Second Amendment ‘Terrorists’
The New York Daily News goes for broke, again:
The reader who tipped me off says:
I’m not an NRA fan – far from it – but to call their chairman a “terrorist” is not what I’d expect from people claiming to be rational and “reality-based”.
This will all end badly.
Let’s think about this: the front page of the fifth-largest newspaper in America has labeled the strongest defender of Second Amendment rights in the country a “terrorist” — and says he’s no better than ISIS (one of the San Bernardino shooters, it is now reported, had publicly pledged allegiance to ISIS).
I have highly mixed feelings about the NRA, but those feelings are rather less mixed after seeing this. I do not accept the maximalist line that any restriction on guns and ammunition is the start of a slippery slope, and must be firmly rejected. But the idea that a man who advocates for a Constitutionally guaranteed liberty can be denounced not in an Internet comment box, but on the front page of a major American newspaper, as a “terrorist” — that is fairly unnerving to me.
I started to write, “What would the cultural Left say if some right-wing newspaper denounced the head of the ACLU as a ‘terrorist’ because his organization successfully defended unpopular First Amendment freedoms? What would they say if a right-wing newspaper denounced the heads of film studios and record companies as ‘terrorists’ because some of their products glorify extreme violence?”
I know what they would say, and so do you. But here’s the thing: Peggy Noonan observes that factions of the Left are going after the First Amendment too, all in the name of Safety (e.g., “safe spaces” free of opinions and people they would rather not confront):
Americans are growing weary of being told what they can and cannot publicly say, proclaim and think. We all know what’s going on at the colleges, with the mad little Marats and Robespierres who are telling students and administrators what they are and are not allowed to say or do. This is not just kids acting up at this point, it’s a real censorship movement backed by an ideology that is hostile to the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. It is led by students who, though they managed to get into the greatest universities in the country, seem never to have been taught to love the little amendment that guarantees free speech and free religious observance, the two pillars without which America collapses. And too bad, because when you don’t love something you lose it.
It is my impression that what is happening on the campuses is starting to break through as a real threat to what used to be called normal Americans.
And the “normal Americans,” how are they going to react to this kind of thing when it’s directed at the Second Amendment? Charles C.W. Cooke wants the anti-Second Amendment people to stop bluffing and take action:
When the likes of Rob Delaney and Bill Maher and Keith Ellison say that we need to get rid of the Second Amendment, they are not speaking in a vacuum but reflecting the views of a small but vocal portion of the American population. And they mean it. That being so, here’s the million-dollar question: What the hell are they waiting for? Go on, chaps. Bloody well do it.
Seriously, try it. Start the process. Stop whining about it on Twitter, and on HBO, and at the Daily Kos. Stop playing with some Thomas Jefferson quote you found on Google. Stop jumping on the news cycle and watching the retweets and viral shares rack up. Go out there and begin the movement in earnest. Don’t fall back on excuses. Don’t play cheap motte-and-bailey games. And don’t pretend that you’re okay with the Second Amendment in theory, but you’re just appalled by the Heller decision. You’re not. Heller recognized what was obvious to the amendment’s drafters, to the people who debated it, and to the jurists of their era and beyond: That “right of the people” means “right of the people,” as it does everywhere else in both the Bill of Rights and in the common law that preceded it. A Second Amendment without the supposedly pernicious Heller “interpretation” wouldn’t be any impediment to regulation at all. It would be a dead letter. It would be an effective repeal. It would be the end of the right itself. In other words, it would be exactly what you want! Man up. Put together a plan, and take those words out of the Constitution. It’ll be tough explaining to suburban families that their established conception of American liberty is wrong. You might even suffer at the polls because of it. But that’s what it’s going to take. This will involve hard work, of course. You can’t just sit online and preen to those who already agree with you. No siree. Instead, you’ll have to go around the states — traveling and preaching until the soles of your shoes are thin as paper. You’ll have to lobby Congress, over and over and over again. You’ll have to make ads and shake hands and twist arms and cut deals and suffer all the slings and arrows that will be thrown in your direction. You’ll have to tell anybody who will listen to you that they need to support you; that if they disagree, they’re childish and beholden to the “gun lobby”; that they don’t care enough about children; that their reverence for the Founders is mistaken; that they have blood on their [deleted] hands; that they want to own firearms only because their penises are small and they’re not “real men.” And remember, you can’t half-ass it this time. You’re not going out there to tell these people that you want “reform” or that “enough is enough.” You’re going there to solicit their support for removing one of the articles within the Bill of Rights. Make no mistake: It’ll be unpleasant strolling into Pittsburgh or Youngstown or Pueblo and telling blue-collar Democrat after blue-collar Democrat that he only has his guns because he’s not as well endowed as he’d like to be. It’ll be tough explaining to suburban families that their established conception of American liberty is wrong. You might even suffer at the polls because of it. But that’s what it’s going to take. So do it. Start now. Off you go.
It never seems to pierce the bubble of these liberal ideologues that the NRA is so powerful because it represents a popular cause. Over half of all Americans oppose stricter gun control laws. I don’t belong to the NRA, and I have no objection in principle to a limited tightening of gun restrictions, but my opinion is not the majority opinion. More importantly, I don’t have strong feelings about the issue, while pro-Second Amendment people tend to have very intense feelings about it. I’m never going to vote for or against a candidate on Second Amendment issues, but I know plenty of people who would, and do. They are my friends and neighbors, and I do not believe them to be terrorists.
I get that the editors of the Daily News, and many others, do consider them to be terrorists. What this designation is going to do is to make them dig in even harder, convinced that the Democratic Party and the liberal media would come take their guns away if they had the chance. It cannot be comfortable for Wayne LaPierre to see himself likened to mass murderers on the front page of a major American newspaper. But the Daily News has just made his job significantly easier.
I don’t vote on the Second Amendment, but I very much vote on the First Amendment, specifically freedom of religion. We have seen over and over liberals in the media, in politics, in academia, and so forth, denounce people like me as “bigots,” the equivalent of racist segregationists, and as the kind of people who make life in American unsafe. I don’t know about my fellow First Amendment fans, but this has made me dig in much deeper, because I’m absolutely convinced that if the Democrats had the power to do so, they would take away as much freedom of religion as they could, because many of them neither practice it nor value it, but instead see it as a threat.