Civil War

Civil war: (n) a war between citizens of the same country.

If you know something is right, the best way to live is to go ahead and do it. Putting things off that we know are inevitable just makes us look stupid in the long run.

When the politicians involved in the American Revolution got together to form a Constitution, all of them, in their own ways, knew that slavery was wrong.

Some didn’t care.

Some believed it was more right than wrong.

But the main authors of the Constitution, from Madison on down, were fully cognizant that it was absolutely ridiculous to think that one man could own another
man. Matter of fact, they constantly lamented to one another that they “wished there was more they could do.”

It was their habit to free all of their slaves upon their death. So from 1776 until 1860–a span of eighty-four years–there was an ongoing debate about whether anything of significance could be done to curtail slave trading in the United States of America.

Laws were passed and ridiculous compromises achieved, but in the final fifteen years leading up to the American Civil War, it was obvious to most deeper-thinking Americans that this issue was going to lead to a battlefield where blood was shed.

It doesn’t make any difference if you’re talking about conflicts between a man and a woman, arguments within a family, or in the case of the United States, an open, seething contradiction, stinking right under our noses.

The longer you put something off, the more intense the division and painful the solution.

The Civil War could have been stopped when we started the nation.

It’s just too bad that the forefathers were more concerned about the right to bear arms than about the eternal need to free the slaves.


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Bullet: (n) a projectile for firing from a gun

I was thirteen years old and my dad placed a rifle in my hands.

He explained that it was a small gun. I think it was a .22. He had promised to take me out on one of his rabbit-hunting trips.

I was thrilled.

I was especially pumped up when I was allowed to go out for target practice, to shoot some cans–or at least, attempt to do so.

He loaded the rifle, told me how to hold it and laughed a little bit when I was surprised with the kick-back.

When the day of the hunting trip arrived, my dad asked me to load my own rifle. I had watched him do it. But now it was in my hand.

For about a minute, I did nothing but finger the bullet, roll it around in my hand and stare at it. It was not huge, but it was very hard and scary. I put it into the chamber, heard the click, loaded another one and another one.

All at once I realized that these pieces of metal were going to be fired at an extraordinary rate of speed, toward a living creature. It wasn’t that I was against the idea of hunting rabbits or eating them.

Suddenly it was just about the bullet.

So when we arrived in the field and scared up a few rabbits, my older brother shot one. There was a big cheer. We all ran over to the location and I looked down at the ball of fur laying in the grass. It didn’t look real. Certainly did not look alive.

My dad showed me what a good marksman my older brother was because he had struck the rabbit in the head.

I gazed at the wound. Dark red–sticky, with blackened fringes where the impact had exploded the bunny brain.

I was taken aback.

  • It didn’t make me anti-gun.
  • It didn’t make me anti-hunting.
  • It didn’t make me against “the right to bear arms.”

It just made me damn aware of what a bullet can do to anything living.


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Bill of Rights

Bill of Rights:(n) the first ten amendments to the US Constitution

Dictionary B

So you’re sittin’ around with your buddies and you’ve just written a Constitution for a new little country which you have dubbed “The United States of America.”

You have high hopes.

But honestly, taking a peek at history, the life expectancy of such a national prospect is very dim.

Meanwhile, you’ve gone to the pub to celebrate your endeavor, and while talking with your friends, it occurs to you that you left out guarantees for personal freedom.

You feel a little silly, right?

So almost immediately, you go in and amend your document by adding ten ideas which guarantee that no tyrant will ever again trample on the God-given personal pursuits of any individual citizen.

Man, it seems noble.

But moving ahead a couple hundred years, we have the situation where the prevention of one tyrant opens the door to over three hundred million of them, as each person determines the boundaries of his or her actions, based upon the Bill of Rights.

This places us in a powder keg of controversy, with each citizen fearing they are being set aside in favor of honoring the liberties of another.

What is missing from the Bill of Rights? Some old-fashioned, damn common sense.

For instance, freedom of speech sounds really good until you actually have to sit and listen to one which is completely filled with nonsense and vitriol.

The right to bear arms may have once been practical, when single shot muskets took a minute to load and had no potential for rapidly firing, killing dozens at a time.

It goes on and on.

Oh, wait. There’s the Fifth Amendment, which supposedly protects us against self-incrimination, while actually ending up being a confession in parenthesis.

Just as people who translate science and the Bible as being immutable and without need of edit, those who worship the Constitution and its amendments fail to realize that the Founding Fathers were really just a bunch of goofs who got tired of being pushed around by crazy King George.

What they wrote and believed is neither supreme nor self-contained.

It is up to the intelligence of each generation to find the common good of all the citizens without making it seem that America is a restaurant with only tables built for one

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