Tuesday, October 20, 2009
I exercised my Second Amendment rights again yesterday. My husband and I left the Lake Hood airstrip in our Super Cub just as the sun was coming over the Chugach Mountains about 9:30 a.m. We flew across Cook Inlet to the area around Beluga Lake where we landed on a huge meadow to hunt for Ptarmigan. Our friends landed in their Maule just a few minutes before we landed. The sky was mostly clear, and there was almost no breeze. The temperature when we landed was just below freezing but it warmed up to about forty degrees, just about right for hiking around but cool if sitting for any length of time. Willow Ptarmigan is the state bird for Alaska. Ptarmigan can be recognized by the short feathers covering its feet, which help it to walk on the snow. The feathers of the ptarmigan change colors for specific seasons. In the summer, its feathers are reddish-brown and black, and in the winter, its feathers are white. The change in coloring is apparently brought about by the change in daylight hours. Yesterday the ptarmigan were almost all white, which made them really easy to see in the background of green and brown. The three hunters seemed to be satisfied with the number of ptarmigan they shot. I'm not a hunter but was along for fun and friendship. We spent hours walking through meadows and brush or hiking up and down mountains. It was an absolutely gorgeous day to be out in this beautiful country. There was no snow on the ground, but there was ice around the edges of lakes, etc. Our excitement for the day was crossing streams of water too deep to wade by stepping from ice covered rock to ice covered rock. I am not a hunter and don't even like to carry a rifle or shotgun; however, I believe very strongly in the Second Amendment. There seems to be a lot of confusion as to what the Second Amendment actually says. I don't understand the confusion because the words seem to be very plain to me: "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed." Our Founding Fathers must have known what they were writing and why, but later generations certainly are confused. Now there cannot be any question about what the Second Amendment means. "In a radical break from 70 years of Super Court precedent, Justice Antonin Scalia, writing for the majority, declared that the Second Amendment guarantees individuals the right to bear arms for nonmilitary uses, even though the amendment clearly links the right to service in a `militia'" (The New York times Editorial Board, June 27, 2008). The Second Amendment is actually the Right that protects all of our other rights. When people are armed, as King George discovered, they become a populace that refuses to be pushed around. Thomas Jefferson observed, "When governments fear the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny" (Walter E. Williams, Do the Right Thing: The People's Economist Speaks (Stanford, CA: Hoover Institution Press, 1995), 149, http://books.google.co/books?id=SxGurfTCNZcC).