"Between quotation marks"

by Ernesto Morales


I have the healthy intention of trying to analyze the word Amendment, which has been brought and brought on countless occasions, as well as being the subject of multiple interpretations over the years, especially when linking it to the Constitution. I want to clarify that at no time do I intend to influence the criteria that readers have on this subject. I simply expose the data as I have read it in various information, adding it to my general knowledge to filter it according to my style, and, of course, incorporating it into my natural common sense. Among all these components I have written this article.
What is an Amendment? According to the Royal Spanish Academy, the verb to amend is nothing other than to correct damages, repair errors, eliminate defects, add or replace projects, opinions, reports, and so on. There are more definitions, but they would make this introduction to the subject long.
From the political point of view, an Amendment is a proposal to modify a legal text, which must be presented by a parliamentarian or a group of them, debated by their peers, and can only enter into force after its approval.
Let's go in parts: The Constitution of the United States was adopted in 1787 and has been in force since 1789. It is currently the oldest in the civilized world and in this writing I will only refer to the most controversial Amendments.
For example, the First Amendment protects the rights to freedom of religion and expression without government interference. The free exercise clause prohibits federal, state, county or municipal entities from intervening in the practice of people's worship; But the fact of belonging to any of them does not authorize anyone, for the sake of their spiritual commitment, to attempt against the lives of third parties.
In the case of freedom of expression, linked to the First Amendment itself, the same thing happens: everyone's opinion is respected as long as there is no one shouting fire in a theater -the news being false-, because it would cause a stampede of the public that could tacitly put their lives at risk. This last example has been groped many times by those who like to debate the subject.
Now let's unravel the Fifth Amendment, which guarantees the right against self-incrimination. That is to say, the rights of those suspected of a criminal act must be read, and they can respond to the interrogation - waiving their rights - or invoke them, remaining silent without answering or requesting a lawyer. In a trial they cannot be compelled to testify, unless they wish to do so.
Now, entering a bit of the healthiest debate, I must take a leap in the chronology of events and I would like to review the 18th Amendment, which was popularly called: "Prohibition." This was nothing other than the ban on the sale of alcoholic beverages. It was in force for a little over 13 years: from January 17, 1920 to December 6, 1933, when it was repealed by the XXI Amendment.
On a related historical note, I must add that since the late nineteenth century various religious leaders, mostly from Protestant churches - popular among Anglo-Saxons - insisted on regulating alcohol consumption, which they blamed for various social ills. They were joined by some left-wing union leaders who were also opposed, cataloging it as a symbol of backwardness and poverty among the workers and low-level employees who were beginning to populate the cities. Both groups, of different philosophical tendencies, but relatively similar in their social criteria, came to obtain certain achievements related to the regulation of alcohol consumption.
However, the increase in immigrants showed a strong antipathy stance with the restriction on the consumption of liquor. As immigration expanded openly, the pressure was greater. In addition, entrepreneurs and manufacturers of alcoholic beverages, seeing their income decrease, gave way to the indiscriminate smuggling of liquors and fierce violence was unleashed in the society of that time. Wars between rival gangs that were fighting to gain control of the clandestine distribution of liquors, to which was added the natural tendency of the population to demonstrate against the gangsters of both sides in a tenacious effort, but at that time fruitless, to live in peace.
The Prohibition Law had caused crime to escalate to the highest levels of social disaster, growing instead of decreasing, as the politicians of the time supposed and corrupting the authorities at all levels. All of the above, added to the undeniable rejection of the masses of the prohibition, generated greater unpopularity to support the 18th Amendment, which, as has been said, was repealed, leaving the doors open to the 21st Amendment that allowed the sale of liquors.
Now I want to go back and comment on the Second Amendment, a document that dates from December 15, 1791, sentenced by the Supreme Court, and which clarifies that no state or local law can restrict the right to own or bear arms. This Amendment is part of the so-called Bill of Rights or "Bill of Rights" and the same courts in the United States have explained the constitutional text on numerous occasions affirming that the right to bear arms is an individual right that all Americans have; But it has also declared that the right is not unlimited and that it does not prohibit the regulation of the production and purchase of firearms or similar devices, thus leaving the gap open for debate as long as its objective is for the good of the citizenry. .
Since the late 20th century, the Second Amendment has been subject to constant academic, political and judicial interest. On the one hand, defenders of the right to bear arms say, among other things, that an armed country is more inclined to carry out its legitimate defense, preventing the authorities from becoming tyrannical rulers.
On the other hand, those who want more regulation make an argument that constantly appears in the news: in the United States there are more than 300 million guns for 330 million inhabitants, in addition to more than 100 people dying every day due to conflicts, suicides , shootings and shootings of various origin and nature that have increased by up to 30% so far this year, with which, it is understood that the Government must make a decision regarding the uncontrollable increase of this scourge.
In any case, the population has solid arguments to air various tendencies on a civilized plane, developing an intelligent dialogue, in the same way as that carried out by the parliamentarians who discussed the consequences of the Prohibition or Amendment XVII within the society.
Perhaps the table could already be set for the debate or perhaps not yet. It all depends on who and how they analyze the factors at play. For now, observe the behavior of citizens and officials, assess your own opinions and refrain from making a judgment until you are fully convinced of their views in tune with your conscience.