The Founding Fathers and Terrorism


I was just watching a recent ABC News interview with William Ayers, the alleged terrorist pall of Barack Obama — a relationship Ayers calls a myth. With regards to his participation in the Weather Underground, Ayers insisted that he had never engaged in terrorism, but that the group had been reckless and some of their acts illegal. Nevertheless, he claimed that not enough was done to stop the immoral activities of the U.S. government in killing some 2,000 civilians per week in Vietnam.

In putting the Vietnam protests into context with today’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Ayers said people should “participate in resistance, in nonviolent, direct action, and “Frankly I don’t think we did enough, just as today I don’t think we’ve done enough to stop these wars.”

ABC News reporter Chris Cuomo argued with Ayers that his activities against the government, because they were violent, were intrinsically wrong and amounted to terrorism.

In listening to Chris Cuomo’s argument, I was reminded of those who believe that the Constitution, through the Second Amendment, grants a federal right to bear arms. According to this historical analysis, the Founding Fathers believed in a citizen’s right to own, stockpile, and use arms to protect themselves against foreign invaders, all sorts of local threats, and even their own government.

They most likely cite the Right of Revolution from the Federalist Papers, written by Alexander Hamilton,

If the representatives of the people betray their constituents, there is then no resource left but in the exertion of that original right of self-defence, which is paramount to all positive forms of government; and which, against the usurpations of the national rulers, may be exerted with infinitely better prospect of success, than against those of the rulers of an individual State.  . . . The citizens must rush tumultuously to arms, without concert, without system, without resource; except in their courage and despair.

If the gun rights advocates – or even the causal proponents of this Second Amendment interpretation – are correct, then wouldn’t that fully justify Ayer’s brand of terrorism? Wouldn’t it even rationalize the Iraqi insurgency and make a persuasive argument that Iraqis, or the Palestinians for that matter, be permitted to arm themselves? Heck, wasn’t the American Revolution against the British itself an insurgency? The Minutemen were insurgents.

So I am wondering: if you interpret the Second Amendment to grant a constitutional right to bear arms, does that mean the Founding Fathers recognized terrorism and insurgency as justifiable actions? Is terrorism part of the fabric of American ideology?

I also wonder if Sarah Palin sees America as “so imperfect” that she’d pall around with gun rights advocates.


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