Saturday, December 22, 2012

"They're Takin' Your Bill Of Rights Away From You"

I wasn't planning on posting anything more on the aftermath of the Newtown CT shootings. I figured that horse has been beat to death three times over. But then I ran across two things today: (1) a column on the topic by Charles Krauthammer, who IMO is the best commentator around these days, and (2) an old Grand Funk Railroad song. An unlikely combination, to be sure, but one that motivated me to pass them both along.

First, the Krauthammer column. It begins as follows.
Every mass shooting has three elements: the killer, the weapon and the cultural climate. As soon as the shooting stops, partisans immediately pick their preferred root cause with corresponding pet panacea. Names are hurled, scapegoats paraded, prejudices vented. The argument goes nowhere.
Krauthammer then goes on to discuss each in greater detail. He explains why gun control laws are pragmatically impossible ("Unless you are prepared to confiscate all existing firearms, disarm the citizenry and repeal the Second Amendment, it’s almost impossible to craft a law that will be effective.").

He discusses why changes in mental health laws over the past 20-30 years have done more harm than good ("... a 2011 University of California at Berkeley study found that states with strong civil commitment laws have about a one-third lower homicide rate.").

He points out the implications of cultural changes over that same time frame ("Older folks find themselves stunned by what a desensitized youth finds routine, often amusing. It’s not just movies. Young men sit for hours pulling video-game triggers, mowing down human beings en masse without pain or consequence.").

He closes by emphasizing the tradeoff between our liberties and public safety.
... While law deters the rational, it has far less effect on the psychotic. The best we can do is to try to detain them, disarm them and discourage “entertainment” that can intensify already murderous impulses.

But there’s a cost. Gun control impinges upon the Second Amendment; involuntary commitment impinges upon the liberty clause of the Fifth Amendment; curbing “entertainment” violence impinges upon First Amendment free speech.
Do yourself a favor and read the entire piece. It's a breath of fresh air and common sense in an environment of toxic debate and emotion-laden tirades.

No matter what eventually happens, someone's rights are going to get trampled.
Actually reducing the number of military-style weapons owned by civilians in this country would probably involve confiscating guns that had been legally obtained; involuntary commitment to mental hospitals for possibly dangerous people will necessarily involve imprisoning people who have committed no crime yet; restricting video games and movies is all kinds of banning speech among consenting adults who are not harming anyone. Essentially, innocents pay the price in all of these scenarios...
And while you're reading Krauthammer's article, give a listen to an old Grand Funk Railroad song: "Don't Let 'Em Take Your Gun" (unearthed by kerrcarto over at GGDF - good job, bro.) Here's where the connection to Krauthammer comes in:
My daddy told me "son, don't let 'em take your gun.
That's what they tryin' to do.
Son, don't let 'em take your gun.
They're takin' your bill of rights away from you."
Yep, the 2nd, 5th, and 1st Amendments are all at risk here.


kerrcarto said...

Minority Report anyone?

kerrcarto said...

I have to give my local radio morning show DJ Harley David Belew on 94.3 REVFM the credit. He turned me onto it the other morning.

CenTexTim said...

kerrcarto, that's a scary link. I can see the parents being concerned, but the school should have more sense than that. Absolutely no reason to suspend the kid. Idiots...