In my wildest imagination I could not have dreamed up that a blog on reforming health care in American might need to address the role of guns in the debate. But it is a sad day in the history of political discourse.
Guns are being carried around events featuring President Obama; weapons are appearing at town hall meetings that are laced with emotional outrage and hate speech. And there are even some apparently insane members of Congress who appear to be inciting continuance of this spectacle.
There is only one reason to carry a gun openly to a political event other than to attempt an assassination; it is to intimidate those with opposing views. It is the essence of bullying, getting in your face, encouraging and hoping others to do possible violence, and disrespecting dialog. The mantra about just exercising one’s second amendment rights is a thin sham of a non-explanation.
Civics 101, Civility 102
First Amendment – Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
No right implied to shout “fire” in crowded theater.
Second Amendment – A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a
No right implied to be ready to “fire” in a crowded town hall meeting.
Consider the First Amendment clause about “the right of the people peaceably to assemble”. Are guns at these events respecting others or suppressing assembly? The extreme right has shown through delay, distortion and deception to date that it will go to any extent necessary to defeat health care reform. Will they also accept violence and threats of violence to kill reform? Passions are extremely high on all sides and we are only one shot away from utter ugliness; police take notice.