Just when I thought the Huffington Post gun grabbers couldn’t get any crazier or more insidious Seamus McKiernan launches an anti-ballistic broadside that’s stunning in its combination of ignorance and evil. To wit: “If indeed it turns out that the gunman’s actions in Wisconsin were motivated by a hatred of Sikh religion and culture, the shooting may reveal an unintended consequence of our current interpretation of the Second Amendment: rampant gun violence threatens public safety, which in turn may limit our capacity — or willingness — to openly exercise our First Amendment rights to speech, assembly, or religious expression.” Just so we’re clear . . .
Is one Amendment more important than another? We should not have to choose. But the deadliness and frequency of recent gun violence in America — last year nearly 12,000 people were killed by guns in this country — makes me wonder whether we haven’t already prioritized one over the other.
In the gun control debate, we hear a lot about guns as deterrents. But for Sikh-Americans in Wisconsin, or other religious groups all around America, mass gun violence that targets religion might be a different kind of deterrent — a deterrent to free expression of belief. Freedom of religion is protected by law, but in practice, fear for public safety supersedes abstract rights. That fear unravels trust, the fabric of civil society and a shared culture.
Wait. “Mass” gun violence? Does McKiernan mean psychopathic gunmen who hit center mass or “masses” as in masses of young men think Ilene Hamann is attractive? I think he means that there are masses of psycho-killers on the loose.
Not true. Equally, we’ve heard McKiernan’s statistically dubious argument before: public safety supersedes Constitutionally-protected rights. Frankly, it scares the shit out of me. What was that Benjamin Franklin said? “Those that are willing to give up a little temporary safety for essential liberty are not going to get much of either safety or liberty.”
How wrong can McKiernan be? This wrong:
In a society overrun with guns, how free can speech be? How free is religion? In some countries, repression of speech and religion is the policy and practice of the government. Thankfully, in America, our right to freedom of expression is enshrined in the Constitution. But our crisis of public safety may act as a self-censoring muzzle on free expression. The First Amendment is an afterthought if you’re afraid to step out your door because of who you are or what you believe.
Holy Holocaust Batman, does McKiernan not see that governments repress freedom of speech and religion at the point of a gun? Does he not understand that the First Amendment depends on the Second Amendment for its survival? That this protection works on both the societal and the individual level?
Jeremiah. 5:21 (King James version): “Hear now this, O foolish people, and without understanding; which have eyes, and see not; which have ears, and hear not.” In other words, are you out of your fucking mind? Apparently so.
While public safety may not be expressly mentioned in the Bill of Rights, “life” (in the triad of liberty and the pursuit of happiness) gets top billing in the Declaration of Independence. In some ways, public safety is the grease in the wheels of a democratic society.
The Declaration of Independence is not the U.S. Constitution. Just like health care, public safety isn’t mentioned in the Bill of Rights PERIOD.
More to the point, in some very direct, rational and empirically demonstrable ways the Second Amendment is the only thing that stands between American citizens and the forces of criminality (e.g., Mexico) and government tyranny (how much time do you have?).
Like all gun grabbers, McKiernan would have us believe that he doesn’t want to eliminate the Second Amendment. He wants to modify it.
If we don’t change the way we interpret the Second Amendment to more sensibly regulate access to deadly weapons, it won’t mean the First Amendment will go away. But we may have to add this clarifying text at the end: Caution: exercise at your own risk.
Back atcha, First Amendment-wise, Mr. McK. And I mean that in the nicest possible way.