The Atlantic's Andrew Cohen Wonders Why We Can't Ruin the Second Amendment Like We Ruined The Other Nine

If Andrew Cohen were defending the entire Bill of Rights, his Atlantic article on how that hallowed document has been shredded beyond recognition these past 11 years would be terrific. But sadly, the thesis underlining his no-doubt Aurora, Colorado-shooting inspired piece on how "Some Constitutional Amendments Are More Equal Than Others" seems to be, we've mostly violated amendments First and Third through Eighth, but why are things so good for the Second Amendment these days? And it's no thank goodness for small, libertarian favors, it's more an implicit pleading for at least some equality in rights violating.

A sampling:

From the TSA to drones to warrantless domestic surveillance, from water-boarding to secret prisons to law enforcement officials having access to your online accounts, the Bill of Rights has been winnowed since September 2001 as Americans have consented to re-shift the balance between security and liberty, between safety and privacy. Name a relevant amendment and some expert somewhere will tell you how all three branches of government have sought to expand State power over individual conduct (or even, as we saw in some of the hokier terror conspiracy cases, over individual thought).

Except for the Second Amendment. Bucking the trend, it has been a fabulous decade for the Second Amendment and those who cherish it. Since September 2001, the United States Supreme Court has twice (in Heller in 2008 and in McDonald in 2009) endorsed the concept that the Second Amendment contains an individual right to bear arms. In 2003, Congress attached to funding legislation the Tiahrt Amendment, a rider designed to restrict the use of federal gun-trace information. And  in 2004, the federal ban on assault weapons was allowed to expired.

Cohen makes some excellent points about the war on terror's effects on the First, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, and Eighth amendments. He also notes that the Third Amendment (you know, the joke-ish one about soldiers not being quartered in homes in peacetime) was violated during Hurricane Katrina. He thinks the Ninth Amendment has mostly been untouched by the War on Terror, at least in terms of court rulings that directly chip away at it, but you would not be hard pressed to find a violation of the sentiments behind "The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people." Cohen also ignores that the ravishing of the Fourth Amendment really began in earnest with the war on drugs.

Now, the 10th Amendment, not exactly the left's favorite, Cohen brushes aside with "Tenth Amendment activists have claimed that the government's terror detention policies, contained in the National Defense Authorization Act, implicate state powers under the Tenth Amendment. But there has been little litigation on this topic." Cohen's real point is the afore-quoted — the fact that support for gun control has been mostly dropping since the early 90s, culminating in Supreme Court decisions which upheld an individual right to bear arms. This is clearly not something that Cohen supports, and he ends his piece with not a full-on cry for stricter gun laws like some liberal commentators have post-Aurora, (and of course, these commentators are aghast at how gun control has fallen out of favor as a Democrat rabble-rousing issue) but with a plea for putting the rights in the Second Amendment up for a debate as well. Writes Cohen:

Are Second Amendment rights more precious than Fourth Amendment rights or Fifth Amendment rights? Are they more important than First Amendment rights or Eighth Amendment rights? I'd love the president and Mitt Romney to answer those questions and to explain why the War on Terror seems to have bypassed the Second Amendment even as ithas redefined the ways that many other constitutional amendments apply to our lives.

I hate to look the gift of righteous critiques of the War on Terror in the mouth, but this is such a fundamentally backwards way of looking at this question. Cohen may be for increased civil liberties in many ways, but he is phrasing it as if he's more interested in equality of oppression than in rehibilationg the U.S.'s less healthy amendments. This is further confirmed with what he wrote on July 21:

Since September 11, 2001, we have had not one but two United States Supreme Court rulings recognizing an individual constitutional right to bear arms. Both of these rulings, crafted by the Court's conservative majority, were nonetheless careful to contemplate the possibility of reasonable gun regulation. But that assumes the political will to enact and implement such regulation-- and also to enforce existing gun regulations in an efficient and aggressive way. How many lives would be spared if law enforcement officials enforced existing gun laws as aggressively as they pursue the war on terror? We'll never know the answer to that question, will we. Such enforcement will never happen.

Reason on the Second Amendment and on the Aurora shooting 

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  • Palin's Buttplug||

    From London - Romney is the American Borat.

