucrative trade in weapons

all being in keeping with the preservation
of our crazed State,

the need of our People
to shoot each other

shall not be infringed.

 William Aarnes lives in South Carolina.  His work has appeared recently in Field, Heron Tree, and South 85.