Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Outliers: Those not Covered by the Second Amendment

Clearly, in any time, it would be considered immoral to force those who cannot form moral thoughts to take on the responsibilities of the whole. Was it ever the intention that the Second Amendment (or for that matter, the rest of the Constitution), that we should apply its obligations to those that were infirm, adolescent, or insane? No, the Constitution is a ongoing social contract and like any contract, the parties must come to it with volition and the capacity for that volition.

In the area of controls, we would call a system that requires an exogenous input for its stability to be "conditionally stable", i.e. that it is itself unstable in nature. These systems are never left to their own devices for a slight perturbance can cause dynamics that can quickly overcome any realistic control. Think of a wrecking ball being held at the pinnacle of a mountain by your finger, for example.

The same is true of people who require drugs for their mental wellbeing. They are not themselves stable, but can act so and appear so during their maintenance. This condition might be temporary and many return to full mental health (e.g.  John Nash). Naturally, we would not allow these individuals during these conditions to serve in the armed forces and the existence of the condition exempts them from compulsory service. Fortunately, since such drugs require a prescription, there is a mechanism by which we can enforce this rule.

Let me propose that within the framework of our Constitution, we can agree on sufficient conditions for the welfare and safety of society that are also necessary to ensure the rights of the individual:

  • Every free, mentally sound American adult has the individual right to bear arms whether or not he or she chooses to practice that right. In America, we respect the rights of others whether or not we ourselves choose to partake in the freedoms of that right since the correspondent responsibilities apply to us all.
  • Those that have been adjudicated as insane, who are under sentence for felonies, or who voluntarily have been prescribed mind altering drugs for their mental wellbeing do not during that time participate in the responsibilities of the Constitution and may be denied the rights of the Second Amendment.

In the best society, we do not require paid armed guards for our childrens' schools since we are all at all times our society's and our nation's guardians. Let these disasters end with us and let us not take one more step on the path either of Germany and Russia in the first half of the last century. Let us show the world once again that the US is a nation governed by the People--rational and responsible adults. We are not a nation governed by children, but one which will protect its children.

Rights and responsibility must go hand in hand. We should insist on both at the same time.