Sunday, December 23, 2012

Should We Have a Constitutional Right to a Bicycle?

By Tom Kando

Even after the Sandy Hook massacre  of twenty children, the ENTIRE debate about gun control is about how to limit SOME sorts of fire arms,  while protecting the 2nd Amendment. I have yet to hear  ANYONE, no matter how liberal,  suggest that we repeal the 2nd amendment altogether. So let me be  the first one to raise this sacrilegious thought. Outrageous? Yes, but wait:

1. Amendments aren’t sacrosanct.   The 18th amendment (prohibition) was a mistake, so it was repealed  by the 21st. Similarly, the 2nd amendment could be repealed through a future amendment, e.g. the 28th.

2.  Do the constitutions of most other countries also protect the right to bear arms as a fundamental human right? I doubt it.

3. My proposal is not serious:
A. There is no chance in hell that America will EVER repeal its 2nd amendment.
B. I don’t feel that we need to.   Like everyone else, I feel that we just need to tinker with it, i.e. work hard at reducing access to most firearms through a variety of new laws. Might as well leave the 2nd amendment alone.

But I did want to toss out  this LOGICAL  possibility for discussion.  I am struck by the fact that NO ONE, not even the most ardent gun control advocates, ever mentions it. After all it is, as I said, ONE of the logical possibilities.

And while we are on logical possibilities:

The 2nd amendment is meant to protect our fundamental right to self-defense (against bad guys, against government tyranny, against foreign invasion, etc.), right?

So then, how about postulating a fundamental right to FLEE:

After all, when you are confronted by aggression, by potential violence and by potential death, you have two options: FIGHT or FLIGHT. That’s how it is in the animal kingdom, and that’s how it is among humans. Deer, antelope, buffalo - they can either turn their horns towards their  enemy  and fight, or they can flee. Whatever it takes to survive. It is the same for humans.

Therefore, the Founding Fathers could have added another right, in addition to the right to bear arms so as to fight back: the fundamental right to FLEE.  And, just like your ability  to fight back is improved if you own a gun, so your ability  to flee is also improved by some possessions:

For example, the Founding Fathers could have formulated the following  amendment - call it Amendment 2B:

 “Rapid mobility being necessary to escape violent attack, the right of people to keep and own horses, shall not be infringed.”

And as we all know, as times change,  the Constitution and amendments must evolve and adapt. Therefore, the fundamental right to escape violence  must also include cars, bicycles and  other means of mobility.

Thus by the 21st century, all American citizens should  have a fundamental right to own a bicycle.  Paraphrasing Charlton Heston, let me say that “I’ll give you my bike when you pry it from my cold dead hands.” leave comment here