Friday, August 21, 2009
From Opinion Forum
Tom at OpinionForum just wrote this superb post that I just had to quote.
Politics and Packin’ Heat
August 21st, 2009
Just about 10 percent of our presidents have been assassinated while in office. Of those four, three were shot with handguns and one with a rifle (or rifles, depending on which conspiracy theory you prefer). You’d think we might be a little sensitive to people carrying firearms at presidential events — or political events of any kind, for that matter. But no — not in the goofy, wild-wild-west culture of America.
This photo shows a man carrying an assault rifle and a pistol at one of President Obama’s town hall meetings. Knowing how these people think, I assume both weapons were loaded. When this wacko was asked why he attended a presidential event so heavily armed, he answered, “Because I can do it. In Arizona, I still have some freedoms.”
The next photo is of a man at another of President Obama’s town hall meetings. He was more lightly armed, packing only a semi-automatic pistol. This ersatz hero carried a sign reading, as you can see, ”It is time to water the tree of liberty!” When asked in an interview on TV if the weapon had been loaded, he responded with words to the effect that of course it was; what use is an unloaded gun?
The sign being held by the doofus-looking guy in this photo refers to a quote from Thomas Jefferson: “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is it’s natural manure.”
Granted, this fellow may not be sufficiently educated to know the full quote; he may be just parroting some blather from one of his NRA meetings. But, given that he was carrying a weapon near the President, we have to assume that he knows what he’s saying. Therefore, it’s logical to conclude that an armed man was threatening the President’s life.
My question is, why weren’t both of these idiots arrested, if only to be held until the President was no longer in the area? No, seems we can’t do that. Politicians are too frightened of any group that can muster a few folks to vote one way or another, whether it’s the NRA or the DailyKos crowd. The White House even stated that they had no objections to the armed men attending the President’s town hall meetings because they have the right to be armed.
Of all the circumstances in which it’s wrong to permit people to carry weapons, proximity to the President has to be among the worst — right up there with kids’ soccer games, in public parks, near schools and churches, in or near bars, in cars and trucks (road rage, anyone?), in the supermarket…. If citizens must be allowed to have handguns, they should be outlawed anywhere outside the home, where paranoids can barricade themselves for as long as they like and wait for the black helicopters to land on their lawn.
I made my views on gun control clear in an earlier article. Handguns, which are designed for efficiently killing people — and do it quite well — should be outlawed. Period. The only people who should be able to legally own and carry handguns are sworn law enforcement officers and a few categories of carefully vetted security personnel. Private ownership of long guns, basically rifles and shotguns, should be permitted, with licensing and other restrictions.
Please don’t undertake to educate me on the Second Amendment. I know what it says, word-for-word; I know the relevant constitutional history; and I’ve read the legal cases. That includes District of Columbia et al. v. Heller, in which the Supreme Court confirmed that the Second Amendment means an individual has the right to possess a firearm. I don’t disagree with that decision, just as I don’t disagree with the long list of firearms that are already constitutionally banned. If we can outlaw private possession of automatic weapons, shotguns with barrels too short, and mortars, we can also consign handguns to the trash heap.
If we can’t make that leap into the modern world, how about making it illegal to carry a firearm at or near a political event? Is that too much to ask?
[You can read the rest of Tom's great piece here.]