DAVID ROSMAN: A new disease is spreading in the Gray Dome

Wednesday, March 13, 2013 | 6:00 a.m. CDT

Personally, I like Kurt Schaefer, R-Columbia. He's a nice guy, has accepted invitations to speak to my students, even supporting some more "liberal" legislative actions. He usually has a good head on his shoulders.

So… I would like to know, what happened to him? Maybe Schaefer was infected by some tea party disease or bitten by NRA rabid dogs. Maybe he suffered a head injury ducking and weaving in the state Senate chambers. However it happened, he now suffers from "stupid does as stupid is" syndrome.

(I know "Forrest Gump" — which is one of the worst morality/rags to riches movies ever — said "stupid is as stupid does," but the reverse appears to fit better in this case.)

The symptom is Schaefer’s sponsored Senate Joint Resolution 14 to revise the Missouri Constitution Article I section 23 to read:

"That the right of every citizen to keep and bear arms in defense of his home, person, family and property, or when lawfully summoned in aid of the civil power, shall not be questioned. The rights guaranteed by this section shall be inalienable. The state of Missouri shall be obligated to uphold these rights and shall under no circumstances decline to protect against their infringement."

Two things are wrong here. First, the bill would effectively remove current language, "but this shall not justify the wearing of concealed weapons," which could be interpreted to mean that today's Missouri conceal-and-carry laws would be void and nullified. A chicken in every pot and two MAC-11s under everyone's shirt.

The second is the inclusion of the second sentence. Since when is owning a firearm an "inalienable right?" Inalienable rights concern natural rights, not rights given through law.

Not one of the "rights" articulated in the Bill of Rights is "inalienable." Each has restrictions and limitations. Each is a general statement of perfection of freedoms for the American people. Second Amendment arguments, as I have said before, concern punctuation, a comma.

Though the Declaration of Independence claims the right of life, liberty and happiness to be "inalienable," these too can be restricted or taken away.

The same "stupid does" illness has befallen state Majority Whip Brian Nieves , R-Washington. His SB 325, if enacted, would declare "as invalid certain federal gun laws, and prohibits the enforcement of such laws" and would prohibit "the enforcement of such gun laws…"

SB 325 also declares the Commerce clause of the Constitution as invalid when concerning the interstate transportation and sale of firearms and that the federal government wants to "destroy the balance of power between the federal government and the state governments." It boldly states that the Missouri legislature would deny "any claim that the taxing and spending powers of Congress can be used to diminish in any way the people's right to keep and bear arms."

I know Mr. Schaefer knows constitutional law. I am not sure about Mr. Nieves. However, if either were to be a Democrat, I am sure the right-wing right-wingers would call them traitors, for they appear to be defying the United States and Missouri constitutions and possibly advocating the overthrow of the government.

I am not sure when or how firearms owners assumed special privileges to be, somehow, above the laws of nature or man. It might have happened when some declared that Luke 22:36 gave us a "God-given right" to own firearms. I personally question if Jesus of Nazareth, a man dedicated to peace and love, could have really said "... if you don't have a sword… buy one." The verse is, after all, a third party quote and does not read "buy an AR-15."

I believe that state and federal legislators like Schaefer and Nieves, all of whom are sworn to uphold the federal and state constitutions, are now defying both. They are definitely not listening to a clear majority of the Americans who agree that state and federal efforts to control "gun ownership is more important than protecting the right of Americans to own firearms." Not that gun ownership is an inalienable right.

Kurt, I am ordering you a bowl of my grandmother's chicken soup, two aspirin and a good night's rest. Maybe your sanity will return. I'll call you in the morning. Advice: 5¢. Representing the People: Priceless.

David Rosman is an editor, writer, professional speaker and college instructor in communications, ethics, business and politics. Questions? Contact opinion editor Elizabeth Conner.

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Ellis Smith March 13, 2013 | 6:58 a.m.

As I've previously posted, Kurt was kind enough to send me a birthday card, and I'm not even allowed to vote for him anymore.* However, since the card came to me forwarded from my Missouri address it appears that Kurt thought I could still vote for him. :)

Man, that "stupid is as stupid does" syndrome sure does get around! It even shows up in the media sometimes. Amazing.

*- There ought to be a law. Actually, there is.

(Report Comment)
Tony Black March 13, 2013 | 7:22 a.m.

You mean God doesn't really want us to carry guns?

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams March 13, 2013 | 9:16 a.m.

