There’s a fellow at the Y who often uses a treadmill in front of the one I use. His favorite tee shirt announces that the Second Amendment was the nation’s first homeland security plan. I’m not sure what an amendment adopted in 1791 has to do with homeland security then, now or in between. I do know that a significant number of persons believe that the more guns the better in order for the good people to defend themselves against the bad people. It just seems to me that more than a few of the good people turn out to be a bit hot tempered, trigger happy and actively looking for bad people such as ex bosses, cheating wives, nasty coworkers, rude drivers and government officials they don’t like. I fail to understand their paranoia about such common sense regulations as registering guns and licensing those who carry weapons on a regular basis. We register and license all manner of goods and services to enhance the public welfare, and most people, except extreme libertarians, rationally agree that society is safer and more pleasant as a result. However, my greater concern is one I’ve written on before, and that is the obsession with one small part of the Constitution that appears to have become an idol of worship whose followers are not only disinterested in the rest of the Constitution, and the Supreme Court decisions that define it, but are enthusiastic about denigrating it. For me, the best thing for homeland security is a well educated citizenry actively engaged in the public debate. What seems to be taking center stage these days is a ranting gang of Luddites providing very scary political entertainment, with the usual cast of violent extremists trying to take advantage of it. The strength of our democratic system is that it guarantees freedom of speech for the Klan, pro-Nazi America Firsters, Joe McCarthy, George Lincoln Rockwell, Earl Browder, Stokely Carmichael and the like. So far it has also had the resilience to endure and prosper without incurring too much damage from them. Let’s hope that we continue to have that kind of strength and resilience.