Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The First and Second Amendments Can Coexist

by Dick Mac

Right-wing lawmakers, candidates and their supporters have been rallying around the battle cry for "Second Amendment remedies" and "reload" strategies for two years, mostly with the assistance of their mouthpieces at News Corporation (or is it the other way around).

Using the emotional tactic of pretending the Second Amendment is in danger of repeal, these politicians have whipped America's most dangerous people into a fervor of patriotism that has no basis whatsoever in reality, civilization, American history, or plain human decency.

It was bad enough over the past fifty years that Republicans used fear of Blacks, fear of homosexuals, and fear of abortion, to keep their white suburban followers in line; but now it's completely out-of-control. The Republican gun rhetoric has brought public displays of weapons, and the very public threat to use them, into the daily lives of all Americans. Unlike their racist, homophobic, misogynistic campaigns of past elections, where nobody but the targets were victimized, this campaign of hate and guns endangers all Americans.

Nobody on the "right" will admit that their strategy is a total success, of course; because the promotion of gun violence has led to an actual increase in gun violence. There is a cause and effect here, and it is not a dramatic stretch of the imagination to draw a straight line directly from the gun rhetoric to the gun usage. This isn't rocket science, it's plain-old American logic!

The Second Amendment is not under attack. Those of you who like to lube-up your guns, get all manly at the rifle range, and compensate for your small penises (or lack of penises) with big guns and expensive cars, have absolutely no reason to fear that someone is coming for your guns. Nobody is coming for your guns! The Supreme Court has affirmed, time and again, that the Second Amendment allows all of us to keep our guns.

This does not mean that we should not have a discussion about gun safety, a discussion that perhaps some weapons are best owned by law enforcement and the military, or a discussion that our right to bear arms includes responsible use and ownership of those weapons. Both the Second Amendment and these discussions (the First Amendment) are protected and can co-exist. Neither one negates the other.

So while many disagree about the need to control guns, the discussion is not unpatriotic.

We can protect our right to bear arms AND discuss those arms and still all be good citizens.

Those who would dismiss gun-rights advocates and gun-rights advocates who dismiss gun-safety advocates are both wrong.

The discussion is valid.

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