    Use it freely.

  • Sevo||

    From San Francisco:
    Shriek is an idiot.
    Use it freely.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    I live in Georgia, pal. Deep in a Redneck state. No blue states until Maryland (although VA and NC are turning blue as they get younger and more educated).

  • Sevo||

    Palin's Buttplug|7.26.12 @ 7:57PM|#
    "I live in Georgia, pal. Deep in a Redneck state"

    So you're trying to cement your rep as an idiot by posting irrelevant comments?

  • ||

    Congratulations. You just jumped the shark. Nobody is this fucking retarded.

  • ||

    How many times do I have to say: it's a fucking sockpuppet?

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    I really understand a Libertarian's frustration. You hate Obama but the GOP foists a Bigger Govt turd on you to dash your electoral buddy/buddy hopes with them.

    Romney is on record for killing the spending cuts in military and Medicare that Obama has signed.

    The GOP is your albatross to bear. You were warned.

  • Sevo||

    Palin's Buttplug|7.26.12 @ 8:15PM|#
    "I really understand a Libertarian's frustration. You hate Obama but the GOP foists a Bigger Govt turd on you to dash your electoral buddy/buddy hopes with them."

    So you're trying to cement your rep as an idiot by posting stupid comments?

  • ||

    There are few un-moderated comment sites where this crap can be posted.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    I've posted here five years, you dipshit. All my posts come from a small gov perspective (not anarchist though).

    Like ex-GOPer Bruce Bartlett says - the GOP is insane.

  • Marshall Gill||

    All my posts come from a small gov perspective (not anarchist though).

    Science, shriek, you must be over the 5 scotch limit. You do not believe in small government, unless you don't believe almost everything you have ever posted.

  • Sevo||

    Palin's Buttplug|7.26.12 @ 8:34PM|#
    "I've posted here five years, you dipshit. All my posts come from a small gov perspective (not anarchist though)."

    Ha and ha.

  • fish_remote||

    I'm glad you can pry yourself off both Soros and Obamas cocks to post here. You do entertain!

  • General Butt Naked||

    Who the fuck are you warning, aborto-freak?

  • Sevo||

    Oh, and:
    Palin's Buttplug|7.26.12 @ 8:15PM|#
    "Romney is on record for killing the spending cuts in military and Medicare that Obama has signed."

    "Cuts"? Is this kinda like the budget that isn't a budget, but if you squint real hard, you can kind see it as a budget if the moon is in the right phase?
    Kinda like shriek might have a brain cell?

  • ||

    Romney is on record for killing the spending cuts in military and Medicare that Obama has signed.

    wait...where have read that before?

    Oh I know...

    AT REASON.COM!!!

    You are an idiot shrike.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    And Obama is the Second Coming of Barry Goldwater.

    Get a new act, shrike.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    I live in Georgia, pal. Deep in a Redneck state.

    That's not a very nice thing to say about John Lewis and Sanford Bishop Jr.

    All politics are local, shriek.

  • Brutus||

    (although VA and NC are turning blue as they get younger and more educated)

    Sweet. Maybe they'll evolve into those beings that believe themselves so superior intellect that they start telling other people what to eat and smoke, and possibly go even so far as to vet building permit applicants for the proper political stances on trendy topics of the day.

  • Brutus||

    "of such superior intellect"

  • Tman||

    From Tennessee:

    We agree with San Francisco.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    Who let you back in the house?

  • ||

    Mama Dearest had to feed the poor pooch. What are you, an animal-hater?

  • Anonymous Coward||

    Of course not. I love animals. With seasoning salt. And pepper.

  • General Butt Naked||

    Mitt Romulan: Your Anlgosaxistanian Candidate! Anglosaxistan Best State For Gun Bans, Socialized Medicine And Rape!

    "I'm proud of my record. Har Har" --M. Romulan

  • danis||

    Sales rolex replica, High-quality replica rolex watches,Top brand watches,all luxury watches for sale cheap and cheapest only $59 ,Buy cheap watches online at http://www.replicawatches007.com

  • gaoxiaen||

    Do you have the Dick Tracy model?

  • ||

    Phased plasma rifle in the 40-watt range.

  • ||

    Hey--you can't do that!

