Sunday, December 06, 2015

Man Shoots First Amendment to Prove Second Amendment Is Flawed

We've bumped into Erick Erickson before. The fear-monger threw a conniption back in 2010 over the "invasive" nature of the U.S. Census - despite the fact we're required to have one every ten years and that it's never destroyed lives before - and threatened back then to greet any Census taker with a loaded firearm.

So here he is this weekend throwing another conniption, this time over the New York Times' front-page editorial over gun safety laws. For the first time in over 90 years, the paper of record put an opinion piece on its front page, highlighting the seriousness of the matter: End the Gun Epidemic In America.

But motives do not matter to the dead in California, nor did they in Colorado, Oregon, South Carolina, Virginia, Connecticut and far too many other places. The attention and anger of Americans should also be directed at the elected leaders whose job is to keep us safe but who place a higher premium on the money and political power of an industry dedicated to profiting from the unfettered spread of ever more powerful firearms.
It is a moral outrage and a national disgrace that civilians can legally purchase weapons designed specifically to kill people with brutal speed and efficiency. These are weapons of war, barely modified and deliberately marketed as tools of macho vigilantism and even insurrection. America’s elected leaders offer prayers for gun victims and then, callously and without fear of consequence, reject the most basic restrictions on weapons of mass killing, as they did on Thursday. They distract us with arguments about the word terrorism. Let’s be clear: These spree killings are all, in their own ways, acts of terrorism...
...It is not necessary to debate the peculiar wording of the Second Amendment. No right is unlimited and immune from reasonable regulation.

So what is Erickson's response to this? A blistering counterpoint? A debate on the merits of the Times' position?

Nope. He shoots the newspaper itself as though he's Standing His Ground:

The paranoid gun fetishist seems to be one of the people who SHOULDN’T own a gun. He clearly does not operate it properly with only the righteous intent of protecting himself. Instead, he is using it to shoot up a newspaper, and in essence, trying to silence the freedom of the press and freedom of speech by use of deadly force. Wouldn’t that be considered a terrorist act? After all, terrorism is defined as “the use of violence and intimidation in the pursuit of political aims.”

This seems to be Erickson's standard response: in the face of a moral quandary or something that annoys his political sensibilities, pull out his phallic replacement and act like he's a manly man deploying the most gross exaggeration of manly American stereotype. "If I don't likes it, I shoots it."

In the process he proves Junius correct one more time, and proves himself an Imposter instead of an Honest Man:

An honest man, like the true religion, appeals to the understanding, or modestly confides in the internal evidence of his conscience. The imposter employs force instead of argument, imposes silence where he cannot convince, and propagates his character by the sword.

See how Erickson propagates his (lack of) character by the sword, going for the gun as his answer to every argument he CAN'T win. And look at his audience, the ones who eat this all up like his act is the sweetest of cupcakes instead of the poison to the Body Republic that it is.

This is a major problem out of many that our nation is facing heading into a winter of discontent and divisiveness. Actually, it's reflective of several: not only the need for gun safety laws in the face of increased mass shootings, but also the need to repair the public forum that's fallen into toxic posturing, bullying, outright lies, and epistemic closures.

And Erickson's act proves one other thing: the Second Amendment can no longer co-exist with the rights and protections established by the First Amendment. The NRA's obsession of turning the Second Amendment from "well-regulated militias" into a license to shoot anybody they don't like now conflicts with the First Amendment's protection for Americans to peaceably assemble in public. How can we, when angry (mostly) men are able to legally purchase weapons of war they can then use in our workplaces, our churches, our schools, our shops and movie theaters?

How can we uphold the First Amendment's protections of a free press - where public opinion and reporting can be published - when Erickson seeks to intimidate that free press by using it for target practice, with direct implication to threaten that action on the people expressing that opinion?

The United States is now caught between two constitutional interpretations. We as a nation need to uphold the one that best serves the public trust - our rights to be at peace with each other, to assemble as citizens, to speak our minds without threat - and we need to reform if not remove the second position that seeks to grant the angriest and most violent of ourselves the power to shoot us all.

And to Erick Erickson: your gun does not protect you from your own flaws and failures. Remember that as you cower in fear, because that's all you've proven this day.

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