Reaganomics, without a doubt, was the beginning of the end of the American middle class, where one patriarchal income could actually support an entire family. A decent factory job could enable a man to raise a family while the wife helped raise the children and groom them for an eventual college education. Women, though paid less, are now forced to work. The jump in working women has been especially prominent among those who are mothers — from 37 percent in 1968 to 65 percent in 2011. If men were always the sole breadwinners and now rely on women to help a family to simply survive, a seldom-discussed consequence of this is emasculation and resentment of women. Misogyny, known best by the label “Feminazis” (thanks Rush) has made many men turn to violence through guns, but not always against women. Guns are a substitute for the emasculation of their earning power.
Right in the heyday of Morning In America, 1982, Senator Orrin Hatch teamed up with the NRA-ILA to make Americans reexamine the 2nd Amendment, which was almost as irrelevant as the Third (the government cannot force citizens to house soldiers in their homes). Hatch’s viewpoint was an insurrectionist interpretation, in which the Second Amendment is thought to allow for a militia of armed citizens to protect themselves against government, not the original framers’ intent of preventing uprisings against the government by the states. Slowly but surely, the conversion of the middle class to the working-poor took its toll on the masculine psyche. There is no question, Reaganomics commenced the hollowing-out of the middle class.
The power and influence of the NRA, even after there was an assassination attempt on the Deity of the Republican party, Ronald Reagan, skyrocketed thanks to the Republican alignment with the gun industry. Gun ownership has always been fairly high for Americans, but the laws regarding gun-control legislation have become less and less popular. Because of insane contributions from the NRA-ILA, gun laws have been relaxed, even though most (78%) Americans are for stricter laws for the acquisition of guns.
If you look at the history of mass shootings in America, coincidentally, the count begins in 1982. Does this irrefutably prove the decline of the middle class causes more gun violence? No, not entirely. But it certainly seems suspicious the reinterpretation of the Second Amendment coincided with the evisceration of the middle class that began under Reagan’s tenure.
Since Colonial America, slavery and States’ Rightswere issues that divided the men trying to form our government. In 1789, the Constitution was ratified ultimately by adding The Bill of Rights to limit the power the elected government had over the people of the United States. The divisive issue of slavery was a bone of contention for anti-Federalists and slave owners like Patrick Henry and George Mason of Virginia. Both ardently pressed for the addition of explicit states rights and were opposed to the idea of a federal militia which could usurp their “slave patrols.” To appease those who worried about the sovereignty of the states, the Second Amendment was worded in such a way that allowed southern slave states to maintain a well-regulated militia that kept the slaves in chains. The Second Amendment was ratified to PRESERVE SLAVERYand once the Thirteenth Amendment passed in 1865, the Second Amendment became obsolete.
“Give me liberty, or give me death!” is a quotation attributed to Patrick Henry from a speech he made to the Virginia Convention in 1775. Ironically, he was outraged by the whole idea of bondage and slavery (by the British) while owning slaves! “Those chains which the British ministry have been so long forging. . . . If we wish to be free — if we mean to preserve inviolate those inestimable privileges for which we have been so long contending — if we mean not basely to abandon the noble struggle in which we have been so long engaged, and which we have pledged ourselves never to abandon until the glorious object of our contest shall be obtained, we must fight! . . . There is no retreat but in submission and slavery!” Indeed Henry and other southern states’ representatives suffered from cognitive dissonance when it came to freedom. They demanded their own autonomy while holding other human beings in a state of bondage. The only way this could be achieved was to deny the black slaves the right to bear arms and to deny the federal government the right to interfere with slave patrols, also known as state militias.
Until Utah Senator Orrin Hatch (R) joined forces with the NRA and the Moral Majority in 1982, no amendment received less attention in the courts in the two centuries following the adoption of the Bill of Rights than the Second. He published a report on “The Right to Keep and Bear Arms,” which concluded, “What the Subcommittee on the Constitution uncovered was clear—and long lost—proof that the second amendment to our Constitution was intended as an individual right of the American citizen to keep and carry arms in a peaceful manner, for protection of himself, his family, and his freedoms.” This is obviously a perversion of the original intent, as these militias are no longer in existence, except for a handful of fringe, anarchist extremist groups. This particular clarification of the Second is called an insurrectionist interpretation, in which the Amendment is thought to allow for a militia of armed citizens standing ready to defend republican liberty against the depredations of a government become tyrannical. I can assure you, this is why TeaParty “patriots” show up for demonstrations against the current duly elected president armed and ready for battle. If you want a modern-day comparison, a law steeped in racism where it’s technically legal to shoot a black person, simply consider Stand Your Ground, which has justified the murder of largely Black Americans.
In 1919, the Eighteenth Amendment was ratified to prohibit the sale and consumption of alcohol. This proved to be a dreadful experiment, causing more crime and problems than it solved. The Twenty-first Amendment repealed Prohibition as the nation recognized its detrimental consequences. Since the Thirteenth Amendment abolished the very thing the Second Amendment was designed to protect, the Lincoln administration should have had the foresight to repeal an antiquated amendment that was wholly dependent on the institution of slavery to even exist. The original framers of the Constitution never envisioned an America where guns and ammunition would be purchased indiscriminately by almost anyone with literally no regulation. Republicans (and some Democrats too) have been utterly demolished by the NRA gun lobby if they, in any way, prohibit the purchase of guns by imposing sensible regulations. Perhaps if more people understood why the Second Amendment came to be and how it has been completely amorally debased to benefit those manufacturing these horrible weapons, our nation might have a chance to curtail the slaughter innocent children and adults of all races and creeds.