  • Hugh Akston||

    Wrong.

  • ||

    Director's cut: Hey, you're right. Heller won't be decided for another 24 years. Sorry to trouble you, sir.

  • ||

    More director's cut: It's a good thing the Brady Act hasn't passed yet, I don't think a killer robot from the future would pass the NICS check and I'd be out of a close-early-today sale!

  • Hugh Akston||

    2012 Remake:

    Gun Shop Owner: Sorry pal, with no photo ID or social security number, you automatically fail the background check.

    T-800: Curses! Thanks to the Brady Act there is no possible way for me to obtain a firearm. My plans for a gun-toting rampage have been foiled. [explodes]

  • ||

    It was already remade, Hugh, by Michael Bay. It was retitled Transformers: Dark of the Moon.

  • ||

    That was the best fucking movie ever. Some of the parts I liked include ___ *tumbleweed*

  • Hugh Akston||

    Isn't that the one where Michael Bay changed Shia Le Bouef's love interest from a greased-up, motorcycle-riding, barely-dressed Megan Fox to a greased-up, motorcycle-riding, barely-dressed Robin Williams?

  • ||

    Yes. In a blond wig. Best decision he ever made.

  • A Serious Man||

    I'll trade you that woman for my favorite gun. I call her Vera. //Jayne Cobb

  • ||

    If someone tries to kill you, you try to kill them right back!

  • Sevo||

    The 'argument' is a close analogue of the 'well, we already can't afford Medicare, so why not add Obamacare?'

  • CE||

    How about this one then:

    The FedGov already spends twice as much every year as the income tax brings in, so why not do away with it entirely?

  • Sevo||

    Not bad,
    Just pour the dough down the rat-hole yourself and eliminate the middle man!

  • ||

    as if he's more interested in equality of oppression than in rehibilationg the U.S.'s less healthy amendments

    That's because he is, Lucy. What he sees is a way to bring low the amendment he doesn't like, through "fairness". It's not fair that the amendments he does like are more oppressed than the one he doesn't like.

    He would prefer to bring down the one he doesn't like rather than lift up those he does, because the former matters more to him than the latter. By a long shot.

  • Jerry on the road||

    Let's make the rich poorer instead of the poor richer.

  • Sevo||

    Universal poverty is the definition of 'fairness'.

  • Hugh Akston||

    It's an embarrassing mistake, but I'm not sure it's Cohen's. He wrote the article on the Atlantic's "Growing Gap Between X and Y" article template, when he clearly meant to write it on the "It's Time to Enact Reasonable Regulations on X" template.

    Whatever unpaid intern is supposed to manage the template files is probably getting the riot act right now.

  • A Serious Man||

    Hey, no fair, we're all not being raped equally. The people who hate guns but pretend to love civil liberties when there isn't a Democrat in the White House or a black man as AG aren't happy that the SCOTUS has succeeded in only protecting the Second Amendment.

  • JeremyR||

    It's not like the 2nd amendment hasn't been weakened. You can't buy tommy guns from Sears catalogs anymore. You can't have shotguns with really short barrels. Certain types of ammo aren't allowed.

  • ||

    Yeah. It's disingenuous to say the Second's been immune to the rise of statism.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    So long as one can buy any gun whatsoever, the second amendment will be alive and healthy, not having seen any kind of statist encroachment according to anti-gun nuttery.

  • ||

    You can't buy rocket launchers. You can't buy tanks. In some places, you can't carry guns in public at all, or own certain kinds of guns. You can't own machine guns at all. You can't ...

    I could go on for pages about the gutting of the 2nd ...

  • SIV||

    I read it twice and I don't see Cohen bemoaning the loss of any rights. He's just whining we need "parity" on the 2nd.

    The Second Amendment is arguably more important than the other Nine

  • ||

    Wanna see a really good court opinion regarding gun rights?

    "The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.' The right of the whole people, old and young, men, women and boys, and not militia only, to keep and bear arms of every description, and not such merely as are used by the militia, shall not be infringed, curtailed, or broken in upon, in the smallest degree; and all this for the important end to be attained: the rearing up and qualifying a well-regulated militia, so vitally necessary to the security of a free State. Our opinion is that any law, State or Federal, is repugnant to the Constitution, and void, which contravenes this right." [Nunn vs. State, 1 Ga. (1 Kel.) 243, at 251 (1846)]

  • PapayaSF||

    As usual, the Tenth Amendment is ignored. *Sniff*

  • Sevo||

    Been ignored since, oh, 1800.

