Today, while making a purchase at a used bookstore, I spotted a booklet containing the United States Constitution on the counter. I asked the price. “Free”, the owner answered, “from ACLU”. He emphasized the acronym for the American Civil Liberties Union like either I didn’t know what the organization was or that there was special significance by the group producing the handout—perhaps both. Whichever, or neither, he wanted to impart something.
Was either my surprise or interest at all the reason? His next statement, unprompted, perhaps explains: “It says nothing about assault rifles…[but] well-regulated militia. Most militias are illegal”. That was so left-field—politically, not just figuratively—I couldn’t rightly respond. He referred to the Second Amendment: “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”.
How did guns come into any of this? What? I look like some alt-right, QAnon conspiracy case? Is that the stereotype now of anyone attracted to the Constitution? I am white, middle-aged, and talk like a Mainer—could it be nothing more than that? You tell me.
My interest is something else: A printed copy would be handy to have, and I thought my wife might appreciate its presence. I am not familiar enough with the document, and the booklet presents chance to change that without being subjected to all the unwanted commentary and analysis associated with online renditions.
As for stereotypes, I wouldn’t know a QAnon from an Al-Anon, pantheon, gargantuan, or any other an/on you can rhyme. For sure, the bookstore owner didn’t mistake me for —gasp—a journalist, for which a First Amendment discussion could have been. That one reads: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances”.
Now excuse me while I rush off to watch the nation’s future unfold in the second episode of HBO Max limited series DMZ, which is set in a dystopian future civil-war-torn country. Surely some type of militia is involved and clearly I need to be educated about such things. Hehe.