Sunday, July 22, 2012

Our Rights In Crowded Theaters

Every American student who's taken a civic class has heard US Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.'s admonition that free speech under the US Constitution doesn't give you the right to shout "fire" in a crowded theater.

So the right to bear arms under the 2nd amendment - - written at a time when citizen militias might be needed to fend off the British or a foreign power intent on undermining the new Republic - - shouldn't mean someone has the right to barge into a crowded theater, open fire and slaughter people with powerful guns and ammunition obtained legally.

Yet we have allowed the NRA and allied wealthy conservative organizations with political and electoral agendas to distort legitimate gun ownership for hunting purposes into gun ownership without effective controls that jeopardizes public safety.

Bill Moyers has an eloquent essay about this, here.

The proof is the disproportionate share of the industrialized world's gun violence that afflicts the US, year-in and year-out.

These massacres bring concern for victims, but no remedial controls: the Aurora shootings come but five years after a higher death toll in a mass shooting at Virginia Tech, and Colorado did not toughen its gun laws after the Columbine school killings not far from Aurora.

Few political figures in either party will take on the NRA. We've got bi-partisan political cowardice, and the result is gun access for lunatics.

We need a mass movement along the lines of Occupy Wall Street to get things started towards reasonable controls on gun ownership, or we're only closing in on the next Aurora, let alone the less-publicized daily gun mayhem happening across the country.


the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed said...

Thankfully, Bill Moyers and the rest of you liberals have made yourselves irrelevant by your constant ridiculous comments such as: “We are after all a country which began with the forced subjugation into slavery of millions of Africans and the reliance on arms against Native Americans for its Westward expansion. In truth, more settlers traveling the Oregon Trail died from accidental, self-inflicted gunshots wounds than Indian attacks – we were not only bloodthirsty but also inept.” we find you amusing but you always seem to find a way to reinforce the fact that we must keep voting in conservatives to counteract your nonsense.

The most legitimate reason for owning a gun is for the protection of one’s self and property. We do not have to look back any further than hurricane Katrina and New Orleans to see that the local police protection can abandon us at any moment and the only protection local business owners had to keep looters from stealing their property and livelihood was individual gun ownership.

Yes the theater shooting was tragic, but all the guns were purchased legally and there was no reason to not sell them to the person, and this just shows that it is impossible to stop people from committing murder by controlling how guns are sold.

Anonymous said...

Sure. Every citizen should be equipped with an AK 47 that shoots 100 rounds a minute or risk being unprotected in this dangerous world. Then we'd be secure.