  • Darko||

    As it should be, it's the one that mandates slavery.

  • Sevo||

    Darko|7.26.12 @ 9:19PM|#
    "As it should be, it's the one that mandates slavery."

    So your comment below wasn't sarc, it was stupidity? Got it.
    BTW, you're an idiot. Nothing "mandates" slavery; the government (yes, your oh, so, special god) *enforces* slavery.
    Absent that enforcement (by coercion), there would have been no slavery.

  • Darko||

    States Rights = Confederates = White Privilege = Slavery.

  • Sevo||

    Darko|7.26.12 @ 9:26PM|#
    "States Rights = Confederates = White Privilege = Slavery."

    Darko = stupid.

  • juris imprudent||

    No Sevo, this one goes beyond mere stupidity. But don't be deceived - it is cunning.

  • Sevo||

    juris imprudent|7.26.12 @ 10:32PM|#
    "No Sevo, this one goes beyond mere stupidity. But don't be deceived - it is cunning."

    ji, it's a spoof.

  • ant1sthenes||

    So your comment below wasn't sarc, it was stupidity? Got it.

    No, it was trolling. This isn't some jackass who wandered over from DU or BJ, or another Mary alt, it's just some regular fucking around by seeing how retarded they can make a prog spoof before people stop buying it.

  • Sevo||

    Agreed.

  • Darko||

    A progressive understands that there must be a balancing act between rights. And it is the role of the government to properly balance conflicting rights in the best interests of society.

    This naturally means that the rights of society trump any individual rights. And the right of society to continue without unlegislated violence easily trumps the individual right to own murder objects.

  • Sevo||

    ^?
    Sarc?
    Stupidity?

  • ||

    For all the insistence that these dipshits are sockpuppets, I'm not so sure. There are plenty of people whose cluelessness and sheer idiocy are this bad and far, far worse.

  • General Butt Naked||

    Freedom is being able to go to the movies without some gunfreak shooting up the place with 100 ammo clips and assault pistols. Freedom is taking your kids for ice cream without have to worry that a nut with bullet proof assault attire and a gun with a clip full of teflon copkiller bullets is going to shoot the place up!

    Freedom is not being shot by some weekend Rambo with a gun permit trying to take out criminals. Only police are properly trained to handle firearms so let the brave men and women in blue do their jobs!

    Freedom is letting kids grow up in a safe environment. An environment with sensible, common sense gun laws that we can all agree on!

  • Sevo||

    ^ Sarc.

  • ||

    Unless you read a thread at the Democratic Underground, in which case it's a serious political stance.

  • ||

    They fit in nicely with that conservative weirdo Sullum wrote about a few weeks ago who believes there is an absolute freedom to not be offended by the television.

  • ||

    Freedom is the right to GIMME FREE SHITZ!!!

  • CE||

    You cant spell "freedom" without "free".

  • Drake||

    Holy dog shit! They have "assault pistol"? I have no idea what that means but I will be getting me one.

  • General Butt Naked||

    But, but, ummm....

    THE CHILDREN!

  • R C Dean||

    Its a pistol, so they should be able to handle it.

  • The Fatman||

    Don't, they probably mean the TEC-9, which is a piece of shit.

  • Sevo||

    See above; it's stupidity.

  • ||

    it is the role of the government to properly balance conflicting rights in the best interests of society.

    No. The role of government is to get in a man's way.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    ^^Winner^^

  • Lucy Steigerwald||

    Whatever you say, cap'n.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    This naturally means that the rights of society trump any individual rights.

    This man is right. As a matter of fact, why bother with such things as due process, presumption of innocence, or habeas corpus? If society determines that you are guilty of something, that should be that.

    And the right of society to continue without unlegislated violence easily trumps the individual right to own murder objects.

    Glad to someone is interested in ending the scourge of knives and cutting objects.

  • CE||

    The violence is already legislated away, though -- murder is illegal.

