Joy Rasch (“Second Amendment has not accomplished what it intended,” TCH, Sept. 27) is mistaken. James Madison, not Patrick Henry, authored the Second Amendment; the anti-slavery views of both men are well-documented. Forty-eight of the state constitutions include clauses equivalent to the Second Amendment. Many of the states joined the Union after the Thirteenth Amendment, never contemplating slavery, and fewer than half of the original 13 states allowed slavery.
Citizen disarmament in America originated in the post-slavery South to perpetuate racial inequality and to preserve a de facto slavery system. Successful civil rights reform in the South required equipping black families and pastors with firearms for defense against the KKK and institutionalized lawlessness.
Rights are forever; freedoms may disappear. Preservation of freedoms remains the main obligation of government. Fundamental rights pre-exist governments; nor does the right of defense against lawless governments or individuals derive from any document. “The rights of man come not from the generosity of the State, but from the hand of God” (John F. Kennedy). Nor does a right endure only so long as someone should perceive a particular utility of that right. Erasure of the Second Amendment would not obliterate a right, but only would remove from paper the moral obligation of the federal government to preserve it as freedom.
J. M. Woolbright, D.V.M, Kennewick