Something declared "inalienable" cannot neither be taken nor given away. Our founders went one step further and ascribed "inalienability" as having the stamp of approval from a higher power, making the term even more potent and beyond the reach of humankind.

DavidR believes "inalienable" really isn't inalienable, that ALL things should be subject to change over time merely at the whim of humans. That means Rosman can and will change those basic principles for which he fights, that he is intellectually flabby and mobile in his (and your) freedoms. Interestingly, his fluidity mainly concerns the 2nd amendment and he has yet to tell us how fluid he is on the remaining entries in the Bill of Rights. Freedom of the press, perhaps? Or maybe even "due process"?

The Bill of Rights was written so folks like Rosman could NOT mess with certain rights. Rosman dislikes "inalienable" because he loses the ability to rework your freedoms into "the way things should be according to the Universe of Rosman."

For me, "inalienable" defines those specific things worth a good fight; Rosman is much more flexible and subject to his own whims depending upon whether it is a slow day and the golf links are crowded.

Stupid is as stupid does, indeed.

PS: Rosman is still worried about that 2nd Amendment comma. Heller v. DC settled all that.........

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams March 13, 2013 | 9:25 a.m.

As for, "...Personally, I like Kurt Schaefer, R-Columbia. He's a nice guy...He usually has a good head on his shoulders."

I don't believe this one bit.

Because NO ONE writes that they "like" someone, that they are nice".....yet "stupid", too. In a public newspaper.

Such an absurd verbal dichotomy reveals more about Rosman than it does Schaefer.......

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith March 13, 2013 | 11:58 a.m.

Very good, Michael, but we must always remember...

From each according to his [her] abilities, to each according to his [her] needs (or how loudly he or she can WHINE).

Who ever thought whining would be elevated to an art form?

(Report Comment)
Tony Black March 13, 2013 | 5:01 p.m.

God told Jefferson and company that we need to carry guns?

(Report Comment)
Tony Black March 13, 2013 | 5:07 p.m.

Did God give American Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, etc. the same rights and if so, why would he do that? I tend to think that a christian God would have told them something different.

(Report Comment)
John Schultz March 13, 2013 | 5:31 p.m.

You seem to think all the founding fathers were Christian for some reason.

(Report Comment)
frank christian March 13, 2013 | 5:59 p.m.

TB - The Declaration of Independence - "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.

I think,"If it takes a gun..." has been deleted.

Again, that famous American, Geo. Soros stated with Brian Lamb, on C-SPAN discussing the Constitution. I don't think our rights should be inalienable. We should be able to change them!

(Report Comment)
David Rosman March 14, 2013 | 12:14 p.m.

Gentlemen ~ A good conversation here, but allow me to make a few corrections.

I alone, or you, cannot take away anyone's rights as enumerated in the Constitution. However, the legislature and the courts can. For example, Missouri does have a death penalty law, thus permitting the state to end one's life, an inalienable right, upon conviction of a capital offense by a jury of his/her peers.

Even the ideal “…that all Men are created equal,” has changed over the centuries. Americans of African descent are no longer counted as only “three fifths” a person. Thankfully, Mr. Lincoln saw to that.

Michael and Ellis - Though you and your peers love to quote the Declaration of Independence, it is not a governing document. It is a letter of secession and complaint. It is the document that helped form this nation. But it is not a governing document. That would be the Constitution.

Tony - The biblical passage has been used by the upper echelon of the NRA and other gun lobbying groups to justify ownership of “assault” rifles.

For those who still believe that the government of the United States is somehow based on “Christian morals” and biblical law, I strongly suggest you read my book, “A Christian Nation?” available through Amazon and Barns and Noble. (Yes, it is an unabashed plug.) Please read the entire book before commenting.

Just a tidbit of information: The Constitution does not mention religion other than that there will be no religious test to hold public office and the Establishment clause. As early as 1771, Benjamin Franklin recognized the Islamic faith, saying that “even if the Mufti of Constantinople were to send a missionary to preach Mohammedanism to us, he would find a pulpit at his service.” ( Mosques existed in New York City by the early 1800s, and at least three of Columbus's officers were Muslims. Please get over this religious thing.

I do hope this finds you all well in and great spirits.

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith March 14, 2013 | 5:16 p.m.

"All animals are created equal, but some animals are created more equal than others" is not taken from the Declaration of Independence but from George Orwell's small book, "Animal Farm" (1945). Have you no knowlege of the book? If so, that is incredible.

Under the circumstances, pardon me if I decline the offer to read your book. I am not certain how much time I have left, and I'd prefer not wasting any of it.

(Report Comment)

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