  • Darko||

    You've already had due process at the ballot box.

  • Sevo||

    Darko|7.26.12 @ 9:16PM|#
    "You've already had due process at the ballot box."

    I'm guessing trolling puppet. This degree of stupidity is hard to credit.

  • ||

    I believe he's saying elections are for making Kings.

  • Darko||

    Not Kings, representatives of The People to carry out Their wishes.

  • ||

    "The boy is dangerous. They all sense it, why can't you?"

  • mad libertarian guy||

    Who is "their"?

  • Darko||

    Since they won, The People's wishes are the representatives wishes.

  • Brutus||

    Definitely a prog spoof. Not even DU'ers are this idiotic, although I did used to square off against an unreformed Stalinist that was just this clueless.

  • Sevo||

    Spoof. The Stalinist would have committed more howlers.

  • CJR||

    "...since the Party and the people are one, the needs of the Party must always come first..."

  • mad libertarian guy||

    A government's job is not to "balance" rights, but to protect them, asshole.

  • Darko||

    A progressive understands that the only way to protect rights is to balance and order them when they compete.

  • Barstool Optional||

    There's nothing to balance.
    There are negative and positive rights. Negative rights trump positive rights.

  • Sevo||

    Darko|7.26.12 @ 9:16PM|#
    "A progressive understands that the only way to protect rights is to balance and order them when they compete."

    OK, the sarc/stupidity question is answered; it's stupidity.
    Now the question is: Trolling puppet or truly stupid poster?

  • Darko||

    All I'm doing you is giving you the proper progressive view of these complex issues.

    There is more to building society than HURR DURR I WANNA SHOOT GUNS AT BLACK PEOPLE.

    General Butt Naked grasps what true freedom is, why can't the rest of you?

  • Sevo||

    Darko|7.26.12 @ 9:33PM|#
    "All I'm doing you is giving you the proper progressive view of these complex issues."

    'Nando, is that you? Roll that R!

  • Archduke PantsFan||

    Nah, I retired Fernando, and Darko is not me.

  • Sevo||

    Archduke PantsFan|7.26.12 @ 9:40PM|#
    "Nah, I retired Fernando, and Darko is not me."

    Well, someone decided 'Nando needed replacement. Too broad to read right.

  • Darko||

    All I'm doing you is giving you the proper progressive view of these complex issues.

    There is more to building society than HURR DURR I WANNA SHOOT GUNS AT BLACK PEOPLE.

    General Butt Naked grasps what true freedom is, why can't the rest of you?

  • General Butt Naked||

    *throws up clenched fist in solidarity*

  • Sevo||

    You left out
    "For the PEOPLE!"

  • General Butt Naked||

    Oops!

    ----For the PEOPLE!----

  • Barstool Optional||

    For the sheeple.

    Amirite?

  • juris imprudent||

    "For the PEOPLE!"

    And be sure to pronounce that as "pipple".

  • mad libertarian guy||

    There is no such thing as a competing right.

  • Darko||

    Untrue. Compare the right of poor children to get treatment for their cancer vs. the right of Paris Hilton to buy another worthless yacht. These compete for the resources of society and thus it takes the hand of government to regulate this competition so that society gets the most utility from the scarce resources.

  • Brutus||

    I see yer problem right there.

  • juris imprudent||

    I might have credited cesar as darko - until this.

    This lacks all style.

  • Brutus||

    I vote for "good prog spoof"

  • Sevo||

    Two votes.

  • scareduck||

    What an asswipe.

  • ||

    That, sir, is an insult to asswipes everywhere.

  • Darko||

    So you're all denying that answering a door with this object will get you murdered?

    Stability comes first.

  • Sevo||

    Darko|7.26.12 @ 9:13PM|#
    "So you're all denying that answering a door with this object will get you murdered?
    Stability comes first."

    You know who else favored 'stability'.

  • Darko||

    Tulpa

  • Sevo||

    Not bad. Dunphy does, too. But I was thinking of Stalin.

  • ant1sthenes||

    If 2nd amendment advocates were leading the charge to weaken the other amendments in the name of national security, I could at least understand his stance as petty vindictiveness. But usually it just breaks down along statist/libertarian lines, or so it seems to me. I think neocons are probably far more comfortable with gun control than anyone else on the right, and similarly it's radicals on the left who are suspicious of the state (think Black Panthers) who are going to support gun rights moreso than other groups.

