Ok, here’s the deal. I’ve got long hair. I’ve been a peace activist, and I tend to support a lot of “left” issues like Palestinian human rights, lifting sanctions in Iraq, not slaughtering innocent civilians, that sort of thing. So why in God’s name would I be writing something about gun rights?
To be truthful, I’ve never been a big fan of guns. I’m a pretty good shot (qualified expert pistol in the Army). I’ve seen first hand, up close and personal, what they can do, including blowing away some folks in Iraq. I know what I’m talking about. I supported the Million Mom March, and restrictions on handguns and assault rifles and the like.
All that has changed. Here are the reasons why:
1. John Ashcroft.
2. No seriously. This year, the U.S. government saw fit to round up thousands of people and put them behind bars. No lawyers. No phone calls. No nothing. Anybody here heard of the United States Constitution? Here’s a little more information on the twisted legal arguments the government makes for detaining people indefinitely:
3. The media, supposedly the guardian of our civil rights, doesn’t seem to take the value of democratic elections seriously any more. Here is an example:
4. Apparently our own government has little respect for democratic elections either, especially when the democratically elected leader says the wrong things:
5. The government now has all new surveillance methods which were authorized by the misnamed Patriot USA act passed in the wake of September 11. Here’s a sample. For example, so called “sneak and peak” searches are now legal – in other words, they can search your house and not tell you.
6. The Patriot Act gave a broad definition to “domestic terrorism,” a definition which could easily include legitimate political dissent. Activities which “appear to be intended…to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion” are defined as terrorism. Does this include a civil protest such as blocking the road? Picketing? Demonstrating?
7. Once upon a time, for the Federal Government to spy on you required probable cause. No more. Section 218 gives the government license to conduct J. Edgar Hoover style spying on private citizens. The Justice Departments position is: “[i]f the government’s heightened interest in self-defense justifies the use of deadly force, then it certainly would also justify warrantless searches.”
8. You too, can be named an “enemy combatant” by Mr. Ashcroft and be deprived of your constitutional protections:
9. The Justice Department has put together plans for entire camps for U.S. citizens they name “enemy combatants.”
10. Back to #1. John Ashcroft.
Many gun-control advocates have argued before that the 2nd Amendment protects the rights of organized, state-sponsored militia to bear arms, but not necessarily individuals.
I don’t think so. The 2nd Amendment is your last ditch protection for when the secret police show up at your house because you thought or said the wrong thing. The frightening part, to me, is that the Bush administration has taken us closer to that fear than America has ever been.