Torn map

"This must really be up your alley, if you were majoring in communications."

"Yeah, I picked a great time to choose that career path, huh? Now all we get on television and the radio is government propaganda."

"I've heard it," said Carson. "We could get Nashville radio at Zack's house at night. So, you were up to the start of the convention."

"Right. So to start it off, the Aztlan Coalition said they wouldn't vote for any other amendments unless they got their regional autonomy deal first. That was the Southwestern Justice and Compensation Amendment. That was the first amendment they voted on, and it passed on a voice vote. Next, it was reparations for slavery. Five hundred thousand New Dollars for every African-American man, woman and child. Right after that, it was reparations for 'survivors of the Native American genocide.' Another half million for everybody with Indian blood."

"How was that paid?" asked Carson in astonishment. "Where did the money for all of that come from?"

"Didn't matter," Doug replied. "It was just instant money from the Treasury--or the Federal Reserve. What's the difference? Ten trillion brand new blue bucks, right out of thin air. The checks came in the mail, or the money was just direct-deposited straight into their bank accounts. It was all just electronic digits, but it was real money just the same. It was just as spendable as any other money."

"And that brought on the hyperinflation?"

"Among other things, like fraud on a scale never seen before in human history. People were collecting reparation payments right and left under false identities. I think there were about a million double-dippers who claimed they were black and Indian--but it didn't matter. Congress said that the reparations money would stimulate the economy. It would 'prime the pump and even the playing field' at the same time. It was 'the mother of all stimulus packages.' That was another of those cliches you heard all the time. The convention was already way out of control by the time they passed reparations for slavery and the Indians.

"Next came the Freedom from Gun Violence Amendment, and that's when the Second Amendment was annulled. So you see, we didn't want any of it. Not regular Americans. We didn't ever vote for it; it was all done at the con-con by mob rule. It was a complete circus by then?the kangaroo convention. But it didn't matter what average Americans thought, the amendments all became law. They became the new constitution. When the Second Amendment was repealed, the delegates in the arena had a mass orgasm. We watched it all on TV. It was surreal, like a bad dream you get after food poisoning."

Carson asked, "What did the gun amendment ban?"

"Just about every legal firearm that was left. After the Washington Stadium Massacre, the semi-auto rifles were already outlawed. The ones they called assault weapons."

"I remember that," said Carson. "I was here for that one."

"Well under the Freedom from Gun Violence Amendment, there are no more privately owned handguns, none. Um, except for the police. The police and the military. And no pump or semi-auto shotguns. Only single shot and double-barreled shotguns--and you need to get a federal license to keep one in your house. Oh, and you have to take a federal firearms safety course and pass a background check to get your license. And if they don't like your background--meaning your politics--no license."

"Gun control was never about safety: it was just about taking power away from ordinary Americans," said Carson. "It's to make it safe for the police, in a police state."

"Exactly. And that wasn't all," continued Doug. "No rifle scopes, only assassins need them, right? No rifles bigger than thirty caliber, period. And all of the bolt- and lever-action rifles have to be licensed and registered, just like the shotguns. Everything that's registered has to be kept in officially approved gun safes, and they're subject to inspection at any time. They even have to be kept disassembled, with the bolts stored separately in another room. And God help you if they come in to inspect and they're not 'properly stored' according to the law. That was another part of the amendment: if you manage to get a gun license, you agree to random 'safety inspections'."

"What about ammunition?"

"You have to fill out about a yard of paperwork and get police approval to buy a box of hunting ammunition, and then it's taxed at around 500 percent. And you have to turn in your fired brass before you can buy more ammo. Oh, and forget about reloading--that's illegal. You can't even own gunpowder--that's 'bomb-making material' now."

"And this was all in the gun amendment?" asked Carson.

"Hell, yes. I think the FFGVA is something like thirty pages long."

"Damn--the whole Bill of Rights was only a couple hundred words."

"I hear you. It took the Founding Fathers four months to write the original constitution. That was in the summer in 1787. Some of the greatest minds in history. The new constitution is about fifty times longer, and they cranked it out in a week. Of course, they shortened it here and there. Like by cutting out most of the Bill of Rights."

"And American shooters just went along with it?" Carson asked with a look of incredulity.

"No, not most of them. I mean?oh hell, I don't know. I didn't believe any of the polls I read on it. But you'd be amazed by the number of so-called hunters and sportsmen they found to say it was all actually quite reasonable. They were on TV all the time, telling shooters to be reasonable and comply with the new laws. They could still go hunting, and a bit of inconvenience was a small price to pay for public safety."

"They can always find sellouts and traitors."

"Yessir they can," Doug agreed. "Jamal Tambor was all about reasonable gun laws, until the guns were all gone. But any way you cut it, the Second Amendment was finished, dead and buried after the constitutional convention."

Carson sighed, and slowly shook his head. "The end of two centuries of American gun rights."

"Yep, the end." Doug smiled, and patted the lower receiver of the AR-15 carbine lying across the table. "Legally, anyway. That is, if you consider anything that came out of that abortion that was born in Philadelphia to be legal."

"I take it you don't."

"Nope, I don't, not at all. But the con-con didn't end with the gun amendment. The economic amendment was the last one. That was on the final day of the convention. It was a rubber stamp, another voice vote. By then the con-con was like a religious revival meeting, so of course the EJDA passed. That's what they call the Economic Justice and Democracy Amendment, the EJDA. It was another mass orgasm in the Philly sports arena. We were in shock by then, watching it on television at home. It all happened so fast! Only a few months before the con-con, everybody thought the Poor People's Party was a joke. We thought the constitutional convention would never happen, and even if it did, it wouldn't really count somehow. But it did, and nobody's laughing now."

"What's this economic amendment do?" asked Carson.

"The EJDA guarantees jobs for everybody; it guarantees a living wage, it guarantees affordable housing, free health care, free college and free child care. I'm sure I left out a few things it guarantees, but you get the idea. Almost any freebie or handout you can think of, it's in the EJDA. Basically, it's communism, written into the constitution. And believe it or not, they sold it as the best way to fix the economy! The new constitution was going to get us out of the depression, and make life fair for everybody at the same time. With the new constitution, the president could enact the 'New New Deal' and get us out of the depression. Fat chance! That's like taking arsenic to cure a stomach ache."

"Back up a minute," said Carson. "How did they ratify these amendments? What does the old constitution say? Don't they need something like three-quarters of the state legislatures to ratify an amendment?"

"That's what we thought," replied Doug, "but they used the backdoor clause. In Article Five, it says new amendments have to be approved by three-fourths of the state legislatures, 'or by conventions in three fourths thereof.' That was the fuzzy part, the part nobody could really explain. That became just about the most famous sentence in the old constitution. But what the hell does it mean? Who makes up these state conventions? Who nominates the delegates, what are the rules, and where do they hold them? There's nothing in Article Five that spells it out. You'd see ten so-called constitutional experts on television, and you'd get ten different explanations. It was all up to the Congress to determine what conventions in three fourths thereof meant. At least according to the Congress it was, and Congress is three-quarters Democrat now."