Molly Ivins meets Thomas Jefferson

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, April 6, 1999

After years of unfortunate family failures, Professor Smarty Noitall prefects his greatest invention – a time machine.

Tuesday, April 6, 1999

After years of unfortunate family failures, Professor Smarty Noitall prefects his greatest invention – a time machine.

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Noitall’s accomplishment was no simple task. For 10 generations, his family toiled to escape the limits of time. Many thousands died during Noitall led experiments, but the project’s goal continued to push the Noitall clan.

For you see, time travel was only part of the goal; the Noitalls wanted so much more than a means to a destination. An understanding of history – United States history – was their purpose.

After his father, Brainy, was disfigured in an attempt to gain insight from Abraham Lincoln, Smarty promised his father that he would continue the family quest.

He enlisted the aid of well-known columnist Molly Ivins, who also had a historical agenda. In recent years, Ivins grew more and more disenfranchised with those she referred to as &uot;gun nuts.&uot;

She dedicated many columns to dispel the common thought that this country’s founders wanted to extend the right to own guns to its residents. The Second Amendment to the United Sates Constitution, guaranteeing that right, is grossly misunderstood, she said.

&uot;As a civil libertarian, I of course support the Second Amendment,&uot; Ivins said. &uot;And believe it means exactly what it says: ‘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.’

She continued, &uot;There is more hooey spread about the Second Amendment. It says quite clearly that guns are for those who form part of a well-regulated militia, i.e., the armed forces including the National Gaurd.

She promised Noitall that if he could send her back in time, she would return to the present with Thomas Jefferson, who would explain to the country the purpose of the Second Amendment.

&uot;How do they know it was the dearest wish of Thomas Jefferson’s heart that teen-aged drug dealers should cruise the cities of this nation perforating their fellow citizens with assault rifles?&uot; Ivins asked.

Well, Noitall was sold. He helped strap Ivins into his Model X time machine, a vastly improved version of his father’s Model W contraption. Noitall then pulled the machine’s lever.

Snap! Cabam!

The machine disappeared in a column of smoke. About 1.768 seconds later it then returned.

Noitall couldn’t believe his eyes. When he opened the time machine’s door, there they were – Ivins and Jefferson.

&uot;Yippy-snippy,&uot; he shouted. &uot;I did it.&uot;

The young scientist and Ivins were so happy that a public assembly was quickly organized. Noitall planned to explain the importance of his new machine. Again, Ivins thought of the historical record.

After a brief Noitall introduction, &uot;Blah, blah, blah, blah,&uot; Ivins ridiculed her hated &uot;gun nuts.

&uot;I do think gun nuts have a power hang-up,&uot; she said. &uot;I don’t know what is missing in their psyches that they need to feel they have the power to kill. But no sane society would allow this to continue.&uot;

Ivins added, &uot;For years, I used to enjoy taunting my gun-nut friends about their phyco-sexual hang-ups – always in the spirit of good cheer, you understand. Ban the damn things. Ban them all.&uot;

She told Jefferson that guns are often used to commit crimes and asked the Virginian statesman if he would agree they’re the sole responsibility of the military.

Carefully, Jefferson considered her comments. Opinions are essential in a democracy, but nonetheless, he is visibly perturbed.

&uot;A strong body makes the mind strong,&uot; Jefferson replied. &uot;As to the species of exercise, I advise the gun. While this gives moderate exercise to the body, it gives boldness, enterprise and independence to the mind. Games played with the ball, and others of that nature are too violent for the body and stamp no character on the mind. Let your gun therefore be your constant companion of your walks.

But what about crime?, a bewildered man in the crowd asked. Guns are evil, he added.

Jefferson responds by saying it is the responsibility of state governments to protect citizens. States should enact laws to prevent crimes against the person.

But the ownership of guns is a fundamental right, he added.

That’s why the Second Amendment was included in the Constitution’s Bill of Rights, a document that describes the fundamental liberties of the people. It also forbids government from violating these rights.

Guaranteed fundamental rights are a protection against government tyranny, Jefferson said.

&uot;The declaration of rights is, like all other human blessings, alloyed with some inconveniences and not accomplishing fully its object. But the good in this instance vastly outweighs the evil,&uot; Jefferson said. &uot;I hope, therefore, a bill of rights will be formed to guard the people against the federal government as they are already guarded against their state governments, in most instances.

&uot;The purpose of government is to maintain a society which secures to every member the inherit and inalienable rights of man, and promotes the safety and happiness of its people. Protecting these rights from violation, therefore, is its primary obligation,&uot; he added in closing.

At this point, Ivins is now perturbed.

She told Jefferson that if he wants protection he should get a dog. She mumbled that Thomas Jefferson doesn’t know Thomas Jefferson.

Finally, she decided it his her role to interpret the thoughts of this country’s founding fathers. She whisked Jefferson back to 1787 and destroyed Noitall’s time machine forever.

&uot;By letting the noisy minority … to allow this carnage to continue is just insane,&uot; said Ivins, who doesn’t object to rewriting historical events.