The vulnerability of our nation is woven into our emotional relationship with the flag. Through time the 2nd Amendment has been re-framed to fit individual arguments. Today’s legal interpretation is but ten years old. While it’s come to be understood in many circles to support individual gun ownership, this is a very recent interpretation. As time passes, context changes, as we do as a people. This is the full content of the 2nd amendment. History is story telling. The truth is illusive.
Disunion is about the state of the nation. We are a nation in disunion. While the flag is meant to represent unity, divisions have claimed it and shroud it in disparate meaning. This work literally presents the full text of the 2nd amendment, a short two sentences that has been reinterpreted through time to meet individual agendas. My intent here is to question our assumptions, to look at everything in context. The amendment, laid bare, is up for individual interpretation. Surrounded by barbed wire, the flag puts forward a question of boundaries, borders, self-defense, and entrapment. The split stars reflect our partitioned thinking as a nation.
Currently the NRA is winning the narrative battle over the 2nd Amendment. They have created a story-line that would have you thinking that the 2nd amendment means that every citizen has the right to own a gun. If you ask a historian to explain the amendment, you would find that this historically has not been the interpretation. In fact over time there have been several Supreme Court cases that have gone against provisions based on this ideology. Our current acceptance of this narrative is less than 10 years old, based on a 2008 Supreme Court case ruling, the District of Columbia vs Heller.
The amendment itself is similar to a living organism. It’s meaning morphs and adapts to meet the popular narrative and to match our personal values. In a split court, this 5-4 decision protects an individual’s right to possess a firearm unconnected to militia. One hundred years ago this would have been a stretch in thinking. What the framers were referring to is a right and responsibility to have guns to protect the community from other powers. The colonies rejected standing armies and held that instead, by holding citizens at the ready, they could come together to defend a society from outside forces, like Europeans. These weapons were muskets and could be reloaded to shoot three musket balls per minute. Today an assault weapon can be reloaded to shoot up to 150 shells per minute. Everything in context.