Slaves Are Issued Weapons; Free People Own Them

A popular bumper sticker proclaims that free people own guns, while slaves do not.  History shows, however, that masters have often issuedweapons to slaves under conditions in which the latter’s socioeconomic standing made rebellion unlikely.  History also shows that, despite efforts by Bill Clinton’s and Barack Obama’s Supreme Court Justices to amend the Constitution without the consent of the states or Congress (see Squealer the Pig in George Orwell’s Animal Farm), the Second Amendment is an individual right.

We once received a jury notice summons that warned of “bodily attachment” if we failed to either respond or comply.  The practice is more than two thousand years old — ancient Athens owned a police force of Scythian archers, one of whose functions was to round up negligent citizens for civic duties.  The slave-police used dye-impregnated ropes to mark delinquents, who were fined or had to forfeit their stipend for attendance.  The Greek citizen-soldier himself, however, was expected to own weapons.  The bronze armor of the hoplite, or armored infantryman, was extremely expensive, so only wealthy landowners could afford to be hoplites.  This is why everybody in the Iliad was so obsessed with capturing armor or saving it from the enemy.

Later, the Ottoman Empire employed the devshirme (“child-gathering”) system, in which authorities took male Christian children for conversion to Islam followed by either civil or military service.  Those drafted for the latter became Janissaries, who were the property of the sultan.  Parents often put their sons forward for the devshirme because a Janissary’s social status, privileges, and regular pay were far more than the boys could hope for as “free” second-class citizens in their Balkan homelands.

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