  • SKR||

    That's probably because the panthers remember who got the gun control thing going in the first place.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    "the Bill of Rights has been winnowed by both major parties since September 2001"

    FIFY'd. No charge.

  • Archimedes||

    Colorado Shooting Victims to Get Free Health Care. Why Not Everyone?

    Read more: http://healthland.time.com/201.....z21mhnygOh

  • ant1sthenes||

    You have a point. I think hospitals should offer free healthcare to everyone, provided they're willing to be shot first.

    Alternate response (doctors, feel free to polish it up and pitch it to the public with feigned sincerity):
    Why don't journalists provide free stories to everyone? A free press is a vital function of a healthy democracy, a watchdog that keeps the powerful in check. But how can they serve the public if those who most need the information must pay for it? Indeed, how can they truly call themselves a free press if their stories aren't free?

    The press is too important to trust to the profit motive. We don't let people pay for votes or sex or organs, because we understand that payment is exploitation, and subverts individual autonomy. If we let people pay journalists for speech, we risk them losing the freedom to speak without becoming mouthpieces for the rich. To save democracy, we must ban all forms of payment (salary, subscription, advertising revenue, etc.) for expression, whether music, art, movies, magazines, newspapers, or even search results from websites. Together, we can save our society from the perils of profit and plutocracy.

  • Sevo||

    Archimedes|7.26.12 @ 10:05PM|#
    "Colorado Shooting Victims to Get Free Health Care. Why Not Everyone?"

    Because is isn't free?

  • R C Dean||

    "Colorado Shooting Victims to Get Free Health Care Paid For By Someone Else. Why Not Everyone?"

    Because, for "everyone", there is no "someone else".

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  • Brutus||

    What caliber and how many rounds do they hold?

  • Sevo||

    In a clip or a magazine?

  • gaoxiaen||

    Built-in taser?

  • juris imprudent||

    I think these are those "Ring of Fire" Saturday Night Special watches. Would you want one of those strapped to your wrist?

  • SIV||

    How's that "Troll-free Thursday" working out for ya?

  • Pagan Priestess||

    Wait, there was a troll-free Thursday? When did this happen?

  • R C Dean||

    Never, unfortunately.

  • Archimedes||

    How do you feel about Sales Taxes?

  • Sevo||

    Why would anyone feel differently about sales taxes than taxes in general?
    Would you be happy if someone stole part of your money when you bought something as opposed to stealing it when you earned it?

  • Archimedes||

    The old "tax is theft" canard. YAWN.

  • Archimedes||

    Trickle down economics: It's like putting soap on your shoulders in the shower and expecting your feet to be clean.

  • Sevo||

    ^
    Spoof, sarc or stupidity?

  • Drake||

    That's how I do it.

  • misthiocracy||

    The answer to his question is that the 2nd Amendment IS violated, or at least watered-down, in many US jurisdictions.

    Some states are "shall issue" while others are "may issue".

    Some allow concealed carry, some don't.

    Some require more stringent regulations regarding licenses than others.

    Some jurisdictions have restrictions on certain types of firearms and certain types of ammunition.

    Regulations regarding reporting and registration vary across jurisdictions.

    To say that the 2nd Amendment is immune from governmental interference is simply a false statement.

  • R C Dean||

    Don't forget the federal background checks, mandatory record-keeping/quasi-registration, and gun dealer licensing.

  • Public Citizzen||

    Is the Second Amendment more important than some other [fill in number here] amendment?
    In a word -- YES --
    The Second Amendment is the insurance policy and surety bond that makes the other amendments enforceable in the face of attempts to chip away at the rights guaranteed in ALL of the provisions of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.
    Squeamish liberals stubbornly refuse to acknowledge the documentable fact that the ultimate guarantee of rights and liberties is now, has been in the past, and will continue to be in the future, the ability to enforce those rights and liberties by whatever means necessary - deadly force included.
    History is filled with examples of one group of people oppressing another because the oppressed did not have the means to resist the oppressors.

  • litongxili||

    good

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