by Luna Flesher
[caption id="" align="alignright" width="169" caption="William Kostric bearing arms with this sign sets gun rights back a notch"][/caption]
I like to think the Founders put the Bill of Rights in the order they did for a reason. The First Amendment comes first because freedom of speech, religion, assembly, and so on are the most basic of human rights. Then we need the Second Amendment to help us protect those rights, through use of force if necessary.
I'm just as big a fan of the Bill of Rights as the next gal. But when the segment of our population most interested in protecting those rights is the segment most Out Of Their Minds at the moment, it seems to set the cause back just a bit.
We've already discussed here on this blog how those people seem to be using their free speech right to generate some of the best modern expressions of the absurd. In a "nut" shell, they are wasting their platform to protest against fantasies and illusions, instead of bringing up a good points about something they can actually change. Reality for instance. Abuse of Amendment 1, already covered.
Let's move on to Amendment 2.
Look, William Kostric. First of all, congrats for being brave enough to go up against Chris Matthews on Hardball. I absolutely hate that guy, because he tears down his opponent with verbal bludgeons and psychological trickery before he lets them say their piece. I would never accept an interview him. Kudos for not letting him get to you and for explaining your case as best you could.
And I totally understand your points. The Bill of Rights doesn't just say the right to keep arms, but keep and bear arms. I get that. Guns are kind of useless if they're locked up at home.
And I get the concept of doing something simply because you have the right to, and making sure to exercise rights in order not to lose them. That's why I bought a handgun 8 years ago and still have it.
And I understand your point about how the law and culture in New Hampshire fully permits open display of weaponry without anyone batting an eye. Free State Project, and all that. I've even considered joining you guys there. Cool, fine.
And I totally get your point that public perception of guns is probably way skewed, and that maybe if more nice people open-carried guns more often, maybe everyone else would mellow out a bit.
But I'm sorry, William. You totally lost the public perception game this time. -1000 points for our side. Michale Moore couldn't have done a better job at getting people to hate guns. Hell, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold themselves couldn't have made firearms seem more scary.
It's not that you openly wore a gun on your leg on private property in New Hampshire. It's not that you were within sight of building where the President spoke when you wore it. It's not that you protest the President's views on recent issues. No, no it's none of those things.
It's the sign, William. The sign. The sign would have been just fine all by itself. Free speech and all, and I love Thomas Jefferson so dearly. But you had the sign, and the gun, and the current President nearby.
The sign read, "It is time to water the tree of liberty". Not the actual quote, which reads, "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants." No, specifically "It is time" to water the tree.
Not some theoretical distant time in the future. Not some reference to blood spilt in the past. No, you said it is time. Right now. To water the tree. With blood. While you are carrying a ranged weapon. In proximity to the President. That your peers have been calling a Socialist, a Nazi, a Terrorist... a tyrant. You might as well have held up a sign that says, "Guns don't kill people... I DO."
This, sir, was no patriotic act. It was not a defense of your right to bear arms. No, Mr. Kostric, you set us back. Further sullied the image of bearing arms. Further relegated it to the pastime of crazies, extremists, fundamentalists, and people who would put passion for principle far above common sense.
If you were a patriot, you would respect the President, even if you do not agree with him. You would expect him to do his best to fulfill his oath of office, to defend the Constitution, until such time as he actually proves otherwise. You would follow due process, as outlined in the rest of the constitution, to have your voice be heard. And you would do so with reason and common sense, in honor of those rational Founders who wrote that quote you reference, who ensured that right you enjoy.
Thomas Jefferson was right about needing revolutions now and then. And we've had them. We've had many revolutions since 1776. And while they haven't been bloodless, there has been less blood than you might expect, because that Constitution worked perhaps a little better than the Founders had hoped. For the most part, our revolutions have followed due process. The killings came during riots, protests, and yes, even assassinations. But the majority of the blood spilt was unfortunately of the innocent, the patriots if you will -- those brave enough to stand up for important new ideas, or for the rights of those who had been ignored.
Those revolutions were about change, not about keeping things the same.
To the guy who dropped his gun at a political meeting in Arizona, you have given evidence to the American public that those who bear arms are clumsy and know nothing about gun safety, reinforcing everything they've heard about accidental gun deaths. Or was it intentional? Like Mr. Kostric's sign, does it imply a veiled threat? An Appeal to Force? Do what we say or we will kill you?
It makes me wonder here, which of you are the patriots, and which the tyrants?
I am not a pacifist, just a libertarian who remembers one basic principle: Never initiate force or fraud or threat of either. When force or fraud is committed against me, I am willing to retaliate in kind, but I make awfully damned sure of who did the initiating, and make awfully damned sure I have exhausted every other course of action.
If any of you gun nuts decides you've finally had enough, that it's time to fire the first shot, please stop and consider how much damage you will do to the cause of gun rights. Please do not generate more evidence for the other side. Stop trying to prove that Guns Are Only Good For Killing People.
8/18 UPDATE: This is becoming a fad. Yesterday, 12 armed men showed up to an Arizona protest, again within proximity of the President. One carried an AR-15 assault rifle. What are you trying to prove again? No one is actually talking about gun control right now. It's not on the agenda. Obama hasn't said word one about guns.
But since you brought it up, you're not making any liberals think, "hm, maybe guns are a good idea after all". You're making them ask, "and why do these states have the right to allow loaded assault rifles anywhere near the President?"