President, er Captain, er General Washington Presents

George Washington was giving a talk behind the Governor's Palace at Williamsburg and opened the floor, um ground, for questions.  One man tried to get the general to agree to Second Amendment gun rights.  The general reminded the man that currently, in General Washington's present day, he, the general, had no idea what the Second Amendment was because the date was 1780.

But the general didn't let the man off the hook that easily.

As he pointed out, all men between the ages of 16 and 60 were required to serve in the militia.  Also, due to inadequate supplies, men were required to bring their own muskets from home as part of their militia duty.  These were muzzle-loaded muskets.  Rifling, which increases the accuracy of bullets, did not become widespread until the 19th century.  And pistols were flint-locks, used almost exclusively by the wealthiest in duels to settle gentlemanly arguments, and also lacked accuracy thereby almost guaranteeing survival of both parties to a duel.  (Just don't tell Alexander Hamilton that.)

The man questioning General Washington walked away in disgust at not being vindicated.

What would the Second Amendment arguments look like today if we still had to live with the conditions in the late 18th century?  All men from 11th grade to almost-retirement would serve in the militia, not just the 1% of today's men and women.  A hunter would have to be very skilled to down anything.  And only hedge-fund managers and corporate CEO's could afford a pistol. 

You want to know my question of the general?  "Did Mrs. Washington accompany you on every campaign as she did during the winter in Valley Forge?"  Heads turned and eyebrows furrowed, their thoughts written on their faces, Martha Washington was at Valley Forge!?!?

The general looked at me, "Yes, she did.  As did many women who accompanied their husbands."

We shared a knowing smile.  It pays to know history.

[Title taken very loosely from this.]

1 comment:

  1. I think it pays to know history Unfortunately almost no one ever listens so the knowledge is solitary.